If you have a jewelry piece which has lost its shine or charm, and you are looking to learn about how to polish jewelry by hand, you need to learn about the basics of jewelry cleaning and polishing. Not all materials can be polished as some require extra care and caution. However, some of the general steps which can be used for all can be discussed to make the process easier for you. You can do it by your hand at the ease of your house, let’s learn how to do it the right way!

How To Polish Jewelry by Hand; Which Jewelry Can Be Polished?

how to polish jewelry by hand which jewelry can be polished

The options of jewelry are endless when it comes to polishing. Different metals are precious like the platinum, silver and gold. They are usually polished to restore their luster which they usually lose with time. It restores their shine. When the jewelry pieces have gemstones embedded in them, these do get the benefits of polishing too. However, there are many materials which require extra care while polishing and these include opal and pearls. These require caution because they can lose their luster and can become really rough. 

Traditionally, many ways have been used to polish jewelry but with the modern advancements, the process has become much efficient. It’s now possible to even polish the finest details like the engravings maintaining the integrity of those pieces. The ornate objects have their unique characteristics which needs to be polished and through these advancements, its now possible to do it without compromising on their characteristics. It’s also important that people understand which type of jewelry can be polished. It helps in increasing the longevity of their pieces.

General Steps of Jewelry Polishing

general steps of jewelry polishing

Cleaning and Inspection 

cleaning and inspection

Typically the jewelry polishing has these 10 steps which start from cleaning the dirt. As the jewelry gets worn, it gets dirty and has some residues on it which also include oils. These can be removed by using a mild soap solution. However, various specialized jewelry cleaning solutions are also available in the market which can be used. Once the cleaning is done, now its time to inspect for the imperfections. Before polishing, its important to look for tarnish or any scratch which could be present on it. The third step is to prepare for the polishing. If the jewelry has gemstones in it, these need to be covered otherwise they will lose their integrity. 

Coarse and Fine Polishing

coarse and fine polishing

After covering and securing the jewelry, its surface needs to be coarsely polished. Its performed to remove any surface imperfections or scratches. Any abrasive tool such as a coarse type of polishing compound can be used and this step cannot be skipped because the refining of a jewelry piece depends upon it. Once the coarse polishing has been done, the next step is to move towards a fine polishing. It gives a smoother look and provides the required shine. You can do this step and leave the jewelry as it is, without even going for protective coating. It will do the work for you.

Ultrasonic Cleaning and Drying 

ultrasonic cleaning and drying

If the jewelry has crevices which have dirt in them, these can be removed by using an ultrasonic cleaner. It is used for intricate pieces and has the ability to remove dirt from small crevices. Rinsing is an essential step as it helps in removing the cleaning residues from it. The next step is drying it by using a microfiber cloth or a soft cloth where the jewelry is pat gently to remove the water from it. Another method is to let it air dry on its own. 

Inspection and Protective Coating

inspection and protective coating

After the cleaning and drying has done, a final inspection has to be performed. It helps in finding out any imperfections which need further cleaning. If everything is in place and no further attention is required, a protective coat like wax or lacquer can be applied to protect and preserve jewelry. 

Tips for Maintaining Shine and Luster

tips for maintaining shine and luster

A regular cleaning is required to increase the longevity of anything, especially jewelry pieces. A simple mild soap solution with a gentle brush can be enough for it. People do not care about taking off their jewelry before they go swimming or use beauty products. They have chemicals in it which can damage the polish. 

Tarnish can also be reduced if the jewelry is properly stored. It should not be exposed to sunlight and moisture. Scratches can be avoided by storing each piece separately. A lint free cloth can be used to polish it as it helps in increasing its shine. Before you apply your perfume, you should take off your jewelry too. These must also be protected from hair sprays. They all can produce tarnish. 

Many people do not care about their jewelry pieces and wear it during physical activities. These must also be taken off before performing them because sweating can lead to tarnish and if it is exposed to dirt or coarse surfaces, it can lead to scratches.


Jewelry polishing is an interesting process which starts from inspection, cleaning to coarse and soft polishing. It’s important that the pieces are inspected before polishing because some materials require special care like opal and other gemstones. A mild cleaner can do the job and once cleaned, its important to use a coarse polisher to remove imperfections. After rinsing, it should be dried before applying the protective coat. All these steps can be altered as per the choice of the cleaner. Some require ultrasonic cleaner to remove dirt from crevices and some do not require coarse polishing as they do not have any scratch on them. These are general steps of jewelry polishing which can be followed to achieve desirable results. 

Polishing (metalworking)

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