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Most stones are more or less brittle, many are quite soft, and some can be damaged by heat, vibration, or chemicals. Following are a few tips on how to care for your prized possessions:


  • 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 non-porous 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.


  • 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!


  • Most stones 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.



    Pearls are very soft and need special care. They should never be tossed on top of or next to other gems in a jewelry box. Store them separately in a jewelry pouch.

    Some women's skin have more acid than others. If a pearl necklace is regularly worn, as it should be, some of the pearls will constantly be in close contact with the woman's skin on her neck at the shoulder line. Pearl pendants do not always have such constant contact with a woman's skin. The pearls in the necklace will gradually absorb acid from the skin and the acid will slowly eat into the spherical pearl. Over time the pearl will not only lose its luster, but will become barrel-shaped. You can slow this process by wiping the pearls with a soft cloth after wearing them.

    Besides being soft, pearls are easily damaged by chemicals like perfume, vinegar and lemon juice. Heat can turn pearls brown or dry them out and make them crack. Dry air can also damage pearls. Most safe deposit vaults have very dry air and can damage pearls.

    When taking off a pearl ring, grasp the shank, or metal part, rather than the pearl. This will prevent the pearl from loosening and coming into contact with skin oil on your hand.


    Because of their delicate nature, special care must be taken when cleaning:


  • Only use: Jewelry cleaners labeled as safe for pearls.
  • Never: Use an ultrasonic cleaner.
  • Never: Steam-clean pearls.
  • Never: Use (or expose pearls) to dish or wash detergents, bleaches, powdered cleansers, baking soda, or ammonia-based cleaners (like Windex).
  • Never: Use toothbrushes, scouring pads or abrasive materials to clean pearls.
  • Do not: Wear pearls when their string is wet. Wet strings stretch and attract dirt, which is hard to remove.
  • Do not: Hang pearls to dry.
  • Take your pearls off: When applying cosmetics, hair spray, and perfume, or when showering or swimming.
  • Avoid: Wearing pearls with rough fabrics like Shetland wool.

    After you wear pearls, just wipe them off with a soft cloth or chamois, which may be dry or damp. This will prevent dirt from accumulating and keep perspiration, which is slightly acidic, from eating away at the pearl nacre. You can even use a drop of olive oil on the cloth to help maintain their luster.

    If pearls have not been kept clean and are very dirty, they can be cleaned by your jewelers or they can be cleaned using special pearl cleaner. Pearl Oasis sells pearl-safe jewelry cleaner. Be careful using other types of jewelry cleaner or soap. Some liquid soaps, such as Dawn, can damage pearls. Pay attention to the areas around the drill holes where dirt may tend to collect.

    After washing your pearls, lay them flat in a moist kitchen towel to dry. When the towel is dry, your pearls should be dry.

    Many jewelers will clean your pearls free of charge, and they'll be happy to answer your questions about the care of your jewelry




    Types of Jewelry:


  • Solid Gold: Pure gold is 24kt (or 24 karat), however it is extremely soft. Most pieces of solid gold are sold in 18kt, 14kt, or 10kt. This allows the metal to still contain the benefits of solid gold yet the durability to last generations


  • Gold Filled: Gold filled jewelry is the next best jewelry to solid gold. Gold filled jewelry is manufactured by laminating a sheet of gold over a base metal. The total amount of gold must be at least 5% of the total weight of the piece. Most pieces we sell are 18kt gold over sterling silver. Gold filled jewelry will last for many years and is a good quality metal. For many individuals, the piece will last a lifetime. For those who perhaps perspire more than average or wear the piece everyday and in the shower, the gold may eventually wear away leaving the base metal exposed.


  • Gold Plated: Gold plated jewelry has less quality then gold filled jewelry. Although there are many different processes of gold plating, basically gold plated jewelry has a thin layer of gold on top of a base metal. Electroplated pieces have at least 7 millionths of an inch of gold on significant surfaces. Gold plated items do not carry the same quality as solid gold or gold filled items.


  • Brass: Brass is an alloy of copper and zinc, normally containing 2/3 copper and 1/3 zinc.


  • Sterling Silver: When a metal is designated as sterling silver, then it minimally 92.5% pure silver. Such high quality silver will tarnish. Routine cleaning is essential to maintaining the luster of pure silver. Most sterling silver pendants have a “Sterling” or “925” stamp on the back to signify the quality.




  • Gold: Mix mild soap, water, and a drop of ammonia and wipe with a clean soft cloth. For gold-plated and gold-filled pieces, be sure to use non-abrasive cleaning materials. If a cleaning substance is too strong it may remove the gold.


  • Sterling Silver: All Sterling silver will oxidize and tarnish unless finished with a protective layer. Many of our medals are protected with a layer of rhodium to help prevent tarnishing. However over time this coating may breakdown. Commercial dips or polish will restore the original color and luster. However, much of the time this can be accomplished by mixing mild soap, water, and a drop of ammonia and wipe with a clean soft cloth. Never use vinegar.


  • Pewter: Pewter can be cleaned much the same as Sterling silver. However, pewter will never clean to the same shine as sterling silver since pewter is naturally a little duller of a metal.


  • Stainless Steel: Simply moisten a cloth with undiluted white or cider vinegar and wipe clean.


  • Brass: Most conventional polishes coat the raw metal with a thin film of oil to help inhibit future tarnishing. Additionally, most metal polishes contain solvents and detergents to remove the tarnish, mild abrasives to polish the metal, and oils to act as a barrier between the raw metal and air. Note that brass can turn black when cleaning due to over-use and misuse of polish.