We, and many other retailers offer jars of gold cleaner ready-to-use for yellow, rose, green and white gold. White gold has some extra steps, though, that we cover on our White Gold Care page (click here for a shortcut). We do highly advise that you check if there are any restrictions as to what kinds of stones can go into the cleaner, if your jewelry contains stones or beads. For example, pearls and opals are very delicate and often cannot be immersed (at least not for very long) in most cleaners and chemicals. For more information on how to clean pearl and opal jewelry, click here. Natural, genuine diamonds are typically not affected by cleaners and are generally safe to clean.
If you decide to skip the store-bought jewelry cleaners, we usually recommend a mixture of water and a soft dish soap. usually a few drops of a soft dish soap mixed into a cup or two of warm (not hot) water. if you would like, you can use a soft brush (think of the softness of an infant or toddler’s toothbrush) to gently brush any dirt or grime from underneath stones or in crevices. Rinse with clear water and dry immediately afterward with a soft cloth, such as a microfiber wipe.
White gold can be cleaned using regular gold cleaners that you can buy at many jewelry retailers. We do highly advise that you check if there are any restrictions as to what kinds of stones can go into the cleaner, if your jewelry contains stones or beads. For example, pearls and opals are very delicate and often cannot be immersed (at least not for very long) in most cleaners and chemicals. For more information on how to clean pearl and opal jewelry, click here.
If you decide to skip the store-bought jewelry cleaners, we usually recommend a mixture of water and a soft dish soap. usually a few drops of a soft dish soap mixed into a cup or two of warm (not hot) water. if you would like, you can use a soft brush, (think the softness of an infant or toddler’s toothbrush) to gently brush any dirt or grime from underneath stones or in crevices. Rinse with clear water and dry immediately afterward with a soft cloth, such as a microfiber wipe.
Every few months, you may notice the color or luster diminishing on your white gold piece, or even the appearance of a yellowish tint. This is normal for white gold and means it is in need of rhodium plating. It used to be called electroplating and is what gives white gold its brilliance. When you bring in a piece to be re-rhodiumed, it is a good time to have the jeweler check your stones (if there are any) and ensure that none are loose or missing and that your prongs are still in tip top condition. This process usually includes cleaning and polishing, which will eliminate any pesky scratches.
One option for cleaning platinum jewelry is to use the regular jewelry cleaner you would typically use for gold. You can also use a mild dish soap mixed with warm water and use a very soft brush to clean off any grime. Once you use the soapy mixture or jewelry cleaner, rinse it thoroughly with warm water. Once it is rinsed, dry it thoroughly with a soft cloth. If your platinum piece contains pearls or other soft stones, check out our section on pearl jewelry care first by clicking here. Platinum can become dull and show scratches so it is also be a good idea to occasionally have it professionally buffed and cleaned to bring it back to it’s original brilliance.
Silver is a little different from gold when it comes to care. Instead of just dirt and grime, it can also tarnish. For store-bought options, there are polishing cloths and tarnish removers. We have come across many “home remedies” to care for silver over the years, but as of yet, not found anything as effective and consistent as the commercially available options. Polishing cloths are typically used to bring back shine and luster to silver and help prevent tarnishing.
Silver dip cleaner, also sometimes called tarnish remover, is typically used when silver begins to get a yellowish, grey or dark tint to it, which can signify tarnishing. PLEASE NOTE: many stones, especially pearls and opals should NOT be submerged in silver dip cleaner. It will damage the stone, usually irreparably. It is usually best to look up information on your particular stones before cleaning them. For more information on how to clean pearl and opal jewelry, click here. Natural, genuine diamonds are typically not affected by cleaners and are generally safe to clean.
When using silver dip cleaner, you submerge or dip the piece into the cleaner and leave it there for 10 seconds to a max of 2 minutes. When you remove the piece from the cleaner, immediately rinse it with cool, clear water and dry with a soft cloth, such as a microfiber cloth. You may then rub the piece down with the polishing cloth for a finishing touch! We recommend avoiding harsh chemicals or chlorine as they can excessively tarnish and often damage silver items.
For damaged or excessively tarnished silver, it is sometimes recommended to have the piece polished by a jeweler. This would typically include checking stones and prongs for security as well ass a general cleaning.
