How to Clean Diamonds

An engagement ring and wedding band.

I don’t have to tell you how impressive diamonds are. But I will. And I promise to be quick about it. Aside from being stunning to look at, diamonds are the hardest natural material known to man. Pretty damn impressive considering they are almost pure carbon. Diamonds are formed over 90 miles below the Earth’s surface under extreme heat and pressure. Many of the diamonds available today are between 300 million and 3 billion years old and took anywhere from 1 to more than 3 billion years to form. And because I promised to be brief. I’ll stop there. I’m sure you are amply impressed. Let’s move on to the real reason you’re here. You want to know how to keep that wondrous, ancient, geological phenomenon clean and sparkly.

It doesn’t matter what sort of diamond object you’re looking to clean; the method is the same whether you need to know how to clean diamond rings, earrings, bracelets, pendants, or any other type of diamond jewelry. It’s a fine method for removing all those things that keep your diamonds from reaching their full refractive potential. Things like soap, lotion, hair products, cooking grease, skin oil, dirt, and grime all cause your diamonds to look dull and unimpressive. And damn it! Diamonds should be pretty. So, if you need to know how to clean diamond jewelry of any kind, diamond rings included, please read on. If not, then get the hell out of my yard.

How to Clean Diamonds with Homemade Diamond Cleaner

  1. diamond cleaning suppliesPrepare a diamond-cleaning station. Clear off a nice large space on your kitchen counter and make sure the space you choose is well lit. Lay out a large bath towel and gather up three bowls, one of which will need to be microwave safe. Next, gather up some ammonia, a gentle dish detergent such as Seventh Generation, a baby toothbrush, tweezers, an egg timer, and a microfiber cloth. Finally, find some rubber gloves, put them on, and let’s start turning a dirty diamond into a clean diamond.
  2. putting diamonds in first bowlBowl #1. This should be your microwave-safe bowl. Pour one cup of water into it and put it in the microwave for one minute. Take it out carefully, set it down, and add 1/3 cup of ammonia to it. Next. grab your diamond ring, or whatever it is that needs cleaning, and the tweezers. Carefully extract any hairs or fibers that have gotten stuck in prongs, hinges, etc. Without burning yourself, place your piece of diamond jewelry into the bowl, set a timer for thirty minutes, and let it soak.
  3. brusing diamondsBowl #2. This will be your scrubbing bowl. Get it prepared just before the 30-minute ammonia water soak is through. Without getting too carried away with exact measurements, put about a cup of hot tap water into the bowl and mix in about a tablespoon of dish detergent. With your gloves on, retrieve your diamond jewelry from Bowl #1, place it into Bowl #2, and let it soak for another couple of minutes. After the short soak, hold your jewelry firmly and, being careful not to scratch the metal that the diamonds are set into, start going over it with the baby toothbrush. Take your time with this and change the angle of the brush frequently to be sure to get everywhere. Pay special attention to the areas below the diamonds. Finally, swish it around in the water a little bit, smile, and move on to the next step.
  4. putting diamonds in second bowlBowl #3. Nothing fancy here. Bowl #3 is nothing more than a rinsing bowl. Fill it with the hottest water that you can stand putting your fingers in. Once full, grab your piece of clean jewelry, dip it into the fresh water and swish it around for awhile. Once all the soap is rinsed off, hold it up to the light and carefully inspect it for more dirt and grime. If it looks good, carry on to the next step. If you are unsatisfied, you may need to repeat the procedures from Bowls #1 & 2.
  5. drying diamondsYou now have clean jewelry. What next? Well, dummy, dry it off. There’s a couple of different ways to go about this. First, simply let it air dry. Set it down on a paper towel, tissue, or, better yet, a reusable towel of some sort and let it sit for awhile. A better method, though, at least in my opinion, is to actively dry it. Grab that microfiber cloth you found earlier and use it to gently wipe down your clean diamond rings, earrings, bracelets, pendants, etc, and remember to allow a few moments to bask in their shiny, sparkly brilliance.
  6. Professional jewelerWhen to use a professional. It’s hard to tell someone when to take a piece of diamond jewelry in to be professionally cleaned rather than just doing it themselves. However, you don’t want to risk damaging your jewelry. So, if you are at all uncertain about cleaning diamond jewelry yourself, take it in. If it’s delicate or an antique, take it in. If it contains pearls or other gems besides diamonds, take it in. Pearls are easily damaged, and you don’t want to risk discoloring your gems. If your diamonds have been treated or you are unsure if they’ve been treated or not, take ’em in. Finally, if you’ve done everything you can think to do to clean diamonds and you’re not achieving the results you would like, take ’em in.

Further Instructions on How to Clean a Diamond Adornment

  • For quick daily cleaning, breathe heavily on your diamond jewelry and wipe it down with a microfiber cloth like those that come with cameras and eyeglasses.
  • Remove diamond jewelry before doing things like cooking, yard work, painting, or anything else that might cause you to need to clean it.
  • Use a dental irrigator like a Waterpik for tough or hard-to-reach dirt and grime in diamond jewelry.
  • A toothpick can be used with great care for cleaning underneath set diamonds.
  • Try not to touch your diamond. Fingerprints attract dirt and grime.
  • Professional jewelry cleaner is inexpensive, highly effective, and easy to come by.
  • Never use pins, needles, or other sharp objects for cleaning diamonds.
  • Avoid using bleach or bleach products for cleaning diamonds. Bleach is very harsh and can cause discoloration in jewelry.
  • Make sure diamonds are held tight in their settings both before and after cleaning. If at all loose, take the jewelry to a jeweler.
  • Clean diamond rings once a month or as needed. Do not, however, overdo it. The more often you clean your diamond jewelry, the more opportunities you have to damage it.

Clean Diamonds without Harsh Cleaners

Jar of Gemcare's Jewelry CleanerGemcare’s Diamonds and Pearls Jewelry Cleaner is made from safe, nontoxic, plant-derived cleaning products. It is highly effective, won’t leave nasty films or residues, and comes in an eco-friendly refillable container. Using Gemcare will provide you with a nice clean diamond ring, necklace, bracelet, etc.

Bottles of Touch of PurpleTouch of Purple.This all natural jewelry cleaner and polish cuts your jewelry cleaning time down to almost nothing. It is hypoallergenic and has anti-fog and anti-static properties to help keep your diamond jewelry looking better longer. Even the folks at Antiques Roadshow trust it. What more could you ask for? You can get Touch of Purple in various options, like spray, from Amazon.

ultrasonic jewelry cleanerUltrasonic jewelry cleaners. These little machines use nothing more than water, vibrations, and bubbles to clean diamond jewelry. They work wonders, are relatively cheap, and are readily available through a billion online retailers.

About the Author

Eric D. Ronning

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