When To Get Your Jewelry Repaired and Cleaned

Do you own expensive jewelry? Find out why it is important to get your jewelry repaired and cleaned regularly.

Almost everyone has favorite pieces of passed down jewelry, from royalty to average households. Your own jewelry may consist of a combination of family heirlooms, and other newer pieces you have recently acquired, such as an engagement or wedding ring. If you have valuable jewelry, you care about, keeping it in the best condition possible is important. That isn't always easy. Some pieces are quite fragile. Others may have stones that are difficult to maintain. That is why taking pieces to professional jewelers for routine cleaning and maintenance is often necessary.

Another issue with jewelry is it can sometimes need adjustments or repairs. When jewelry pieces need repairs, it is important to get them fixed right away. You cannot do repairs at the professional level at home. That is another area of expertise only a professional jeweler has. Here are some important tips to know about getting your jewelry checked by a jeweler.

Why is Getting Jewelry Checked or Cleaned Professionally Important?

There are several ways in which jewelry can become damaged. When that damage occurs, professional repair is usually the only option. Use of home repair techniques, such as gluing, can cause much more damage, rather than fixing pieces. Some temporary home repairs, such as tying a broken chain together with string, do no permanent harm. However, they are not attractive to look at. They also can easily become undone, causing more damage or loss. It is always best to take jewelry to a professional when situations like these occur:

  • Stones Become Loose or Lost

  • Chains Break

  • Rings Need Resizing

  • Settings Become Dented or Damaged

When it comes to cleaning jewelry, you can perform basic, gentle cleaning at home, but only using certain substances. There are many “home remedies” for cleaning dirty jewelry that are not actually safe at all or are only safe for cleaning specific types of jewelry. Mild dish soap applied gently with a brush is typically fine for doing basic jewelry cleaning at home. Ammonia is also an option when used carefully on specific pieces. However, abrasive, or acidic substances can damage more jewelry pieces than they can safely clean. Basic home cleaning also only works sometimes. Many times, more in-depth or customized professional cleaning methods are required.

What Are Some Specific Reasons to Take Jewelry in for Professional Cleaning?

One reason to take jewelry in for professional cleaning is if it is antique. Antique pieces are often more fragile than more modern pieces. They may also have been created using methods that require types of care. In such instances, it is important to find a jeweler specializing in antique jewelry maintenance, cleaning, and repair.

Another reason to take jewelry to a professional for cleaning is if it is silver-plated or gold-plated. Plating is a coating over a piece of jewelry. As time passes, it can wear away naturally. It can also wear away as a direct result of cleaning or polishing done at home. When you take a piece of plated jewelry to a professional jeweler, he or she can clean or re-plate the piece for you, as needed.

You may also need to take your jewelry for specialized professional cleaning if it consists of certain stones. For example, pieces containing emeralds are notoriously difficult to safely clean at home. That is because the process of cutting emeralds often leaves microscopic, porous grooves in the gems. When strong cleaning products work into those areas, they can cause damage. Opals and several other gems are also better left in the hands of professional jewelers when they need cleanings. Diamonds are much sturdier and can endure properly done home cleanings. Although, they also benefit from occasional professional cleanings and inspections.

How Often Should You Get Your Gold or Diamond Jewelry Checked?

The next thing you may wonder is how often to get your jewelry checked. The answer depends on factors like the type and age of the jewelry in question. In the case of gold or diamond jewelry, most experts suggest a professional check approximately once per year. During the professional inspection, jewelry is usually repaired, if necessary. It is also cleaned.

Despite that recommendation, there are other factors that can alter the jewelry inspection schedule. For example, you may have heirloom jewelry you never wear stored in a sealed box or safe. If you do not wear it, it is not prone to damage or tarnish. Therefore, you can wait longer to have it inspected. Conversely, jewelry you wear daily, such as a wedding ring, may need professional cleaning as often as every six months.

How Much Does Typical Jewelry Maintenance Cost?

Professional jewelry cleaners use tools and methods not available at home. Many use ultrasonic jewelry cleaners, which clean jewelry using certain sound vibrations to loosen dirt and debris. Jewelers also often use specific jewelry polishing wheels. They also often brighten metal and restore its former luster by using steam cleaning techniques.

The typical cost to have jewelry cleaned is $25 to $50, depending on the piece and the jewelers individual pricing and cleaning methods. Since rings are small, having them cleaned is often the least expensive. Larger, more intricate pieces may cost more than average for cleaning. Special circumstances may also increase costs. Those circumstances could include re-plating plated jewelry or using specialty cleaning methods on antique pieces. If repairs are required, fees may also increase.

Can You Get Jewelry Cleaning Offers, Deals, or Discounts?

Often, jewelry cleaning offers, deals, and discounts are available. For example, some jewelers offer free cleaning services for jewelry produced by them. Tiffany & Co. is one such company. Companies offer such promotions to keep customers returning to them for other jewelry purchases and services on a regular basis. If you do business with such a company, you may still receive charges for any jewelry serviced that was produced elsewhere.

If you are taking inherited jewelry or jewelry purchased elsewhere to a new jeweler for cleaning, you may not get initial discounts. However, forming an ongoing relationship with a trusted jeweler can help you get deals on future cleanings and maintenance practices. For example, you can sign up for the jewelers email newsletter to potentially receive future service coupons. Many jewelers also offer deals on new jewelry purchases during certain times of year, such as leading up to specific holidays, including Valentine's Day and Mother's Day. Those deals often come with ongoing free maintenance or discounts.