How to Clean Platinum Jewelry

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Javier Odom
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How to Clean Platinum Jewelry

Post by Javier Odom »

We have a lot of Clients ask us about at home maintenance which includes how to clean platinum jewelry at home. There are a lot of variables in play for such a simple task and this is the gist of what we tell our Clients about this:

  • Know any precautions that may exist.
  • Warm water and liquid dish soap.
  • Soft-bristle toothbrush to gently scrub the items.
  • Rinse with warm water (not cold).
  • Gently pat dry.
A little more in-depth response:

Platinum is a dense metal that is prone to micro-abrasions. This is most visible when you have a newly polished platinum ring compared to a platinum ring that is worn every day by an active person. The polished platinum ring will have a nearly mirror like finish, whereas the platinum ring worn every day will most likely have a super fine sandblasted appearance. This is due to the tiny scratches or abrasions that happen to your platinum jewelry. Platinum is denser than gold so it can withstand more wear but it does accumulate micro-abrasions. Cleaning a platinum ring will not remove these micro-abrasions. The only way to remove these tiny scratches is by polishing the item.

Some jewelry, specifically colored gemstones such as emeralds, can break or “dry” if cleaned too aggressively and/or in too hot of a solution. This cleaning method works best for platinum jewelry that has either diamonds or sapphires only. For anything else, consult your local independent Jeweler.

How to Clean Platinum Jewelry at Home

Cleaning your platinum jewelry at home is a simple process that can restore its brilliance. You will need the following items:
  • A bowl (cereal bowl size would work, or smaller)
  • Liquid dish soap
  • A soft-bristle toothbrush
  • Access to hot water
  • If you are working near a sink, a rag or something to cover the drain
  • A soft towel (microfiber is recommended)
1) If you are by a sink, begin by opening the drain and covering it with a rag. I like to run water after setting the rag down to help it better stick to the sink. This will hopefully prevent anything you want to keep from going down the drain.

2) Next, create a gentle cleaning solution:

  • A bowl of hot to warm water
  • Some liquid dish soap
  • Mix the water with the soft-bristle toothbrush.
3) Make sure the platinum jewelry is not cold. If necessary, hold it in your hand and blow on it as though you were warming your hands after a day out in the snow.

4) Gently put the platinum jewelry into the warm to hot water solution.

5) Using the soft-bristle toothbrush, gently scrub the ring, paying particular attention to the underside of gemstones and the inside of the ring. It should only take a few passes of the bristles to clean any debris from the piece. If there are any stubborn spots let the item sit in the solution for a minute or so to allow the liquid dish soap to break any oils and debris up or at least to soften them with the warm water. After the item has soaked for a minute or so scrub the platinum item a few more times focusing on any tough spots.

6) Run some warm water and pass the platinum piece through the warm water a few times to rinse it.

7) Then set the platinum piece on the soft (microfiber) towel and lift the corners of the towel over the piece gently dabbing over your platinum jewelry allowing the towel to absorb any remaining water from the piece. Be very careful not to snag your jewelry with the towel.

How Jewelers Check, Polish, Clean and Recheck Platinum Jewelry

Jewelers check platinum jewelry with our naked eyes as well as with 10x magnification.  For some pieces we may use up to 30x magnification to quickly and easily see laser inscriptions, chips, and other characteristics. We look at the state of any diamonds and gemstones, prongs, gallery conditions, ring conditions, bail conditions, clasp connector conditions, channels, and general wear. We look for any cracks or breaks in the jewelry and quickly assess if the item may need repair and also if there are any concerns for cleaning.

Then we polish the item. Platinum, properly polished, has a three or four step polishing process. This means there are three or four different polishing wheels and compounds used to polish the platinum. The reason for the multi step process is the density of platinum. Each step of the polishing process provides a finer level of polish than the previous step. This process is not something that can easily be done at home.

Cleaning the platinum jewelry is usually done with a commercial grade ultrasonic cleaner. This is a high grade machine that uses sound to shake debris from jewelry, and uses a special cleaning solution, and usually is heated. Once an item is pulled from the ultrasonic it is rinsed and ready for the final cleaning step, steam.

The final step of professionally cleaning platinum jewelry is for the item to be steamed with 40 to 60 pounds of pressure through a tiny nozzle smaller than a ballpoint pen tip. It is highly focused and will heat the jewelry quickly, so caution is observed here, as it should be throughout the entire process.

A final check to ensure the platinum piece is in the expected condition and to double-check now that any debris has been removed allowing more of the piece to be examined, and we are done. Well, other than presentation.

Final Thoughts

We recommend all jewelry be taken to an independent Jeweler to be checked and cleaned every quarter or at least twice a year, but more frequently if it is worn more often. It may not be ideal to polish the item often as it will eventually start to wear on the item, but having the item(s) professional checked and cleaned does allow for mitigating any issues before they arise.

Between professional cleanings, and perhaps before special events when you do not have time to visit an independent Jeweler, you can use the above method to clean your platinum jewelry at home.
Take care, and God bless.
Javier Odom - Walt's Jewelers
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David
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Re: How to Clean Platinum Jewelry

Post by David »

Simple enough. This is basically what we do.
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