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Gemspedia >> Gems >> Gemstone Care

Gemstone Care

Gems are among the most durable of nature’s creations. With a little care, they will be as beautiful for generations to come as they are today.

To keep your gems sparkling, clean them when dust and fingerprints have dimmed their brilliance. The best way to clean your gemstone jewelry is in a bowl of water with a few drops of ordinary dish detergent. Using an old toothbrush or other soft brush, scrub gently behind the stone where dust and soap can collect. Then just rinse and pat try with a soft cloth.

 

A home ultrasonic cleaner should be used with extreme caution. It can be used to clean ruby, sapphire, diamond, iolite, amethyst, citrine, garnets, iolite, chrysoberyl, and unadorned gold jewelry but it may damage gems like emerald, pink tourmaline, peridot, pearls, coral, lapis lazuli, malachite, turquoise, and any gem that has many inclusions. When in doubt, don’t use it.

 

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. Strands of pearls should be restrung if the cord frays or stretches so that individual pearls move.

To keep your gemstone rings looking brilliant, remove them before vigorous exercise or working with your hands. Some gem varieties might be damaged with a sharp blow. When removing your rings, don’t pull them off by the gemstone: this won’t damage the gem but it can, over time, stretch the metal that holds it in place, making the setting less secure.

 

To protect the beauty of your gems and jewelry, make sure you store each piece separately. Gems may scratch each other or the metal in your jewelry. Avoid creating a tangle of jewelry by wrapping each piece individually or keeping it in its own compartment. Especially when you travel, make sure your jewelry pieces don’t jostle each other in one bag.

If you have jewelry, perhaps passed down to you, that has seen better days or doesn’t suit your style, consider resetting the gems into a modern piece. Gems should be worn and enjoyed, not kept locked away in a safety deposit box.


While gemstones are durable, they require varying levels of care. For example, some gemstones are especially vulnerable to household chemicals and temperature changes. Cleaning gemstones presents special challenges. While many gemstones should be cared for by following our basic care guidelines below, please refer to our Gemstone and Pearl Care and Enhancement Overview to understand the care requirements for your specific stone. If you still have questions, please contact Blue Nile customer service.

  • Cleaning

After removing your gemstone jewelry, clean it by following the directions on a non-abrasive jewelry cleaner. Make sure that the jewelry cleaner specifies that it is safe to use with your gemstone. Use a soft cloth to remove any remaining dirt or other residue.

  • Storing

Store your gemstone jewelry in a lined case or a soft cloth, so the gems do not touch each other or parts of other jewelry. Gemstones are harder than gold, silver, or platinum and can scratch the surfaces of your other fine jewelry if they are not kept separate.

  • Wear

While it’s true that gemstones such as ruby and sapphire are second only to diamond on the hardness scale, it is not a measurement of their indestructibility. It means that these gemstones are able to resist scratching almost as well as a diamond. Abrasive surfaces, harsh chemicals, and sharp blows can damage even the hardest gem. Your gemstone jewelry should be the last thing you put on when getting dressed and the first thing you take off at the end of the night. Store your gemstones carefully and they will be enjoyed for generations.

 

Special Care For Special Stones


Emerald

Emeralds are durable, but their internal characteristics require some special care. They can be soaked and brushed briefly with cool water. We don’t recommend extreme heat, hot water, steamers or ultrasonic cleaners. Don’t expose to harsh cleaning solutions.

 

Fashion Jewelry

Jeweler cement is often used to create fashion jewelry, and special precautions should be taken when cleaning these pieces. Wipe with a damp cloth and dry with a soft, clean cloth. Ensure that your jewelry is completely dry. Avoid soaking in water or using heat, steamers or ultrasonic cleaners. Don’t use jewelry cleaners or other chemicals.

 

Jade

Wipe gently with a damp cloth. Dry thoroughly with a soft cloth. Avoid hot water, chemicals, steamers and ultrasonic cleaners. Don’t soak.

 

Lapis Lazulli

Avoid hot water, but mix mild soap and cool water. Wash only as needed and rinse quickly with cool water. Dry thoroughly. Avoid steamers, ultrasonic cleaners and soaking.


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