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.