For stainless steel and other alternative metal jewelry (such as titanium, tungsten and cobalt), the cleaning process is quite simple. If it has a colored coating or enamel on it, you can use a soft dampened (with slightly soapy water) microfiber cloth, followed by a cloth with clean water to remove soapy residue, followed by a dry one to remove moisture. If it does not have a coating or enamel, you can use the softest brush you can find (think a toddler’s or infant’s toothbrush softness) to remove any grime or dirt, rinse with clear warm to cool water then dry with a soft cloth. We do not recommend using sponges or regular-to-firm bristled brushes. Even though these metals are very hard, they can be easily prone to scratching.
These instructions are meant for Pearls, Opals, and other soft or delicate stones. This is meant as a guide, but it is always good to err on the side of caution if you have a stone you are unfamiliar with to investigate its properties and care guidelines first.
After every use, gently wipe down each pearl with a soft cloth (ex. microfiber, jeweler’s or eyeglass cleaning cloth) that has been dipped or dampened by a small amount of water (no cleaners) before you put them away. Never use brushes or sponges as they will scratch and permanently damage the pearls. Every 5th-7th time you wear them, use warm, ever-so-slightly soapy water, using the mildest soap you can find. wipe each one again with a slightly dampened cloth with just water to remove the soap residue. To clean any metal parts, follow the instructions for that particular metal, but use a soft cloth, or preferably a Q-tip (much better and safer) to ensure that the cleaners do not touch the pearl. Also, if you have pearls that are strung, and you need to replace a clasp, usually the whole piece will be restrung to ensure strength and durability. It is a good idea to get them restrung periodically, especially if you notice any fraying, loosening or darkening of the knots between the pearls. These knots protect the pearls from bumping and scratching each other and to prevent losing a whole strand of pearls if they get caught and snap.
Solid opal can be cleaned with a soft cloth (ex. microfiber), slightly dampened with mildly soapy warm water, using the mildest soap available, then wiped with a cloth dampened with clean water. Avoid soaking your opals as some types have multiple layers or backings that can come apart. Never use chemicals or cleaners on it. To clean any metal parts, follow the instructions for that particular metal, but use a soft cloth, or preferably a Q-tip (much better and safer) to ensure that the cleaners do not touch the opal.
When in Doubt:
When in doubt, always try to research your stone from reputable sources. For example, many businesses and companies that specialize in particular stones will have “How to Care and Clean Your” sections on their websites. If you do not have time or the resources for this, a barely dampened microfiber cloth followed by a dry one is a good fail-safe.
When we refer to “dust proof” watches, we mean watches that are not designed to be water resistant or water proof. A good way to tell this is if you do not see the word water anywhere on the face or case of the watch. This means the watch is not meant to get wet, so take care, even when washing your hands to not accidentally splash the watch with water. In order for the watch to remain dust proof, the crown (the knob used to change the time) must remain closed/pushed flush against the case unless you are changing the time. Even if you are not using it frequently, it is highly advised that you do not leave it pulled out. If you leave it pulled out, dust and moisture may get inside causing damage to the movement.
This can also cause the oils inside to dry out, causing gear damage. If you would like to clean your watch, it is recommended that you use a soft cloth to brush the case as needed. Also, when you have the battery changed, it is a good idea for the gasket on the back of the watch to be checked to make sure it has not begun to age or deteriorate. If it is in need of changing, it is best to do so, as this will also help protect the inside of the watch.
Water resistant watches are the most common type of watch to find. They are not totally water proof, but are resistant to some degree. It is best to refer to the original company and your manual to determine what kinds of activities your watch is rated for. For example, some watches can be swum with or worn in the shower for a short time, while others are only rated for washing your hands and brief contact in water without immersion. This rating is for your watch as it is in brand new to peak condition. Do not take the ATM number and assume what your watch is capable of. Use the manufacturer’s guidelines to determine what that rating means in real-life situations, such as the ability to do dishes wearing it, a few laps in a pool or snorkeling.
