Jewelry Care and Cleaning
Jewelry Care and Cleaning


Caring for your investment is the surest way to keep your diamonds, precious gemstones, metals, and timepieces in their most beautiful, lustrous state for years to come.

Visit the sections on caring for your jewelry, watches, and gemstones to find out what you can do to protect your investments and how Tapper's can help.

Tips for Cleaning Diamonds Image

We realize its not always convenient to have your jewelry professionally cleaned at one of our locations. Here are a few practical tips from our experts to keep your jewelry looking its best at home.


Use either a mix of ammonia and water or a commercial jewelry cleaner to clean your diamond jewelry. Gently dip your jewelry into the cleaning solution and use only a soft brush to clean underneath the setting. Thoroughly rinse in lukewarm water. Since diamonds can damage your other jewelry, we recommend you keep your diamond jewelry in a lined case or jewelry box with dividers. Even though diamonds are extremely hard, they can be damaged if given a hard blow. Don't wear your diamond jewelry when doing rough work or when using chlorine bleach or other chemicals. Some chemicals can pit and discolor the mounting. 

Have Tapper's professionally clean and check your diamond jewelry at least once a year for loose prongs and wear.


Clean your pearl jewelry by wiping it with a soft cloth when you take it off. Traces of perfume, hair spray, or any acid-based cosmetics should be removed as these can cause damage to the pearl's nacre. If your pearl jewelry pieces show more soil than a soft cloth can remove, wash them carefully in mild soap and lukewarm water, rinse, gently blot with a soft cloth, and allow to air dry. For pearl strands and bracelets, gently wash them in mild soap and lukewarm water, rinse, gently blot with a soft cloth, and allow to air dry being careful not to pull on the silk cord on which they are strung. We recommend you wrap them in tissue or keep them in a chamois bag as pearls are susceptible to scratches by other jewelry. Remember that pearls are organic jewels and are considered gemstones. Treat them gently. Have Tapper's professionally clean and check your pearl jewelry at least once a year. Pearl strands will need restringing as the individual pearls become able to move freely between the knots. 

Bring your pearls to Tapper's for our full range of services, including restringing your strand, redesigning, cleaning, or inspection.


Most gemstone jewelry is safe for home cleaning with a mild soap, lukewarm water, and a soft brush. Other jewelry should be wiped clean with a soft cloth to remove cosmetics or perspiration, and professionally cleaned every six months by your jeweler. Store all gemstone jewelry so that individual pieces do not touch each other. Certain gemstones are harder and can scratch other softer gemstones. 

Your jewelry should be the last item you put on after makeup, hair spray, perfume, facial creams or men's colognes. All these leave a residue on your jewelry. Don't wear gemstone jewelry when doing rough work, when exposed to salt water or using chemicals, especially chlorine bleach.

Your Tapper's jeweler should check your gemstone jewelry at least once a year for wear or damage.

Gemstone purchasers should be aware that natural gemstones are processed from the time they are extracted from the earth by one or more traditionally accepted trade practices. All gemstones sold have probably been subjected to a stable and possibly undetectable enhancement process. All relevant information will be readily provided to the best of our knowledge. Prevailing market values are based on these universally practiced and accepted processes by the gem and jewelry trade.


Clean your gold, platinum, or palladium jewelry with mild soap and water and a soft brush. Keep your gold from contact with chlorine. Repeated exposure to chlorine will damage the integrity of your gold jewelry, causing breakage. Dry and polish jewelry with a chamois or soft cloth after cleaning. Gold can be scratched easily, so store it in a lined case or jewelry box with dividers. Even though platinum and palladium are one of the hardest metals and are very durable, they do scratch.

Your Tapper's jeweler can re-polish your platinum or palladium jewelry to eliminate most scratches. Tapper's can professionally steam-clean and check your gold, platinum, and palladium jewelry at least once a year for damage and wear.

Sterling Silver

Sterling silver jewelry should be cleaned with a mild soap and water solution, allowing the water to bead up, then patting dry with a soft cloth. Don't dry silver with paper or tissue as these can cause scratches. As with other jewelry, don't allow contact with chlorine or other chemicals. Store your silver in a cool, dry place away from light, which causes tarnishing, and keep the jewelry from touching each other to avoid scratches. When tarnish first becomes visible, you may also choose to clean your jewelry with any fine silver polishes, clothes, or tarnish remover. Don't wrap with rubber bands or rubber products as the sulfur in rubber causes tarnishing and corrosion.

