Cleaning Gemstone Jewellery

selection of gemstones on a white background

Cleaning Gemstone Jewellery

Want to learn how to clean gemstone jewellery at home? Or how to clean that gemstone ring you love so much? Keep reading and see our favourite tips and tricks for cleaning gemstone jewellery…

Gemstones can come with a huge variety of different structures, strengths and properties. It’s almost impossible to give an accurate guide to cleaning gemstones by just giving a one size fits all approach to cleaning gemstones. Before cleaning gemstone jewellery, it is very important to know which gemstone you are dealing with.

As you will find out below, many gemstones are sensitive to drastic changes in temperature and can in fact crack when exposed to such a temperature change.

It is also worth noting that some gemstones (especially emeralds) are treated with oils and other filling treatments. The reason for this is because a lot of gemstones, especially emeralds, actually have natural fractures and fissures which the filler, fills in to refine the stone, hide the fracture and enhance the colour of the stone.

This is another reason to really know the gemstone you’re dealing with to ensure that you do not spoil any treatment the gemstone may have had while cleaning gemstone jewellery. It is always best to check with a professional jeweller or gemologist if you’re unsure whether your gemstone has any of these treatments.

Below, we take you through 15 different gemstones to help you understand the best practices to follow when cleaning each gemstone…

Please note, we have separate guides for both cleaning pearl jewellery & cleaning opal jewellery as they require a little bit more detail. Please see our cleaning pearl jewellery guide or cleaning opal jewellery guide to learn how to clean these gemstones.

Cleaning Different Gemstones

Amethyst

Amethyst gemstones on white backgroundAmethyst is a violet coloured variety of quartz with a hardness of 7 on the Mohs scale. Amethyst can be safely cleaned using water with a tiny droplet of mild washing up liquid. However amethyst, like other varieties of quartz, are sensitive to rapid temperature changes. So it is important to use room temperature – slightly warm water as the amethyst may fracture. Make sure to clean the pavilion of the stone and under settings where dirt can collect and dull the shine of your stone. 

Recommended Cleaning Methods:

Aquamarine

aquamarine gemstones on white backgroundAquamarine is a form of beryl which has a rating of between 7.5 and 8 on the Mohs scale. In general aquamarine is sensitive to rapid temperature changes and should only be cleaned at room temperature to help prevent cracks to the stone. Aquamarine is best cleaned using a delicate jewellery cleaner or with a small drop of mild washing up liquid in room temperature water. Make sure to clean the pavilion of the stone and under settings where dirt can collect and dull the shine of your stone. 

Recommended Cleaning Methods:

Citrine

citrine on white backgroundCitrine is a pale yellow to deep orange variety of quartz with a rating of 7 on the Mohs scale. Like other forms of quartz, citrine can crack or damage with rapid temperature changes so care should be taken if you’re cleaning citrine jewellery in water. Make sure to clean the pavilion of the stone and under settings where dirt can collect and dull the shine of your stone. 

Recommended Cleaning Methods:

Emerald

emerald gemstone on white backgroundEmerald is a green form of beryl which has a rating of 7.5-8 on the Mohs scale meaning it is a more robust gemstone. Most emeralds used in jewellery are treated with oils like cedar oil to fill natural fractures and fissures in the stone. For this reason it is not recommended to expose the emerald to heat or use any kind of ultrasonic cleaners on emerald jewellery as this may remove the oils and make fractures worse. 

We also recommend that you do not submerge emeralds in any kind of liquid, including jewellery cleaners to avoid unwanted damage to the emerald. The safest way to clean an emerald is to dab a brush in either Connoisseurs Delicate Jewellery Cleaner or room temperature to slightly warm soapy water and gently scrub the emerald clean. Make sure to clean the pavilion of the stone and under settings where dirt can collect and dull the shine of your stone. 

Recommended Cleaning Methods:

Garnet

rough garnet on a white backgroundGarnet refers to a family of minerals which can be found in almost any colour. The most popular and commonly seen colour of garnet in jewellery is the red variety. Garnets have a rating of 6.5-7.5 on the mohs scale depending on the variety. Occasionally, garnet can be treated with oils to fill in fractures and fissures in the stone. For this reason it is recommended to not use any ultrasonic cleaners, expose garnets to heat or submerge garnets in liquid. 

When cleaning garnet jewellery, we recommend dipping a brush into either connoisseurs delicate jewellery cleaner for garnets set in silver, connoisseurs precious jewellery cleaner for garnets set in gold, or room temperature to slightly warm soapy water and gently scrubbing the gemstone clean. Make sure to clean the pavilion of the stone and under settings where dirt can collect and dull the shine of your stone. 

Recommended Cleaning Methods:

Onyx

Onyx GemstoneOnyx is a form of chalcedony which is mostly found in black and can occasionally be seen with white streaks. Onyx has a hardness rating of 6.5-7 on the Mohs scale, however it is a porous stone which means it easily absorbs liquids. This is why we recommend not submerging onyx in any kind of solution. 

