How to clean your precious jewellery and gems at home


By Stephanie Boey

How to clean your precious jewellery and gems at home

Now that we have a little more freedom to be out and about, we’ve been adding to a growing list of fashion chores. From decluttering to closet organising, including handy tips that we use on our own, it’s safe to say everybody’s wardrobes are in top order.

Likewise, with a reason to dress up again, it’s time for our jewellery and accessories to shine! Considering we wear them out as much as we do our regular garments, they deserve our TLC too. Our rings, bracelets, earrings and necklaces are exposed to the rigours of our daily routine, such as sweat and the elements. Everyday cosmetics like lotion, makeup and perfume can also cause a corrosive film of oil and build-up.

So, how often should we clean them? For regularly-worn jewellery (ie. daily wear), we’d recommend once a week. Need a helping hand on how to start? We’ve got a cheat sheet to ease your task.


1) Fill a bowl with warm water

2) Add dish soap

3) Soak for 20-40 minutes

4) Gently brush the stone with a soft-bristled toothbrush

5) Rinse under warm running water

6) If needed, repeat.

7) To dry, use soft cloths like cotton (fibres in paper towels and tissue can potentially scratch the metal), or better yet air-dry.

**Diamond experts say to take your precious stones to the jeweller twice a year for proper cleaning.


Gold and white gold

The method of cleaning a diamond can also be applied to gold. But here’s another way of doing it:

1) Put equal parts of glass cleaner and hydrogen peroxide into a bowl

2) Soak for 10-15 minutes. The glass cleaner removes dirt build-up, while the hydrogen peroxide kills bacteria

3) Gently scrub with a soft-bristled toothbrush

4) Rinse with running warm water

5) Dry gently with a soft cloth or air-dry.


Pearls and gemstones

1) Lay jewellery on a soft cloth

2) Fill a bowl with warm water and shampoo

3) Wet a soft-bristled makeup brush with the water and shampoo mixture, and gently brush to clean

4) Rinse under warm running water

5) Lay pearls on a clean, well-wrung damp cloth. Let it dry flat on level ground to prevent the pearls and stones from weighing down and stretching the string.


Sterling silver

1) Put a small amount of silver polish on a clean cloth

2) Rub the polish in an up-and-down motion (circular motions highlight fine scratches)

3) As you go along, turn the cloth frequently, to avoid the oxidised tarnish to redeposit onto the jewellery

No polish? No problem. Try this home solution:

i) Mix three parts of baking soda to one part water

ii) Wet the silver and apply baking soda paste with a soft, lint-free cloth

iii) Rinse well in warm running water

iv) Buff dry with a soft cloth. Avoid paper towels and tissues they may scratch the silver.

**Key tip: Frequent wearing keeps silver looking its best. The constant friction keeps the silver shiny.


Demi-fine jewellery

1) Gold vermeil: Wipe gently with a dry soft cloth

2) Rhodium: Wash with warm water.

**Avoid using toothpaste or a toothbrush to prevent scratches.


Costume jewellery

You can find silver cleaner-treated polishing cloth at your local mall. Gently rub the cloth over the accessories until it’s back to its shiny glory. Avoid excessive rubbing as this may remove silver plating.

The easiest way to care for costume jewellery is by prevention. Paint a thin layer of clear nail polish over costume jewellery (we demonstrate it here) to prevent oxidation and tarnishing. Finally, store in air-tight zip-lock bags to keep moisture at bay.


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