The best way to ensure your watch is in peak condition is to be conscious of your watches limits. Also, when you have your battery changed, it may be a good idea to have the gasket on the back of the watch changed as well. Gaskets can dry out and become less elastic over time, even if you do not regularly get the watch wet. If you are planning to get the watch wet, make sure all crowns (what you use to change the time) and buttons (often for chronograph purposes or to change the date) are in the proper positions. For example, the crown must be closed all of the way (and screwed in, if that is appropriate for your model watch) and the buttons (if there are any) must be in a normal position, not stuck pushed in. Over time, any gaskets involved with these crowns or buttons can sometimes be replaced as well, as a precautionary measure. Also, make sure there are no chips or cracks in the crystal, as this can let water in as well.
You also have the option to test the water resistance of your watch if you take it to a reputable jeweler (that also has experience with watches-not all do) or watchmaker, or send it back to the company that manufactured it.
Water proof or diver’s watches are the most top of the line when it comes to “swimability” and water safety. The crowns and buttons on these are typically all screw-down as well as the back to improve performance and safety. Gaskets on these usually are changed every time the battery is changed. often, the gaskets for the buttons and crowns are inside the cap, so many opt to change the whole crown when the time comes to change them. To best ensure your watch is at peak performance, make sure all buttons and crowns are completely screwed down before any contact with water. Also, if you notice scratches, chips or cracks in your crystal, make sure you have it replaced to make sure no errant drops find their way in through it.
Many avid watch collectors choose to have the water resistance of their watch tested every year or every few years to ensure that the seals are holding well. This can be done by sending it back to the manufacturer, taking it to a reputable jeweler with watch experience, or to a watchmaker.
Quartz watches are powered by a battery that sends electric currents through a quartz crystal. They typically need only minimal care, aside from changing the battery when it dies. It is recommended you change the battery soon, if not immediately after it stops to lessen the chance of battery acid leakage, which can cause major damage to the movement.
When the watch is not in use, it is NOT recommended to pull out the stem and crown (the part you use to change the time). Typically, as long as it remains closed, most watches will be dust proof. If the crown screws down on your watch, check it periodically, especially before getting it wet, to ensure that it is screwed closed snugly, to prevent water leakage. If even a small amount of water, dust or debris gets inside into the movement, it can damage the mechanisms. On that note, keep in mind that some watches are not resistant to water at all and are only dust proof. If the watch is water proof, or more likely, water resistant, it is a good idea to have the gasket in the back of the case changed when you have the battery changed. Most watches are not totally water proof, but very little bit helps. Some can only withstand a small, accidental splash of water when washing your hands, while others can be used in the shower or even while swimming. It is best to refer to your owner’s manual for recommendations for your particular model watch as to what would be safe for it, water-wise.
If your crystal (the clear glass-like piece covering the front) becomes scratched, cracked, broken, or shattered, it is a good idea to have it replaced to ensure no crystal fragments end up inside the movement (causing gear damage) and that no other dust or debris can find their way in either.
Manual mechanical watches operate using a wound spring to power the gears and internal components, as the user twists the crown to wind up the mainspring and store potential energy. As it slowly unwinds, it distributes power to the gears to keep the watch running. In an automatic mechanical watch, this is done by a rotor inside that spins as the watch is moved. If it is not used on a daily basis, it is recommended to purchase a watch winder to keep the gears in motion when it is not in use.br>
When winding your watch, be sure to do so when it is not on your wrist. The awkward angle can put undue stress on the stem and connected components. Also, be sure to not over wind it. when you start to feel it tighten slightly, it is time to stop. if you keep going past that point, you can damage it. Most have a one to two day power reserve, but it is good to get into the habit of winding it daily, if it is a daily-wear piece. Be sure to check if your timepiece is water-resistant and do not push it past it’s limits. it is food to have the gaskets and seals changed and checked annually to ensure it’s maintaining its dust and/or moisture resistance. Every 5-6 years, it is good to have the watch cleaned (sometimes referred to as ‘overhauled’) and re-oiled. Over time, the oil inside the mechanisms can get dried and gunky. It is better than letting it run for 10 years to find out that the gears are worn down and parts are starting to fail.
Solar powered watches are a unique style of watch. They run off of sunlight, that is, they absorb natural sunlight and convert it into energy to power the gears of the watch.