We recommend that you dip a soft lint free cloth into either Connoisseurs Delicate Jewellery Cleaner or warm soapy water and gently wipe the gemstone to remove any dirt. 

Recommended Cleaning Methods:

Peridot

peridot on a white backgroundPeridot is a green form of olivine which has a rating of 6.5-7 on the Mohs scale making it ideal for jewellery if you know how to care for it. Peridot is especially sensitive to drastic changes in temperature and can easily fracture if exposed to heat. Like most other gemstones, peridot can be treated with oils to fill natural fractures in the gemstone. That’s why it is always best to avoid ultrasonic cleaners when cleaning peridot jewellery. 

The best and safest way to clean peridot jewellery is to dip a soft bristle brush into either Connoisseurs Delicate Jewellery Cleaner or room temperature water with a small drop of mild washing up liquid, and gently scrub your peridot jewellery making sure you clean the pavilion and under the settings where dirt can easily get trapped. 

Recommended Cleaning Methods:

Quartz

Quartz GemstoneQuartz is a silicate mineral which is found in virtually all different colours. Quartz has a hardness of 7 on the Mohs scale which means it is quite hard but can still be scratched by harder minerals. Often quartz is treated with radiation to give colour to the stone, for example some varieties of rose quartz are commonly coloured using this method. Generally quartz is quite resistant to heat but we still recommend to stay clear of using any ultrasonic cleaners when cleaning quartz jewellery. 

Quartz jewellery can be cleaned by using either Connoisseurs Delicate Jewellery Cleaner or warm water with a small drop of mild washing up liquid.

Recommended Cleaning Methods:

Ruby

rubies on white backgroundRubies are a form of corundum which can vary from a pale to deep and vibrant red colour. The Ruby has a hardness of 9 on the Mohs scale meaning it is one of the hardest gemstones you can get apart from the diamond. It is said that 99% of all rubies in the market have been treated in some way to make them commercially acceptable. Most of these rubies are fine to clean as normal but a more recent treatment for rubies is glass filling which is used on low grade stones with fractures and fissures to fill the cracks in the ruby. 

With these types of rubies it is recommended that they are not cleaned with any kind of ultrasonic cleaners as this may effect the filling. Please check with a professional jeweller or gemologist if your unsure whether or not your ruby has been treated in this way or not before cleaning it. 

Recommended Cleaning Methods:

Sapphire

sapphires on white backgroundSapphire is a form of corundum which can be found in a wide variety of colours but is mostly known for its vibrant royal blue colour. With a rating of 9 on the Mohs scale, natural sapphires are one of the hardest minerals on earth, however care is still needed when you’re cleaning sapphire jewellery. 

Like rubies, many low grade sapphires on the market are treated with glass filler to fill in inclusions and fractures. This is where more care is needed and we recommend finding out off a professional jeweller or gemologist if your sapphire has been glass filled before cleaning it. 

Recommended Cleaning Methods:

Tanzanite

tanzaniteTanzanite is a form of zoisite which is found in a blue to violet colour. Tanzanite is only found in Tanzania and is mined at the merelani mining site in Manyara making it one of the rarest gemstones on the planet. It has a rating of 6.5-7 on the Mohs scale which means it is on the more delicate side and scratches relatively easily. 

As is the case with many other gemstones, tanzanite can be treated with fillers to fill in fractures and fissures. This, with its lower rating on the Mohs scale and sensitivity to heat means we recommend taking great care when cleaning tanzanite jewellery. 

We recommend dipping a soft lint free cloth in either Connoisseurs Delicate Jewellery Cleaner or room temperature to slightly warm soapy water and gently wiping the dirt off the stone. You can also use a soft bristle brush to clean under the gemstone setting and remove any trapped dirt. 

Recommended Cleaning Methods:

Topaz

Topaz GemstoneTopaz is a silicate mineral of aluminium and fluorine which can be found in a range of colours from white, blue, yellow, orange, pink and many more. Topaz has a hardness of 8 on the Mohs scale but this gemstone is extremely sensitive to drastic temperature changes and impact making it a much more delicate gemstone. 

Since flawless Topaz are commonly mined in large amounts and are very inexpensive, you never really find Topaz that has had filling treatment although colourless topaz are sometimes coated with a delicate layer of a metallic oxide compound. This makes it important to take care when cleaning topaz jewellery not to damage the coating. 

Recommended Cleaning Methods:

Tourmaline

Tourmaline GemstoneTourmaline is a crystalline silicate group of minerals which is found in a huge array of wonderful and vibrant colours with the most popular being pink. Tourmaline has a rating of 7-7.5 on the Mohs scale but can lose colour under long lasting exposure to light due to the fact that these stones are often heat treated to add intensity to its colour. 

The Best ways to clean tourmaline jewellery are Connoisseurs Delicate Jewellery Cleaner for tourmaline set in silver or Connoisseurs Precious Jewellery Cleaner for tourmaline set in gold or platinum. Warm water with a small drop of mild washing up liquid is also perfectly safe to clean tourmaline jewellery. 

