How to Clean Emerald Jewelry Like a Professional

Mercy studied civil engineering but hates construction and fluids. She's a sucker for…

Emeralds are one of the first options when you think of green gemstones. We know them for their lustrous, green appearance. Sadly, that color won’t remain vibrant forever. You might notice some marks on your piece over time and wonder how to get rid of them. Don’t worry. In this article, we will teach you how to clean emerald jewelry like a professional.

Do emeralds need cleaning?

Yes, like all other gemstones, emeralds need cleaning. Over time, as you wear your emerald, it can collect dust and oil, and the surface becomes cloudy. At this point, you know you need to clean it.

How to Clean Emerald Jewelry

Professional jewelers can clean and polish your emerald jewelry. But you can also clean it at home using household equipment. 

How to Clean Emerald Jewelry Like a Professional

You’ll need a bowl of warm water, mild soap (a mild detergent or hand soap), a soft toothbrush, and a soft microfiber cloth.

Here are the steps to take in cleaning your emerald jewelry.

  1. Use a microfiber cloth to wipe off dirt and residue on the emerald’s surface.
  1. Add soap to your bowl of warm water and place jewelry inside the mixture. Don’t soak your emerald in the mix. Emeralds are usually treated with oils and resins to improve luster and shine. A long soak in soapy water can wash away these oils and leave your emerald with dry patches.
  1. Use a soft toothbrush to remove the softened dirt and residue left on the stone. Reach into the corners and edges to brush out what dirt has stuck there.
  1. Fill another bowl with fresh lukewarm water and submerge the jewelry in it. Rinse off the soap and ensure no residue remains on the emerald.
  1. Use a soft, dry microfiber cloth to wipe the jewelry dry. When dry, you can wear or store your emerald piece.

Tips for Emerald Care

Jewelry featuring emeralds can last for years – but only with adequate care. Your emerald can chip, fracture, or gather multiple scratches if you’re negligent. Here are some pointers for top-notch emerald care.

Store Separately

Emeralds have a hardness between 7.5 and 8 on the Mohs scale. Gemstones with hardness above 8, like diamonds, sapphires, and rubies, can scratch your emerald. Get a separate jewelry box or pouch for your emerald jewelry to prevent this from happening.

Check Jewelry for Loose Stones

Your emerald can fall off its setting if it comes loose. Inspect your jewelry regularly to ensure the emerald is firmly in place and isn’t at risk of falling off.

Avoid Harsh Chemicals

Harsh chemicals like chlorine, strong detergents, alcohol-based products, and acetone can discolor your emeralds. It’s best to take your jewelry off before you clean or swim to preserve your emerald.

Hairsprays, perfumes, and make-up products are other things to be careful with. Only put on your jewelry after applying these products so that residue doesn’t get on your emerald and discolor it.

Take it Off While You Work 

Emeralds are delicate compared to other diamond alternatives, and will shatter when struck hard. If you do handiwork or martial arts, take off your emerald rings and bracelets while working. This way, even if your hands hit something, your jewelry won’t be in the way.

Avoid High Temperatures

Emeralds are temperamental to extreme heat. Many emeralds have small fractures and inclusions within which expand in high temperatures. This expansion can cause oil used in treating your gemstone to leak out or eventually lead to your gemstone shattering. 

Take off your jewelry while working with heat or open flames to prevent that from happening.

Avoid Ultrasonic Cleaners

Due to the fractures and cracks within emeralds, many are treated with oils and resins to improve their luster and the gemstone’s appearance. In an ultrasonic cleaner, the extreme heat can force the oils out of the cracks and damage your stone.

Clean Your Piece Whenever it Looks Cloudy

Don’t wait till your jewelry is caked with dirt to clean it. Clean it whenever you notice grime in a corner or a film of grease. You can clean emerald jewelry several times a year as needed.

Visit a Professional

Meet a professional jeweler for guidance on your jewelry once or twice a year. A jeweler is better equipped to let you know if the stones are loose and if you’ll require additional cleaning. Jewelers can also let you know when your emerald needs to be re-oiled.

Choose a Protective Setting

Purchase emeralds with a protective setting. Emeralds are brittle and break when there’s hard force. To reduce the force’s impact, use a setting with more protection. Good examples are bezel and halo settings.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are our answers to popular questions about emerald care.

Do emeralds chip easily?

Yes, emeralds chip easily. Emeralds are on the high end of the Mohs hardness scale (between 7.5 and 8), but they’re brittle. If you strike it against a hard surface, your emerald can crack or chip.

How do you make emeralds shiny?

You can make your emerald shiny by cleaning it. Emeralds aren’t sparkling gemstones, but they will look duller when they get clouded with dirt and grime. Use mild soap, warm water, a soft toothbrush, and a soft microfiber cloth to clean it.

Can emeralds be cleaned in a jewelry cleaner?

No, they can’t. Don’t subject your emerald to harsh cleaning methods because it’ll get damaged. Keep your emerald jewelry away from ultrasonic or steam wash methods. The heat can widen the cracks in the stone and force out the oil used to treat it.

What does oiling an emerald do?

Emeralds have natural fractures and inclusions, affecting the gemstone’s clarity. Gemologists use oiling to fill these fractures and enhance the gem’s appearance. 

However, the effects of oiling do not last forever. You’d need to take your emerald to a jeweler after a few years for re-oiling eventually.

What oil do you use on emeralds?

For clarity enhancement, most gemologists use colorless oils. The most popular choice is cedarwood oil. Cedarwood oil is colorless and viscous, with a refractive index close to emerald’s, making it a fantastic option.

Can I wear emeralds every day?

Yes, you can. Emerald’s hardness makes it a durable stone, strong enough for daily wear. Be cautious as you wear it, though. It might be hard enough to resist scratches, but the emerald is a brittle gemstone. Hard knocks can chip and crack it.

Preserve the Vibrance

We’ve been admiring the emerald’s verdant green shade since we first knew of the gemstone. Our emeralds will get scuffed and cloudy with poor handling and lose that vibrant hue. That’s why we don’t expose it to heat or hard hits, we take it off when we swim and clean it with warm water and mild soap.

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