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How to care for your diamond

Diamonds, like all types of stones and jewelry, require periodic cleaning. In general, the more you wear your jewelry, the more often you should clean it. For example, rings tend to collect more build-up than necklaces or earrings.

When selecting jewelry cleaner, pay particular attention that the solution is recommended for diamonds, other precious stones, and for gold or platinum jewelry. You will find that silver jewelry requires its own type of cleaning solution -- one that eliminates tarnishing.

Once you've located a cleaning solution, make sure the container includes a dip tray and a brush. This will make the cleaning process easier and less messy. Now that you're ready to clean, you'll need a paper towel and a soft, lint-free polishing cloth handy. Typically, you should dip one piece of jewelry at a time into the solution, keeping it there for 10-20 seconds. After removing the jewelry, brush thoroughly to remove excess dirt and oil. While doing this, check to make sure all stones are tightly secured and that prongs are not bent.

Next, rinse the piece under lukewarm water. Dry with the lint-free cloth. This will prevent particles from being caught in the prongs while you're drying. Use a polishing cloth to buff the jewelry to a high luster.

Regular maintenance, including cleaning, may allow you to spot a loose stone or bent prong before it's "too late." Just to be sure, though, you should get the piece checked by a professional at least annually.