Saturday, March 30, 2013

Care and Cleansing of Gemstones

It is important to remember that gemstones are alive and have their own energy that can help use in many ways . Please treat them with care and respect  you take care of them and they will take care of you. 

Care for gemstones

Although many persons are content to collect gemstones in their own right (just as others collect coins or stamps or other collectibles), most gem lovers like to have their gems set in jewelry so they can be worn on the person. Unfortunately, despite the familiar refrain, diamonds, and other stones, are not necessarily forever. Most stones are more or less brittle, many are quite soft, and some can be damaged by heat, vibration, or chemicals. It's too bad that most jewelers do not educate their customers about how to care for their prized possessions. 

Here are a few tips.

Stones that have a Mohs hardness of less than 8 are highly subject to scratching; harder stones are less likely to be scratched but are still subject to chipping and fracture. Remember that quartz, with a hardness of 7, is one of the most abundant minerals on earth, in the form of sand, or silica. When removing dust from soft stones, it's usually best to rinse them with clean water and dry with a soft cloth. Also, store jewelry and loose gems in separate padded compartments or wrapped in soft lint-free cloth to prevent scratching, chipping, and entanglement.

When cleaning nonporous gemstones, washing gently with a weak solution of ammonia, rinsing with clean lukewarm water, and drying with a soft lint-free cloth is quite effective and safe. Just be sure to plug the sink so you don't wash your stones down the drain! On stones harder than quartz (Moh's hardness of 7), it's safe to do a little gentle scrubbing with a soft toothbrush, but if you're cleaning jewelry, be careful not to scrub highly polished metal surfaces, as the slight abrasive action of the brush will produce slightly hazy effects on the metal. A little soaking may be necessary to remove heavier deposits.

If you use hand lotions or creams, remove your rings before applying them! This will help prevent heavy buildup of dirt and oil around your gemstones.

If you plan to do heavy or dirty work with your hands, remove your rings so they will not be subjected to harsh blows, abrasives, or unnecessary dirt. Even diamonds are relatively brittle and can be chipped by a hard blow.

Pearls, coral, and porous stones such as opal, turquoise, or malachite should be kept away from dirty water and oils to avoid discoloration. Wipe them gently with a soft, damp cloth. Do not wear rings containing these stones while washing dishes or similar activities.

Be cautious about the use of ultrasonic cleaners. Some stones are subject to internal stress -- tanzanite, opal, emerald, organic gems (such as pearl, coral, and amber), turquoise, lapis, and malachite, any stone containing major inclusions, and most collector gems should not be exposed to ultrasound. Tanzanite has been known to shatter and opals to craze under ultrasound. Most emeralds and many rubies are "oiled" or resin-impregnated, and ultrasound may remove the treatment or expand existing fractures. If you are not absolutely SURE it's safe, don't put your stones in ultrasound!

Diamonds are remarkably resistant to heat, but large stones and those with major inclusions are sometimes damaged by jewelers who linger too long with a torch during prong work. I've seen several stones that required repolishing after a benchworker allowed a torch to linger too long, especially when retipping platinum prongs (because of platinum's high melting point). It's often safest to remove them before working on a setting. Other stones are less resistant to heat and should never be exposed to extreme heat or sudden changes in temperature.

Opal, pearls, coral, amber, turquoise, and many collector gems are quite heat sensitive (both to extremes and to sudden changes in temperature). Do not leave them sitting in hot sunlight, near radiators, or in hot cars. Once an opal begins to craze, it's usually unsalvageable.

Brittle and soft stones should not be used in jewelry subject to hard wear, such as rings that are worn constantly. They are much safer in earrings, pins, pendants, or perhaps bracelets. They can be used in rings that are worn occasionally, such as dinner rings, but the setting should be designed to protect the stone as much as possible. Even though opals are popular in rings, it is a very hazardous use for them.

If one prong of a four-prong setting breaks, it often results in the loss of a stone. Six prong settings are more secure. If a prong is weak or broken, it's usually best to replace the head than to attempt retouching prongs.

Sharp corners, such as the tips of pearshapes and marquise cut stones, are especially susceptible to breakage and should be protected by the setting. Also, faceted stones with shallow crown angles (30 degrees or less), and thin or uneven girdles are particularly prone to chipping and need extra protection.

