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The dirtiest piece of jewelry?

4ever

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Dec 9, 2008
Messages
2,260
It seems like a lot of us PSers are jewelry clean freaks, with other peoples jewelry as well as our own.

So want's the worst case of dirty jewelry you have come across and just HAD to clean for someone?

I manage a B&M and happily pluck peoples sparkles off them while they shop and let them have a well deserved little bath in the untrasonic, and I have seen some doozies!

As mentioned in the wearing earrings to bed thread, there was a woman last week who ovbiously hadn't removed her studs in YEARS because the inside of each basket was just solid ear gunk. And they were not small studs. That's a lot of ear crud. It smelt bad. They required some serious tooth brush action and a very LONG LONG LONG HOT soak in the ultrasonic. ICK.

Another recent one was a lady with a gorgous emerald cut cluster that looked like crud because it was black and lifeless with gunk. Yes, BLACK. I didn't get this one.....if it looked that bad....wouldn't you just clean it? Not just keep wearing it untill it needed to come in for a rhodium plate.... :confused:

By far the worst was the watch of an elderly lady which she gave me to change the battery on. I'm glad she left it while she did some other errands because I had gagging issues that would have been very unprofessional. I could not see where the back lifted off the watch because it was just covered in filth, and by filth, I assume it was several years of this womans dead skin and sweat forming into very thick 1/2 solid 1/2 paste-like layers on the back of this watch, and it just REAKED. I had to scrape all the crud away to get the back off and had to leave the workshop a couple of times to get away from the smell. ;( :nono: I just can't imagine giving anything to someone to work on in that condition.

Com'on, share your horror stories!
 

Imdanny

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jan 21, 2008
Messages
6,186
My JLC of course came with a new leather strap. They're expensive, like $200, so replacing them isn't something you do at the drop of a hat. I always thought I'd replace it when I had the watch's routine service after five years. I hate to admit this- this is so gross- but when five years had passed, it smelled, it was disgusting. :errrr:

I chose to sell the watch instead of paying for service (like $600 without replacing the strap) so I never did replace it, but I can't stand dirty, gunky, smelly, anything. Gag. :nono:
 

Pandora II

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Aug 3, 2006
Messages
9,613
One of my mother's rings - I have no idea when she had last cleaned it but it was definitely years rather than weeks. It took over an hour with a baby toothbrush, a toothpick and an ultrasonic.

She wasn't allowed to wear it afterwards either - turned out the the two very pretty OEC sidestones were basically held in with gunk and the prongs were basically non-existent. So it went off for a reset. Even so I had to spend 10 minutes on it a couple of weeks ago getting the sapphire centre clean.

My sister's was also pretty bad but only took 30 minutes. She was amazed it was the same ring once I had finished as the colour of her blue sapphire had lightened so much.

Part of me actually enjoys doing the really bad ones - must be a bit like being a picture restorer - cleaning off old varnish and years of gunk to reveal a potential masterpiece beneath!

At one point I used to give couples ultrasonics as engagements gifts. I always take mine, my jewellery cleaner and a baby toothbrush to whichever parents we are staying with at Christmas and confiscate everyone's rings for a good cleaning session.
 

jewelerman

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Sep 30, 2007
Messages
3,101
So you really want to go there huh!okay you asked...The lady that had been married the for 30 years(if i remember correctly) and Never had her ring off her finger!it was a white gold band with 5 diamonds totaling about a carat.She handed it to me and after looking under a loupe discovered the prongs bent,worn or just plain gone!(she worked in a bakery,nuff said).i let that ring soak in an ultra sonic over night and when i went to retrieve it the next morning, found all 5 of the stones in the bottom of the cleaner!You guessed it...the stones were basically still in ring because they were being held in by the cement hard gunk that had built up under the stones over the years!

This story Ive posted before and is probably the most bizarre cleaning story.In 1992 a woman and her children were murdered in the city i live in and her husband was accused.Her jewelry was part of the evidence that sat in an evidence bin for well over a year until the man was found guilty of the crime and her sister then inherited her jewelry.The sister actually had the nerve to come to the store i was managing and asked me to clean the BLOOD caked contents of the bag that still had the evidence seal in place!I told her that it was against policy to put any blood stained items in the ultra sonic for public heath safety and that my employees should not be put at risk by handling the items.
Ive got more but think these two are the best of the many!
 

jewelerman

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Sep 30, 2007
Messages
3,101
Oh,and about the smell...it is something that you never forget once its been in your nose!i feel for you!
 

jewelerman

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Sep 30, 2007
Messages
3,101
Pandora|1309191860|2956236 said:
One of my mother's rings - I have no idea when she had last cleaned it but it was definitely years rather than weeks. It took over an hour with a baby toothbrush, a toothpick and an ultrasonic.

