Keeping diamond jewelry sterile is next to impossible, even if you own a jewelry workshop complete with an ultrasonic and steamer. What should be done instead is consistent cleaning maintenance at regular intervals.
Diamonds have a curious property called lipophilia (attraction to oil) that causes oil to be instantly spread over an entire diamond surface. Once touched by a human finger, a diamond will become coated with a thin film of grease. Dust particles stuck to the oily surface will form a dirt layer. It cannot be avoided.
What regular cleaning intends to do instead is prevent grease from makeup, lotions, and skin from accumulating and hardening underneath a stone. Once the organic deposits are calcified and hardened, removing them becomes a challenge even for a jeweler equipped with professional-grade tools.
Maintaining your jewelry is not difficult if you minimize exposure to oils, lotions, and makeup. Makeup should always be applied prior to putting jewelry on. Diamond jewelry lacking upkeep will quickly turn dull. Diamonds will lose one or two color grades just by being dirty, resulting in a 10-15% of perceived loss of value. Instead of dazzling and mystifying, your ring will look repulsive and sad.
Routine cleaning (approximately twice a month), as opposed to an irregular schedule, will bring the best results. Soaking your diamond jewelry overnight will soften the calcified deposits and make cleaning a brisk affair. Diamond jewelry can be soaked overnight, but do not soak emeralds. They are usually oiled and might be hard to recognize if the oil is removed.
Dissolve a few drops of dishwashing liquid (any brand) in a cup of warm water. In addition, you can add a few drops of regular household ammonia to the solution. Brush your engagement ring gently with a soft toothbrush. It is more important to brush your ring inside the ring and under the stones. After brushing, just rinse with water and dry with a hairdryer or lay it on a paper towel. Depending on your lifestyle, skin type, use of oils, lotions, and cosmetics, you might want to repeat the cleaning routine once or twice a month.
A rather feeble cleaning method, however, it is possible to do some light cleaning by using pressurized air. It is better suited for drying by blasting water away. It is a dangerous method, however, that could cause any gemstone to crack from a sudden drop in temperature. Remember that most gemstones can tolerate high heat while being polished, but are not strong enough to withstand being suddenly chilled. Most gemstones, regardless of variety or hardness, will crack when subjected to rapid freezing.
Never soak or immerse pearls in a water-based solution, because the knots and strings could disintegrate. Simply wiping the pearl with a soft cloth will do the trick.
Using a small ultrasonic cleaner for the routine cleaning of one's jewelry is fine, but only an industrial-strength machine will get rid of the hardened deposits of oily residue and other organic matter.
Small household cleaners lack power and will not remove all of the dirt and grime stuck under the stones. Buying a quality machine is worth the money. The ultrasound-generating element in a quality-build ultrasonic cleaning machine will generate enough power to wash away the dirt.
Pave-set small diamonds and gemstones might become loose or fall out altogether when subjected to a prolonged cleaning session. It is recommended to check every pave stone after using an ultrasonic. Cleaning solution temperature is very important for achieving a good result - it must remain hot in order to be effective. Buying an ultrasonic cleaner without a built-in heater is not recommended.
Never clean two pieces at the same time - they might get scratched or damaged by each other. When cleaning pieces with flexible joints such as bracelets, necklaces, or earrings with hinged parts, a precaution must be taken to isolate different parts from touching each other. Emeralds, opals, rare gemstones, heavily included, cracked, and fracture filled stones should not be cleaned with ultrasound.
Diamonds or diamond jewelry, with exception of fracture-filled or heavily included stones, are generally safe to be cleaned with ultrasound. The internal integrity of a gemstone is a key element in the decision of whether the stone could withstand the cleaning or not. Always consult with a specialist or bring your jewelry to us for a free cleaning and inspection. Jewelry cleaning solutions are overpriced and could be easily replaced with a simple solution of regular household dish washing cleaner and few drops of household ammonia.
Used to remove tarnish from costumes or delicate jewelry with pearls and soft stones like emeralds and turquoise, which is something that ultrasonic is not designed for. It is not well suited to clean platinum and diamond jewelry. It works by placing a mild charge on a piece of jewelry immersed in a liquid cleaner. It is very similar to electroplating, but the charge flows in the opposite direction.
An industrial-strength steamer is standard equipment in any jewelry workshop. Steam used in combination with ultrasonic cleaners is the best and the only way to clean jewelry. Professional steamers are too expensive, bulky, complicated, and dangerous for use at home. Commercial light duty steamers use plain tap water and electric heat to generate pressurized steam. Steam pressure is usually too low to remove hardened deposits, but is ok for blowing dirt off smooth surfaces and avoiding stains by dispersing water.
Once a year, you might want to have your jewelry cleaned and checked by a professional. If you prefer to go to a local fine jewelry store, please warn them about their responsibility to look for loose or displaced stones after cleaning and before they hand it back to you.