Caring for Diamonds – Ultrasonic and Steam Cleaners

“But I thought you said they were durable and really hard,” the lady asked, who obviously was going to own a diamond for the first time in her life, and was surprised that the jeweler handed her a tiny brochure entitled “caring for your fragile stone.”

The jeweler smiled and said, “Madam, your sports car outside was built to last at least 15 years, but if you don’t bring it for regular checks and an oil change, it would probably not make it to its fifth year. Your diamond needs tender loving care, and if you look after it well, it will last a lifetime. That’s my personal guarantee.”

Sure, diamonds are durable – they’re one of the hardest natural substances known to mankind. Still, they need to be cared for. If they’re not given the proper care, traces of neglect will be visible, not only on the diamond itself but on the setting, its clarity and brilliance. Substances such as hand lotions, soaps, and the natural oils of the skin build up on the surface of diamonds. These elements are the culprits that prevent diamonds from showing off their original sparkle when they left the jeweler’s shop.

If you don’t clean your jewelry often enough substances will accumulate over delicate settings and make them look unattractive. Keeping your diamonds as though they were just bought requires regular cleaning as well as safe storage. It is also important to bear in mind that diamonds – and other pieces of jewelry for that matter – should be taken off when carrying out rough tasks that might chip the diamond or damage the setting.


Some diamond experts suggest different ways in cleaning diamonds safely. The problem with receiving advice from third parties is that we don’t know how accurate they are or whether they’re very general in nature. We are providing guidelines here, but you should still speak to your licensed jeweler about how to care for your particular diamond. It could be that certain shapes and cuts require a different method. Perhaps how the diamond was mined or where it was discovered in its pre-cut stage would have a bearing on the cleaning procedure. Also, one writer suggested that before you purchase a diamond, you may also want to consider the type of metal it is set on. This is essential with an overlay product.

We’ll start with the conservative methods of cleaning:

Soft polishing: Cleaning and polishing your diamond with a soft cloth as often as you can is one way of preserving the shine and sparkle of your diamond.

Soaking in warm water: Prepare a small bowl containing one part mild liquid detergent to four parts of warm water. Avoid using substances such as ammonia. Soak your diamond jewelry in the solution and then use a soft brush (an eyebrow brush will do) to clean it. Clean the sides and under parts of the stone. After cleaning, rinse your jewelry in warm, regular tap water and either air dry or dab with a soft lint-free cloth.

Usually, these first two methods will yield satisfactory results. However, if you’re still not satisfied, you can purchase a bottle of commercial cleaning solution. Department stores and pharmacies carry them. They may cost anywhere from $15.00 to $20.00. When you purchase them, they will come with a brush and a cleaning tray. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

Commercial cleaning solutions are safe, but check for ingredients. If one brand contains ammonia, be careful with it or ask the retailer for help. We have spoken to some diamond owners and they say that they do use a solution containing ammonia but they never soak their diamonds for more than 20-30 minutes.

We just provided the most conservative ways of cleaning your diamonds. Let’s now discuss the other ways.

Ultrasonic Cleaners: Several varieties of ultrasonic cleaners are available in the market for public use. Note, however, that when using ultrasonic cleaners, you would do your diamond jewelry a world of good by first soaking it in a warm water dip because radical changes in temperature may damage the piece.

Ultrasonic cleaners are designed with wavelengths that are transmitted through the water or cleaning substance in the tray. The diamond is suspended in the substances and does not touch the bottom of the tray. This is how ultrasonic cleaners are designed – to avoid direct contact that can damage to your stone. This type of cleaner is generally safe to use.

Steam Cleaners: While jewelry owners rarely have a steam cleaner at home, this is one of the surest ways to remove stubborn dirt and annoying marks and stains. The catch is this: if you’re not used to using a steam cleaner to clean your jewelry, you’d be better off taking your stone to a jeweler who may have one, but do show the jeweler your diamond first and see if he would do a steam cleaning procedure on it.

Boiling: This seems like an unorthodox way of cleaning diamonds, and one that you’d probably hesitate to use. Daniel J. Dennis, Jr., an expert on gems does say that “this still seems to be a rather radical method of cleaning, which should be done only on certain gems after the more conservative methods are tried. Diamonds, rubies, sapphires, topaz, jade and quartz have proved in the past to stand up under this method of cleaning.”

We call your attention to where he says “…after the more conservative methods are tried.”

Caring for Diamonds: Play by the Rules

  • No abrasives or chlorine please! If you’re ever tempted to use toothpaste, it contains abrasives.
  • When making a jewelry dip, use only a minimal amount of soap. Soak each piece individually – don’t mix your other pieces of jewelry with your diamonds in the same bowl.
  • Again, don’t use ammonia if you can help it. For more durable stones like diamonds and sapphires, a tiny amount of ammonia in warm water would be effective.
  • After washing, take care not to touch the stones with your fingers, as the natural oils on your skin will leave a film. Instead, ease the jewelry into its pouch or gently pick it up with tissue paper.
  • Do not use a hair dryer to dry your diamonds. The heat from it can discolor the stone.
  • Use a very soft brush. Hard bristles might scratch the metal on which your stone is set.
  • Watches with diamonds should not be immersed in any liquid. Diamond watches are best cleaned by a jeweler. He will know the correct technique so that the diamonds do not come off loose from their settings.
  • No bleaching – ever!
  • Each time you clean your jewelry, check for loose or damaged settings. The stones could have slightly moved. If you notice any change, discontinue the cleaning procedure and do not wear the item until it has been checked by a professional jeweler.
  • Try not to wear your diamonds on your pinkie finger and wrist. These are the spots where they are likely to be hit and potentially damaged.
  • And lastly, please don’t jump into the pool when you’ve wearing your diamond. The chlorine, combined with the sun’s rays, will ruin them.

Wearing and Storing Diamonds Safely

Diamond jewelry (and indeed all jewelry) should always be stored with the utmost care when not in use. Get into the habit of putting away a diamond safely as soon as you take it off. The ideal practice is NOT to use them everyday. One exception, of course, is your diamond engagement or wedding ring. But do store them in a safe place if you think you won’t be wearing them for a time – like if you’re going on a safari trip.

Wearing diamonds safely is as simple as being 100% aware that you are wearing them. And where. Diamonds should not be worn while performing house work or yard work. Diamonds are famous for their durability and hardness, but they too are susceptible to chipping caused by hard blows. If you are doing work that requires removing your diamond, immediately store it safely, don’t wait. Many women tend to leave it on the edge of the sink or a windowsill – this could damage the diamond or someone will be tempted to pick it up and run away with it.

Diamonds must have their own pouches, or must be placed in a case with separate compartments, or well-wrapped in tissue paper. It is particularly important not to store diamonds with other jewelry items because the diamonds can scratch other stones or affect their settings.

Packing diamond jewelry for travel should be carried out meticulously, so that pieces don’t slip from their packaging and become lost or broken.

Several carrying cases for diamonds are available and come in a variety of shapes, sizes, patterns and price ranges. When traveling, diamonds should either be worn or stored. A diamond ring is a tiny object that can slip from one’s vision and attention, especially during a trip or a rushed situation.

Caring for Diamonds: Nothing like a Regular “Check-up”!

Once a year, take your diamonds and other jewelry items to a jeweler for a check-up and a professional cleaning. The jeweler can especially detect flaws or other problems that you may have not noticed before, such as loose settings or dirt accumulation. Like a car that goes for regular check-ups, your diamonds deserve only the very best of attention and care. That’s the only way you can say that “diamonds are, indeed, FOREVER!

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