She wasn't allowed to wear it afterwards either - turned out the the two very pretty OEC sidestones were basically held in with gunk and the prongs were basically non-existent. So it went off for a reset. Even so I had to spend 10 minutes on it a couple of weeks ago getting the sapphire centre clean.

My sister's was also pretty bad but only took 30 minutes. She was amazed it was the same ring once I had finished as the colour of her blue sapphire had lightened so much.

Part of me actually enjoys doing the really bad ones - must be a bit like being a picture restorer - cleaning off old varnish and years of gunk to reveal a potential masterpiece beneath!

At one point I used to give couples ultrasonics as engagements gifts. I always take mine, my jewellery cleaner and a baby toothbrush to whichever parents we are staying with at Christmas and confiscate everyone's rings for a good cleaning session.
I thought i was the only one who set up a cleaning clinic at family reunions!Seriously you must add this to the You know you are obsessed with jewelry thread!
 

MonkeyPie

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Apr 23, 2008
Messages
6,059
Pandora|1309191860|2956236 said:
Part of me actually enjoys doing the really bad ones - must be a bit like being a picture restorer - cleaning off old varnish and years of gunk to reveal a potential masterpiece beneath!
Oh I do too - there's something about the look on their face when it's clean, too!

I once cleaned my grandmothers wedding band. She got it for her 50th anniversary, and had not cleaned it since - it had been close to ten years. She would even make tortillas with it on! I scrubbed and dipped and washed that thing for an hour and it finally came clean, and she was all amazed at how sparkly it suddenly looked. Now every time I see her I go out of my way to clean it so it won't get that bad again. It was pretty gross!
 

Amber St. Clare

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Dec 15, 2009
Messages
1,628
jewelerman|1309194559|2956284 said:
So you really want to go there huh!okay you asked...The lady that had been married the for 30 years(if i remember correctly) and Never had her ring off her finger!it was a white gold band with 5 diamonds totaling about a carat.She handed it to me and after looking under a loupe discovered the prongs bent,worn or just plain gone!(she worked in a bakery,nuff said).i let that ring soak in an ultra sonic over night and when i went to retrieve it the next morning, found all 5 of the stones in the bottom of the cleaner!You guessed it...the stones were basically still in ring because they were being held in by the cement hard gunk that had built up under the stones over the years!

This story Ive posted before and is probably the most bizarre cleaning story.In 1992 a woman and her children were murdered in the city i live in and her husband was accused.Her jewelry was part of the evidence that sat in an evidence bin for well over a year until the man was found guilty of the crime and her sister then inherited her jewelry.The sister actually had the nerve to come to the store i was managing and asked me to clean the BLOOD caked contents of the bag that still had the evidence seal in place!I told her that it was against policy to put any blood stained items in the ultra sonic for public heath safety and that my employees should not be put at risk by handling the items.
:shock: As big a jewelry ho as I am, I could NEVER wear jewelry under those circumstances
 

texaskj

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Aug 31, 2010
Messages
1,196
My mother used to be horrible about keeping her rings clean. I would make her come look in the sink after I was done cleaning them.
And true confession time here... a few years ago I realized I hadn't changed out my fake studs in my second and third holes in forever. I had to cut the stupid things off they were so gunked up. It forced me to go buy real diamonds so I won't leave them in for months.
 

stci

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jan 7, 2007
Messages
2,514
jewelerman|1309194559|2956284 said:
So you really want to go there huh!okay you asked...The lady that had been married the for 30 years(if i remember correctly) and Never had her ring off her finger!it was a white gold band with 5 diamonds totaling about a carat.She handed it to me and after looking under a loupe discovered the prongs bent,worn or just plain gone!(she worked in a bakery,nuff said).i let that ring soak in an ultra sonic over night and when i went to retrieve it the next morning, found all 5 of the stones in the bottom of the cleaner!You guessed it...the stones were basically still in ring because they were being held in by the cement hard gunk that had built up under the stones over the years!

