Because approximately 99% of all emeralds undergo clarity treatment using colorless oils or resins, continued exposure in an ultra sonic cleaner may cause the treatment to leak out. This is not harmful to the emerald and can easily and inexpensively be retreated by many jewelers. Very heavily fractured emeralds have been known to break apart in an ultra sonic cleaner and therefore should be cleaned in a more careful manner without using the ultra sonic and simply rinsing and using a soft bristle tooth brush and rinsing with water – this is not to be confused with inclusions such as liquids, solids and gasses that are trapped within the crystal that do not necessarily weaken the gem. Avoid quick extremes of temperature as well. Hardness and toughness in gemstones represent 2 completely different characteristics. Hardness represents scratch resistance while toughness represents the ability to withstand impacts. Although diamond is the hardest mineral found in nature, it is brittle and not indestructible and is not as tough as corundum or jade. It can chip or break when hit in just the right place. Although emerald is not as hard as diamond, it is hard enough to cut glass and steel and is actually very durable with the ability to withstand daily wear and nearly all caustic solutions it may be exposed to with the exception of hydro fluoric acid which will cause etching. Most damage to any jewelry occurs to the mounting rather that the gem itself, generally due to carelessness. All gemstones, including emeralds, should be handled with care and respect. Your insurance policy is the only guarantee against theft, loss and damage.
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It is important to clean your jewelry regularly. A slight spot or coating of hand lotion, hairspray, perfumes or sunscreen will attract dirt and dust which will dull the stones.
- Do remove your jewelry when performing heavy chores such as gardening, woodworking, cleaning with caustic fluids, or participating in sports.
- Do clean your jewelry regularly with warm water mixed with a mild liquid detergent (Dawn or Simple Green) and a small brush.
- Do store your jewelry individually in a soft bag or box.
- Do check mountings on a regular basis for broken prongs, thin shank or loose stones.
- Don’t wear your jewelry at all times. Mountings do bend, especially when worn while sleeping or performing manual labor.
- Don’t bathe or shower with your jewelry. Soaps typically contain a grease or oil base that adheres to the stones.
- Don’t use bleach to clean your jewelry. It pits the mounting and can actually dissolve the metal if left to soak.
- Don’t toss your jewelry in with other jewelry. The stones might scratch or nick other stones and mountings.
- Don’t jam your hands into tight pockets. It’s easy to pull open a prong and lose the stone.
- Don’t forget that your gemstone is a gift of nature and an heirloom that can be passed from generation to generation