Recommended Cleaning Methods:

Turquoise

Turquoise GemstoneTurquoise is a hydrated phosphate of copper and aluminium that is a blue to green colour. A relatively delicate gemstone, turquoise has a rating of 5-6 on the Mohs scale which means great care is needed to look after and clean turquoise jewellery. 

Turquoise can be badly effected by high heats, cosmetic products and perspiration which is known to discolour turquoise. 

When cleaning turquoise jewellery we recommend either Connoisseurs Delicate Jewellery Cleaner or using a mild washing up liquid in room temperature – slightly warm water. 

Recommended Cleaning Methods:

Zircon

Zircon GemstoneZircon is a mineral that can be found in a wide array of different beautiful colours. With a hardness of 6-7.5 on the Mohs scale this gemstone can be susceptible to scratches and scuffs so it’s important to take care with zircon jewellery as it can be a brittle stone. 

Zircon is occasionally filled to remove fractures and fissures. While this is not too common in zircon, it is still recommended to take great care when cleaning zircon jewellery and not use ultrasonic cleaners on it. 

If your zircon is set in gold or platinum, you can use Connoisseurs Precious Jewellery Cleaner to bring back its lustre while zircon set in silver is best cleaned in Connoisseurs Delicate Jewellery Cleaner. Alternatively you can use a tiny drop of mild washing up liquid in room temperature – slightly warm water. 

Recommended Cleaning Methods:

Connoisseurs Delicate Jewellery Cleaner

Connoisseurs Delicate Jewellery Cleaner
  1. Unscrew the lid and remove the seal. 
  2. Place one piece of jewellery into the dip tray. 
  3. Submerge the jewellery in the solution and let it soak for no longer than 10 seconds. 
  4. Remove the dip tray and rinse the jewellery under room temperature water to remove residue
  5. Use a soft brush to clean any hard to reach areas
  6. Gently dab the jewellery dry using a soft, lint free cloth
  7. Give your jewellery a polish using a polishing cloth to bring out its shine. (Connoisseurs Ultrasoft Gold or Silver Polishing Cloths are ideal as they leave an anti tarnish layer)

If the gemstone you are cleaning is not recommended to be submerged in water or any other kind of liquid, then we recommend dipping a soft lint free cloth into the solution and wiping the jewellery clean. Once the jewellery has been wiped clean, give it a rinse in room temperature water and dry it using a soft lint free cloth. Before putting your jewellery away, leave it out to dry for a little while longer just to ensure that it dries under the settings.

Connoisseurs Precious Jewellery Cleaner

  1. Unscrew the lid and remove the seal. 
  2. Place one piece of jewellery into the dip tray. 
  3. Submerge the jewellery in the solution and let it soak for no longer than 10 seconds. 
  4. Remove the dip tray and rinse the jewellery under room temperature water to remove residue
  5. Use a soft brush to clean any hard to reach areas
  6. Gently dab the jewellery dry using a soft, lint free cloth
  7. Give your jewellery a polish using a polishing cloth to bring out its shine. (Connoisseurs Ultrasoft Gold or Silver Polishing Cloths are ideal as they leave an anti tarnish layer)
Connoisseurs Precious Jewellery Cleaner

If the gemstone you are cleaning is not recommended to be submerged in water or any other kind of liquid, then we recommend dipping a soft lint free cloth into the solution and wiping the jewellery clean. Once the jewellery has been wiped clean, give it a rinse in room temperature water and dry it using a soft lint free cloth. Before putting your jewellery away, leave it out to dry for a little while longer just to ensure that it dries under the settings.

Mild Washing Up Liquid & Room Temperature – Slightly Warm Water

Cleaning gold and silver jewelry. Cleaning women jewelry concept
  1. Fill a bowl of room temperature water and add a small drop of washing up liquid.
  2. Place your piece into the bowl and leave it to soak for around 15 to 20 minutes.
  3. Remove the jewellery from the water and use a soft bristle brush to gently clean the gemstone, paying special attention to the pavilion or underside of the gemstone to bring out its natural radiance
  4. Gently dab the jewellery dry using a soft, lint free cloth.
  5. Leave your jewellery to air dry for a while to ensure under the settings and hard to reach places are properly dried before storing.

If the gemstone you are cleaning is not recommended to be submerged in water or any other kind of liquid, then we recommend dipping a soft lint free cloth into the solution and wiping the jewellery clean. Once the jewellery has been wiped clean, give it a rinse in room temperature water and dry it using a soft lint free cloth. Before putting your jewellery away, leave it out to dry for a little while longer just to ensure that it dries under the settings.

Stay Away From:

Please do not use any household cleaners like bleach or novel jewellery cleaning methods like toothpaste as the chemicals these products contain will damage your jewellery and gemstones.

Ultra sonic cleaners are not recommended for the more delicate gemstones and especially not for any gemstone that has been oil or heat treated or has loose settings. Gemstones like emeralds, aquamarine amethyst and even rubies & sapphires are often oil treated. Gemstones like tanzanites, topaz & tourmaline are not recommended for ultra sonic cleaners.