Cleaning Process: Sapphire Jewelry
A wedding or engagement ring is a precious item with a lot of sentimental value. Because of this, proper jewelry care and maintenance are critical to keeping your sapphire engagement ring or other jewelry pieces clean and shiny. Discover how to increase the longevity of your everyday jewelry pieces.
Many jewelers in the jewelry industry offer complimentary annual cleaning services for a small fee upon the purchase of your jewelry pieces. However, you may find that your sapphire jewelry or sapphire engagement ring becomes dull before your yearly cleaning visit. In this case, it is good to know how to take care of your sapphire jewelry pieces and safely clean them at home.
Luckily, many different cleaning methods can be practiced at home to keep your jewelry looking clean and bright.
Jewelry and Ring Care
Avoid wearing your sapphire ring while doing anything that requires full hand power. When doing physical labor or working with your hands, it is best to keep your sapphire ring stored in a safe place, as it may snag or get damaged while working. This also avoids dirt and oils getting into the setting, dulling its shine, and making it look or feel dirty.
Be careful while wearing your ring so that you don’t bump it against something that could cause scratches to the metal or a chip in the gem. Even the hardest of gemstones can chip if knocked too hard.
Knocking it against something could also make the prongs in the setting bend, leading to loose gemstones. This is dangerous, as you could end up losing your gem without even realizing it.
When using things such as hand sanitizer, take off your ring as this may leave residue on the gemstone or band.
It is also best to avoid wearing your sapphire engagement ring to crowded places like the beach, where it could be stolen or even lost in the sand. Furthermore, sand can scratch soft metals, reducing their shine.
Avoid any extreme temperatures, as this may warp the metal in your rings and cause damage. It is also not advised to blow dry your rings after a home cleaning.
Jewelry maintenance is essential. It is vital to remember and make use of check-up and cleaning appointments, especially if they are offered free of charge by your jeweler.
During these appointments, your jeweler will typically clean your blue sapphire ring, check the prongs to ensure it isn’t loose, and polish out any scratches in the precious metal.
Thick Creams/ Lotions
Like hand sanitizer, thick lotions or creams are bound to leave residue on your engagement ring. It can also cause discoloration in white gold and platinum rings. Therefore, it is best to take off your ring before applying cream to your hands.
Food and oils can easily get stuck between the prongs or underneath the gemstones in your engagement ring, regardless of your ring size. Because of this, it is best to take your ring off while preparing food.
Doing so also minimizes the risk of your engagement ring slipping from your finger and getting lost in a kitchen sink or underneath cupboards.
The best way to store any valuable piece of jewelry, whether it contains blue sapphires or diamonds, is in individual velvet, cotton, or soft cloth pouches, inside a jewelry box. It helps keep the pieces separate, thereby reducing their chances to bump or scratch against one another.
How To Clean Sapphire Rings
Blue sapphires, and other natural sapphires, are part of the corundum family. They are very durable, ranking a nine on the Mohs Scale of Hardness. This means that they are only bested by diamonds. Much like a diamond ring, a sapphire ring is ideal for daily wear as they aren’t prone to scratching as other gems might be. However, they may still turn dull if not cleaned often enough.
It is vital never to use sharp objects to clean a sapphire ring, as it could scratch the metal or damage your ring’s setting. It is also strongly advised never to use harsh chemicals to clean sapphires or any other gemstones. Jewelry cleaning machines may be used, but note that they may loosen the setting and result in stones falling. Paper towels are also not advised to dry your sapphire jewelry pieces. It is much better to dry with a soft cloth or let it air dry.
To clean your sapphire ring, use only hot water and mild dish soap.
Depending on how dirty your ring is, you could also use six parts water and ammonia. However, be sure to wear protective gear and use any chemicals in a well-ventilated area.
Let your ring soak in the cleaning solution or warm soapy water for a while, then use a soft-bristled, unused toothbrush to scrub it lightly. Next, use warm water to rinse off any of the remaining dish soap and let it air dry. You may also use a soft cloth to dry your sapphire ring.
The cleaning solution and method used for your jewelry also depends on which metal was used for your band.
Gold is perhaps the softest precious metal used commonly for jewelry, making it prone to wear and scratching over time. Unfortunately, that also means that it will need cleaning and polishing more regularly than any other precious metals to retain its shine.
When cleaning a gold ring, it is vital to avoid the following chemicals, as they will cause damage:
- Baking soda
- Powdered cleaners
For a gold ring containing a diamond or sapphire, it is best to use a mixture of Windex (one-half cup) and hydrogen peroxide (half cup). Let your ring soak in this solution for about ten minutes, and then scrub gently using a soft toothbrush. Next, rinse it under lukewarm water and dry it using a soft cloth.
For a solid gold band, you can use beer to polish the ring. Be careful not to use a dark ale beer, however. Use a soft cloth dipped in the beer to lightly rub and polish your ring. Do not use beer on rings containing gemstones, and use another towel or cloth to dry.
Although harder than gold, silver is still a relatively soft and malleable precious metal. It can bend and break easily, especially in the case of a very thin band, and is prone to tarnish over time. This tarnish means that, like gold, silver needs regular cleaning to retain its shine.
To clean a silver ring, you can mix together a half cup of vinegar and two tablespoons of baking soda. Lemon juice can also be used if you don’t have vinegar. Stir this solution until all the baking soda has dissolved.
You can then soak your silver ring in the solution for two to three hours. However, be careful not to soak it any longer than that. Once out, rinse your ring under running water and dry with a soft cotton cloth.
Silver rings are prone to developing black tarnish. Luckily, this tarnish can be removed using an ordinary household grocery item – ketchup!
While food is generally best avoided while wearing your sapphire or diamond ring, ketchup is a liquid and can easily be washed off with water.
Pour some tomato sauce into a small bowl or container. It should be enough to submerge your ring fully. Leave your ring in the ketchup for a few minutes, then gently scrub it using a soft-bristled toothbrush. Rinse it with warm water once that’s done, and dry with a clean cloth.
As with gold, silver can also be polished using beer and the same method mentioned above.
Sapphire Jewelry FAQs
Does sapphire jewelry get cloudy?
Clouding happens to any gemstone when there is a build-up of dirt or oils. While sapphires are very durable, they are just as prone to clouding as any other stone. They can, however, be cleaned using mild dishwashing soap and warm water.
Do white sapphires sparkle like diamonds?
An easy way to tell diamonds and white sapphires apart is by looking at the colors they reflect when they sparkle. Real diamonds reflect a whole rainbow of colors, while white sapphires have a white/silver sparkle.
What are yellow sapphires?
Yellow sapphires are the same as blue or white sapphires but come in different hues of yellow. As with most sapphires, they are very durable. The most valuable shade of yellow sapphire is called ‘lemon-yellow.’
Can sapphires go in water?
It is safe for sapphires to come into contact with water, especially during cleaning. However, most sources advise against swimming or bathing with your ring in case it slips from your finger and gets lost.
Does platinum require regular cleaning?
Platinum is the most durable of all the metals used in ring settings, which means that it is highly resistant to wear and scratching. It will, in other words, require less frequent cleaning sessions. However, your choice of gems in your ring will also influence how often your ring needs to be cleaned.
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