How To Clean Gemstone Jewelry

How To Clean Gemstone Jewelry

Gemstone jewelry embodies not just aesthetic beauty but also personal significance and the richness of nature's artistry. At Martin Busch Jewelers, with a heritage grounded in craftsmanship and a personalized approach to service, we understand the importance of maintaining the luster and integrity of your gemstone pieces. Proper care ensures that your jewelry continues to sparkle and shine, reflecting its full beauty and value. This comprehensive guide delves into the nuances of cleaning gemstone jewelry, offering detailed insights to help you care for your cherished items effectively and safely.

Understanding Gemstone Varieties

Before diving into cleaning techniques, it's essential to recognize that gemstones come in a vast array of types, each with its specific properties and care requirements. 

Hard Gemstones

Such as diamonds, sapphires, and rubies, which are more resistant to scratches and damage.

Soft Gemstones

Including opals, pearls, and turquoise, which require more gentle care to avoid damage.

Importance for Cleaning Gemstones

The cleaning method you choose should be tailored to the hardness and specific needs of the gemstone to prevent accidental damage.

Preparing to Clean Your Gemstone Jewelry

  1. Identify the Gemstone: Ensure you know the type of gemstone you are dealing with. This knowledge is crucial for selecting the appropriate cleaning method.
  2. Inspect the Jewelry: Check for any loose stones or damaged settings before cleaning. If you discover any issues, it's best to have the piece professionally repaired at Martin Busch Jewelers before proceeding with cleaning.
  3. Gather Supplies: For most cleaning methods, you will need mild dish soap, warm water, a soft-bristle brush (like a toothbrush), and a lint-free cloth.

Cleaning Hard Gemstones

Hard gemstones can withstand more rigorous cleaning methods, but it's still important to use gentle techniques to maintain their brilliance.

  1. Soapy Water Solution: Mix a few drops of mild dish soap with warm water. Soak the jewelry for several minutes to loosen any dirt or grime.
  2. Gentle Brushing: Use a soft-bristle brush to gently scrub the gemstone and setting, paying extra attention to crevices where dirt can accumulate.
  3. Rinsing: Rinse the jewelry under warm, running water to remove any soap residue. Ensure the drain is closed or clean over a bowl to prevent accidental loss.
  4. Drying: Pat the jewelry dry with a lint-free cloth, then allow it to air dry completely before storage or wear.

Caring for Soft Gemstones

Soft gemstones require a delicate touch to clean without causing damage.

  1. Avoid Soaking: Many soft gemstones can absorb water or are sensitive to temperature changes. Instead of soaking, lightly dampen a soft cloth with water and a bit of mild soap.
  2. Gentle Wiping: Carefully wipe the surface of the gemstone and setting, avoiding excessive pressure.
  3. Dry Immediately: Use a dry, lint-free cloth to gently pat the gemstone and setting dry. Avoid leaving any moisture that could penetrate the stone.

Special Considerations

  • Pearls: These require special care due to their organic nature. Wipe pearls with a soft, damp cloth after wear to remove body oils and perfume that can dull their luster. Periodically, pearls can be cleaned with a mild soap solution, but they should never be soaked.
  • Opals: Clean opals by wiping with a damp cloth. Avoid drastic temperature changes and exposure to harsh chemicals.
  • Emeralds: Often treated with oils to enhance their appearance, emeralds should never be cleaned with ultrasonic cleaners or steamers. Instead, use a soft, damp cloth for cleaning.

Ultrasonic Cleaners and Steam Cleaners

While ultrasonic cleaners and steam cleaners are effective for certain types of jewelry, they are not suitable for all gemstones. Ultrasonic cleaners can cause damage to soft gemstones, pearls, and any gemstone with fractures or inclusions. Steam cleaners, similarly, are best used by professionals who understand which gemstones can safely withstand the process.

Professional Cleaning and Inspection

For valuable pieces, antique jewelry, or items with sentimental value, professional cleaning by a jeweler like Martin Busch Jewelers is recommended. Our experts can also inspect your jewelry for any signs of wear or damage, ensuring that your pieces remain secure and in excellent condition.


Caring for gemstone jewelry requires knowledge, attention to detail, and a gentle hand. By following the guidelines outlined in this comprehensive guide, you can ensure that your gemstone jewelry remains as vibrant and stunning as the day you received it. Remember, the beauty of gemstone jewelry lies not only in its appearance but also in its care and preservation over time.

At Martin Busch Jewelers, we're dedicated to helping you maintain the beauty and integrity of your jewelry. Visit us for professional cleaning services, repairs, or to learn more about caring for your precious gemstone pieces. Your jewelry is a testament to your style and experiences – let us help you keep it shining for generations to come.