Professionally cleaning your designer jewelry on a regular basis can become quite expensive. Instead of taking in your gems, it might be time to consider cleaning them yourself. However, it is important to know which at-home approach is best for each piece you’re interested in polishing.

Most diamonds and colored gemstones are safe to be cleaned with an at-home mixture of warm water and a few drops of non-oily, very gentle soap. Diamonds and harder, more resilient stones, such as sapphires, rubies, amethyst, topaz, jade and garnets, are perfectly safe to clean in such a solution.

Mixing one cup of warm water with just two drops of gentle soap are all the ingredients necessary to concoct your own jewelry cleaner at home. Soaking your gemstone jewelry for a couple of minutes on a flat surface (to prevent any slippery rings from falling in the sink) and gently buffing the surface and setting of the stone with a soft brush will bring the glimmer and shine back to your favorite pieces. Make sure that the brush you use is soft-bristled to prevent any micro-scratches on either the band or the stone. A baby toothbrush might be an option to consider.

More delicate stones, such as emeralds, opals, onyx, turquoise, amber, and pearls, should never be cleaned at home. This job should be left to a professional jeweler who has the correct tools and solutions to make your stone last as long as possible.

Ultrasonic cleaners are an option for at home cleaning, but it may be less stressful and risky to opt for a professional cleaning than tackling this method on your own. Ultrasonic cleaners are machines that, when combined with certain chemical cleaners, use ultrasound waves to essentially boil dirt and grime off of your jewelry. Diamonds are the ideal gemstone to clean with an ultrasonic cleaner, as they are the most resilient stones.

Remember that certain steps can be taken to minimize the need to clean your jewelry. One tip for avoiding residue build up on jewelry is to remove your jewelry before showering and waiting to put it back on until after you have applied body lotion or hair products, which will minimize the layers of dirt that diminish the brilliance of your stones. Also, remember to remove your jewelry before swimming, as chlorine will slowly degrade the appearance of your designer jewelry.