Care and Cleaning of Gemstones and Jewelry

     Prong set jewelry, when worn frequently, should have the prongs checked by a jeweler at least every six months. Prongs can be loosened or bent by gloves (of any kind), clothing (ie; sweaters), and hair or by being struck on a hard surface or the use of ultrasonic cleaners. Bent or loosened prongs can cause you to lose your gemstones.

     Gemstones are given a hardness rating, defined by mineralogist Fredrich Mohs, known commonly as the Mohs’ hardness scale. The scale refers to the scratch hardness and cutting resistance of minerals and gemstones. Diamonds are the hardest stone, but even diamonds can fracture if an edge is banged against a hard surface. Irradiated diamonds have a stable color, but are brittle and more prone to chip or break. Diamonds are 4 times harder than ruby or sapphire and 8 times harder than topaz.

     Gemstones and jewelry are sensitive to many things we may not think about; Gemstones sensitive to heat and prolonged exposure to sunlight are: Emerald, Amethyst, Kunzite, Red Tourmaline, Opal and Turquoise. The colors can fade; the stones will dry out and get small cracks.

     Some gemstones are very sensitive to extreme temperature changes (i.e.: oven to freezer, below freezing outside to very warm interior), these stones include: garnet, emerald, opal, kunzite, peridot, all quartz, tanzanite, tourmaline and topaz.

     All gemstones and even gold and silver are sensitive to chemicals used in common household cleaning products, cosmetics, skin care products, perfumes, chlorine and sand. These may cause pitting, cracks, and color clouding.

     For all these reasons, it is best to put your jewelry on last when getting ready to go out. Your jewelry should be kept in the box it came in or in a jewelry box, where each piece has an individual compartment, so they do not accidentally crack, chip or scratch one another. It is best to keep silver jewelry in a relatively air tight environment with an anti-tarnish agent to prolong the shine and decrease the need to polish. Silver jewelry should not be cleaned with harsh silver cleaners, a cloth tarnish remover is best.