This story Ive posted before and is probably the most bizarre cleaning story.In 1992 a woman and her children were murdered in the city i live in and her husband was accused.Her jewelry was part of the evidence that sat in an evidence bin for well over a year until the man was found guilty of the crime and her sister then inherited her jewelry.The sister actually had the nerve to come to the store i was managing and asked me to clean the BLOOD caked contents of the bag that still had the evidence seal in place!I told her that it was against policy to put any blood stained items in the ultra sonic for public heath safety and that my employees should not be put at risk by handling the items.
Ive got more but think these two are the best of the many!
OMG! Bakery lady... unbelievable!
 

manderz

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Mar 8, 2010
Messages
1,539
I used to work in a b&m too, and the thing that always got me was the people who had to lick their rings to get them off. I've had to help cut rings off people's fingers, one woman's was infected and swollen from from the ring being too tight and really gross. I've also cut earrings out that were so gunked on that they wouldn't come out on their own.
 

jewelerman

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Sep 30, 2007
Messages
3,101
manderz|1309236473|2956808 said:
I used to work in a b&m too, and the thing that always got me was the people who had to lick their rings to get them off. I've had to help cut rings off people's fingers, one woman's was infected and swollen from from the ring being too tight and really gross. I've also cut earrings out that were so gunked on that they wouldn't come out on their own.
been there done that with costumers.when they would try to hand me a ring covered in spit i would grab a tissue and tell them to put it in the tissue first!
 

Gypsy

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Aug 8, 2005
Messages
40,198
My story isn't as bad as yours. But my aunt has a 4 carat (not well cut) round in this huge 80's baguette encrusted yellow gold setting. And every time I see her I grab it off her finger and clean it. It's usually just plain gross when I get and then when I give it back to her she's always so pleased. Baffles me because I've now cleaned it at least once a year. I mean... come on, you haven't figured out that you too can clean your ring? I don't get it.

Stories here are yucky though. The bakery lady, OMG.
 

4ever

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Dec 9, 2008
Messages
2,260
manderz|1309236473|2956808 said:
I used to work in a b&m too, and the thing that always got me was the people who had to lick their rings to get them off. I've had to help cut rings off people's fingers, one woman's was infected and swollen from from the ring being too tight and really gross. I've also cut earrings out that were so gunked on that they wouldn't come out on their own.
I find cutting peoples rings off really satisfying :devil: I probably shouldn't.....but I really do.
 

orbaya

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Nov 2, 2004
Messages
1,617
I worked at a local B&M jewelry store for a short time (one year at most...at least 10 years ago) and I remember a woman who came in to shop. I offered to clean her wedding rings for her....they were fairly gross. When I gave them back to her, all polished and cleaned, she literally cried. She said that she was afraid to clean her rings due to her fear of damaging them. I ensured her that she could soak her rings and clean with a soft bristled brush without harm, and that if she was unsure she could bring them in anytime. She was beyond thrilled!!!! :D

This encounter meant more to me than selling multi-carat diamonds. That is when I realized I was not cut out for being a jewelry salesperson.
 

manderz

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Mar 8, 2010
Messages
1,539
4ever said:
manderz|1309236473|2956808 said:
I used to work in a b&m too, and the thing that always got me was the people who had to lick their rings to get them off. I've had to help cut rings off people's fingers, one woman's was infected and swollen from from the ring being too tight and really gross. I've also cut earrings out that were so gunked on that they wouldn't come out on their own.
I find cutting peoples rings off really satisfying :devil: I probably shouldn't.....but I really do.
It just makes me sad for them, and for the piece. Are people really that oblivious that they can't figure out that there's an easy solution for the fact that your ring is so tight, it cuts off your circulation? It seems like a waste of materials, and almost abuse to a poor person's jewelry.
 

Circe

Ideal_Rock
Trade
Joined
Apr 26, 2007
Messages
8,087
Probably my own watch is the worst example - it's a steel Tag that I got when I was 15, and I wore it pretty much non-stop for, oh, a decade. That's probably the first time I ever looked at the back of it and realized, OH YEAH, this needs cleaning just like my jewelry ... blech!

Most amusing moment: seeing a girl in front of me in a class I was TA'ing make the same observation about her earring DURING A CLASS. I'm not sure what was more amusing: the grossed-out look on her face, or the complete and utter obliviousness with which she assumed total invisibility. Ew, dude. Do that in private.
 

Tuckins1

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Apr 13, 2008
Messages
8,614
4ever|1309166339|2955989 said:
It seems like a lot of us PSers are jewelry clean freaks, with other peoples jewelry as well as our own.

So want's the worst case of dirty jewelry you have come across and just HAD to clean for someone?

I manage a B&M and happily pluck peoples sparkles off them while they shop and let them have a well deserved little bath in the untrasonic, and I have seen some doozies!

As mentioned in the wearing earrings to bed thread, there was a woman last week who ovbiously hadn't removed her studs in YEARS because the inside of each basket was just solid ear gunk. And they were not small studs. That's a lot of ear crud. It smelt bad. They required some serious tooth brush action and a very LONG LONG LONG HOT soak in the ultrasonic. ICK.

