Featured picture 1 scaled
Jewellery Advice

Jewellery Cleaning: The Ultimate Care Guide

When was the last time you gave your jewellery a good clean? From your everyday accessories to the standout pieces that are saved for special occasions, all jewellery needs a little TLC to remain beautifully sparkling.

We’ve put together the ultimate guide on jewellery cleaning, from simple home remedies to using specially formulated cleaning products from Connoisseurs.

Our guide on how to look after new jewellery offers quick and easy tips for day-to-day jewellery care , but if you’re looking for something a little more in-depth – you’ve come to the right place!

Why Jewellery Cleaning Is Important

While some jewellery requires more maintenance than others, the fact is that all jewellery requires a little love and attention to remain as pristine as the day you got it.

A lot of the time, imperfections on your jewellery will build up over time, and so it may not be as obvious that cleaning is required. Sterling silver is a prime example: tarnish will build up so gradually that you might not even notice until you see a photo of what it used to look like!

That’s why we recommend implementing a regular cleaning routine for all of your jewellery, to make sure it’s always in tip-top condition. As well as annual professional cleanings for your most prized pieces, there are plenty of ways for jewellery cleaning at home to keep it sparkling all year round.

Keeping your jewellery clean during coronavirus

Now more than ever, cleaning jewellery should be an important step in your daily routine.

As experts urge us to regularly and thoroughly wash our hands to prevent the spread of coronavirus, it becomes apparent that we should also be making a conscious effort to keep our jewellery – especially rings – as clean and germ-free as possible. Here are our top tips:

  • Clean your jewellery at least one at the end of the day, ideally using a specialist jewellery cleaner or wipes (e.g. those by Connoisseurs) for best results
  • Use cotton buds to clean out any crevices during cleaning, as this is where bacteria can often reside
  • If you are frequently using hand sanitiser, it may be a good idea to avoid wearing certain jewellery (e.g. pearls and other delicate stones) at all, as the alcohol in sanitiser can lead to surface damage of the gems
  • The frequent application of moisturiser to combat dry hands is another reason to be cleaning our jewellery more often; moisturiser can build up behind gemstones and within other crevices in rings, quickly becoming a prime area for bacteria to collect
  • Clean jewellery on-the-go using portable tools such as the Connoisseurs Dazzle Stik; simply apply a touch of cleansing gel and use the electric brush to give your jewellery a good clean, focusing on any particularly intricate bits
  • While it’s a good idea to remove rings while washing your hands, make sure that they are cleaned before putting them back on!

When to Clean Jewellery

Many people wonder how often exactly to clean their jewellery. While there’s no hard-and-fast rule for everyone, you can easily establish a routine based on your own habits and schedule.

In an ideal world, all jewellery would get cleaned at least once a month, but it is possible to prioritise your pieces by considering just a few key things:

  • What type of jewellery is it? As mentioned previously, certain jewellery types are more high maintenance than others. Your diamond engagement ring will likely require more careful and regular cleaning than a plain stacking ring, for instance.
  • How often do you wear it? Do you have favourite pieces that you wear daily? These will likely need cleaning more often than an expensive necklaces that only comes out of the jewellery box for super special occasions.
  • What does the jewellery get exposed to? This especially applies to wedding rings, which will likely see everything from washing the dishes to an energetic gym session. Wedding rings are built to last, but exposure to all kinds of dirt and other substances will have an impact over time, making it vital to maintain even the most durable jewellery pieces.
  • Did the jewellery come with any instructions? Especially in the case of high-end pieces, some jewellers will provide a care manual with advice on how often to clean your jewellery (and if there’s anything in particular you should avoid doing).

Cleaning Jewellery at Home

Before you reach for the soap and water, it’s important to consider the material of the jewellery that you’re planning on cleaning. While plenty of home remedies can be found with a quick Google search, it’s vital to double check which substances are safe for your jewellery in order to avoid damaging it.

For this reason, we always recommend using a specialist jewellery cleaner, especially for sentimental or high-value pieces such as engagement rings and family heirlooms.

At Joshua James you will find a range of jewellery cleaners by Connoisseurs, a trusted brand that has been creating effective cleaning products for over 40 years – all designed to let you revive your jewellery’s sparkle from the comfort of your own home.

To ensure that you’re picking the correct product for your piece, take a look at our jewellery cleaner chart below:

Sonic Dazzle StikDazzle Drops AdvancedDazzle Drops SilverPrecious CleanerSilver CleanerDelicate CleanerDiamond Dazzle StikJewellery WipesGold Polishing ClothSilver Polishing Cloth
Gold (14k, 18k, 24k)******
Gold Plated******
Sterling Silver****
Sterling Silver w/Semiprecious Stones****
Silver Plated****
Precious Stones******
Delicate Stones*****
Semiprecious Stones*******
Costume Jewellery***

*Precious stones: Diamond, Sapphire, Ruby

**Delicate stones: Amber, Coral, Turquoise, Lapis Lazuli, Malachite, Onyx, Opal, Pearls, Emeralds, Tanzanite, Peridot

***Semiprecious Stones: Amethyst, Aquamarine, Citrine, Garnet, Topaz, Tourmaline

Connoisseurs jewellery cleaners are perfect for giving your jewellery a real beauty treatment, and including these products in your regular cleaning routine will ensure that your favourite pieces remain beautifully lustrous for years to come.

