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How to Clean Your Most Valuable Jewellery

With proper cleaning and appropriate storage, your precious metal jewellery will last a long time. It's important to remove easily tarnishable jewellery before vigorous activity, such as exercising, swimming, showering, applying makeup, or doing chores.

a sophisticated woman wearing beautiful diamond jewellery

It’s likely that your most treasured and valuable pieces of jewellery are made of precious metals. And, often these items are the ones we wear most frequently.
Just as your clothing accumulates oil, dirt, and debris when worn, so does jewellery, which is why regular and proper cleaning is so important. Jewellery that is well cared for can last a lifetime.

But, before you begin cleaning your jewellery, you need to identify what metal the piece is made of. Most high-quality jewellery pieces are made from platinum, silver, or gold, which will last a lifetime.

Typically these metals are combined with an alloy before being shaped into jewellery, because alone they aren’t strong enough to last. For example, pure gold, silver, and copper are very soft, while platinum is more durable.

Gold also changes depending on what type of alloy the metal is combined with.

For instance, when mixed with copper, pure gold has a rose gold finish, but when mixed with a light-coloured metal like zinc or nickel, the result is white gold
The differences in metals like platinum, gold, and silver mean that they will react to chemicals differently, so it's important to know which is best for your jewellery.

How to Clean Silver Jewellery

Sterling silver jewellery naturally develops dark residue, called tarnish, over time due to oxidation. To slow the tarnishing process, remove your jewellery before showering and during intense workouts.

Silver jewellery remains shiny when worn frequently and kept in a dry environment. To remove tarnishing, simply clean the item with a silver polishing cloth to bring back its fine silver finish.

a box full of silver ethnic bracelets and necklaces

Regularly using a silver cloth removes tarnish, therefore prolonging the prominent sparkle. If you don't have a silver cloth, use a microfibre cloth instead.

Chemicals like chlorine and salt can also damage silver so avoid wearing jewellery while swimming.

Gold Vermeil Care

Gold vermeil is sterling silver that has been gold-plated. Much like sterling silver, gold vermeil can tarnish. To protect the plating from tarnish or damage, remove jewellery before spraying cologne, perfume, soap, or using any other beauty product.

Store your jewellery in a dry place to protect it from scratches. And, remove gold-plated jewellery before swimming, bathing, or washing your hands with chemical soaps.

Black Rhodium Care

Black rhodium is sterling silver plated in black rhodium. To clean black rhodium jewellery, wash it with non-chemical soap and warm water, then rinse it well and let dry. Use a soft cloth to gently rub the surface clean. Ensure that the piece of jewellery is completely dry before returning it to the jewellery box.

Do not use a silver polishing cloth, as the silver polish will remove the rhodium plating. The plating will naturally fade with frequent wear.

Delicate Silver Care

For tarnished jewellery, a silver bath may be required. This will strip the silver item of any grease or tarnish, returning it to its original state. It's important to rinse your jewellery with warm water before drying. Once dry, rub with a silver polishing cloth to give the piece a sheen.

How to Clean Gold Jewellery

jewelry made from gold and semi precious stones being soaked in soapy water

Unfortunately, gold jewellery also tarnishes over time. To slow down the process, avoid exposure to cleaning products and store your jewellery in a safe place when engaging in activities such as:

  • Household and outdoor chores
  • Showering, bathing, swimming, hot tubs
  • Applying lotion, hair products, fragrances, and other cosmetics
  • Exercising at the gym or participating in sports
  • Preparing meals

But when your gold jewellery does need to be cleaned, the process is very easy. Create a solution of water and dish soap, let the item soak for a few minutes, and rub it clean with a cloth or soft toothbrush.

Or, in many cases, the jeweler you purchased the item from will provide regular cleanings free of charge.

How to Clean Platinum

Platinum is another common fine jewellery metal, but it differs from silver and gold in a few ways. It has a naturally white colour that never tarnishes or corrodes. It is also very durable and is ideal for pieces that will be kept for generations as heirlooms.

And though platinum does not tarnish, it will require cleaning if worn frequently. Platinum can also be cleaned in a dish soap and water solution or with a professional cleaning solution purchased from a jeweler.

How to Clean Gemstones

All gemstones react differently to heat, chemicals, and brushing, so you'll need to understand the hardness of your ring's stones before proceeding with a cleaning method. Be aware that high hardness doesn't necessarily mean that your gemstone is resistant to all substances.

For instance, while diamonds are ranked high on the MOHS scale, certain substances such as chlorine, bleach, and toothpaste can destroy your diamond's natural sparkle.

How to Clean Diamond Jewellery

a diamond ring in a soft lint cloth

To clean diamonds, use the same dish soap and water solution recommended for cleaning gold and platinum jewellery. Fill a bowl with warm water and add a few drops of soap. Then soak your diamond jewellery in this solution for 15-30 minutes. Remove the jewellery and gently brush it with a soft toothbrush to remove any dirt. Rinse the item with cool water and dry it with a soft, lint-free cloth.

How to Clean Pearls

Though pearls are different from gemstones, the cleaning procedure is very similar.

Fill a shallow bowl with lukewarm water and add a tablespoon of mild dish soap, then stir. Place pearls into the bowl of soapy water and let soak for 10 minutes. Swirl the item around in the water so that every part of it has been cleaned. Then remove the item, and use a soft toothbrush to gently brush off any dirt and grime.

Once you're satisfied that the pearls are clean, gently lift and place them on a soft, lint-free cloth, and replace the soapy water with fresh lukewarm water. Place the pearls into the bowl of clean water and use a toothbrush to gently brush off any bits of soap. Then use a soft, absorbent cloth to pat the item dry.


How do you clean a platinum gold ring?

The cheapest and easiest way to clean platinum rings is by soaking them in a warm soapy solution for 30 minutes. This will eliminate any grime and debris attached to your rings.

How do you keep gold jewellery shiny?

Regularly cleaning your gold jewellery will help keep it shiny, as will not wearing them while participating in activities such as exercising, showering, and applying beauty products.

What can you put on silver to keep it from tarnishing?

To keep your silver jewellery from tarnishing, you can apply a protective coating to it. Once applied it will not tarnish, crack, or peel.

a close up of a woman wearing diamond studded earrings and a diamond ring

With proper cleaning and appropriate storage, your precious metal jewellery will last a long time. It's important to remove easily tarnishable jewellery before vigorous activity, such as exercising, swimming, showering, applying makeup, or doing chores.

Just as it’s important to use the right methods to care for your fine jewellery, it’s also important to care for your clothing properly. We recommend storing your most treasured clothing in high-quality storage bags. Hayden Hill clothes storage bags are made of 100% organic, soft cotton that is environmentally friendly and allows your favourite pieces to breathe while keeping them protected from damage. We deliver sustainable and beautiful garment care to preserve and protect the clothes you love most.

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