Guide: How to Care for Diamond Jewellery
Diamonds are often sold on promises of beauty eternal and incredible rarity but no one ever says they are invulnerable or indestructible. However, many an astonished spouse has discovered the hidden frailties of the gemstone – tears and regret follow closely on the heels of such an event.
Indeed, though widely known to be the hardest natural substance on the planet (and some say the universe), diamonds do require care and attention. You are strongly advised against dumping all your jewelry into a strong box, letting the chips fall where they may. Should you do this, be prepared for an introduction to scratched and even chipped gemstones.
Thankfully, taking care of diamonds jewelry or even loose gemstones is not that difficult. All you need to do is follow the steps outlined below and your jewelry will fulfill even the most grandiose promise of eternity.
How to store
Storing jewellery in a safe place is not only about security but also about keeping each piece safe from inadvertent harm.
Each item of set jewelry and each gemstone should be stored individually. Gemstones can scratch and otherwise damage each other if they are in direct contact with each other. Remember that diamonds can scratch each other and certainly cause damage to other gemstones.
The movies have shown us jewelry stored in large hoards and loose stones kept in large bags by villainous characters. Clearly, finished jewelry should never be kept in a pile, even if you are a pirate captain or Bond villain.
Invest in fabric-lined cases purpose-built for storing jewelry. These will have individual compartments.
Alternatively, wrap each item in soft tissue paper or use jewelry pouches for each item.
How to handle
- By their nature, diamonds repel water but grease and oil stick fast.
- As far as possible, do not wear jewelry while performing strenuous labor, such as exercising, or cleaning. Hard knocks can chip diamonds while household chemicals and our own natural oils can discolor diamonds.
- Creams and lotions such as those typically used to address dry skin should not be applied while wearing jewelry. Again, diamonds are likely to be discolored (not permanently) by exposure to such compounds, losing their luster and brilliance.
Inspect your jewelry regularly for signs that anything is amiss. Do check the back on any set stones because if grime accumulates, for example, it will be seen most clearly here. An excess of such will prevent light from refracting properly within the diamonds, making things dull.
- It is an especially good idea to check the setting and mounting to ensure everything is secure. Prongs do tend to loosen, depending on materials used and exposure to harsh cleaning products. Excessive oil and grime build-up can also loosen prongs.
- It is worth remembering that diamonds are essentially carbon therefore are flammable although they typically only ignite at between 850-1,000 C. As a point of reference, gold melts at just over 1,000 C.
How to clean
- Regular inspections of jewelry and loose stones alike will lead to regular cleaning. One option is to soak jewelry and loose stones in an ammonia-based detergent solution (with water) overnight weekly.
- After the soaking process, the jewelry and stones should be extracted from the cleaning solution and given a good going over with a soft brush. A soft toothbrush will do.
- Once again, pay special attention to the back of the jewelry.
To finish, rinse the jewelry and stones with water and wipe dry with a soft lint-free cloth. Handle diamonds sparingly, as our fingers provide enough oil from just skin to alter the way the diamonds look.
- Do note that aggressive brushing with any kind of brush might not agree with the setting so jewelry should be handled carefully. An inspection after cleaning will be useful.
For loose stones, these will not have been worn so likely will need less care. The caveat above about setting fragility obviously does not apply.
- Note that powerful detergents should be avoided mainly because these impact negatively on the setting and the metal parts of jewelry. Bleach and acid-based detergents should be avoided altogether.
Diamonds that have been treated with filling for fractures and other imperfections require even milder detergents than what is suggested here. Even an ammonia-based detergent may act on the filling in unexpected ways, although the diamond itself will be unaffected.
Using an ultrasonic cleanser is possible at home. In combination with a detergent solution, these cleansers use high frequency sound waves to strip away grime and dirt.
Note that ultrasonic cleansing is not suitable for all types of gemstones and may even be unsuitable for some settings.
- Jewelers typically recommend yearly professional cleaning, where jewelry will also be inspected for integrity of the setting and mounting, for example.