However, if you’re looking for more advice on jewellery cleaning, as well as care on a day-to-day basis, make sure to read on for our top tips on maintaining each type of jewellery at home!

If you’re looking for advice on cleaning jewellery of a particular type/material, simply click on any of the links below to jump ahead:

Sterling Silver 3

How to Clean Sterling Silver Jewellery and Prevent Tarnish

Silver jewellery is incredibly popular for a variety of reasons, and features heavily in most jewellery collections. Its cool tones make it wonderfully versatile, and good quality 925 sterling silver is very long-lasting, especially when given proper care and attention.

Unfortunately, silver is prone to one nagging issue: tarnish. But with regular cleaning, you can make sure it retains its natural shine.

Why does silver jewellery tarnish?

A question that we frequently get asked is: why does jewellery turn black? And perhaps more importantly: how can I stop jewellery tarnishing?

Tarnished jewellery isn’t necessarily an indicator of poor quality; even high quality 925 sterling silver jewellery can turn black over time if neglected.

Sterling silver is actually an alloy of silver, meaning that a small percentage is made up of other metals (such as copper). These other metals react to chemicals in the air and lead to a build-up of black coating on the surface of the silver, known as tarnish.

The bad news is that tarnishing is inevitable, as your jewellery is constantly exposed to the air. The good news is that tarnish doesn’t impact that underlying metal, and can be removed easily using at-home techniques.

Cleaning and maintaining your silver jewellery

When it comes to learning how to clean silver jewellery, regular sessions will help to remove any build-up of tarnish and stop it from turning black over time.

Connoisseurs Silver Jewellery Cleaner combined with the Silver Jewellery Cleaning Cloth is specially formulated to safely clean sterling silver and remove tarnish, while Connoisseurs Silver Dazzle Drops can also be used on silver plate, antiqued silver or silver with gemstones. These silver jewellery cleaners have the added benefit of leaving an anti-tarnish shield on the surface of the metal, giving your pieces an added layer of protection.

Shows silver flower pendant before being cleaned (very tarnished) and after (silver is much brighter and untarnished)
Before and after using Connoisseurs Silver Jewellery Cleaner to remove tarnish from silver pendant

As well as deciding on how to clean jewellery, the best piece of advice for maintaining your silver jewellery is actually to wear it! While wearing your jewellery, the friction between it and your skin and clothes will actually help to prevent the build-up of tarnish.

After wearing, make sure to wipe it down to remove any moisture or dirt before storing away; we recommend the Connoisseurs Silver Cloth, which polishes your jewellery while also applying an anti-tarnish formula.

In terms of storage, it’s important to keep silver jewellery in a cool place with minimal exposure to air, humidity and sunlight. If you really want to be safe, or you know you won’t be wearing a certain piece again for a long time, you can place small silica packs next to your silver jewellery, as these will absorb any excess moistures or chemicals in the air that could cause tarnishing.

For on-the-go cleaning to prevent tarnish, the Connoisseurs Jewellery Wipes offer a convenient option.


Gold Jewellery Cleaning

Pure gold – i.e. 24 karat gold – will not tarnish, but it is very soft, so it is important to never use abrasive substances such as baking soda when cleaning it. Using a toothbrush is also not recommended.

However, when addressing how to clean gold plated jewellery, its not as durable. Any other gold will contain a small percentage of durable metal alloys, which has the benefit of making the jewellery stronger, but also means it can be prone to tarnish over time.

Going back to how to clean gold jewellery, we would recommend using a specially formulated cleaner such as the Connoisseurs Precious Cleaner or Advanced Dazzle Drops, especially in the case of wedding rings and other treasured pieces. However, it is possible to give gold jewellery a clean using a simple solution of soap and water:

  1. Add a few drops of mild washing up liquid to bowl of lukewarm water
  2. Soak jewellery in the bowl for up to ten minutes
  3. Use a very soft bristled brush to gently scrub jewellery, paying attention to any hard-to-reach places where dirt may be hidden
  4. Rinse well in clean water to remove all soap
  5. Dry with a lint-free cloth

As a quick note: you should always avoid letting your gold jewellery come into contact with chlorine, as this can permanently damage and discolour it. This includes everything from a dip in a pool to cleaning with chlorine bleach!

Diamond rings

How to Clean Diamond Jewellery

Diamonds might be the hardest stone in existence, but that doesn’t mean they’re invincible! Even diamonds need taking caring of, especially those which you wear on a daily basis (e.g. your engagement ring). Natural skin oils and dust will leave a film on the diamond’s surface which will eventually dull its sparkle.

