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Ring cleaning

We received a diamond ring that was in a house fire and cannot
remove all of the black up under the set diamonds (which are fine).
We have tried cooking it off and using the ultrasonic… any ideas or
experience with this problem? Thanks, Mary

Solution of lye, potassium hydroxide, and water, be careful. Eats
anything organic.

They have drain cleaner that is lye.

I have refurbished many items that have been casualties of fire. The
process is always the same.

Soak in oven cleaner for hours or days.

Scrub with toothbrush.

Clean with ultrasonic.


If possible remove stones to clean out seats. If removing is not
possible then stiff straight bristle brushes or tooth picks in your
flex shaft to reach the tight spaces.

Hope that helps.

There are many byproducts produced in a fire. You might try alcohol
or acetone to dissolve the material.

I use a hot lye solution to soak clean. Use the ultrasonic with
solution in a separate beaker.


Sometimes diamonds simply do not come clean using the sonic and
steam cleaner. Either baked on crud or hard water deposits.

In these cases I soak the piece of jewelry in either strong vinegar
or evenCLR, for a short time, and then sonic clean them again. This
usually produces the desired results. There have been times though
that I have have to scrape the underside of the gemstone to remove
badly burned on, or extremely bad mineral deposits.

In this case a wooden dowel, a toothpick or such, held on the Jacobs
chuck flex shaft handpiece, and used from behind the stone (when
accessible) has worked miracles. Sometimes though, gems are simply
not accessible that way, and then they need to be removed to reach
the hard to remove deposits.

Mary-This is exactly why I always clean jewelry before working on

I know this sounds pretty awful, but get some lye or drain cleaner
at your local grocery store. Place it in a pan you don’t plan on
cooking out of. Add equal amounts of water and lye or drain cleaner,
enough to cover the ring and then some. ALWAYS add water first and
then lye. Place the ring in the pan and cover tightly. Bring to a
boil turn down and let simmer on low for a few minutes, turn off the
heat and let set over night.

Do not lift the lid while boiling. allow it to cool first. The fumes
are really bad. Be sure to vent or turn on your exhaust hood over the

If you are in a hurry, boil and then simmer for one hour. Rinse in
fresh water and steam and it’ll be clean.

Be sure to wear gloves and use tongs or tweezers to lift the ring
out. Just pour the leftover solution down any drain you have that is
running slow and flush with fresh water.

Do not do this if there are colored stones as well in the mounting.
Also the metal may discolor a little bit. Just polish after.

This is how I clean diamonds before tipping the prongs while the
stone is still in the mounting.

Have fun and make lots of jewelry.

Jo Haemer

Have you tried a Speed-brite?

Irv B.

If all that fails. There are a lot of suggestions here. What can be
done if it is gold and diamonds is heat the ring with your torch,
start by using your firescale solution then as you heart the ring
douse it with flux. Use lots of it. I use a paste Flux for soldering
anyway and it will work better but any flux will do. The idea is to
get Flux or borax under the stones where the char is and as you heat
it you will melt the Flux. Do that everywhere there is black. Even
from under the gallery. Heat till the Flux floes then pickle. The
Flux absorbs all the crap and lifts it away. Fire caused it fire can
fix it. SD

When I was at a little jewelry store doing lots of ring resizing,
and retips, we would soak the piece in liquid drano before any
soldering, to clean offall the crud.

You can also pour some Drano (or something similar to clean the gunk
off the diamond(s)) in a little zip log baggie, drop in your diamond
ring and put it in the ultrasonic if the boiling lye on the stove
thing doesn’t appeal to you,…