With proper care all gemstone jewelry should be suitable for passing down through many generations. While a standard jewelry cleaning cloth is ideal for daily cleaning of all gemstones and jewelry, they will periodically require a more thorough clean.
A dirty gem will lose color and brilliance, but most can be easily cleaned with gentle soap and lukewarm water, scrubbing behind the gem with a very soft toothbrush as necessary. After cleaning, pat dry with a soft towel or chamois cloth.
Organic gems like Amber, Ammolite and Pearls should only be wiped clean with a moist cloth and Ethiopian Opal should only be cleaned with a standard jewelry cleaning cloth.
If a jeweler can set a gemstone in jewelry, you can wear it, but below are some handy do’s and don’ts:
- Do keep your gemstone jewelry in the separate compartments of a jewelry box, individual boxes or in cloth pouches, always storing your gem necklaces flat. When storing chains in pouches, leaving the catch just hanging out will reduce tangles.
- Do frequently wipe your jewelry with a lint-free cloth.
- Do periodically clean your jewelry. See above or on the romance card that accompanies each item of jewelry we create for how.
- Don’t put on your jewelry before using cosmetics, hair spray or perfumes.
- Don’t remove your jewelry by pulling on the gems.
- Don’t wear your jewelry when playing sports or anything else with a high risk of hard impact. Simply exercise commonsense.
- Don’t use a commercial cleaning solution until you have checked it is suitable for your gem and don’t use ultrasonic or steam cleaners for every gem. When in doubt, leave it out – the gentle soap and lukewarm water method is quick, easy, effective, and suitable for almost every gem type.
- Don’t use silverware polish to clean sterling silver jewelry.
Durability or ‘wear-ability’ in gemstones is a combination of three properties:
- Hardness is the ability of a gem to resist surface scratching. Devised in the 18th century by Viennese mineralogist Friedrich Mohs, the Mohs’ Hardness Scale measures this ability. Mohs quantified hardness on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the hardest and 1 the softest. As the minerals chosen set the levels of hardness, it is a comparative not a relative scale. This is very important to remember. The true hardness scale is actually a much better indication of the hardness of gemstones. Looking at the table below, you can see that the true hardness of most gemstones are actually pretty close together.
- Toughness is the ability of a gem to resist the development of fractures (random non-directional breakage) or cleavage (splitting along well-defined planes). Please note that toughness and hardness in gemstones can be mutually exclusive. Just because a gemstone is hard, it is not necessarily tough and vice versa.
- Stability is the ability of a gem to resist physical or chemical damage.