All natural stones need to be handled with care. Gemstones can break or crack if dropped on a hard surface so please remember that your fine gemstone jewelry is precious and treat it as such.
Some estimates state that 90 percent or more of emeralds are fracture-filled. Since the great majority of fashioned natural emeralds contain filled fractures, it’s risky to clean them ultrasonically or with steam. Ultrasonic vibrations can weaken already-fractured stones, and hot steam can cause oil or unhardened resin to sweat out of fractures. Using warm, soapy water coupled with gentle scrubbing is the safest way to clean emeralds. Even so, emeralds are beautiful stones for all types of jewelry and with proper care will last for generations.
The only safe way to clean opals is with warm soapy water.
Excessive heat and sudden temperature changes may also fracture some gems. Heat can easily remove the natural moisture these gems need to keep their beauty.
Exposure to chemicals can damage or discolor precious metals – gold, silver and platinum – and may harm some colored gems. Even everyday substances like hairspray, lotion, perfume or other cosmetics can contain chemicals that will permanently damage the surface of your pearls and other delicate or porous gems (like turquoise). Fine jewelry should be removed before diving into a chlorinated swimming pool or before using household cleaners. Many of these cleaners contain ammonia, which can be too harsh for delicate gems. Chlorine bleach, another common household solvent, can pit or damage gold alloys.
We strongly discourage the use of ultrasonic cleaners. Certain stones should never be put in an ultrasonic cleaner. In particular, emeralds are extremely prone to fracture. Other stones that should stay clear of the ultrasonic cleaner are pearls, coral, ivory, tanzanite, moonstone, polite, kunzite, lapis lazuli, opal, topaz, turquoise and zircon.
What’s more, the vibration generated by the machine can sometimes shake gems loose or chip gems that are set with their girdles touching.
This type of cleaning is best left to jewelry professionals who know about different gem materials and understand when and how to use the ultrasonic cleaner safely.
Most colored gems can be cleaned with warm water, mild dish soap (no detergents) and a soft brush. A pulsed-water dental cleaning appliance and a soft, lint-free cloth can also be used. Be sure to rinse your jewelry in a glass of water to remove cleaning solutions since you risk losing loose stones – or even an entire piece of jewelry - if you rinse directly in the sink.