Diamond jewellery cleaning at home, we would recommend using Connoisseurs Advanced Dazzle Drops or the Precious Jewellery Cleaner and following the instructions provided.

To clean your diamonds on-the-go, the portable Diamond Dazzle Stik is a lifesaver – simply do the following:

  1. Wet the tip of the brush in clean water
  2. Twist the silver cap until blue gel appears on bristles
  3. Brush gel onto diamonds, making sure to brush all around the stone and into the setting
  4. Rinse diamond thoroughly in lukewarm water
  5. Dry and polish with a lint-free cloth
Shows diamond ring before being cleaned (very dull and grey) and after (diamonds are sparkling, bright and clear)

While we would generally advise against using under-the-sink products for cleaning diamonds, in a pinch you can do the following to give them a brisk touch-up:

  1. Add a few drops of mild washing up liquid to bowl of lukewarm water
  2. Soak jewellery in the bowl for up to ten minutes
  3. Use a soft bristled brush to gently scrub diamonds, paying attention to any hard-to-reach places where dirt may be hidden, especially if your diamond is in a raised setting
  4. Check that diamonds are secure while cleaning the setting; make sure that all claws are intact and that the mount is undamaged
  5. Rinse well in clean water to remove all soap
  6. Dry and polish with a lint-free cloth

Our final piece of advice is to always remove your diamond engagement ring during household chores – excessive exposure to dust is just too risky!


How to Clean Gemstones

Next up on our jewellery cleaning guide, it’s gemstones. Gemstones present a rainbow of possibilities for your jewellery box, offering the perfect way to add an eye-catching pop of colour to any outfit. It’s necessary to clean your gemstones regularly to maintain their natural vibrant colours and radiance, but how you do so is dependent on the type of gemstones you’re dealing with.

Most precious and semiprecious gemstones can be cleaned in mild, soapy water and dried with a lint-free cloth – but take extra care not to bang or scratch the stones. For best results, we would suggest using the Connoisseurs Precious Cleaner, or the Sonic Dazzle Stik in combination with the Advanced Dazzle Drops.

Certain stones are considered delicate, which means they require extra care and attention. These include: Amber, Coral, Turquoise, Lapis Lazuli, Malachite, Onyx, Opal, Pearls, Emeralds, Tanzanite and Peridot. You should never use soap to clean these stones, as it can dull their colour and even cause erosion. To be safe, we would recommend using the Connoisseurs Delicate Jewellery Cleaner and carefully following the instructions provided. Otherwise, simply wipe the gemstones with a warm, damp cloth after every wear.

Just as with diamonds, you should always remove your gemstone jewellery when carrying out household chores to reduce exposure to dust and dirt.


How to Clean Pearls

Pearls are perhaps the most delicate gemstone of all, so it’s important to treat them with extra care!

As an organic gem, pearls are soft and covered with a delicate layer of nacre. For this reason, you should never use harsh cleaning products to clean pearls, as these will strip away the lustrous outer layer and leave them dull.

Pearls are also porous in nature, meaning they shouldn’t be submerged in water for too long.

The good news is that wearing your pearls will actually make them look better! The natural oils from your skin will coat them over time and help them to stay hydrated, in turn enhancing their natural lustre.

The best way to clean your pearls is by using the Connoisseurs Advanced Dazzle Drops and following these steps:

  1. Fill the cleansing container with lukewarm water
  2. Add approximately 10 Dazzle Drops
  3. Dip a soft cotton cloth in the solution and use to gently rub the pearls
  4. Rinse in clean water
  5. Dry with a lint-free cloth

Alternatively, you can also use the Connoisseurs Delicate Cleaner.

If you’re cleaning a strand of pearls (for example a bracelet or necklace), you need to make sure they dry completely before wearing them again, otherwise you risk stretching the silk string. Make sure to place them on a clean, dry cloth after cleaning and leave to air-dry – this can take up to a week, although more often will only take a night or so.

Finally, always store your pearls separately to the rest of your jewellery to avoid letting them get scratched.

Fashion Jewellery

Jewellery Cleaning For Fashion/Demi-Fine

What about the question of ‘how to clean costume jewellery?’ or jewellery that falls somewhere between fine jewellery and lower quality pieces that are often known as fashion or demi fine.

Demi-fine jewellery can feature elements such as gold vermeil, rhodium plating and simulated and semi precious gemstones. It often utilises high quality materials and craftsmanship, but comes with a more affordable price tag than “fine” jewellery. A good example is the wonderful sterling silver and gold plated creations of Thomas Sabo.

These pieces are often more delicate than pure gold or silver jewellery, and so we suggest using the Connoisseurs Delicate Cleaner for a gentle treatment.

It’s important to check the stone settings in your demi-fine jewellery: if there are no prongs holding the stone in place, it’s possible that it is set with glue. In this case, do not submerge the jewellery in the cleaning solution, but instead gently brush the jewellery and rinse off with water.

For more tips on jewellery cleaning, make sure to check out our posts on how to care for Swarovski crystal and how to clean your Nomination composable bracelet!

Leave a Reply