Diamonds are shiny, bright, and sparkly—until you wear them day in, day out, that is. Everyday wear of something like an engagement ring (or if you're real fancy, a diamond strand of a necklace, like the one from Tiffany & Co, above) can result in dullness and lackluster brilliance from collecting dirt, grime, and even soap residue. So how do you know when a piece of diamond jewelry needs a pick-me-up? "Just from looking at it," says Russell Fogarty, a diamond expert and a buyer that specializes in estate jewels. "If it looks dull, if it doesn't look like how it did the day it came out of the jewelry store, then it needs a cleaning."
Your diamond pieces should be taken to the jewelry pros every six months to a year (they use an ultrasonic steamer for a super thorough hose down), but there's a way to maintain its sparkle all on your own: by concocting a mild at-home cleaning solution.
1. Create a soapy solution with a couple drops of dish soap and water, and then add a splash of ammonia (six parts water to one part ammonia works, too).
2. Soak your jewelry pieces in the solution for a minute or two.
3. Use a soft bristle toothbrush and gently scrub every nook and cranny.
4. Run the piece under hot water. Rinse well.
Repeat whenever you notice your diamonds looking less than brilliant. Storing them properly is important, too. Keep your jewelry pieces in a lined box or pouch, and make sure they're wrapped or separated in individual tissues to prevent them from colliding with other gemstones or other metals, which can cause chips, small scratches, and dents. Now shine on girl's best friend!