Our ancestors had many homemade ways to clean items in the 1890s, including this one for cleaning jewelry. It may have been good for diamonds, platinum, silver, and gold but it probably was not safe for all types of precious stones like pearls, ivory or opals. Ammonia is also very toxic so if you try it, proceed with caution.
(Ammonia is a strong, colorless gas. If the gas is dissolved in water, it is called liquid ammonia. Poisoning may occur if you breathe in ammonia. Poisoning may also occur if you swallow or touch products that contain very large amounts of ammonia. WARNING: Never mix ammonia with bleach. This causes the release of toxic chlorine gas, which can be deadly.)
How To Clean Jewelry
For cleaning jewelry there is nothing better than ammonia and water. if very dull or dirty, rub a little soap on a soft brush and brush them in this wash, rinse in cold water, dry first in an old handkerchief and then rub with buck or chamois skin. Their freshness and brilliancy when thus cleaned cannot be surpassed by any compound used by jewelers.