Tapper's offers complimentary cleaning and inspection of your silver jewelry.

Track Repairs

As a certified watch service center for several renowned Swiss brands, Tapper's expert watchmakers handle timepieces from all over the world.

Have your watch case and bracelet cleaned and inspected with our compliments whenever you visit one of our locations.

Each timepiece manufacturer provides recommendations for cleaning, maintenance, and service particular to that timepiece. No matter whether your watch needs an adjustment or an overhaul, we have the ability to service watches from the casual to the one-of-a-kind collector's timepiece.

Call today to arrange an appointment with our service center at 248-932-7700 or visit us at one of our convenient locations.

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Discover the amazing stories, world sources, care instructions, and how particular stones are sometimes enriched, by selecting from our list of many of the world's precious and semi-precious gemstones.


Background: Abundant alexandrite deposits were first discovered in 1830, in Russia's Ural Mountains. The gem was named for the young Czar Alexander II, and it caught the country's attention because its red and green colors mirrored the Imperial Russian flag.

World Sources: Sri Lanka, Brazil, Madagascar, Tanzania, Russia

Enrichments: Not commonly enhanced by any method.

Care: Can be cleaned in warm, soapy water. Ultrasonic cleaning is usually safe.


Background: The royal scepter used by English regents is topped by an amethyst globe. Ancient tales say Cleopatra wore an amethyst signet ring as did St. Valentine, his engraved with the figure of Cupid. Amethyst was one of the gems on the Hebrew High Priest's breastplate, and from the Middle Ages to the present, it's been known as the gemstone of Catholic bishops.

World Sources: Brazil, Namibia, Uruguay, Zambia, Argentina, Australia

Enrichments: Routinely subjected to heat as a normal part of the processing to improve color.

Care: Ultrasonic cleaning is usually safe. Avoid steam cleaning, abrupt temperature changes, heat, intense sunlight, and strong chemicals.


Background: Background Ancient Greeks believed the Sirens, mythical temptresses of seafarers, emptied aquamarines from their treasure caskets into the seas. A sailor home from a voyage often presented his love an aquamarine to celebrate their mutual fidelity and long awaited reunion.

World Sources: Brazil, Madagascar, Mozambique, Nigeria, Pakistan, Zambia

Enrichments: Most often subjected to heat during the processing phase.

Care: Ultrasonic or steam cleaning is usually safe if inclusion free. Avoid hydrofluoric acid. Generally heat resistant if inclusion free.


Background: Although often cut as a gemstone, citrine is actually somewhat rare in nature. Known as the success stone, it is used in alternative medicine by crystal healers to stimulate the body's own healing energies, and is considered to be especially useful in digestive disorders. In ancient times, citrine was worn as protection against snake venom and evil thoughts.

World Sources: Brazil, Namibia, Uruguay, Zambia, Argentina, Australia

Enrichments: Routinely subjected to heat as a normal part of the processing to improve color.

Care: Ultrasonic cleaning is usually safe. Avoid steam cleaning, abrupt temperature changes, heat, intense sunlight, and strong chemicals.


Background: Ancient Hindus believed that diamonds resulted when thunderbolts hit the earth. Whether colorless, bright canary, warmest mocha, exotic black, or the rarest pink blue, red and green, diamonds have a similarly powerful effect on us. Giving diamonds or purchasing diamonds for yourself should be an extraordinary experience. Diamond jewelry and watches are as demonstrative and rewarding for gentlemen as for ladies. A diamond symbolizes romantic commitment, professional accomplishment, private achievement, and enduring family traditions.


Background: From Colombia to Zambia, from the pyramids to the mines of Solmondoco, the greenest gem has long captivated kings, conquerors, and collectors alike. Throughout time, emerald has been an eternal symbol of man's desire for youth, vitality, and rebirth. The name origin is the ancient Greek smaragdus for green.

World Sources: Colombia, Zambia, Afghanistan, Brazil, Pakistan, Russia, Zimbabwe

Enrichments: Sometimes oiled to improve clarity, and can be dyed or coated; inclusions and fissures are not considered negative aspects unless they affect the durability and appearance of the gem.

Care: Clean gently with warm, soapy water; avoid heat, solvents, and hydrofluoric acid.