Another recent one was a lady with a gorgous emerald cut cluster that looked like crud because it was black and lifeless with gunk. Yes, BLACK. I didn't get this one.....if it looked that bad....wouldn't you just clean it? Not just keep wearing it untill it needed to come in for a rhodium plate.... :confused:

By far the worst was the watch of an elderly lady which she gave me to change the battery on. I'm glad she left it while she did some other errands because I had gagging issues that would have been very unprofessional. I could not see where the back lifted off the watch because it was just covered in filth, and by filth, I assume it was several years of this womans dead skin and sweat forming into very thick 1/2 solid 1/2 paste-like layers on the back of this watch, and it just REAKED. I had to scrape all the crud away to get the back off and had to leave the workshop a couple of times to get away from the smell. ;( :nono: I just can't imagine giving anything to someone to work on in that condition.

Com'on, share your horror stories!
Eeew... OMG these stories are making me GAG!! :knockout:
 

jewelerman

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Sep 30, 2007
Messages
3,101
Circe|1309286435|2957161 said:
Probably my own watch is the worst example - it's a steel Tag that I got when I was 15, and I wore it pretty much non-stop for, oh, a decade. That's probably the first time I ever looked at the back of it and realized, OH YEAH, this needs cleaning just like my jewelry ... blech!

Most amusing moment: seeing a girl in front of me in a class I was TA'ing make the same observation about her earring DURING A CLASS. I'm not sure what was more amusing: the grossed-out look on her face, or the complete and utter obliviousness with which she assumed total invisibility. Ew, dude. Do that in private.
 

jewelerman

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Sep 30, 2007
Messages
3,101
jewelerman|1309290907|2957227 said:
Circe|1309286435|2957161 said:
Probably my own watch is the worst example - it's a steel Tag that I got when I was 15, and I wore it pretty much non-stop for, oh, a decade. That's probably the first time I ever looked at the back of it and realized, OH YEAH, this needs cleaning just like my jewelry ... blech!

Most amusing moment: seeing a girl in front of me in a class I was TA'ing make the same observation about her earring DURING A CLASS. I'm not sure what was more amusing: the grossed-out look on her face, or the complete and utter obliviousness with which she assumed total invisibility. Ew, dude. Do that in private.
So when you put that watch in the cleaner did you get those gray clouds of gunk swirling up in the cleaning solution that comes from a watch band that hasn't been cleaned ...ever!!
 

jewelerman

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Sep 30, 2007
Messages
3,101
These stories are why i tell customers to learn to clean their own jewelry or buy their own ultra sonic because so many jewelry stores let the same solution sit in the cleaner for MANY days before changing so your jewelry gets dipped in the same solution that all the jewelry we have been talking about has been cleaning also!Nice thought!
 

Circe

Ideal_Rock
Trade
Joined
Apr 26, 2007
Messages
8,087
jewelerman|1309291061|2957231 said:
jewelerman|1309290907|2957227 said:
Circe|1309286435|2957161 said:
Probably my own watch is the worst example - it's a steel Tag that I got when I was 15, and I wore it pretty much non-stop for, oh, a decade. That's probably the first time I ever looked at the back of it and realized, OH YEAH, this needs cleaning just like my jewelry ... blech!

Most amusing moment: seeing a girl in front of me in a class I was TA'ing make the same observation about her earring DURING A CLASS. I'm not sure what was more amusing: the grossed-out look on her face, or the complete and utter obliviousness with which she assumed total invisibility. Ew, dude. Do that in private.
So when you put that watch in the cleaner did you get those gray clouds of gunk swirling up in the cleaning solution that comes from a watch band that hasn't been cleaned ...ever!!
Thank god, it wasn't that bad - I mean, since it's a diving watch, I DID at least periodically get it ... rinsed, for lack of a better word. It was the inner underside of the clasp that was sorta grungey, and a quick rubdown with alcohol took care of that. NEVERTHELESS, unacceptable!
 

manderz

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Mar 8, 2010
Messages
1,539
jewelerman|1309291343|2957237 said:
These stories are why i tell customers to learn to clean their own jewelry or buy their own ultra sonic because so many jewelry stores let the same solution sit in the cleaner for MANY days before changing so your jewelry gets dipped in the same solution that all the jewelry we have been talking about has been cleaning also!Nice thought!
When I was working at a jewelry store, we changed it daily, and sometimes I would change it midway through the day if we had a particularly grungy day of cleanings.
 

