Diamond is the hardest natural substance on Earth. It can cut any kind of rock or metal, but only another diamond can cut a diamond. In fact, a diamond must be heated to a temperature of 1292 degrees Fahrenheit before it will burn. However, the oil deposited from the mere touch of a human finger can cause dirt to collect and make this nearly indestructible gemstone quickly lose its sparkling appeal. The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) offers the following tips on diamond care:
Handle your diamond carefully. Because diamonds are natural magnets for grease, they’re not easy to keep clean. Handling a diamond with your fingers provides enough oils from your skin (the type of “grease” that most affects diamonds) to change the way your diamond looks.
Clean your diamond regularly. A simple plan to keep your diamond jewelry always looking beautiful is to soak the diamond in an ammonia-based household cleaner (such as window cleaner) overnight, once or twice weekly. In the morning, remove the diamond from the cleaner and brush it with a soft, clean toothbrush (one that has not previously been used in any way, and that you reserve exclusively for cleaning your diamond) to remove any leftover dirt. Take extra care to brush the back of the diamond as this will be the area that has collected the most oil and dirt.
Be aware that fragile settings and estate jewelry won’t take kindly to being scrubbed with a toothbrush, so use a soft touch. Then, just rinse the diamond with water and wipe with a soft, lint-free cloth.
Don’t use harmful solutions. Chlorine (as in household bleach) or abrasives (such as household cleansers or toothpaste) should never be used when cleaning diamonds, especially those set in jewelry. These erode some of the metals often used in diamond settings, and may loosen prongs, or even dissolve the metal completely.
Sometimes an ultrasonic cleaner is necessary to remove encrusted dirt on diamonds. By sending high frequency sound waves through a detergent solution, ultrasonic cleaners cause vibrating fluid to remove accumulated dirt and grime. However, they can also shake loose stones from their mounting, so this method shouldn’t be used on fragile settings (or estate jewelry), and is best undertaken by a professional jeweler.
Regular cleaning will keep your diamond jewelry in gleaming condition and ready to sparkle on that special occasion. See also Jewelry Care.