Diamond is not only the hardest gemstone, but it is also considered to be the hardest known material on earth. That said, keep in mind that diamonds are not indestructible and still require a level of care and maintenance in order to shine forever.
Even though diamonds are very durable, they can still chip and break when subject to brute force. Diamond rings are especially vulnerable, since our hands are more prone to impact and contact with different surfaces, objects and substances. It is thus smart to remove your diamond ring while performing any kind of activity that might put your jewelry at risk of a hard blow, such as high impact sports or strenuous physical work. Diamonds can scratch other diamonds, so do not wear separate pieces of diamond jewelry close together to prevent them from scratching one another.
Always keep in mind that even though your diamonds are tough, in most cases they are not alone – they are mounted in precious metal settings, often surrounded by other beautiful stones. Use all precautions that apply to those materials. For example, chlorine erodes gold used in the setting and can eventually loosen or damage the prongs that hold the diamond in place, so don’t wear your diamond rings in swimming pools and while using detergents containing chlorine bleach.
Everyday exposure to dirt, dust, lotions, makeup, perspiration and natural body oils as well as chemicals found in cosmetics and household products can build up over time and dull your diamonds. Dirt and grime also tend to accumulate on the setting, taking away from the beauty of your piece.
You can use different methods to clean your diamond jewelry at home, depending on the diamond and its setting, the kind and the amount of dirt the piece has accumulated and the frequency of wear. For example, a diamond wedding or engagement ring worn everyday will require more frequent and thorough maintenance than a pair of diamond earrings put on occasionally. As a rule of thumb, the cleaning method you use should protect the weakest element in the given jewelry piece, such as other gemstones and metals that accompany your diamond.
Cleaning with simple detergent solution is the safest way to go, and if you do it on a regular basis, you will be able to keep diamonds clean and sparkly for a while. Soak your diamond jewelry in warm water with mild liquid dish detergent for at least 10-15 minutes. You may then use a soft-bristled toothbrush to remove any dirt and residue. Rinse thoroughly with warm water to prevent soap build-up, blot with a lint-free cloth and let dry completely. If you are using the sink, make sure to close off the drain!
For more stubborn dirt, try cleaning your diamond jewelry with ammonia. It will not harm most diamonds, but it might harm more fragile and porous stones, so it is important to check if it is safe to use this method of cleaning for jewelry that contains other gems. Do not use ammonia on enhanced diamonds with fracture fillings, because it can cloud or damage the coating that was placed on the stone. Once you are sure it is safe to clean your diamonds with ammonia, use four parts warm water and one part ammonia (you can also use a glass cleaner that contains ammonia) and soak the jewelry for at least 10 minutes. Then gently loosen any remaining dirt particles with a baby toothbrush. Rinse well and let dry.
You can also purchase a specialized liquid diamond cleaner and follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Another method involves an ultrasonic cleaner that uses high-frequency ultrasound waves, water and detergent to remove dirt and residue without scrubbing. Avoid using this method to clean jewelry with fragile settings, because in the process the stones can be loosened from their mountings.
Diamonds can scratch other gemstones, including other diamonds. Store your diamond jewelry pieces individually in their own cloth pouches or fabric-lined separate compartments of a jewelry box. Or wrap each piece in a soft tissue paper, if you keep them together with other jewelry.
You should have your diamond jewelry inspected by a professional jeweler about once a year. This applies especially to frequently worn diamond rings, such as engagement and wedding rings. An expert will not only be able to thoroughly clean your stone, but will also check the entire piece, most importantly the setting, to make sure your diamond is securely mounted.
Diamonds are not only treasured pieces in your collection, but they can also be a valuable investment. Consider insuring your diamond jewelry against damage, loss and theft.