How to Clean Silver Gemstone Jewelry

by Heather Lindsay

Cleaning jewelry that is composed of both gemstones and silver requires a different tactic depending on the specific gemstone involved. Hard crystalline stones such as diamond, ruby or sapphire are more durable than softer gemstones such as turquoise, pearl or opal, and the silver requires its own special treatment. Any silver jewelry with a gem that has a possible inclusion (chip, crack or anything else that weakens the structure of the crystal) in it should never be cleaned in an ultrasonic cleaner, and care should be taken when using any chemicals, according to jewelrycentral.com. The gemstone and the silver should be carefully cleaned separately with the appropriate materials.

Items you will need

  • Soft cloth: cotton, flannel or lint free
  • Jewelry cloth with silver cleaner (optional)
  • Soft bristle brush such as a baby tooth brush
  • Mild, phosphate-free detergent or mild soap (optional)
  • Non-abrasive toothpaste (optional)
  • Small container of warm water (optional)
Step 1

Place a soft cloth on the table or work surface to cushion and catch the jewelry if it falls. Do not clean jewelry over a sink due to the risk of dropping it on the hard porcelain or down the drain.

Step 2

Use the soft bristled brush and non-abrasive toothpaste with a bit of warm water and gently clean the silver, with care not to get any paste on the gemstone. Avoid scrubbing in a circular motion.

Step 3

Use warm water with a bit of mild soap on a soft cloth to gently clean the silver and any non-porous gemstone.

Step 4

Dry with a soft cloth.

Step 5

Use a soft dry cloth for cleaning porous gemstones to avoid the chemicals in cleaners being absorbed and causing discoloration of the stone.

Warnings

  • Do not leave porous gemstones soaking in any cleaning solution. These include turquoise, opal, lapis lazuli, pearls and amber.

Photo Credits

  • Hemera Technologies/AbleStock.com/Getty Images

About the Author

Heather Lindsay is a stained glass artist who holds a master's degree in library science, a bachelor's degree in anthropology with a minor in art, and has enjoyed working in special libraries with photograph collections.