How to Hand-Polish a Precious Gem Stone

Updated November 21, 2016

Precious stones are generally worn as fine jewellery, and over time, a combination of grease, dirt, mineral deposits, scratches and soap can build up a film on the surface of a precious gem stone, making it lose its original, bright, polished look. For this reason, a regular polish is necessary to once again re-establish its clarity and beauty. Simply remembering to remove jewellery when bathing, washing dishes or gardening can help to prolong the clarity of a precious stone and avoid having to constantly clean it.

Add about half a cup of the ammonia-based cleaner into a bowl of warm water. Place the precious gem stone into it and let it soak for a few hours.

Remove the gem from the bowl, and if necessary, use a soft brush to clean the stone further. Dry it with a soft, dry jewellery cloth to remove any excess water.

Polish with a dry jewellery cloth to bring out the shine.

Place the gem stone in a bowl or dish with warm water and a mild soap solution. Leave it to soak for a few hours.

Scrub gently with a soft brush.

Dry it with a soft, dry jewellery cloth.

Apply any toothpaste to a small, soft brush such as a toothbrush and gently rub this all over the gem stone using circular motions. Leave for a few minutes.

Rinse the toothpaste off the stone with warm water making sure you remove all traces of the toothpaste.

Dry it with a soft, dry jewellery cloth.

Rub the gem stone with a moistened silica block purchased from a jewellery supply store if possible.

Make sure you work with the existing facets or 'faces' of the piece and not on the edges.

Use circular, gentle strokes. Do not press down hard. This is especially useful for smoothing out minor, surface scratches.


To repair deep scratches, chips or other major problems, take the precious stone to a professional jeweller. Another option for cleaning and polishing your gem stone is to purchase a cleaning and polishing kit.


Do not immerse precious stones in very hot water, use warm water instead. Do not use coarse grain sandpaper to polish precious stones. Do not use harsh chemicals as these may cause damage over time. Emeralds can be brittle so take care when exercising or doing other activities that can cause damage to jewellery.

Things You'll Need

  • Warm water
  • Ammonia cleaner
  • Jewellery cloth
  • Silica block
  • Soft brush
  • Gem stone cleaning/polishing kit
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