There are many wives tales and myths explaining how to clean your jewelry. Some of these have some truth behind them and some will actually do harm to your jewelry. Making sure you know how to properly care and clean your jewelry will help extend the life of your pieces and help them to look their best while you wear them.There are simple ways to clean and care for your jewelry that are easy, fast and also safe.
Myth #1: Toothpaste
A common myth is that toothpaste is a good way to clean your jewelry. This is actually false. Toothpaste can damage your diamonds, gemstones and gold. Gemstones have a certain hardness rating that explains a gemstones (or the metal type) ability to withstand scratches. Since toothpaste has a hardness around 3/4 Mohs, and 14k gold has a hardness of 3-3.5 Mohs, toothpaste can actually scratch damage your gold rings.
Many gemstones have a hardness rating that is equal to or just a bit higher then toothpaste. Gemstones such as emeralds and tanzanite have hardness around 7/8 Mohs; these gemstones can get surface abrasions if toothpaste is used to clean them. Pearls and opals should never be touched by jewelry cleaner or toothpaste; it can destroy their color and luster. So unless you are cleaning a loose diamond, it is best to not use your toothpaste, and stick with a jewelry cleaner made to clean your specific jewels.
Myth #2: Boiling Water
Some people think it mimics the ultrasonic cleaners used in jewelry stores, this is false. Ultrasonic cleaners use high frequency sound waves and heat to remove dirt from hard-to-reach places. The heat temperature in an ultrasonic cleaner is regulated and will never reach the boiling point of 212 degrees fahrenheit.
Boiling can cause damage to your gemstones and not only that; extreme heat will affect the metal. Heat can expand the metal and cause loose gemstones to fall from their settings. Some gemstones can experience thermal shock when placed into boiling water then rinsed with cold water, which can cause a gemstone to form fractures or cleavages. These gemstones include emeralds, garnet, opal, peridot, tanzanite and tourmaline. Boiling water should be used to heat your food, not your jewelry.
Myth #3: Alcohol
There are rumors that alcohol, when used to soak or rinse jewelry will help remove the grease buildup. Alcohol contains chemicals and can leave a coating on your gemstones and metals. Some gemstones such as emeralds and opals are oil and water based, if alcohol was used on these pieces it would absorb the oils and cause the gemstone to dry out and crack.
Myth #4: Chlorine
Katherine, Service Associate, Day's Jewelers Manchester
I have been with Day's Jewelers since June 2012. Working in the jewelry industry, I love the fact that we are able to help or be a part of someone's special moments and occasions. By helping our guests find the right piece of jewelry, we are celebrating with them in a way and that makes me happy. I also enjoy working with estate jewelry. When I am taking some jewelry in to be serviced, I like knowing about the history and story behind the item. Learn more...
Kimberly, Office Manager, Day's Jewelers Manchester Kimberly joined the Day's Team in Manchester, New Hampshire in April of 2012. She brings her jewelry experience from a large department store and is excited to work with the Day's family. Kimberly grew up all of the United States. Coming from a military family, she was able to move every few years to experience new places and meet new people. When her father retired from the military, her family settled in New Hampshire. Quiet, committed and funny, Kimberly helps to distress customers when they are trying to make an important jewelry purchase decision. Learn more...