Emeralds are sophisticated, chic and elegant but they are also quite a fragile gemstone. They are known to fracture and chip more easily than other precious gemstones but if properly mounted in settings and cared for, emerald jewelry can last a lifetime. Here’s how to care for and clean your emerald jewelry to ensure that it remains sparkling and beautiful.
Tips on Caring for Emeralds
Cleaning Emeralds at Home
Emeralds can appear oily and filmy when there is dirt collected on the surface. Using soap and water is a simple and effective way to clean this at home, if you don’t want to take it to a professional jeweler to be cleaned.
Opt for a mild liquid soap and make a sudsy solution with warm water. Place your emerald jewelry in this solution and use a soft cloth or toothbrush to gently clean the pieces. Try to get into the hard to reach areas, because that’s where the main dirt build-up will be.
After this, rinse the emerald jewelry thoroughly under running water, ensuring that no soapy residue is left. Dry with a lint-free cloth and store or wear.
You can clean your emerald jewelry several times a year or as required, based on the appearance of the stone.
Choose Protective Settings
When choosing a setting for an emerald ring, it’s advisable to opt for a protective ring setting such as a bezel or halo. These keep the emerald safe from knocks and bumps, creating a buffer for the stone. This can also reduce the likelihood of the stone getting knocked out.
Seek Professional Maintenance
A professional check-up is recommended every year or two by a professional jeweler to ensure that the emerald is still held securely in the setting.
According to some, the falling of an emerald from its setting is bad luck for the owner. Whether you’re superstitious or not, we can all agree that losing a valuable emerald is bad luck! To prevent this, the prongs or bezel needs to be inspected.
If necessary, the stone may need to be re-oiled and any prongs in the setting may need to be re-tipped. These kind of services should only be undertaken by a professional and shouldn’t cost too much.
What to Avoid
Avoid Ultrasonic Cleaners
Never clean your emeralds in ultrasonic cleaners as the chances of the stone fracturing are high. Emeralds are known for being included, with emerald inclusions even having a fancy name of their own – ‘jardin’.
Another thing to note is that most emeralds are fracture filled, meaning that the natural fractures have been treated with fillers to enhance the appearance and stability of the stone. When put in an ultrasonic cleaner, the intense pressure and vibration can weaken the fractures and even cause the fillings to be dislodged.
Avoid Harsh Chemicals
Keep your emeralds away from harsh household chemicals and detergents. It’s advisable to take off emerald jewelry when swimming, doing the dishes, mopping, applying perfume, cosmetics and so on. These chemicals can damage the surface of the stone and add to the build-up of grime.
Avoid Rough Exposure
A hard blow can cause an emerald to break or chip. If engaging in physical activities such as sports, climbing or gardening, take emerald jewelry off to keep it safe. Note however that this precaution apply especially to emerald rings, as earrings and necklaces tend to be safe from blows anyway.
Avoid Storage with Other Jewelry
Don’t store your emerald jewelry with other jewelry as it can get scratched by harder substances. Emeralds rank at 7.5 to 8 on the Mohs scale, meaning that harder stones and metals such as sapphires, moissanite, diamonds, or tungsten, for example, can easily scratch them. Always store emeralds in a separate pouch or fabric-lined jewelry box to keep it dust-free and scratch-free.
Emeralds can get damaged by heat, which can cause any fillers in the stone to alter or weaken. Fractures can also be exacerbated by heat. This is why it’s also advisable to take off emerald jewelry before using hot water.
Avoid Commercial Jewelry Cleaners
Most commercial jewelry cleaners are too harsh to be used safely on emeralds. They can be abrasive and scratch the surface of the stone. They can also affect the oils and fillers in the emerald, causing the stone to weaken. Mild soap is the best way to clean emeralds.
Emeralds rank at 8 on the Mohs scale but their durability is often compromised because of how many inclusions they tend to have. The inclusions indicate that they’re genuine, which is great, but on the flip side, it makes them weak. This is why it’s important to treat emeralds with care to maintain them for years. For more information on emeralds, check out our complete emerald buying guide.