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How to Polish Gems

Polishing jewelry gives a new luster to the gem and can also increase its retail value. There are several polishing agents that are effective at bringing out the shine of a gem. You can polish gems in the comfort of your home, but a professional cleaning is always recommended.

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  1. Purchase non-toxic delicate gem cleaning solution, wipes or cleaner foam. Read and follow the manufacturer's guidelines. Apply the solution to the gems. Buff it out by rubbing the gem with a pure cotton cloth or soft clean cloth designed to clean precious gems and jewels.

  2. Immerse the gems overnight in a mixture of luke warm water and dab of gentle hand soap. Remove the gems in the morning and use a soft toothbrush to remove any dirt or deposits on the stones.

  3. Buy a silica covered wooden block. Wet the surface with water and gently rub your gem against it by following the cuts on the gemstone. The degree of luster obtained depends upon the technique used and your ability to polish.

  4. Use a dremel tool to polish the gems. Rub a small amount of red jeweler's rouge on the dremel buffer. Buff at a low speed to polish the gem and remove scratches from its surface. Rinse the gemstone and dry with a soft cloth. Do not polish soft gems such as turquoise, opals and lapis lazuli with this method.

  5. Take your gems to the jeweler for a professional polishing and cleaning once a year or as need be. Professional steam cleaning and polishing helps properly maintain gems.

  6. Tip

    For an everlasting shine, remove gem encrusted jewelry when using household cleaners and bleach or doing chores. Read the contents of a ready made gem cleaner before purchasing. Chemical based cleaners permanently discolor gems. Rub gem cleaning wipes on your jewelry after every use for a high sheen.


    Do not use a dremel if you are not familiar with the device--you may damage your jewelry. Do not use hair spray or perfume near exposed gems as it reduces their shine. Do not soak gems such as amber, opal, pearls, lapis lazuli and turquoise in a cleaning solution for too long--they will lose their shine. Do not use a polyester based cloth or other coarse fabric to rub gemstones.

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Things You'll Need

  • Gem cleaning solution, wipes or foam
  • Cotton cloth or jewelry cloth
  • Soft tooth brush
  • Silica covered wooden block
  • Dremel tool

About the Author

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