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Care & Treatment

2010

Semi-Precious Stones Natural colored gemstones are often treated to improve their appearance. These treatments are permanent and require no special care. Most semi-precious stones can be wiped off with a damp cloth for their best shine. Immersing them in chemical cleaners will eventually begin to damage many stones. If the stones are set in metal that has tarnished, you can use a jewelry polishing cloth to shine up the jewelry. Unless it is stated on the cloth's label that it is not to be used on gemstones, most polishing cloths are okay to use on this type of jewelry.

Freshwater Pearls, Opals and Soft Stones Please be kind to these! They are soft and porous, meaning they will soak in whatever liquid they are immersed in, directly into the stone. Over time, this will ruin the look and texture of the stone. Never put them in a jewelry chemical dip or ionic cleaner. Your best bet is to simply wipe then off with a barely damp cloth. I've seen quite a few pearls and opals meet their death because they were soaked in chlorine. It's not a pretty sight. Trust me! Other soft stones that should not be used with any chemical cleaners or immersed in chlorine are listed below. Clean them as you would a pearl or opal. Amber Aquamarine Coral Emerald Jade Jet Lapis Lazuli Malachite Opal Pearls Shell (any kind including Mother of Pearl) Turquoise First of all a note about the hardness and therefore relative durability of gemstones. To measure hardness, the jewelry industry uses the Mohs scale. This gem-trade standard, conceived by Friedrich Mohs in 1812, measures the ability of a gem or mineral to resist abrasion damage. Diamond at 10 is the hardest whereas talc at 1 is the softest. Popular gemstones like amethyst and citrine register 7 whereas rubies and sapphires register 9. Most substances your jewelry is likely to come into contact with will be around 7 on Mohs scale so any gemstone with a hardness higher than 7 is unlikely to scratch. Precious metals (silver, gold and platinum) are quite low on the Mohs scale – less than 4.5 – and will scratch.


Care & Treatment

2010

How Do I Clean Semi-Precious Gemstones? Turquoise Mohs scale 5-6 Turquoise is chalky in texture and is to be treated as fragile. Always store carefully in a separate compartment to avoid scratching and chipping. It will scratch easily and chip if subjected to rough treatment. It does not like to be immersed in water and does not respond well to chemical contact. Either can cause it to change color – usually turning greener. To clean, use a damp cloth to wipe the surface. Never use jewelry dip. Never use an ultrasonic cleaner. Lapis Lazuli Mohs scale 5-6 Lapis lazuli is a soft stone and like turquoise will chip easily. Always store carefully in a separate compartment. To clean, use a damp cloth to wipe the surface. Do not immerse in water as this can remove the protective coating. Avoid contact with all chemicals. Never use jewelry dip. Never use an ultrasonic cleaner. Coral Mohs scale 3.5 - 4 Coral is a soft organic gemstone and porous. Always store carefully in a separate compartment as it will easily scratch or chip. Avoid large variations in temperature and prolonged exposure to sunlight. To clean, use a damp cloth to wipe the surface. Never use jewelry dip. Never use an ultrasonic cleaner. Pearl Mohs scale 2.5 - 4.5 Pearls are less durable than most gems. They are sensitive to acids, dryness, and humidity. Avoid contact with any chemicals such as hairspray and perfume and wipe them clean with a soft cloth after wearing as natural body oils can discolor them. Store them carefully, preferably in a pearl necklace box, a chamois bag or in tissue. Don’t throw them in a box with other jewelry as harder gemstones will scratch a pearl’s surface. Cultured pearls can be washed carefully in mild soapy water. Do not soak. Do not dry in heat. Wipe dry with a soft cloth. If worn often, restring every 2 years. Larimar Mohs scale 5 - 7 Store larimar carefully, preferably in a separate jewelry compartment, a chamois bag or in tissue. Avoid contact with any chemicals such as hairspray and perfume and wipe clean with a soft cloth after wearing as natural body oils can dull the surface. Avoid prolonged exposure to bright sunshine as this may cause color fading. Clean in mildly soapy water with a tiny drop of ammonia and use a soft brush. Rinse well and dry with a soft jewelry cloth. Any cleaning preparation recommended for pearls is suitable for Larimer. Moonstone and Labradorite Mohs scale 6 Moonstone gemstones are stored in oil before use in jewelry. This prevents the stone drying out and cracking. It can be easily scratched and should be stored in a separate compartment. To clean, use a damp cloth to wipe the surface. Never use jewelry dip. Never use an ultrasonic cleaner.


Care & Treatment

2010

Chalcedony and Onyx Mohs scale 7 Avoid harsh chemicals. Always store carefully in a separate jewelry compartment to avoid scratching and chipping. Clean in mildly soapy water with a soft brush. Rinse well. Rose Quartz Mohs scale 7 Always store carefully in a separate jewelry compartment as despite its Mohs’ rating, rose quartz can chip and scratch easily. Avoid prolonged exposure to bright sunshine as this may cause colour fading. Clean in mildly soapy water with a soft brush. Rinse well. Do not soak. Do not steam clean Topaz Mohs scale 8 A durable gemstone unlikely to scratch or chip easily. However, always store in a separate jewelry compartment as it may scratch a softer gemstone or precious metal. Avoid harsh chemicals and exposure to heat. Clean in mildly soapy water with a soft brush. Rinse well. Do not soak. Do not steam clean Never use an ultrasonic cleaner. Amethyst, Citrine, Ametrine and Smokey Quartz Mohs scale 7 Avoid harsh chemicals and long exposure to heat. Always store carefully in a separate jewelry compartment to avoid scratching and chipping. Clean in mildly soapy water with a soft brush. Rinse well. Do not soak. Do not steam clean Should survive an ultrasonic cleaning. Garnet Mohs scale 6.5 – 7.5 Always store carefully in a separate jewelry compartment as garnet is brittle and despite its Mohs’ rating, can chip and scratch easily. Avoid harsh chemicals. Clean in mildly soapy water with a soft brush. Rinse well. Do not soak. Do not steam clean All garnets except andradite should survive an ultrasonic cleaning. Peridot Mohs scale 6.5 – 7 Avoid harsh chemicals. Avoid rapid changes in temperature and exposure to heat. Always store carefully in a separate jewelry compartment to avoid scratching and chipping. Clean in mildly soapy water with a soft brush. Rinse well. Do not soak. Do not steam clean Never use an ultrasonic cleaner.


Gemstone Care and Treatment