These watches do require regular sunlight and you will have to refer to your user’s manual to find out exactly how much it will need. If it is stored in a dark place for too long (we often see this in watches that were not taken out of their box for several months), it may need to recharge for several hours to several days before it will function properly and accurately again. In some cases, if the power dies down too far, the capacitor inside the watch (it looks like a battery, but functions more like a rechargeable cell) may need to be replaced.
*Note: If you are attempting to recharge your watch, leave it in a sunny place, but not in direct, hot light, such as the dashboard of your car. If the watch gets too hot, it can damage the inner workings. It needs light, but without excessive or prolonged heat.
Proper care of metal watch bracelets can significantly prolong their lifespan. Some bracelets, even if they appear to be stainless steel, can corrode and rust if it is not solid stainless steel. Others can appear to tarnish and the pins can rust. Fear not! As long as you take care of your bracelet, it can last you a very long time!
Gold and gold plated bracelets are most often safely cleaned with a soft damp cloth, using a very soft bristled brush as well, if necessary, then dried. This will help loosen and remove any dirt, dust, grime or perspiration that can build up along the surface and in any crevices. Silver and silver plated bands can usually be cleaned with a soft cloth, but if it has begun to tarnish, you can use a soft cloth, barely dampened with silver dip cleaner to help bring out the luster. Do NOT dip the watch as it may not be moisture resistant enough to withstand it. Then wipe down with a damp cloth , followed by a dry one. You can also use a silver polishing cloth as well.
Stainless steel and steel tone watches can usually be brushed down with a dampened soft bristle brush and soft cloth, as long as it is dried immediately after. Some watches are stainless steel, but treated to have another color, such as pink, black, yellow or even blue! These watches must be cleaned gently, with care to not scratch the surface. If it becomes scratched, the coloring will be removed, causing patchy-looking spots and many times, it cannot be repaired. For these, try to only use soft, dampened cloths, and dry with another soft cloth after. If you must use a brush, try to only do so from the inside of the band, the part that touches your wrist. If you must use it on the outside, use soft strokes in one direction, not pressing or scrubbing, with just enough pressure to loosen any grime. If a steel tone plated watch starts to corrode, unfortunately there is not much that can be done at that point, since the plating is coming off and usually the base metal is starting to deteriorate.
Leather straps should be kept dry. Even if a strap is water resistant, exposure to moisture, especially with chemicals such as the chlorine found in pool water or ocean salt water can cause the strap to decay, become brittle, crackle and eventually break. To help extend the life of your strap, if it has been exposed to salty or chlorinated water, gently wipe it with a cloth, lightly dampened with clean water and let it air dry. Also, perfumes or hairspray should be avoided in order to preserve the finish of the leather. When you install a new watchband, we typically recommend wearing it 1-3 holes loose at first, then tightening it by one notch each time you wear it to allow the band to mold to the shape of your wrist. If you force it tight to your wrist too quickly, it can cause tearing and dramatically shorten the lifespan of your new strap.
Exotic leathers, such as crocodile, alligator, lizard, should follow the same precautions, especially since many have been given a glossy-looking finish which can crackle as it ages with rough care.
Rubber and silicone bands are some of the easiest bands to clean. Simply use lukewarm water on a soft cloth to clear off any dirt, grime, perspiration or salt and chemicals off of it and dry it with another soft cloth. This is especially important to do after swimming, as salt water and chlorine can cause the band to deteriorate and crack. It is also suggested that you avoid any astringents such as rubbing alcohol or acetone for this reason. Perfumes, aftershave, hairspray and similar products should not come into contact with the band, as they can stain and discolor it. Some places also sell rubber protectant to keep the strap soft and pliable, and to help prevent cracks.
Ceramic watch bracelets are very easy to clean. Usually, a soft cloth, dampened with water, and then dried does the trick. They are very scratch resistant, as is part of their appeal, but can be prone to cracking and shattering if dropped or hit on a hard surface. It is good practice to periodically inspect your ceramic bracelets and case. If you notice any cracks or chips, be sure to check your manual for the manufacturer’s recommended next steps. If a crack or chip is closer to the clasp than to the case (without being directly connected), and you have extra links, many times the broken pieces can be switched for the spares. If a crack or chip is directly connected to the clasp, close to the case, or is on the case itself, usually sending the watch on a trip to the manufacturer or installing a new bracelet will solve the issue.