I will give some good advice here on how to clean and care for your jewellery, especially gem set pieces.

Today we’ll begin with DIAMONDS.

We don’t realize how dirty our jewellery can become, especially those pieces that we enjoy wearing a lot. Rings are especially prone to accumulating dirt and grime and those stones do not look good when they’re clogged up under the setting, stopping the light from getting through and showing their brilliance!

Being the hardest of all gems, diamond set jewellery can be given a good brush in a solution of approximately 1 cup of warm water and a teaspoon of dishwashing liquid. There’s no need to add any other cleaning products or detergents. If you’re working over a sink, put the plug in! I’ve watched in horror and dismay as an earring disappeared down the plughole and had to have the piping dismantled to retrieve it. I recommend working over a plastic bowl with a fine mesh sieve, tea strainer or even a piece of cloth covering the top of the bowl just in case a stone should come loose. Settings in all jewellery weaken and wear with time, especially the higher carats of gold 18ct, 22ct & 24ct and silver – they are substantially softer metals than 9ct gold which is mixed with other metals to strengthen it.

If there is a build up of dirt underneath the stone and in the setting, allow the piece to soak for 10 – 15 minutes to soften the gunk. Dip the head of an old toothbrush in some water (I NEVER throw my old toothbrushes away – they come in so handy for cleaning all sorts of things – especially jewellery) and brush the underside and around the sides of the setting. Repeat the brushing method until all traces of dirt are removed. If there’s stubborn grime, use a pointed wooden toothpick to gently help dislodge the dirt from the gaps between the setting, then brush again. Brush the top and finally give the piece a good rinse in clean, warm water. Pat dry with a soft cloth or paper towel.

Finally, use a metal cleaner infused cloth to polish the metal of the item as the soapy solution won’t give the silver or gold as good a shine. Goddards make a Silver Cloth that can be bought at some supermarket outlets or have a look online. It’s non abrasive and makes polishing metals a breeze. The cloth is quite large so I usually cut about a third of it off and make sure that the remaining cloth is well sealed in the package to stop it drying out. Using the smaller piece of cloth, go over the metal of your item rubbing gently and it will remove any tarnish and dullness. You can store this piece with the bigger packaged cloth. They last a long time if the package is sealed.

Remember to work over something that would catch any stones that may come loose. If this happens, the stone would’ve fallen out at some point anyway so the piece would need re-clawing or if it’s set into a bezel, that would either need building up or replacement. A good jeweller would have the expertise to undertake repairs like this. Shop around if your item needs repair as re-clawing should not cost a fortune but it’s money well spent in the long run as that stone or stones were going to fall out anyway and possibly be lost forever.

Now enjoy that sparkle!

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