Background: Known in ancient and Biblical texts as the carbuncle, garnet was considered a sacred gem used to designate religious initiates. King Solomon wore garnets into battle as a talisman. Garnet's name originates from the Greek granatum, meaning seed-like, as in the color of pomegranate seeds.

World Sources: Africa, Madagascar, Australia, Brazil, Czech Republic, India, Russia, Korea, Italy, Sri Lanka, United States, Pakistan

Enrichments: Not commonly enhanced by any method.

Care: Ultrasonic cleaning is safe, never steam clean. Avoid abrupt temperature changes and hydrofluoric acid.


Background: It was mineralogist George Frederick Kunz who, in 1911, suggested naming the pink variety of beryl Morganite for his biggest customer - J.P. Morgan. Morganite is often known as the pink emerald, One of the largest specimens of Morganite was uncovered in the Bennett Quarry of Buckfield, Maine. "The Rose of Maine" was orangish in hue, about 23 cm. long and 30 cm. across, and weighted in at just more than 50 lbs.

World Sources: Madagascar, Brazil, Mozambique, Namibia, Afghanistan, Zimbabwe, Pakistan, United States, Russia

Enrichments: Sometimes it is heat treated to remove patches of yellow.

Care: Minimal. Occasionally after long term wear, the gem will need to be polished and buffed to restore luster and remove any small scratches.


Background: Mother-of-pearl, also called nacre, is a shimmering, iridescent layer of material that forms the shell lining of many mollusks. Pearl oysters and abalone are both sources of mother-of-pearl, which is widely used as an inlay in jewelry, furniture, and musical instruments. Mother-of-pearl comes in several natural colors.

World Sources: Japan, China, and throughout the Pacific Rim

Enrichments: Often bleached and dyed for decorative use.

Care: Use mild soap and water to clean. Avoid storing with jewelry which may scratch it.


Background: The name comes from the Greek word which means nail of a finger or claw. Legend says that one day while Venus was sleeping, Eros/Cupid cut her fingernails and left the clippings scattered on the ground. Because no part of a heavenly body can die, the gods turned them into the stone that became known as onyx.

World Sources: India, Algeria, Mexico, United States

Enrichments: Usually dyed. Commonly heated to accentuate the intensity of its color.

Care: Can chip or crack easily, avoid dropping. Clean with a soft, dry cloth.


Background: The gem with the flash-fire colors of the skies – rainbows, lightning, fireworks – was believed by ancient Arabs to have fallen from the heavens in flashes of lightning. The Orphanus Opal in the Holy Roman Emperor's crown was described as "pure white snow, flashed and sparkled with the color of bright ruddy wine." Napoleon Bonaparte gave the famed "Burning of Troy" opal, with its red flashes, to his Helen, the Empress Josephine.

World Sources: Australia, Mexico, Indonesia, South America, Tanzania, Ethiopia

Enrichments: Color play is sometimes intensified by the use of oils, dyes, wax or carbonized sugar solution.

Care: Clean only with warm, soapy water; avoid heat, abrupt temperature changes, strong alkalis, and hydrofluoric acid


Background: In whites as crystalline as bridal satin, pinks as rosé as an blush, ivories as mellow as antique lace mantillas, or mysterious black-greys with aubergine and green overtones, there are pearls suitable for every woman. Whether the iconic Audrey Hepburn-style multiple strand choker or the single strand necessity, pearls are quintessential elegance. When worn by monarch or mother, pearls make the ultimate statement of dignity, confidence, and timeless sophistication. A pearl strand is the traditional gift from groom to bride for the wedding day. Pearls handed from mother to daughter are treasured heirlooms, knotted by hand on silk for future generations to cherish. Of course, pearl stud earrings are a timeless fashion classic.


Background: Quartz, the "rock crystal" used in ancient times to make crystal balls and bowls, is today often taken for granted because of its relative affordability. Throughout history, quartz has been the common chameleon of gemstones, standing in for precious gemstones ranging from diamond to jade. But the incredible variety of quartz is now beginning to be appreciated in its own right. Different colors and types of quartz have grown in popularity with the growing appreciation for carved gemstones and artistic cutting and carving.

World Sources: Worldwide

Enrichments: Routinely subjected to heat as a normal part of the processing to produce or improve color. Some forms of quartz can also be dyed for color enhancement.

