Hand lotions, hair styling products, and everyday grime all leave enough of a film on your diamond ring to keep it from looking its best. If you wait too long between cleanings, those materials can accumulate into a thick layer of gunk on the back of your diamond, blocking light and making the diamond appear dull and lifeless.
Diamond rings are an investment, so take care when it's time to make your diamond ring sparkle. But not so fast. Before you clean your diamond rings, it's important to learn how you can prevent grimy diamond rings in the first place. Are you guilty of any of these fine jewelry mistakes?
Why Diamonds Need Special Care
Diamonds are durable, but that doesn't mean we can bring them back to life with any old cleanser. Harsh chemicals or vigorous scrubbing can sometimes remove coatings and other materials used to enhance diamonds. Also, precious metals in diamond settings can be porous, soft, and prone to damage, especially when exposed to harsh chemicals, exfoliants, or cleansers.
- Soak your diamond ring in a warm solution of mild liquid detergent and water. Ivory dishwashing liquid is a popular choice, but any other mild detergent is fine.
- Use a soft brush if necessary to remove dirt. Soft is the key -- don't use a brush with bristles that are stiff enough to scratch the ring's metal setting. Pay special attention to the undercarriage of your ring. Underneath the diamond and between the prongs is where dirt and grime build up. If your diamond appears hazy or dull when it hadn't before, it is likely due to a thick layer of gunk in this general area. Purchase the softest toothbrush you can find and carefully work your cleaning solution underneath your stone.
- Swish the ring around in the solution and let it sit for 2-3 minutes.
- This next part seems obvious, but you'd be surprised how many times skipping this step leads to havoc and a call to the plumber. Close the drain first, or put the ring in a strainer to keep it safe. Then rinse the diamond ring thoroughly in warm water
- Blot the ring dry with a lint-free cloth.
If the diamond and setting need extra help, use a dental irrigation device, such as a Water Pik, to flush away small bits of grime. You can also use a wooden toothpick to very carefully push dirt away from the diamond and setting. Then repeat steps 3-5.
Should I Use Ammonia?
Diamonds that have not been fracture filled and have not been treated in any way can be cleaned with a solution of ammonia and water. Be sure to read the instructions carefully because too much ammonia can severely damage your setting.
Use the gentler liquid detergent solution for fracture-filled diamonds, because ammonia can eventually either cloud or remove the coating that's been placed on the gemstone.
Rings With Varied Gemstones
The method you use to clean jewelry should protect its weakest element. In other words, not all jewelry can be cleaned the same way because some elements are much more fragile than others. If your ring includes other gems, clean in a way that is suitable for the least durable component. Try out several DIY, at-home jewelry cleaning solutions, and find one that works for your specific piece of jewelry.
As we touched on earlier, chemicals such as chlorine can damage and alter your jewelry. Wear gloves AND remove your rings anytime you are handling chlorine or harsh detergents.
Remove your rings completely anytime you wash dishes or your hands. Don't think that washing your dishes with rings on is both cleaning the dishes and rings. This habit is likely doing more harm than good. Plus, washing your hands with rings on can lead to soap residue build-up, which is very unsightly. Also, you risk losing your diamond ring down the drain!