Restore Your Sparkle: Tips for Cleaning a Diamond Ring

Keep your jewelry dazzling with these expert gem-cleaning tips from Roman Malakov Diamonds.

Located in the heart of New York City’s famous Diamond District, Roman Malakov Diamonds is a heritage jeweler specializing in the finest-quality diamonds and custom engagement ring designs. Here on 1stDibs, it’s a trusted source for rarities like a 19.43-carat loose emerald-cut stone and sparkling necessities like diamonds-by-the-yard necklaces or illusion diamond pendants.

With three generations of diamond expertise, the company seemed like the perfect resource for learning about one of the most important aspects of caring for your diamond engagement ring: the proper way to clean it. You should do this at least every six months or so, either at home or at your local jeweler (have the prongs checked — and tightened, if necessary — at the same time).

So, we asked the firm’s production manager, Michael Malakov, “How do you clean a diamond ring?” And here’s what we learned.

In your professional opinion, what’s the best method for cleaning a diamond ring? 

A commercial-grade ultrasonic machine like the one we use in our office is the safest and most effective option. Just keep in mind that stones can shake out if they’ve become loose, and without the proper equipment, it’s possible to lose stones that fall out. Some diamonds have been treated with clarity enhancements or fracture-filled with glue, and the heat from the machine could melt away those components. So, the ultrasonic is really designed for natural, nontreated diamonds. We will always inspect a diamond we are asked to clean if it came from somewhere other than our inventory to ensure that it’s appropriate for our equipment.

How do ultrasonic cleaners work, and are they worth the investment?

They work by sending sound waves through the water, which gently loosens dirt and debris. I highly recommend getting one if you can afford it and you have the room.

What method will be used if someone brings a ring to a jewelry store for cleaning?

Mostly ultrasonic with special soap and ammonia, plus polishing if needed.

What advice do you have for 1stDibs readers about cleaning a diamond ring at home?

Make a simple solution of one-third Windex to two-thirds boiling water. Soak the ring for at least an hour if it’s very dirty, then scrub it gently with a soft toothbrush and rinse clean. To get rid of the excess water, you can spray the ring with a compressed air duster, like the one you might use to clean a computer keyboard.

We have heard of toothpaste, mild dish detergent and, in some cases, vinegar being used to clean diamond rings. What’s your take?

No to toothpaste. I’ve never heard of vinegar as an option. Mild soap would be okay. 

What about the professional jewelry cleaners in little plastic tubs that some jewelry stores sell?

We hear that they don’t work as well and don’t recommend them.

Do you have any special tips for cleaning an antique diamond ring?

Consult a professional first. You don’t want to do anything that would take away the antique look of the metal, so it shouldn’t be polished. But you can still clean an antique or vintage diamond ring as described above. Even old mine- and European-cut stones can take a professional cleaning. But before you do anything, make sure to verify that it’s genuine and not a reproduction, where enhancements might be present in the stone. That’s why we say to consult a professional jeweler for their opinion on how to proceed.

What’s your best advice on caring for and storing an antique or vintage diamond ring?

If it’s a ring you’re wearing every day, have it professionally inspected three or four times a year, just to make sure none of the prongs have loosened or the metal has worn down. Take care with how and when you’re wearing it, and avoid rough situations that would make it more prone to damage. Be delicate with it!

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