Are you tired of your precious gemstones losing their luster and shine?
Do you find yourself constantly wondering how to clean your jewelry without damaging it?
Look no further!
Natural stone cleaning is the answer to all your gemstone woes. With so many different types of gemstones and their unique cleaning requirements, it can be overwhelming to know where to start. But fear not, we’ve got you covered. In this article, I’ll dive into the different types of gemstones and their cleaning requirements, how to clean your gemstones at home, how often to clean them, and even how to store them properly. Plus, I’ll share some tips on when it’s best to leave it to the professionals. So sit back, relax, and get ready to learn everything you need to know about natural stone cleaning.
- Gemstones have unique attributes that determine the best cleaning method.
- Identify your gemstones before cleaning them at home.
- Clean gemstone jewelry every few months or once a month if worn frequently.
- Store gemstone jewelry separately and consider using a plastic container with in-built dividers.
- Professional cleaning of gemstone jewelry is essential to maintain the beauty and longevity of your precious pieces.
Types of Gemstones and Cleaning Requirements
Gemstones are beautiful and valuable, but they require proper care to maintain their beauty and longevity. Each type of gemstone has unique attributes that determine the best method for cleaning them.
Here are some tips to help you keep your gemstones clean and shiny.
Amber: Amber is an organic gem that can be cleaned with a damp cloth and patted dry. If a deeper clean is required, warm water and detergent can work well.
Coral: Organic gems like coral are very sensitive. Keep coral far away from heat, as it can disintegrate. Use a damp cloth and dry thoroughly.
Diamond: Diamonds are known for their amazing hardness, which means they resist scratches. However, their clarity means that even a small amount of grease can disrupt the diamond’s natural beauty. Ammonia-based cleaning agents are recommended for diamonds.
Other gemstones: Different types of gemstones have unique attributes that determine the best method for cleaning them. Follow basic gemstone jewelry cleaning guidelines to keep your gemstones clean and shiny.
Most stones respond well to mild detergent and warm water.
Scrub them using a soft brush, preferably a baby brush with soft bristles.
Avoid using harsh chemicals like chlorine or bleach and ammonia-based cleaners when working with organic gems like pearls.
Ultrasonic cleaners offer an effective way to clean your stone jewelry, but they are not safe for cleaning all kinds of stones.
When in doubt, take your precious stone jewelry to a jeweler.
While cleaning jewelry is important, certain cleaning methods can pose risks to certain types of gemstones. Here are some risks to consider when cleaning jewelry:
- Boiling water: Cleaning your jewelry by dropping it into a bath of boiling water can cause the metal to expand and contract, which can loosen gemstones. The boiling water can also cause cracks and fractures to form in gemstones.
- Ultrasonic cleaners: Not all gemstones and jewelry can be safely cleaned in ultrasonic machines. The less durable the gemstone, the more prone it is to damage in an ultrasonic cleaner. Gems that have been filled or coated with oil, resin, or wax should not be cleaned in an ultrasonic device. Coating and filling are used on emeralds, lapis lazuli, and other gemstones.
- Chemicals: Many cleaners contain ammonia, which can be too harsh for delicate gems or vintage jewelry. Chlorine bleach, acetone, and alcohol can also damage certain gemstones.
- Mechanical cleaning: Mechanical gemstone cleaning has benefits and risks. The main risks come from the unique internal characteristics of individual gems, such as inclusions, undetected tiny fractures, structural stresses, the gems’ chemical properties, and any treatments they may have undergone. Professional gemologists can help you select the appropriate mechanical gemstone cleaning method.
It is important to understand the nature of different gemstones and their treatments before cleaning them. If you are unsure about how to clean your jewelry, it is best to consult a professional gemologist or jeweler.
They can provide you with the guidance you need to keep your gemstones looking their best.
Cleaning Gemstones at Home
Gemstone jewelry is a treasure that deserves to be taken care of. However, cleaning gemstones at home can be a daunting task, especially if you’re unsure of the right methods to use. Here are some tips and tricks to help you clean your gemstones at home without causing any damage.
Identify Your Gemstones
Before you start cleaning your gemstones, it’s important to identify them. Different gemstones require different cleaning methods. Some gemstones are more fragile than others and require gentler cleaning methods.
If you’re unsure of the type of gemstone you have, it’s best to take it to a professional jeweler for identification.
