How To Clean Your Jewelry

The number one question asked during my career has been "how do you clean and care for your jewelry at home?"

The answers are very simple, but before I answer them allow me to explain what happens to your jewelry during your lifetime of wearing it.


  Brand new jewelry (like any new consumer product) is in a pristine state. No dirt, oil or scratches are evident because it has yet to be worn. The moment you begin to enjoy it (and you should enjoy it) is the moment it comes into contact with “everyday life,” but fear not... this is an easy problem to fix.

  Your jewelry is worn next to your skin so immediately it will come into contact with natural skin oils. These oils will do two things; they will attract dirt and harden. This substance will eventually surround the gem and interfere with the passage of light into and through the gem (what makes your jewelry sparkle and shine). This is especially true of diamond jewelry. Diamonds have a natural affinity to grease and stick to it like no one’s business (that’s how they are separated from the host kimberlitic rock). All this can be easily cleaned away.

Separate your jewelry into two main categories as each is cleaned differently:

  • Organic Gems: This includes Pearls, Amber, Coral, Shell, Shell Cameo, Ammolite, Bone, Ivory, and Jet
    cleaning pearl jewelry

      Use only warm, soapy water (never chemical cleaners). The soap can be regular hand soap. Soak and scrub with a very soft tooth brush. For pearls just rub with your hands and rinse and lay them flat to dry on a towel.

    Photo example of how to clean your Peals (Image accessed via OneCrazyHouse)

  •   Mineral Gems: this category includes all other gems like Diamond, Ruby, Emerald, Iolite, Kunzite, Aquamarine etc.
    jewelry cleaning

      You can still use warm soapy water, but a solution with a stronger cleaner is OK also and might be quicker. Soak the item and get into it and scrub with an ultra soft toothbrush paying particular attention to the pavilion (under body) of the gem as this is where most of that gunk collects. Scrub away and then rinse completely with clean water making sure you plug up your sink drain (you don’t want to lose that emerald ring).

    Photo example of how to clean your jewelry (Image Jewelers Mutual)
  How long this should be done honestly depends on how dirty the items are; this is your judgment call but a few minutes are usually all you need. There is no universally safe way to clean costume jewelry as there is so much glue used in its production that it can easily be damaged even with warm soapy water.


  Surface scratches can only be buffed away professionally. If you own a Gems en Vogue item, you’re in luck because we operate our own factory so this is easily done at a nominal 1-800 268-7962 or email for more information.

Jewelry damage often is the result of improper storage and not wear and tear.  Place your items separately in a good jewerly box and avoid tossing them into the box after a long day (that impact is what causes all the damage) especially if larger gem rings hit each other when you toss them into the box.

 gems en vogue jewelry properly stored
Gems en Vogue jewelry that are properly stored in a jewelry box

Overall, cleaning your jewelry at home is quick and easy!