The emerald is a beautiful gem that glows a brilliant green when shined and cared for. It’s naturally a pretty hard stone for jewelry, ranking somewhere between a 7.5 and an 8 on the Moh’s hardness scale, and don’t scratch very easily. However, the emerald is created with small fissures and cracks, all of which are trapped inside the stone during formation, making it a gem that should be handled with care during cleaning. If you’re cleaning a ring and the stone should rap against something hard, like a sink basin or countertop, it could damage the emerald’s properties and break on impact.
An emerald has natural oils as part of its chemistry, so it’s essential that oils be used to keep the gem’s natural beauty. Oils help smooth out the fissures inside the stone, and help bind the gem together, enhancing the strength and durability of the emerald. When cleaning, harsh detergents and chemicals are not recommended, as they could strip the stone of it’s essential oils and leave it prone to easy breakage. Likewise, extremely hot water should be avoided for the same reason – the oils that bind and smooth and enhance the lustre of the gem should never be stripped away. Jewelry cleaners that can be purchased at any counter or shop that sells jewelry should also not be used.
Soaking Your Emerald to Clean It
The best way to clean an emerald ring is to remove the jewelry and soak it in a bowl of lukewarm water for about 10 seconds; oversoaking for longer can cause the oils to start to dissolve. After dipping the ring in the water, spread it out an a soft cloth, taking care that the cloth doesn’t get stuck in the prongs surrounding the gem, if there are any. A stuck cloth can loosen the prongs when lifted away, causing the emerald to possibly fall and chip or break. Rub the ring gently with the cloth, and hold carefully, away from hard objects that could cause the gem to break if dropped. You can also use a very soft-bristled toothbrush that’s been soaked in lukewarm, cool, or room temperature water to gently clean the angles of the stone.
If your emerald loses shine and brilliance over the years, it may require a re-treatment of oils, which should only be done by a professional who is skilled at cleaning and repairing emeralds and other types of jewelry.