Care: Use mild soap and water to clean.


Background: Described in ancient texts as "the perpetually glowing fire that never is extinguished," the ruby has represented the pinnacle of precious gemstone color through the ages. 13th century adventurer Marco Polo told of the King of Ceylon's incredible gem, 9 inches in diameter and as thick as a man's arm. It is said that Kublai Khan, Mongol emperor of China, offered an entire city for it. Biblical psalmists used the ruby as the standard to measure virtue, integrity, and wisdom.

World Sources: Thailand, Myanmar (Burma), Sri Lanka, Africa

Enrichments: Most often subjected to heat to improve the color.

Care: Ultrasonic and steam cleaning are usually safe, but avoid if fissures are present.


Background: The blue gem of the ages, sapphire has roots in the Greek sappheiros for Sappherine, the island where ancient Greek writings say sappheiros were discovered. In ancient Persian lore, the earth is said to have rested on a large sapphire whose reflection colored the skies. In Hebrew tradition, the Ten Commandments were written on sapphire tablets. Through the ages, the gem symbolized purity, wisdom, and prophecy.

World Sources: Thailand, Sri Lanka, Myanmar (Burma), Africa, United States

Enrichments: Most are subjected to heat as a normal part of the processing phase to improve the color; this is permanent, stable, and requires no special care.

Care: Ultrasonic and steam cleaning are usually safe, but avoid if fissures are present.


Background: Named after the East African state of Tanzania, the only place in the world where it has been found, Tanzanite was enthusiastically celebrated by gemologists as the 'gemstone of the 20th century' upon its discovery in 1967. Millions of years ago, metamorphic schists, gneisses and quartzites formed impressive, flat-topped inselbergs on a vast plain in the shadow of Kilimanjaro. The crystals grew in deposits inside of these unusual elevations. They remained hidden, until some Masai shepherds noticed sparkling crystals lying in the sun and discovered the precious gems.

World Sources: Tanzania

Enrichments: Routinely heat treated to permanently draw out its exotic bluish-purple color.

Care: Tanzanite is relatively soft, and requires careful and respectful handling to avoid damage. Polish occasionally with a soft, dry cloth. Avoid heat cleaners and sonic cleaners, both of which can damage the tanzanite. Can be cleaned in warm, soapy water. Dry carefully before storing.


Background: Tourmaline is a gem with an incomparable variety of colors. The reason, according to an old Egyptian legend, is that on its long journey up from the center of the Earth, Tourmaline passed over a rainbow. In doing so, it assumed all the colors of the rainbow. That is why it is still referred to as the "gemstone of the rainbow." Colored crystals were imported from Sri Lanka at the beginning of the 18th century. During medieval times tourmaline was thought to heal physical and mental disorders as well as prevent death.

World Sources: Africa, Brazil, Madagascar, Mexico, Myanmar (Burma), Sri Lanka, United States

Enrichments: Some tourmalines may have surface-breaking fissures that are filled with resins, with or without hardeners

Care: Protect from scratches and sharp blows. Avoid drastic temperature changes. Do not clean in a home ultrasonic cleaner.


Background: "Topaz" is derived from the Sanskrit word tapas, meaning fire. Topaz aptly symbolized the sun gods of ancient cultures and was credited with many healing powers, among them the ability to cure insanity, asthma, weak vision, and insomnia.

World Sources: Australia, Brazil, Sri Lanka, Africa, Myanmar (Burma), Russia, United States

Enrichments: Usually irradiated and sometimes heated to enhance the color

Care: Usually safe to ultrasonic clean; avoid steam cleaning, rapid temperature changes, acids, and strong solvents.


Background: Turquoise is one of the earliest known gems, used in jewelry, utensils, and religious ritual items. The mummy of ancient Egyptian Queen Zer, dating from 5500 B.C., was discovered with her arm encased by four exquisite turquoise bracelets. The name turquoise is believed to originate from the French phrase pierre turquoise, or Turkish stone, because of its importation to Europe by Venetian merchants who first purchased it in Turkish bazaars.

World Sources: Iran, United States, China, Tibet

Enrichments: Sometimes treated with heat and resins to enhance the color, hardness and durability.

Care: Clean only in warm, soapy water and dry immediately; avoid skin oils, perspiration, acids, and strong solvents.


- Mark Tapper