Gems for Keeps

Those sparkling gemstones add an elite touch to your jewelleries. Each stone has its own unique composition thus each is different in hardness, toughness, reaction to heat, light, acids, cleaners. Gemstones can absorb chemicals, which can change their colour, a hard brush used for cleaning can scratch the surface and some gemstones are even prone to lose their brilliant colour when exposed to direct sunlight for long periods of time. Thus taking proper care of gemstones is necessary.

AMBER

Amber is delicate and can be scratched easily. Store it carefully, and clean it with warm, soapy water and a very soft brush; never use steam of ultrasonic cleaners. Amber can be damaged by acids and alcohol.

AMETHYST

Amethyst jewellery can be damaged by household cleaners. Store it out of sunlight (it may fade) and away from items that might scratch it. To clean it, use warm, soapy water; ultrasonic cleaners are usually safe as well. Avoid steam cleaning.

AQUAMARINE

Clean aquamarine jewellery with warm, soapy water and a soft brush, and store it carefully to prevent scratching.

BLUE TOPAZ

Although one of the hardest gemstones, one solid blow can cause the gem to split. Clean only with warm, soapy water and avoid exposure to high heat that can alter its colour.

CHALCEDONY

To care for chalcedony, wash with warm soapy water of jewellery cleaner and a soft brush. Avoid exposure to harsh chemicals.

EMERALDS

Exposure to heat may cause emeralds to fracture. Emeralds may dry out if exposed to intense light. Because most emeralds have been treated by fracture-filling, the only safe way to clean them is in warm, soapy water - don't scrub. Store emerald jewellery carefully.

GARNET

Garnets are sturdy, but some varieties can chip. Sudden temperature changes may also cause fracturing. Avoid steam cleaning. Ultrasonic cleaning is usually safe; a bath in warm, soapy water is always safe.

Source: "The Himalayan Times", 2 August 2008

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