How do I clean my titanium rings?
June 16, 2005 1:54 PM   Subscribe

I was recently married, and wear titanium engagement and wedding rings set with sapphires. They are already looking very smudged/dirty,and even shallowly scratched. What should I do/use to clean them?
posted by juniper to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (13 answers total)
The metal or the stones? If it's the sapphires, you can get them cleaned and repolished, something you'll probably want to do ever 5-10 years anyway to keep the facets fresh. I'm not sure about the titanium. Perhaps consult the jeweler who sold them to you?
posted by lalalana at 2:03 PM on June 16, 2005

Both, really, but especially the titanium. I bought them from an online dealer, but their only cleaning advice is "soap and water" which leaves a soapy film. There are jewelry polishes available, but most seem to have tacked "and titanium" onto their list of other metals, and I'd hate to destroy my rings.
posted by juniper at 2:29 PM on June 16, 2005

Well, a polish essentially takes a very, very thin layer off of the thing you're polishing. Seeing as that titanium is very hard when compared to most traditional precious metals, and certainly not significantly (if at all) softer than even platinum, it's safe to say that if it's safe for other metals, it's going to be safe for titanium. Worst case, the polish won't work 'cause the ring's too hard. But that's unlikely.
posted by RikiTikiTavi at 2:50 PM on June 16, 2005

Take it to a local jeweler and ask them to clean it for you. Some will even do it for free.

I know white gold is often rhodium plated to give it a better color and shine, and the rhodium coating has to be re-plated every so often. But as far as I know, titanium is not rhodium plated.

Either way, if you take it to a jeweler they should know how to clean it.
posted by geeky at 3:13 PM on June 16, 2005

I've always just put jewelry in a cup with a couple of those fizzy denture cleaning tablets. Leave 'em in there until the fizzing stops, brush 'em with an old toothbrush, rinse and dry and you'll be blinded by your nice and shiny bling.
posted by Floydd at 4:57 PM on June 16, 2005

Take it to a local jeweler and ask them to clean it for you. Some will even do it for free.

This has been my experience; at least all of the big-name jewelers in town will clean items for free.
posted by rhapsodie at 5:01 PM on June 16, 2005

The good people at Titanium Era have some comments on titanium ring finishes. Essentially, if you got a polished finish you will have scratches and they will be noticeable. They seem upbeat about other jeweler's ability to polish them though. Take that as you will.

My suggestion is you find someone in your area that specializes in titanium jewelry. Barring that, shipping it to a non local jeweler that specializes in titanium is a less pleasant alternative.
posted by cm at 5:09 PM on June 16, 2005

I've had my titanium ring (purchased at Titanium Era) for almost 2 years now and it has picked up quite a number of very fine scratches. But since I followed their advice and got the satin finish instead of the polish, you have to look very closely to see the scratches.

If the smudges/scratches on the metal really bother you, maybe you could ask them to re-finish the ring to satin? No matter what the metal, if you have a polish/mirror finish, scratches will be frequent and very visible. The ring will then require regular maintenance to keep up the look.

For the cleaning of the sapphires, I will also say: take it to a jeweler. We take my wife's ring to be cleaned once a year where we bought it. It's free and they do it while we wait. They have the equipment and know-how to clean it without any chances of loosening the setting and having the stones fall out.
posted by TinTitan at 5:34 PM on June 16, 2005

The local jeweler will do it either free or for a nominal charge while you wait. Titanium is a common enough setting material that all good jewelers will know how to work with it.

The finish will scratch very easily.You can buff up the metals with silver polish. If you buff them regularly after you've had it repolished, you can probably keep the scratch level below the "annoying point".

Clean the stones with rubbing alcohol and a soft toothbrush. Be sure to clean both sides...the dull factor is generally from soap/ hard water/ lotion buildup on the underside of the jewel setting.

cm, thanks for the groovy link to that site!
posted by dejah420 at 5:41 PM on June 16, 2005

In the long run, the best finish for a bare titanium surface is "brushed metal". To return it to its original condition, you clean with soap and water, then rub it with fine steel wool in the same direction as the original grain.
posted by randomstriker at 6:02 PM on June 16, 2005

Thanks to everyone! I have the polished finish, which is beautiful, but yeah, I suppose I'll have to live with constant maintenance or swirlmarks and scratches.
posted by juniper at 7:18 PM on June 16, 2005

I got the satin finish on my husband's engagement ring, so the scratches are part of the charm, but it does look much better after a good scrubbing with a toothbrush and Dawn or other grease-cutting dish detergent. You don't realize how much normal everyday oil and shmutz gunk it up until a good scrubbing, when it gets its mellow glow back.

It does wonders for the stones in our (white gold) wedding bands, as well. Settings scoop up a lot of gunk.
posted by Lyn Never at 7:46 PM on June 16, 2005

geeky writes "Take it to a local jeweler and ask them to clean it for you. Some will even do it for free."

That was my answer.
posted by terrapin at 8:19 AM on June 17, 2005

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