If you’ve ever gotten a ring back from the jewelry store after it’s been thoroughly cleaned, you’re probably wondering how they got it THAT clean! Jewelry stores do have easy access to professional equipment like high-powered ultrasonics and steamers, but there’s a few things you can do at home to get that sparkle back.
For gold diamond rings, use hot water with a little bit of ammonia (we use Parson’s ‘Lemon Fresh’ brand). In fact, that’s all gold jewelry cleaner really is…an ammonia solution. You can let your ring soak in this for as long as you like. With a soft toothbrush, poke straight at it from all sides including the underneath of the stones. Do not brush back and forth like you would your teeth as you can catch the bristles in the prongs and loosen the stones. Rinse with warm water.
There’s also the option to buy an ultrasonic cleaner and these can range from $30 into the hundreds. One feature that comes with a price is a heating system. Ultrasonics with a heater will get the water HOT while it vibrates dirt from your ring. This is a key feature and will definitely make a difference in the ability to get your rings clean. (Note: The vibration from these machines can damage stones and gold by scratching them so don’t just throw your jewelry in there, put them in a basket or hold the pieces in the solution so they’re not touching the bottom of the cleaner)
You can use these two cleaning methods on any gold ring except those that have pearls, emeralds, garnets, opals, or turquoise stones. Rings with said stones can be cleaned with SoftSoap, warm water and a toothbrush.
What a jeweler can do:
Usually a jeweler will use an ultrasonic machine, and sometimes a steamer to clear dust and dirt from a stone or ring. If there’s a substance such as paint, dried dough, etc. in your ring, they can use acid to boil out the hard-to-reach debris. Keep in mind, “clarity-enhanced” diamonds cannot be exposed to acid treatment, so in this case a jeweler must remove the stone and re-mount it after the ring is cleaned.
Another advantage to taking your ring to a jeweler is that a lot of jewelers will inspect your ring and check the prongs for free. There may be hidden cracks or other problems you wouldn’t be able to detect on your own.