Bezel settings offer more protection to stones, but they make it more difficult to remove and reset stones if the stone needs repolishing or if alterations of the metalwork are required. Setting can also be hazardous. It's best to use high-karat gold, which is softer and more easily bent into place. Also, consider how the stone might be removed if necessary. Sometimes, it may be best to use a false bezel setting and set the stone from beneath, holding it in place with tabs.

Care and Cleansing of

Therapeutic Gemstones

Like all expressions of life, gemstones need and deserve care to retain their vitality. As therapeutic gemstones help us release energetic impurities and blockages, some of these released energies cling to the surface of the gems. These disharmonious energies quickly build up, inhibiting the gemstones’ ability to work at peak capacity. Regular cleansing clears these energies and restores the gems to their naturally vibrant state. Several minutes of care given regularly will keep therapeutic gemstones vital and ready to help us take our next step in growth and healing.
Basic Care Guidelines

When using a therapeutic gemstone necklace regularly, cleanse it at least two to three times a week using one of the four methods : Water Rinse, Salt Bed, Plant Rejuvenation, or Sunbath.
            When not in use, store cleansed gemstones in a drawer, covered container, or jewelry roll.
Handle all therapeutic gemstones with care. Some are particularly fragile, such as Purple Rainbow Fluorite, Malachite, Mother of Pearl, and Rhodochrosite. They naturally break, scratch, and chip more easily than other gemstones.
Four Cleansing Methods
Any of the four methods  can cleanse therapeutic gems of the disharmonious energies they tend to collect during use. For certain gemstones, some methods are more appropriate than others; these special considerations are noted where required.

Water Rinse  Two to three times a week, or more often as needed
Rinsing gemstones in water gently washes away many of the gems’ accumulated energies. Hold the entire necklace under alternating hot and cold running water for about 60 seconds. To ensure that the water doesn’t become too hot, test the temperature with your fingers; if the water is too hot for your fingers, it may be too hot for the gems.
Special considerations: Rinsing will dull the polish of Rhodochrosite, Lapis Lazuli, Malachite, Sodalight, Indigo, and Mother of Pearl. Therefore, use other cleansing methods for these gems.
Every three to four weeks: For gemstones that tolerate rinsing, occasionally use a small amount of mild, non-synthetic soap to remove body oils from the surface of the gems.
Click here to see a chart detailing the Water Rinse instructions for each gemstone.
Salt Bed  Two to three times a week, or more often as needed

Salt absorbs the disharmonious energies that accumulate on the surface of therapeutic gems. Lay the gemstones in about a half-inch of salt in a bowl for at least an hour or overnight. Replace the salt about every two weeks.

Oceanstones: To cleanse necklaces containing oceanstones (Biwa Pearl or Coral), use sea salt instead of table salt. Another option is to soak an oceanstone necklace in a solution of two teaspoons sea salt for every half-cup of cool water. First lay the necklace flat in a bowl. Add water and then sprinkle the salt into it. Some of the salt may settle on the gems before dissolving, aiding the cleansing process. Soak for 15 to 30 minutes. Then briefly rinse the gems with clear water before patting them dry.

Plant Rejuvenation  Two to three times a week, or more often as needed
Plants generate a living energy field that can absorb and transform the disharmonious energies we release. Wrap a gemstone necklace around the base of a healthy houseplant, or lay the necklace in its branches. For a deeper cleansing and rejuvenation, place the gemstones outside in the branches of, or underneath, a shrub or tree for several days.
Sunbath  Every one to two weeks, or more often as needed

Sunshine clears, energizes, and revitalizes therapeutic gems. Unless the gems are water-sensitive, first rinse them as described above. Then lay the gems in direct sunlight for 10 to 20 minutes (unless indicated otherwise in the chart on the next two pages). Ideally, expose the gems to the sun directly, rather than through a glass windowpane. If possible, lay the gems directly on the earth, grass, or branches of a plant. Avoid excessive exposure to the sun.

Special Treats
For an especially deep and refreshing cleansing, you can use either of the following methods with any gemstone for which a water rinse is appropriate:

Streaming water
You can provide a gemstone necklace with a powerful cleansing and rejuvenation by holding or placing it in a natural stream or creek or in gentle ocean waves for up to 20 minutes. Be sure to secure the gems adequately, so as not to lose them in the moving water.

Rain bath
Placing gems in the grass during a rainfall for several hours or overnight will also thoroughly cleanse and refresh them.

I hope you learn a little about how to care for your wonderful gemstones.
To shop for Jewelry designed using different gems click here

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