Jewellery Sanitization Tips and Tricks

Jewellery Hygiene expert David Bellman Explains how Dirty Your Jewellery Really Gets...

Jewellery Sanitization Tips and Tricks


During this present time of uncertainty, it’s hard to know how to approach your customers. Who wants to think about buying jewellery when you’re worried about keeping family safe and sound.

When people are worried about paying bills because they have lost their job or their business has been shut down it’s hard to know what to do and how to focus on saving your own business. One thing is certain, focusing on solutions is a sure way to keep up morale. So instead of focusing on our problems and what we are used to doing (selling jewellery) why not focus on proper jewellery care and solutions that may ease people into feeling safer and more confident. Jewellery care can be a part of how your customers learn to maintain the pieces that they do have and they will appreciate your leadership on providing options for how to keep a safe, clean and quarantine home.

We all have mailing lists and inexpensive ways to reach out to our customers (facebook posts, email blasts) and you can be a some small part of helping your clients understand the new (and hopefully very temporary situation) from a new perspective; because unclean jewellery can potentially transmit germs and viruses.

Your customers purchase jewellery because of its beauty and timelessness; diamonds that sparkle, gemstones with rich vibrant colours and bright shiny metals like gold and platinum. They wear their jewellery because it’s an important part of representing their best self to the world. They imbue their jewellery with emotional importance as jewellery often symbolizes or memorializes the important events and/or people in our lives.

Now, a fair question to ask is: “When was the last time you cleaned your own jewellery?”

According to Jewellery Hygiene expert David Bellman, “After just a few weeks of wear, the oils from our skin, hand creams, food particles, dirt and grim from everything we touch over the course of a day gets trapped in-between and under these gemstones and it just builds up over time.”

Most people never clean their jewellery. We see it in our stores all the time, people’s jewellery is almost always filthy. It’s the DIRTY little industry secret no one really wants to talk about.

The dirt, grime, lotions and creams all build up and stop gems from sparkling, among other things; but just how dirty is uncleaned jewellery?

Is there bacteria, viruses, microbes and infections lurking in those gems? Unfortunately, yes. Our precious jewellery, like anything we wear, has the possibility to build bacteria loads and carry the germs and viruses we come in contact with. The rings we wear on our fingers touch everything we touch, which makes it that much more concerning.

Apart from looking under a microscope, we know that jewellery is dirty when it loses it’s sparkle but jewellery does not lose its sparkle because it gets old, it loses its sparkle because it’s dirty. A general rule of thumb is that regularly worn jewellery should be cleaned once a week (wedding rings, necklaces) and jewellery worn less often should be cleaned about once a month.

Many people assume that their jewellery will get cleaned when they wash their hands. Unfortunately, that is not the case. In fact, water may even increase the level of bacteria on your jewellery and ultimately on your skin.

According to the Nightingale study commissioned by DHB Ventures Group, “A number of studies have shown that ring wearing increases the likelihood of bacterial contamination; in particular these studies have demonstrated that the skin under rings can be more heavily colonized than areas of the skin without rings and can be a major contributor to hand contamination.” Washing hands with a dirty ring or putting a dirty ring back on recently washed hands, essentially makes hands dirty again. The Nightingale study found that bacteria loads on jewellery reaches a high level in just 2 weeks of regular wear.

So, how can one properly clean and sanitize their jewellery?

One way to make sure your jewellery is clean and sanitized is to bring your jewellery to a local jeweller where it can be professionally cleaned.

For those who cannot make a weekly visit, a few do-it-yourself options (which generally include bleach or chemicals like ammonia) do exist, along with lots of scrubbing with a brush. Although these methods generally do end with a cleaner piece of jewellery, the result is a messy clean-up.

What about soap and water?

If jewellery hasn’t been cleaned in a long time, soap and water will get the jewellery cleaner for sure but likely not sanitized.

Similar to the do-it-yourself methods mentioned above, you still need to scrub your pieces with a brush getting into any crevices in order to dislodge the film and gunk that gets wedged in there. Additionally, the jewellery would need to be rinsed thoroughly to remove all soap otherwise soap residue will start a new layer of film/gunk.

Lastly, jewellery needs to air dry before it can be worn otherwise any trapped moisture (between the ring and skin or in the crevices) acts as an accelerator of new bacteria growth.

A good parallel is understanding that soap and water is good at sanitizing skin (hands) but does not sanitize under fingernails as gunk/bacteria/germs can still be wedged under there.

Jewellery Sanitizing Devices

Jewellery cleaning devices available on the market make it easier to sanitize jewellery but not all are created equal.

The most popular choice on the market is a cleaner called Magnasonic Cleaner. While the Magnasonic Cleaner is easy to use, it lacks all the cleaning (heat/steam) elements needed to remove the dirt, filth and bacteria/germs/viruses that build up.

The only home option available that actually sanitizes jewellery and is easy to use is the GemSpa by Kathy Ireland. This machine cleverly uses a combination of an anti-bacterial gel and the sanitizing power of the heat and steam of your home dishwasher to remove 99.9% of bacteria.

Another top product on the market is the Sienna TrioShine which does get good marks for sanitizing as it has a steamer spout, but the cost and inconvenience of storage (it is large) and set-up (it takes 45 minutes for the steamer to heat up) may make the task of using it a bit burdensome.

Maybe you’re well aware of how dirty jewellery gets and have never been able to find the right solution to fit it into your regular cleaning routine, or maybe you never thought about it that carefully before, but now that people are looking for options and solutions you can be the one too step and provide.

Jewellery carries 3-5 times more bacteria than a public toilet so it’s hard to sleep at night without finding a way to clean and sanitize jewellery regularly.

Finding a way to care for jewellery isn’t easy but your customers’ health is worth it!

Offer information, offer to pick up jewellery cleaning and call your customers and offer free pick-ups to clean and disinfect their jewellery. Your customers will appreciate your ingenuity and willingness to help and adjust at this time.