A Guide on How to Clean Diamonds

The reality of diamond care is a far cut from the jubilant work portrayed by Snow White’s seven dwarves. In lieu of Heigh Ho’s melodic refrain, you’ve certainly been confronted with a cacophony of gem-cleaning how-tos and do-nots. 

The artistry of diamond cleaning is a difficult craft to master, although not impossible in the least. A clean diamond elicits spotless elegance that pales in comparison to tarnished jewels. 

In order to dominate the realm of diamond cleaning, one must adopt the industry’s best practices, which include cleaning your diamonds regularly. 

By doing so, you nurture a diamond’s magic and extend its lifespan. 

That’s why the experts at CJ Charles came together to build this guide—to teach you how to clean diamond jewelry the right way. Let’s start with the first step. 

#1 Inspect your Diamond

Before beginning the cleaning of different diamond shapes, you must inspect your diamond jewelry carefully.  This is to ensure that the diamond is set securely within its setting. To that end, you can take it to a jewelry store in San Diego for a professional assessment or opt to inspect the diamond yourself. 

If you find that the diamond is loose in its setting, postpone your cleaning for another day and store the diamond in a secure pouch or jewelry case to be taken to a jeweler for repair. If the diamond is secure, remove visible dust or hair by running the diamond under a facet of cold water before giving it a deep clean. 

Identify the Material

Although diamonds are some of the hardest natural materials on the planet, their shine cannot withstand the power of grease and grit. Your diamond might score an A+ in all areas of the 4 C’s of diamonds, but if it isn’t cleaned properly, the diamond can look like a cloudy diamond. A simple touch of a finger can greatly diminish your diamond’s sparkle.

Luckily, there’s a solution for that. It’s called liquid. 

When it comes to how to clean diamonds with meticulousness, the type of solution you use always depends on the type of material you’re working with. Most likely, your diamond is connected to a band or chain made from platinum, gold, or silver. 

Each of these materials requires special care:

  • Platinum – Wash a dazzling diamond encased in platinum with soap water. Yep, it’s that simple! To make the solution, add warm water and dishwashing soap into a small bowl. Soak your diamond ring, necklace, or earrings for no more than an hour, then rinse and repeat (if necessary).
  • Gold – Windex and hydrogen peroxide are your go-to detergents for gold. Combine a 50/50 solution and submerge the diamond jewelry for 10 to 15 minutes. The two-part solution simultaneously removes grime and kills bacteria. Ta-da, you’ve done it!
  • Silver or sterling silver– The silver solution comprises one part baking soda and eight parts white vinegar. Mix the liquid until the baking soda dissolves, then soak your silver-laden diamond for up to three hours. All that’s left is to rinse, dry, and admire. 

Tips and Tricks: When creating solutions, avoid abrasive cleaners or any other household cleaners such as bleach, chlorine, or acetone, which should never be used on diamonds, especially those embedded in jewelry. These materials erode gemstones and may discolor or dissolve the metal.1

Clean the Nitty Gritty

Soaking your diamond in the appropriate cleaning solution helps dislodge debris and dirt. After soaking your diamond jewelry, remove excess buildup or grime with soft-to-the-touch materials, such as:

  • A soft-bristled, clean toothbrush2– Delicately scrub your diamond with a toothbrush to remove any remaining grit that still resides within hard-to-reach areas like the back of the diamond, which collects oil and dirt. 
  • A jewelry cloth – Older diamonds and jewelry will require a softer touch. Gently remove the remaining dirt with a microfiber lint free cloth on the delicate precious stones, such as those found at estate sales or your grandmother’s dresser drawer. Fragile antiques are prone to tarnish and damage. 
  • A jewelry brush – An excellent tool for cleaning around prongs, within the diamond setting, and within small crevices, a jewelry brush is your Swiss Army knife of diamond cleaning. Typically, jewelry brushes come with contoured handles that allow for easy grip and maneuvering. 

Tips and Tricks: When cleaning your jewelry, be aware that oils from your fingers easily adhere to the surface of the diamond. Consider investing in a pair of microfiber gloves to keep your diamonds gleaming. 

Automize with Caution

If you’re not one to get into the nitty-gritty, consider an automized cleaner—with caution—to achieve a professional finish. Typically you’ll have two varieties to choose from:

  • Ultrasonic cleaners
  • Steam cleaners

Ultrasonic cleaners remove embedded dirt by sending low-frequency waves through a liquid solution. The vibration of the solution then removes hard-to-remove grime from the surface of the diamond.

