from Extraordinary Uses for Ordinary Things
Drop your dull-looking jewelry in a glass of fizzing Alka-Seltzer for a couple of minutes. It will sparkle and shine when you pull it out.
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To clean your jewelry, simply line a small bowl with aluminum foil. Fill the bowl with hot water and mix in one tablespoon of bleach-free powdered laundry detergent (not liquid), like Tide. Put the jewelry in the solution and let it soak for one minute. Rinse well and air-dry. This procedure makes use of the chemical process known as ion exchange, which can also be used to clean silverware.
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Brighten up your gold and silver trinkets by soaking them for 10 minutes in a solution of 1/2 cup clear ammonia mixed in 1 cup warm water. Gently wipe clean with a soft cloth and let dry. Note: Do not do this with jewelry containing pearls, because it could dull or damage their delicate surface.
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To remove built-up tarnish from your silver, make a thick paste with 1/4 cup baking soda and 2 tablespoons water. Apply with a damp sponge and gently rub, rinse, and buff dry. To polish gold jewelry, cover with a light coating of baking soda, pour a bit of vinegar over it, and rinse clean.
Note: Do not use this technique with jewelry containing pearls or gem-stones, as it could damage their finish and loosen the glue.
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Get the shine back in your solid gold (i.e., minus any gemstones) rings and other jewelry by pouring a bit of beer (not dark ale!) onto a soft cloth and rubbing it gently over the piece. Use a clean second cloth or towel to dry.
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Soak your diamonds, rubies, sapphires, and emeralds in club soda to give them a bright sheen. Simply place them in a glass full of club soda and let them soak overnight.
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Has your diamond ring lost its sparkle? Drop a denture tablet into a glass containing a cup of water. Follow that with your ring or diamond earrings. Let it sit for a few minutes. Remove your jewelry and rinse to reveal the old sparkle and shine.
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Let ketchup do the work of shining tarnished silver. If your ring, bracelet, or earring has a smooth surface, dunk it in a small bowl of ketchup for a few minutes. If it has a tooled or detailed surface, use an old toothbrush to work ketchup into the crevices. To avoid damaging the silver, don’t leave the ketchup on any longer than necessary. Rinse your jewelry clean, dry it, and it’s ready to wear.
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Put a little toothpaste on an old toothbrush and use it to make your diamond ring sparkle instead of your teeth. Clean off the residue with a damp cloth.
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Make your silverware — as well as your pure silver bracelets, rings, and other jewelry — shine like new by soaking them in a mixture of 1/2 cup white vinegar and 2 tablespoons baking soda for two to three hours. Rinse them under cold water and dry thoroughly with a soft cloth.
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In a pinch, a few drops of vodka will clean any kind of glass or jewelry with crystalline gemstones. So although people might look at you askance, you could dip a napkin into your vodka on the rocks to wipe away the grime on your eyeglasses or dunk your diamond ring for a few minutes to get it sparkling again. But don’t try this with contact lenses! Also avoid getting alcohol on any gemstone that’s not a crystal. Only diamonds, emeralds, and the like will benefit from a vodka bath.
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Use window cleaner to spruce up jewelry that is all metal or has crystalline gemstones, such as diamonds or rubies. Spray on the cleaner, then use an old toothbrush for cleaning. But don’t do this if the piece has opaque stones such as opal or turquoise or organic gems such as coral or pearl. The ammonia and detergents in the cleaner can discolor these porous lovelies.
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