Common Methods for Cleaning Gemstones at Home
Here are some common methods for cleaning gemstones at home:
- Warm water, mild detergent, and a soft brush: This is the safest cleaning method for almost all gems. Use warm water, a mild detergent, and a soft brush to gently scrub your jewelry. Then rinse in warm running water and gently polish.
- Dish soap and water: Soak the jewelry in a bowl of water with a few drops of ordinary dish detergent. Using an old soft toothbrush, scrub gently behind the stone where dust and soap can collect. Then rinse and pat dry with a soft cloth.
- Baking soda: Baking soda is another excellent option for cleaning gemstones as it can help lift away dirt. While a baking soda solution won’t harm jewelry, it’s important to have each piece inspected for defects and repairs before cleaning them.
- Glass cleaner: For other hard gems, you can wipe them with glass cleaner. The traditional trio of warm water, dish soap, and a soft toothbrush will work as well.
- Ammonia: A common cleaning mantra among jewelers includes needing only very diluted ammonia, a soft toothbrush, and soft, lint-free cloths for cleaning.
Natural Cleaning Solutions for Gemstones
If you prefer to use natural cleaning solutions, here are some recommendations:
- Warm water and mild detergent: Let your jewelry piece soak for a few moments in a solution of warm water and mild detergent or cleaning solution. Use a soft brush to gently scrub your jewelry. Then rinse in warm running water and gently polish.
- Dawn dish detergent: The best homemade jewelry cleaning solution is a mixture of a few drops of Dawn dish detergent in warm, not hot, water. Let the piece sit in the solution for a few minutes, longer if it’s very dirty, then gently scrub with a new, baby-size, soft toothbrush.
- Vinegar, witch hazel, and tea tree oil: Put the jewelry in a glass mason jar. Cover with 1/2 cup of vinegar or witch hazel. Add one drop of tea tree oil and swirl to mix. Add hot water and drop in your jewelry, letting it sit for 10 minutes. Gently scrub with an old toothbrush. Rinse and pat dry with paper towel.
- Warm water and mild soap: For most gemstones, including treated and included gemstones, the best method for cleaning is warm water, a few drops of mild soap, and a soft brush. Once you see a visible build-up, make time for cleaning. Clean your jewelry every now and then, not after your ring goes grinch and unrecognizable.
Additional Tips for Cleaning Gemstones at Home
- Use a soft-bristled brush: The first tool you’ll need to begin cleaning your jewelry at home is a soft-bristled brush. The soft bristles prevent any scratches to your gemstones. Soft toothbrushes can do the trick, but you can also find commercial jewelry cleaning brushes through most retailers.
- Avoid harsh chemicals: Avoid using harsh chemicals, such as bleach, chlorine, and acetone, on your gemstones. These chemicals can damage the surface of your gemstones and cause discoloration.
- Be gentle: When cleaning your gemstones, be gentle. Don’t use too much pressure when scrubbing, as this can scratch the surface of your gemstones.
- Dry your jewelry thoroughly: After cleaning your gemstones, make sure to dry them thoroughly. Use a soft cloth to gently pat your jewelry dry. Avoid using a hair dryer or any other heat source to dry your jewelry, as this can cause damage.
Frequency and Signs of Cleaning
How Often Should You Clean Your Jewelry?
It is recommended to clean your gemstone jewelry every few months to keep it looking its best. However, if you wear your jewelry frequently, such as rings or earrings, it is advisable to clean them at least once a month.
These pieces are often exposed to oils, dirt, and other grime that can build up quickly.
Precious stone jewelry, on the other hand, should be cleaned at least once a week to maintain its shine.
What is the Safest Way to Clean Gemstone Jewelry?
The safest way to clean most gemstones, including treated and included gemstones, is to use warm water, a few drops of mild soap, and a soft brush. Avoid using harsh cleaners, such as ultrasonic cleaners or steam cleaners, as they can damage the gemstones in your jewelry.
Signs That Your Gemstone Jewelry Needs Cleaning
Gemstone jewelry needs cleaning when it appears dark and cloudy, and the back of the gemstones has accumulated a layer of soap film and other dirt that blocks light from shining through them, making them look dull.
