Cleaning Semi Precious Gemstones

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Cleaning semi precious jewellery & tips for looking after different gems

All semi precious gemstone jewellery gets dirty over time including modern and old gem jewellery.

This is a short guide to cleaning your gemstone pieces and for their care and protection when stored, but if ever in doubt then consult a specialist jeweler.

Ideally you should wipe your piece of gemstone jewellery with a moistened soft lint free cloth after wear to remove any oil and salts. Allow to dry thoroughly before storage. A cotton bud can also be used for small gemstones. Dip into water and blot first on a piece of tissue. Wipe dry with the other dry bud end.
But just occasionally you should try to clean it a bit more thoroughly with a cleaning solution or by a machine method such as steam or ultrasonic cleaning. Care should be taken with gemstones though and the following is a guide to the care of individual stones that are prong set into a piece of jewellery and not just glued in place. Clean the gems first and then treat the metal as described on our cleaning jewellery information section.
 
cleaning agate jewellerycleaning gemstone jewellery

Alexandrite
Normal care of Alexandrite jewellery includes moistened cloth wiping and can use a steam cleaner but NOT a ultrasonic cleaner.

Amethyst

Take extra care not to expose this gemstone for long periods to sunlight as it can fade the amethyst colour. Wipe with a moist cloth also suitable with the use of a steam cleaner but NOT an ultrasonic cleaner.

Aquamarine 

Wipe Aquamarine with a moistened cloth and dry well. It is also suitable with steam cleaning. Not to use an ultrasonic cleaner though.

Citrine

Wipe the Citrine gems with a moist cloth. Suitable with steam cleaning recommended but NOT the use of an ultrasonic cleaner.

Diamonds

Both clear and colour enhanced diamonds will benefit from routine wipe care. They can be cleaned more thoroughly in a steam and an ultrasonic cleaner.

Emeralds

Only recommended cleaning emeralds with a wipe cleaning method. NOT to be cleaned in a steam or ultrasonic cleaner.

Opals

Normal wipe care with NO steam or ultrasonic cleaning. This gemstone does not like extremes of heat and will crack if its structural water is loss. So keep away from drying condition.

Real Pearls

Again wipe clean only with a moist cloth drying after well. They can also be rinsed under water and then dried by gently patting with a dry cloth. This rinsing method is not recommended for a necklace as the string will deteriorate over time more rapidly. the same Above methods can be used for vintage fake pearls, but test in a place that can not be seen first - that the pearl coating will not deteriorate and come off when using a moist method. Some of the fish scale coated jewellery will do this - so be very careful. The best solution to keeping real pearls in a good condition is to wear, as the natural body oils protect them.See our guide to faux or simulated pearl cleaning

Peridot

Wipe clean care only NOT to use an ultrasonic cleaner or clean by the steam method. This gorgeous gemstone Peridot will damage under extreme temperature conditions so do not expose.

Ruby

This gemstone will benefit from a wipe clean regime. Be warned that fillers are often used to fill the stones cavities and tiny microscopic voids, so is susceptible to damage from heat and some chemicals. Both steam cleaning and the ultrasonic method of cleaning is suitable for rubies.

Sapphire

Gentle wipe clean method is ideal for Sapphires. Again a gemstone that has fillers for its voids and cavities, so more prone to heat and some chemical damage. Can be cleaned more thoroughly in a steam or ultrasonic cleaner.

Tanzanite

Routine wipe clean care only, NOT to be cleaned by the steam or ultrasonic method. Tanzanite is another beautiful gemstone that can be damaged by extreme temperature changes.

Topaz

Wipe clean method only, NOT suitable for ultrasonic and steam cleaning methods. Colour treated topaz gems will fade under sunlight, so do not expose them to the sun for long periods.

Tourmaline

Give this piece of semi precious gemstone Tourmaline jewellery a wipe clean. You may also clean with a steam cleaner but NOT an ultrasonic cleaner. 

Zircon

Preserve this artificial gemstone with a wipe clean. The colour enhanced zircons will fade when exposed to sunlight for prolonged periods. Can use a steam cleaner but NOT an ultrasonic cleaner.
Updated December 2018. Copyright Jewels & Finery UK.