Taking Care of Your Gem Stones - A Simple Guide
Cleaning GemstoneCleaning your Gemstone Jewelry doesn’t require any special accessories or appliances. A bowl of water with a few drops of dish detergent will do the trick. To clean behind the stone you can use a soft toothbrush but don’t scrub too hard as it may scratch the stone. Scrub gently and rinse it after it is done. Dry it with a soft cloth with soft pats.
Always gently wipe off excess make-up and skin oils after wearing your jewelry. Use a nub free, 100% cotton cloth and gently wipe the piece clean using only the soft pads of your fingers.
All organic gems should only be wiped with a soft cloth when cleaning them, pearls, corals, and ambers are examples of organic gems.
A home ultrasonic cleaner should only be used with extreme caution and only by those who know how to use it and what gems you can use it on. For example it can be used with ruby, sapphire and amethyst, however it could damage gems such as emerald, turquoise, and pearl.
Be very careful when using any soaking method to clean jewelry that has soft stones such as amber, lapis lazuli, or turquoise. Extended soaking in any solution may harm the polish on the stone.
Storing GemstonesAlways store your Gem stones separately to avoid scratches from harder gems. If possible, store each piece in a separate box. Soft stones like lapis, malachite, turquoise, amber and opals can easily be scratched by pin stems and the edges of other jewelry. Protect these gemstones by wrapping them in jeweler's tissue and storing separately.
Sunlight and heatMake sure you store it out of direct sunlight because a lot of gemstones, like amethyst, citrine's, smoky quartz, can fade in sunlight. Opals also require extra special care. Don't put your opal ring on the window sill when washing your hands or the dishes, as strong sunlight can dry out the water in opals which could cause hazing or color change and always avoid heat. Pearls should also be treated with particular care as scratches, perfumes and household chemicals which can wear away the nacre or cause color change quite easily. Emerald gemstones should also never be stored near heat.
PerfumePut your jewelry on last when dressing, so avoiding spraying with perfume. If you are going to wear perfume, put it on first and then put your jewelry on.
SwimmingIt is also a big no-no to wear your jewelry when going swimming. The chlorine in the water might damage your jewelry. Always remove your rings and fine jewelry before using any product that contains bleach. Bleach can cause gold and other metal alloys to breakdown leaving the metal irreparably damaged. It may sound obvious, but never use bleach to clean jewelry.
Other ChemicalsBesides chlorine, bleach, denatured alcohol, turpentine, acetone, and ammonia can cause harm. These chemicals can dull or even pit the surface on softer gemstones. Petroleum based products can actually melt amber if allowed to remain on the stone and they can do significant damage to pearls. These Gemstones are soft and porous. Long-term exposure to chemicals such as hairspray, cosmetics, and perfume may damage these organic Gemstones, especially pearls.
ToothpasteNever use toothpasteor other abrasives to clean metal or stones. You will find countless websites that recommend toothpaste as a cleaner, but this is not an accepted practice by fine jewelers. Although the abrasives in toothpaste are great for your teeth, they can damage the surface of the metal requiring the skill of a professional to buff and refinish. Toothpaste will also scuff the surface on amber, lapis, turquoise and other soft stones resulting in the fine polish which was produced by the skilled lapidary to be permanently marred.
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- First Published: September-13-2011
- Last Updated: September-13-2011
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