Here are some signs that indicate your gemstone jewelry needs cleaning:
- The gemstones appear dark and cloudy
- The shine of the gemstones has dulled
- The jewelry has accumulated dirt, grime, and dust
- The jewelry has been exposed to chemicals in hair products, fragrances, and cosmetics
- The jewelry has been exposed to body oils and chemicals
- The jewelry has been exposed to perfume, aftershave, hairspray, and other similar products
How to Clean Gemstone Jewelry?
To clean gemstone jewelry, you can use a mild liquid dish soap and a soft-bristled brush or microfiber cloth to remove dirt, grime, and other buildup. However, you should be careful when cleaning gemstone jewelry, as not all gemstones can be cleaned using the same method.
For example, organic gems like pearls, amber, and coral require special care because they are porous and can be damaged by chemicals. Therefore, it is essential to check what cleaning method is safe for your gemstone before cleaning it.
Storing Gemstone Jewelry
Gemstone jewelry is a valuable investment that deserves proper care and attention to maintain its beauty and value. One of the best ways to ensure that your gemstone jewelry stays in good condition is by storing it properly.
Here are some tips for storing gemstone jewelry:
- Store gemstone jewelry separately: To prevent damage, it is important to store gemstone jewelry separately. This means keeping each piece in its own box or compartment, or wrapping it in fabric. This will prevent the gemstones from knocking into each other and becoming damaged.
- Store fine jewelry in a secure location: Fine jewelry should be kept in a secure location to prevent theft. Consider keeping it inside a safe or another inconspicuous place in your home.
- Store diamonds separately: Diamonds are capable of scratching other stones and metals. Therefore, it is important to store them separately from other jewelry pieces.
- Store pearls in a wooden box with a felt lining: Pearls should be kept inside a wooden box with a felt lining. Avoid storing them in plastic bags or boxes, as plastic can interact with the pearls and cause them to deteriorate.
- Use a plastic container with in-built dividers: An inexpensive and practical storage solution for gemstone jewelry is a plastic container with in-built dividers.
- Avoid direct sunlight: Store fine jewelry away from direct sunlight, as prolonged exposure to UV light can damage some stones.
Cleaning your gemstone jewelry is also an important part of maintaining its beauty and value. Here are some tips for cleaning gemstone jewelry:
- Use mild detergent: The best way to clean your gemstone jewelry is in a bowl of water with a few drops of ordinary dish detergent. Use an old soft toothbrush to scrub gently behind the stone where dust and soap can collect. Rinse and pat dry with a soft cloth.
- Avoid harsh chemicals: Avoid using hot water or scrubbing your jewelry with harsh or abrasive chemicals. After cleaning, rinse and pat dry. Loose stones can be soaked in warm soapy water and gently cleaned with a soft toothbrush.
- Be careful with organic gemstones: Organic gems like pearls, amber, and coral require special care because they are porous. Make sure you don’t expose them to the chemicals in hair products, fragrances, and cosmetics. Store them in a cloth-lined box or pouch and keep them away from other jewelry, which might scratch them. To clean them, simply wipe clean with a soft cloth.
- Get professional advice: Knowing your collection is the critical first step to choosing the best cleaning method. Reputable jewelers should provide information about the gems you purchase. Gemologists can accurately identify your gems as well as any treatments they’ve received. They can also assess the unique inclusions and advise on the best cleaning method.
- Avoid baking soda and vinegar: Baking soda and vinegar can seriously damage your gemstones and should never be used with these pieces. Instead, use warm water and dish soap to clean your gemstone jewelry.
- Be gentle: Be gentle when cleaning your gemstone jewelry. Avoid scrubbing too hard or using abrasive materials that can scratch or damage the gemstones.
By following these tips for storing and cleaning gemstone jewelry, you can ensure that your investment stays in good condition for years to come. Remember to always handle your jewelry with care and seek professional advice when in doubt.
Taking Care of Your Precious Gems: The Importance of Gemstone Care in Natural Stone Cleaning
When it comes to natural stone cleaning, gemstone care is a crucial aspect that cannot be overlooked.
Whether you have a collection of precious gemstone jewelry or a few statement pieces, proper care and maintenance are essential to keep them looking their best.
Gemstones are delicate and require special attention to preserve their natural beauty and shine.
Regular cleaning and polishing of gemstones can help remove dirt, grime, and other impurities that can dull their luster.
However, it’s important to use the right cleaning products and techniques to avoid damaging the stones.
Harsh chemicals and abrasive materials can scratch or chip the surface of the gemstones, causing irreparable damage.
