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How to Care for Colored Gemstones

Besides diamonds, colored gemstones are an extremely popular choice amongst jewelry lovers worldwide. There are hundreds of different gemstones out there, but we'll focus on the most popular ones in this post: rubies, sapphires, emeralds, amethyst, and blue topaz. Unlike diamonds, these gemstones must be treated with extra special care to ensure their longevity, but don't stress – it's easier than you might think!

Believe it or not, some gemstones are very particular to how they are stored and cleaned. For example, amethyst should never be left in direct sunlight or the natural deep purple could fade away. Emeralds, rubies, and sapphires are commonly treated with hot oil to improve color and mechanical cleanings can remove that oil layer. Topaz cleaves easily, so wearers must be cautious not to catch or strike the stone to prevent breakage. 

In general, these five colored stones can be treated the same while in use or in storage.

Always remove colored stones before cleaning. This is the same for any gemstone or metal jewelry you own: take it off or wear gloves before you begin cleaning. The acids, chemicals, and abrasives found in household cleaning products can wreak havoc on your gemstones. We always recommend removing your rings and putting them somewhere safe to lessen the risk of them slipping off down a drain! 

Always store gemstones separately from each other. Yes, we might say this with all jewelry types, but it's true! The best way to avoid scratches, chips, or dents is to store each piece of jewelry separately – whether that'd be in small boxes or wrapped in individual cloths. 

Remove colored gemstone jewelry before swimming. Much like the chemicals found in cleaning products, chlorine can wreck a gemstone if regularly submerged. Hot tubs can add to the damage, as the combination of heat and chlorine can permanently weaken gems and metal. 

Make sure your jewelry is the last thing you put on. Like other jewelry, gemstones can become damaged or dulled by lotions, perfumes, and hairsprays. They can also get caught on loose knit clothing and tear at silks and other delicate materials. Even worse, your stone might pop right out if it catches while you're getting dressed! Avoid the stress and the extra cleaning and put your jewelry on right before you're about to walk out the door. 

Cleaning colored gemstones: 

  1. Cleaning your gemstones is as easy as adding soap to water. Combine a mild dish washing soap with warm water and submerge your pieces just long enough to loosen the dirt and grime. 

  2. Use a clean, soft-bristled toothbrush and gently scrub the piece. 

  3. For hard to reach spots, use a toothpick to gently pick at any accumulated areas. Patience is key here, you don't want to scratch your stones. 

  4. In between scrubbing, feel free to dunk your jewelry back into the soapy water. Give it one last soak once you feel you've removed all the dirt. 

  5. Dry the piece thoroughly with a soft cloth and polish if needed. 

Don't let the fancy names deter you, owning and caring for colored gemstones is easy if you have the time and patience they require. By treating them like diamonds and precious metals, you can be sure your colored stones will last for years to come. 

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