However, be warned: the vibration of the solution can easily shake a diamond loose from its setting if it’s not securely placed. If multiple diamonds are set near each other, the ultrasonic cleaner may also cause the diamonds to collide into one another and subsequently chip. 

On the other hand, steam cleaners use high-pressurized steam to dislodge embedded grit and oil from your diamond jewelry. Simply place your jewelry into the machine. It’ll come out shimmering within seconds. 

For jewelry that’s been dyed or heat-treated, steer clear of the steam cleaner. The combination of high heat and pressure may dislodge the stones or cause permanent damage to soft metals. 

Bring Your Jewelry to a Jeweler

If the do-it-yourself route is not one you regularly trek, jewelers provide brilliant professional cleaning services for your diamond jewelry. If you purchased the diamond from a local jeweler, inspections and cleanings might be included in the item’s warranty. 

The jeweler will first assess your jewelry for potential damage or breakage before beginning the cleaning process. So, there’s no need to worry about a lost or broken diamond. 

When it comes to diamonds specifically, most professional jewelers enlist the help of ultrasonic and steam cleaners, as well as liquid solutions to dissolve buildup and renew your diamond’s shine. 

Store in a Safe Place

Once you’ve soaked, scrubbed, and shined your dazzling diamond, store the jewelry in a safe place, such as a jewelry box or a soft-cloth jewelry pouch.3 Placing your diamond in a concealed space prevents the buildup of dust and other grit that dulls the shine of your clean jewelry.

When to Clean Your Diamond

Proper cleaning practices help extend the life of your diamond, but how often should diamonds be cleaned?

Diamonds can withstand more wear and tear than their gemstone counterparts. However, it’s good practice to base your cleaning schedule on how often you wear the jewelry.

Jewelry—like diamond rings—which are most often worn daily, requires more maintenance. Buff the ring once every two weeks with gentle scrubbing, then opt for a deep clean once a month. Less worn jewelry can typically go about six months before needing a deep cleaning. 

Inspect your diamonds carefully. If you notice a dull shine, cloudy appearance, or visible discoloration, it may be time to pull out that handy-dandy toothbrush and liquid solution.

Mitigating Dirt and Grime

As the saying goes, a diamond is a girl’s best friend, and like a best friend, it’s your responsibility to keep your diamond away from sticky situations. When upkeeping your diamond jewelry, it’s important to stick to the straight and narrow to avoid damaging your diamond or causing premature aging:

  • Avoid thick creams or lotions – Thick creams and lotions can cause buildup within your jewelry’s crevices and settings, especially if they’re worn on your fingers or hands. The use of balms causes your diamonds to look visibly oily and discolored.
  • Remove your jewelry while cooking or cleaning – As you know, cooking and cleaning are messy. Lessen the buildup of grime by removing all treasured jewelry before using cooking oils or chemical cleaning products, which can accumulate within the jewelry over time or cause permanent damage.
  • Stay up to date with maintenance appointments – If your diamond ring, necklace, or earring has a warranty, use it! A jeweler can prevent diamonds from dislodging, fix any chips or breaks, and clean your jewelry thoroughly. 
  • Handle with care – As always, be mindful of your jewelry. Avoid crashing the diamond into hard objects. If you’re planning to do something arduous, take the jewelry off. 

Tips and Tricks: If your diamond jewelry has special sentimental value, you’ll want to use extra care. Avoid permanent damage by consulting a professional before using any solutions or cleaning products to shine your diamonds.

Exceed the Extraordinary with CJ Charles Jewelers, Your Diamond Care Experts

A diamond requires special care. Whether you opt for a DIY solution or treat your diamond to professional cleaning, it’s important to maintain the integrity of your gemstone for decades to come.

When it comes to a diamond’s magic, a delicate touch goes a long way.

If you’re in the market for stunning jewelry, visit CJ Charles Jewelers today. As one of La Jolla’s leading diamond destinations, we offer a medley of diamond collections from brands such as Gucci, Cartier, and Odelia for all your diamond needs. And we’re more than happy to give your diamonds a professional cleaning. 


Sources: 

  1. GIA. How to Clean Your Diamond Jewelry. https://4cs.gia.edu/en-us/blog/how-to-clean-your-diamond-jewelry/
  2. GIA. Secrets to Keeping Your Diamond Sparkling. https://www.gia.edu/gia-news-research-secrets-keep-diamond-sparkling 
  3. Gem Society. Care and Cleaning.  https://dcec.diamondcouncil.org/Documents/CourseMaterials/DPC/Lessons/DPC_Lesson15.pdf 

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