Xiriah

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Feb 11, 2011
Messages
486
I won't lie, I'm bad about cleaning my watch too... :errrr: I think the gunkiest thing I've had to clean though is my late grandmother's ring. It was a large emerald cut CZ ring (equivalent to about 2cts) that she used to wear all the time. When she passed away, my mom and I were sorting through her vast jewelry collection and belongings, then I came across that ring which I remembered she loved wearing. It was covered in lots of gunk. It took lots of hot water, soap, an old tooth brush and plenty of scrubbing to get it clean. Then I took it to the local jeweler's for a soak in their ultrasonic and it looked good as new. The dirt was just caked under that thing... At least it didn't stink like some of the ones in the stories I've read so far.
 

jewelerman

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Sep 30, 2007
Messages
3,101
manderz|1309291879|2957250 said:
jewelerman|1309291343|2957237 said:
These stories are why i tell customers to learn to clean their own jewelry or buy their own ultra sonic because so many jewelry stores let the same solution sit in the cleaner for MANY days before changing so your jewelry gets dipped in the same solution that all the jewelry we have been talking about has been cleaning also!Nice thought!
When I was working at a jewelry store, we changed it daily, and sometimes I would change it midway through the day if we had a particularly grungy day of cleanings.
I wish that was the norm,but Ive worked in stores where they want to get as much out of the liquid jewelry cleaner as possible or the lazy employees don't want to change it and used the same solution until it was black!In these stores Ive been known to set up my own ultra sonic to use because i don't want to put my hands or personal jewelry in that type of soup!
 

manderz

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Mar 8, 2010
Messages
1,539
I know what you mean. Can you imagine the amount of DNA floating around in there? I shudder at the thought!!
 

4ever

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Dec 9, 2008
Messages
2,260
manderz|1309298089|2957334 said:
I know what you mean. Can you imagine the amount of DNA floating around in there? I shudder at the thought!!
.....And now I need my own ultrasonic for my birthday.
 

monarch64

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Aug 12, 2005
Messages
17,859
I've worked at independent jewelers and department store jewelers. I haven't had the joy of being presented with anything QUITE so dirty as some have described here, but I've seen my share of grungy jewelry. I think rings are the dirtiest, followed by earrings.

Rings tend to collect the most germs, dirt, grub, etc. Earrings at least only collect hairspray, shampoo, conditioner, etc. but not germs off the street!

I think rings are the dirtiest by far. Many people don't have access to u.s. cleaners or the knowledge regarding cleanliness that we PSr's have...so I forgive those ringholders. ;-) Heck, sometimes the supergrime even functions as a prong and the wearer's stone is saved!
 

TristanC

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Jun 6, 2011
Messages
995
Guys I lost my lunch. You all prompted me to post in Rockytalk for help finding a home use ultrasonic cleaner.

Can you please share here too? Come on, you created the phobic obsession I didn't have 15 minutes ago, you gotta help me deal with it.

Any good online stores with international shipping which stock excellent ultrasonic cleaners? Do you have tips on what you add with the water to make the cleaner work better? (and sometimes some cleaners die if you add certain things? I'm really not sure)

We tend to send rings for cleaning once a year or so... I'm starting to think this isn't good.
 

confusedaisy

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Jan 4, 2011
Messages
362
jewelerman|1309195180|2956299 said:
Pandora|1309191860|2956236 said:
One of my mother's rings - I have no idea when she had last cleaned it but it was definitely years rather than weeks. It took over an hour with a baby toothbrush, a toothpick and an ultrasonic.

She wasn't allowed to wear it afterwards either - turned out the the two very pretty OEC sidestones were basically held in with gunk and the prongs were basically non-existent. So it went off for a reset. Even so I had to spend 10 minutes on it a couple of weeks ago getting the sapphire centre clean.

My sister's was also pretty bad but only took 30 minutes. She was amazed it was the same ring once I had finished as the colour of her blue sapphire had lightened so much.

Part of me actually enjoys doing the really bad ones - must be a bit like being a picture restorer - cleaning off old varnish and years of gunk to reveal a potential masterpiece beneath!

At one point I used to give couples ultrasonics as engagements gifts. I always take mine, my jewellery cleaner and a baby toothbrush to whichever parents we are staying with at Christmas and confiscate everyone's rings for a good cleaning session.
I thought i was the only one who set up a cleaning clinic at family reunions!Seriously you must add this to the You know you are obsessed with jewelry thread!
OMG!!! I just did this this past weekend with the FMIL's engagement ring, cocktail rings, and grandmothers engagement ring (a gorgeous OEC- swooooon!!) I cleaned them the old fashioned way- soak in warm soapy water and went at it with a baby toothbrush for about 10 minutes each- and when I showed her all the gunk left in the glass she wasn't even that shocked. But she was so thrilled with her new sparkly ring!! Oh the madness!!
 
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