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Spring Cleaning: How To Clean Jewelry

Don't let everyday oils and dirt dull your precious jewelry. Whether it's diamond or pearls, give your accessories a regular cleaning with these simple steps.

Gold. Mix a few drops of dish detergent into a small bowl of club soda. Let it soak for five to 10 minutes. Then, with a soft-bristled toothbrush, scrub the surfaces. Next, place the jewelry in a food strainer or secure the sink with a plug to make sure nothing falls down the drainer. Rinse and dry with a clean cloth. Let it continue to air dry so that any moisture can evaporate.

Silver. Keep in mind that silver is a very soft metal, and therefore, can be scratched easily. To clean, line a bowl or glass baking pan with aluminum foil. Place your jewelry on the aluminum foil and sprinkle baking soda over your pieces. (Salt may also be used instead of baking soda.) Next, pour enough hot water in the pot or pan to submerge the jewelry. A bubbling reaction will help dislodge any dirt or tarnish. Rinse the jewelry in the sink and buff out any remaning tarnished spots with a microfiber cloth.

Diamond. Add one-cup water and a quarter-cup ammonia into a bowl. Then, let your diamond-encrusted jewelry soak for 20 to 30 minutes. Next, gently scrub with a soft-bristled toothbrush and rinse. Next, dry with a lint-free or non-abrasive cloth.

Platinum. Cleaning platinum jewelry uses the same steps as cleaning diamonds. However, for maximum results, use equal parts water and ammonia in your solution.

Pearls. Because pearls are so porous, clean each pearl with a lint-free cloth dipped in a solution of warm water and a few drops of mild dish soap. Soaking can cause the stones to lose its luster and even cause the string holding the pearls together to stretch. Wipe down with a damp cloth previously soaked in warm water. Dab to dry.

Turquoise. Also a porous stone and prone to scratches, turquoise does not have to be submerged in water or even treated with any cleaning agent at all. Simply dip a soft-bristed brush or clean cloth in warm water to gently scrub and polish the stone. Finally, let it air dry.

And, remember that storing your jewelry in humidity or in close proximity to other types of jewelry can lead to tarnished and scratched surfaces, making them look flat. So, try to organize your jewelry in different compartments by metal or type of stone.

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