Animated gif of sparkling jewellery on a finger

Wouldn't it be great if the sparkle from new jewellery remained forever? But unfortunately, it doesn't take long for the shine to fade. Exposure to things like chemicals, dirt, and the lotions we apply on our skin can clog and dull our jewellery.

Your jewellery collection should and could look its best all the time! Whether they are pieces we wear on a regular basis, or ones we keep in our jewellery box, we probably all have jewellery pieces that are long due for a good cleaning. Professional cleaning is an option, but I will show you an easier, low-cost method to clean your jewellery at home. And, you're likely to already have the supplies you need for this project at home!

From necklaces to rings, diamonds to coloured gemstones, gold to silver, this guide will take you through the process of cleaning different types of jewellery, so they can regain their sparkle and shine!

*IMPORTANT: The instructions in this guide are NOT for pearls strung on silk which have their own special process that requires restringing.

Picture of Tanja showing and preparing the tools for jewellery cleaning


Before you begin with the cleaning, it's essential to prepare some basic supplies that you most likely already have at home. You'll need:

  • A bowl with a small amount of clean water
  • Mild hand wash or dishwashing liquid (preferably one that is gentle on your skin)
  • A soft toothbrush (e.g. baby's toothbrush)
  • Paper towels or a clean cloth to keep everything dry
  • Assessing jewellery in a box

    Assessing Your Jewellery:

    Take a moment to carefully examine each piece before you start cleaning. If your jewellery is purely metal, there should not be any issues with cleaning them. However, if your jewellery pieces contain gemstones, it is crucial to check that all the gems are properly set and none are loose in their settings. Gently check the gemstones for any movement or signs of looseness.

    The Cleaning Process:

    Now that you have checked that your jewellery is suitable for cleaning, we can begin the process:

    1. Apply a small amount of soap on the soft toothbrush. You do notrequire a large amount of soap; a tiny bit will suffice. You can always add more later if needed.
    2. Dip your jewellery piece into the bowl of water to wet it. dipping and wetting a necklace
    3. Gently rub the surface of the jewellery with the toothbrush, paying close attention to every nook and cranny. Be meticulous in your cleaning, making sure to reach between beads and turn the piece over so that you clean both the front and back. Take your time to cover every square millimeter of the jewellery piece - Go over the entire surface at least once, or even twice if necessary. zoomed out picture of Tanja cleaning the necklace under a running faucet
    4. Rinsing and Drying: After each round of cleaning with soap, rinse your jewellery pieces in the bowl of water. If possible, rinse the jewellery under running water as this is generally more effective than rinsing using the water in the bowl. (Note: Even when rinsing over running water, keeping the bowl under your jewellery prevents tiny components from getting washed down the sink.)

      Soap residue can act as a magnet for dirt, so thorough rinsing is crucial to remove any remaining soap. Clean the brush thoroughly to wash all the soap from it. Use the brush to clean between beads or into intricate details, ensuring every bit of soap is removed.

      After your jewellery pieces have been properly rinsed, place them onto a clean cloth or paper towels to dry fully. Now, take a moment to admire your cleaned jewellery pieces. Notice how beautifully the gold shines without any dirty brown areas caught in the grooves, and how the silver astounds you with its renewed lustre. The gemstones, whether diamonds or coloured stones, will regain their brilliance, making your jewellery look almost new.

    Notes On Cleaning Different Types of Jewellery:

    Picture of Tanja cleaning a metal jewellery piece
    1. Metal Jewellery: Jewellery pieces that are fully metal (without gemstones) in gold or brass are relatively easy to clean. You can rub quite firmly against the metal surface with the soft toothbrush without causing damage. Clean the front, back, and sides of the piece thoroughly, especially textured areas where dirt tends to accumulate, and then rinse.
    2. Gemstone Pieces: When dealing with jewellery adorned with gemstones, it is important to exercise caution. While brushing, be gentle to avoid any damage to the stones or the settings. You may notice a greyish or brownish residue coming off during the cleaning process, which indicates you’re removing dirt from the jewellery effectively. However, in the process of cleaning gems can become loose in their settings, so use your fingers to check for any movement of the gems after rinsing.
    3. Silver Jewellery: Silver tends to tarnish over time, but this can be easily remedied. Rub the piece with the soft toothbrush, making sure to reach all the nooks and crannies on the jewellery. Pay special attention to the inside of rings, especially the area behind the stones, as cleaning this area can significantly enhance the sparkle of your diamonds and gemstones. If you have a pearl-adorned piece, handle it with extra care and gently go over the surface to avoid any damage.
    Picture of shiny cleaned jewellery pieces

    The cleaning process sounds simple, doesn’t it? Not only is it fuss-free, but it also gives you the satisfaction of restoring shine and breathing new life into your favourite jewellery pieces. If you're passionate about gems and jewellery, or curious about the gemstones on the jewellery you own, then the GT100 – Gemmology and Trade Secrets course may be just the thing for you! This comprehensive course will provide you with in-depth knowledge about gemstones, their characteristics, and secrets of the trade that will help in your next gem purchase. It's the perfect opportunity to enhance your understanding and appreciation of these precious stones.

    For those who are eager to take their love for jewellery to the next level, why not explore the world of jewellery making? At JDMIS, we offer a range of jewellery making courses that will unleash your creativity and allow you to craft beautiful pieces of your own. From designing to fabrication, you'll learn the art and techniques behind creating unique and personalized jewellery.

    Tanja M. Sadow G.J.G.
    Dean and founder of the Jewellery Design and Management International School

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