How to Clean Ruby and Sapphire?

September 19th, 2022

Rubies and sapphires are two of the most popular and beautiful gemstones. Since ancient times, they have been set in jewelry and praised for their unique, colorful luster. Evidence of these gemstones has been found along the ancient Silk Road in northern and central Asia and palaces and tombs in Ancient India. They were even worn in Ancient Rome to ward off bad luck and give soldiers and gladiators courage in battle.

Despite their pronounced color difference, rubies and sapphires are the same stone. Both are different forms of the rock corundum. If the element chromium is present in the rock formation, it will be a red ruby. If iron and titanium are present, it will be blue sapphire.

Corundum is a chemically-resistant hard stone, ranking at 9 on the Mohs hardness scale, making it slightly softer than diamond. However, while it cannot be easily scratched, its hard surface can accumulate dirt and grime. 

Regularly cleaning your rubies and sapphires can protect their shine and help them maintain their value. Follow these steps to keep your gems looking bright.

How Often Should I Clean My Rubies and Sapphires?

If you’re lucky enough to own a ruby or sapphire engagement ring, then you’ll want to make sure to clean it regularly. A precious gemstone is beautiful but delicate (Rubies and Sapphires cannot be scratched easily, but you might scratch softer gemstones if you are not careful) and they can be easily damaged if not properly taken care of. Additionally, try to store them in a jewelry box to prevent damage or scratching.

You will need to clean your stones whenever dirt, oils, or grime begin to build up on the cut surface. The more you wear your stone, the more you will need to clean it, but as these stones are durable, frequent cleanings will not damage their surface nor dim their shine. 

If you wear your ruby or sapphire daily as a ring, necklace, bracelet, or other type of jewelry that is in close contact with your skin, you should clean your gems at least monthly. However, you can clean them more often if you notice they look dull or if you have an upcoming event.

You can clean gems worn on broaches, hats, or jewelry that does not come into close contact with skin less often. Every 3-4 months is usually sufficient to keep these pieces looking great.

You should take your fine ruby and sapphire jewelry to be professionally cleaned at a jeweler once per year. The jeweler can use an ultrasonic cleaner to eliminate debris if it is an untreated gemstone with few inclusions, leaving a sparkling clean sapphire ring or ruby ring.

A hand scrubbing a ruby bracelet with a brush

How to Clean Your Rubies and Sapphires

These hard stones are easy to clean. 

Here are the supplies:

  • Warm water
  • soft bristled toothbrush
  • Standard dish soap (we recommend Dawn) or any mild soap,
  • A few drops of ammonia
  • soft cloth

Here are the steps:

Check all the gemstones and ensure they are not loose in their settings or at risk of falling out.

Mix the warm water, soap, and ammonia drops in a container to form a cleaning solution. Put your gems in the cleaning liquid and let them soak. The gems are strong and can soak for hours without any risk of damage. 

Use the toothbrush to scrub away any dirt gently. If some dirt seems stuck or resistant to cleaning, let it soak longer before cleaning it again with the toothbrush.

Let your gems air dry completely after they are clean. Use a polishing cloth to buff out any watermarks or streaks.

A cut Ruby

Insure Your Precious Gems with BriteCo™

Well-cared-for rubies and sapphires can become beloved family heirlooms with proper care and cleaning. Beyond keeping your gems clean, it is important to insure them against unforeseen events and damage.

BriteCo offers insurance for your rubies and sapphires and other types of fine jewelry against theft, damage, loss, and mysterious disappearance. All pieces and stones are insured to 125% of their appraised value with zero deductible. 

Gemstones are also eligible for complimentary concierge cleaning and maintenance, including prong re-tipping and replacement, clasp repair and replacement, stone tightening, restringing, and earring post repair. 

Use BriteCo’s convenient online tool to get a quote in minutes and contact us to learn about their monthly or annual payment plans. Keep your gems beautiful and safe for the next generation with BriteCo gemstone insurance.

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About the Author

Rachel Akmakjian is Director of Jeweler Relations for BriteCo. She has more than eight years’ experience in jewelry marketing, retail, diamond wholesale, and managing her own company that specializes in creating custom jewelry pieces. Rachel is currently a student at the Gemological Institute of America, on track to receive her Graduate Gemology certificate by the end of this year. Her education and experiences have given her an in-depth understanding of the demands and expectations facing jewelers and customers in today’s evolving retail marketplace.
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