By incorporating gemstone care into your natural stone cleaning routine, you can ensure that your precious gems remain in pristine condition for years to come.
So, whether you’re a jewelry enthusiast or simply want to keep your gemstone accessories looking their best, taking care of your precious gems is a must.
For more information:
Professional cleaning of gemstone jewelry is essential to maintain the beauty and longevity of your precious pieces. Here are some benefits of having your jewelry professionally cleaned:
Mechanical gemstone cleaning can provide beautiful results on difficult-to-clean set gems with minimal effort. Professional jewelers use various methods such as polishing wheels, ultrasonic cleaners, and steamers to thoroughly clean jewelry and remove dirt and grime from small crevices.
Professional jewelers pay special attention to brushing around the claws and crowns that hold the gemstones or diamonds in place. They also use ultrasonic cleaning to remove day-to-day dirt and grime, oily residues, and even jewelers rouge from the tiny crevices and hard-to-reach areas of jewelry.
Professional gemologists understand the “internal personalities” of your gems and can help you select the appropriate mechanical gemstone cleaning method to avoid any damage to your jewelry. They also know how to avoid harsh solvents like alcohol or acetone that can damage the gemstone.
Proper jewelry cleaning and storage keeps jewelry looking its best and can prevent damage. Professional jewelers can provide advice on how to care for your jewelry to maintain its beauty and value.
However, gemstones can be damaged during the cleaning process if the wrong cleaning solution or method is used. Here are some tips on how to tell if a gemstone has been damaged during the cleaning process:
Gem Treatments and Enhancements
Gemstone treatments can enhance appearance but can also negatively interact with some cleaning processes. For example, exposing an oil-treated emerald to heat or an ultrasonic cleaning could damage it.
Avoid Harsh Solvents
Avoid using harsh solvents like alcohol or acetone when cleaning your gemstone jewelry at home. These solvents can damage the gemstone.
Use a non-ammoniated cleaner to clean your gemstone jewelry. Ammonia can damage some gemstones, such as rubies.
Some gemstones are bleached and then dyed, a form of “combination treatment.” Bleaching can alter or reduce the color of a porous gemstone. If you suspect that your gemstone has been bleached, it is best to take it to a professional gemologist for identification.
White Marks or Scratches
If you notice white marks or scratches on the surface of your gemstone, it may have been exposed to acidic products like lemon juice or household cleaners.
Film of Oil and Dust
If your gemstone jewelry is beginning to dull, it may be that there is a film of oil and dust covering your stone from everyday wear. It is best practice to use a mild, non-stripping soap when cleaning your ruby jewelry at home.
In conclusion, cleaning natural stone jewelry is a task that requires careful consideration and attention to detail. From understanding the different types of gemstones and their unique cleaning requirements to knowing when and how often to clean your jewelry, there are many factors to consider.
While cleaning gemstones at home can be a cost-effective solution, it’s important to remember that professional cleaning may be necessary for certain types of stones or for heavily soiled jewelry.
But beyond the practical considerations of cleaning natural stone jewelry, there is something truly special about caring for these precious pieces.
Each gemstone has its own story to tell, and by taking the time to clean and care for them, we are preserving a piece of history and beauty for generations to come.
So the next time you find yourself cleaning your natural stone jewelry, take a moment to appreciate the unique qualities of each stone and the memories and emotions that they represent.
By treating our jewelry with care and respect, we are not only preserving their physical beauty, but also the intangible value that they hold in our hearts.
Looking for a new Ultrasonic jewelry cleaner?
Choosing a gadget can be very difficult if you know nothing about the technology.
Some will pay for features they do not need while others may not consider what they really want.
So I created this quick, newbie guide to help you focus on what is really important to you:
Best Practices For Using Ultrasonic Cleaners For Jewelry
Tip: Turn on the caption button if you need it. Choose ‘automatic translation’ in the settings button if you are not familiar with the english language. You may need to click on the language of the video first before your favorite language becomes available for translation.
Links and references
- 1. The Natural Stone Institute guide
- 2. “Natural Stone Maintenance and Restoration” by Maurizio Bertoli
- 3. “Manual of Natural Stone: A traditional material in contemporary architecture” by Ernst Neufert and Peter Neufert
- 4. Stanley Steemer’s professional natural stone cleaning services (not a book or PDF)
My article on the topic:
Personal reminder: (Article status: rough)