Caring for your Jewelry
Cars, furniture and clothing will look better and last longer if you take care of them. The
same is true of your gems and jewelry. Clothing manufactures sew written instructions
into their garnets. They say, “dry clean only", “no bleach”, “cool iron”, etc. It’s not
practical to place this kind of information on gems and jewelry. However, a reputable
jewelry store should have a booklet on caring for the kinds of gems and jewelry they sell.
A knowledgeable salesperson should always tell you that, “clean jewelry is beautiful
It’s important to realize that colored gemstones are not as durable a diamonds.
Diamonds are used as drills, they’ve boiled in acid, and they’re heated and plunged in
cool water. Don’t treat colored gems in this manner! Many gems are very susceptible to
thermal shock (sudden temperature changes). These include emerald, garnet, kunzite,
opal, peridot, quarts, tanzanite, topaz and tourmaline. You should not, for example, lie in
the sun, then jump right into the swimming pool while wearing any of these gems. If you
do, that sudden temperature change can cause a stone to crack or shatter.
The safest way to clean gems and jewelry is to wash it in lukewarm water using a mild
liquid soap or detergent that contains no ammonia or bleach. Then dry it with a soft, link-
free cloth. If the dirt can’t be washed off with a cloth, try using a toothpick or a Water Pik.
A very soft toothbrush can be used to help clean out the details of your jewelry, but be
gentle. There are also specially coated clothes that can do wonders to not only clean
jewelry, but they also act to remove tarnish from gold and silver and polish as well.
If hand cleaning doesn’t do the trick, have it professionally cleaned. Jewelers often clean
gems and jewelry with ultrasonic cleaners, which send high frequency sound waves
through solutions. The vibrating fluid removes built-up dirt and the detergent in the
solution will aid in its cleaning ability. Unfortunately, these vibrations can also loosen
poorly-set stones from their mounting and even damage certain gems, like emeralds. For
most gems and jewelry (even watches) this is safe and you can own your own ultrasonic
cleaner for little money.
In general ultrasonic cleaners should be avoided with:
Badly flawed stones of any type.
Oiled and/or stained gems, any of the "Mystic" stones are coated which may come off.
Stones with glass-filled cavities, newer rubies are red glass filled.
Any kind of fracture-filled stone, including diamonds, emeralds and rubies.
Life is full of knocks and bumps that can damage your jewelry. Consider the hardness of
some household surfaces such as porcelain sinks and porcelain coated appliances.
These surfaces are hard enough to chip a diamond. The most durable colored stones
are jade, ruby, sapphire, topaz chrysoberyl and spinel. The other stones listed in the
table can also provide long lasting wear. Just treat them as you would a fine silk scarf or
any other precious accessory.
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