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Gemstone Cleaning and Care

Colored gemstone necklaces shown in a line dangling against a grey background.

Gemstone Cleaning and Care

Some of your favorite jewelry might be your simple sterling silver bracelet or white gold wedding band. But you may also have a soft spot for that gorgeous square-cut peridot ring with diamond accents your husband gave you. Or, maybe you have a marquise-cut garnet bracelet you wear every day.

These are examples of gemstone or color stone jewelry items. They often require different kinds of care or attention than non-gemstone jewelry. Hint: this also includes diamond jewelry like engagement and wedding rings.

Learn about gemstone cleaning and care, gemstone hardness, and other important details of jewelry care. Get all of your favorite pieces looking brand new in no time!

Gemstone Care

Every color stone has unique hues and qualities. This means that treatment and gemstone cleaning care differs for each one. Special attention to care instructions is key to keeping your jewelry sparkling.

Natural gemstones may have been color and/or clarity treated by various enhancement processes that affect gemstone cleaning. These processes can include heating, oil/wax/resin, diffusion, irradiation, fissure-filled with a glass-like by-product or being dyed.

These treatments may not be permanent and/or may require special care. Some colored stones may also be susceptible to damage by skin oils or sweat. If you are concerned or have questions, stop by a Jared store near you. Our trained professionals are knowledgeable in repairing jewelry that contains treated gemstones.

Cleaning Gemstones

Generally, gemstone cleaning involves rinsing the gemstone in warm water and drying it with a soft cloth or with gemstone cleaner. When cleaning gemstones, it's important not to expose colored stones to extremes. This includes heat, excessive light, chemicals, ultrasonic, steam or abrasive cleaning.

Avoid extreme heat as it can damage gemstones and/or treatments during cleaning. Extreme temperatures can change the color of some stones as well. Stay away from steam cleaners for garnet, amethyst, peridot, tourmaline and citrine when gemstone cleaning.

These gemstones require specific care due to their hardness and penchant for chipping. The best way to determine how to clean color stone jewelry is to determine where the gem falls on the Mohs Scale.

The Mohs Scale

The Mohs Scale of hardness classifies how soft or robust a stone is and how it holds up to weathering or shock. For instance, a diamond ranks at the highest hardness score of ten. Talc, one of the softest minerals, ranks at one.

Tanzanite, a popular indigo-colored gemstone, ranks 6 1/2. This means that it tends to be a fairly brittle stone, but it can stand everyday wear. Delicately washing this stone in warm water with mild soap is acceptable. However, it should not be exposed to vigorous activity, ultrasonic cleaners or excessive temperatures.

Not every colored stone requires the same care or attention. Each stone ranks differently on the Mohs Scale and has different needs and toughness levels.

There are some special cases to watch out for, like the gemstone opal. Unlike other color stones, opal is not internally solid but rather gelatinous. It ranks at about a six on the hardness scale and is very susceptible to scratches and cracks. It’s best to avoid exposing an opal to hard impacts, ultrasonic cleaners, excessive heat, hot water or steam. It is recommended to clean opals with baby oil or olive oil to prevent them from drying out.

It is our policy not to sell or trade-in gemstones that are treated with vapor deposition. Also, we do not sell rubies from Myanmar/Burma, composite rubies, coral or ivory.


Learn More About Color Stone Care

Maintaining your jewelry at home can work fine on a day-to-day basis. But, sometimes you may want a professional touch for that extra gleam. Find a Jared store location near you to have a professional cleaning today.