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Cleaning a diamond with chlorine

Kim123

Rough_Rock
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Jul 16, 2015
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16
Hello evryone!

What do you know or think about cleaning loose diamonds with chlorine? I have been advised to let it be in a cup filled with pure chlorine for up to 24hrs.
Actually at the moment the diamonds are set in a ring, 3+ carats each, prong setting. It is an old ring and diamonds are very dirty. I want to put the stones for certification but first I want to clean them in order to have max color and shininess. I have heard that for example if the girdle is bruted, it can have lot of dirt and dust on it and it can lessen even the color of a diamond.
And another question. Can I also leave the whole ring stay in chlorine? Gold is probably 18k and will be scrap gold anyway after removing the stones.

Or you advise me to do nothing and hand the stones to the certification lab as they are now, because they will clean them good enough before grading?

Appreciate your advice,
Kim
 

RosieR

Brilliant_Rock
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Feb 3, 2013
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567
Hello Kim :wavey:
I have never heard of using chlorine to clean a diamond ring.
In the past I have given my diamond and gold/ platinum jewellery to a jeweller who still cleans her stock with amonia and this gets the BEST sparkle. If I'm cleaning my jewellery at home, I use a mix of washing up liquid, windex and boiling hot water and scrub with a toothbrush to get the stones super clean.

All the best
 

rubybeth

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Nov 12, 2007
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2,565
Do nothing. Cleaning will not change the grading of the diamonds. Chlorine might actually be rough on the setting--I know lots of people take off their rings for swimming in pools, because they have concerns it can discolor the metal. I use dish soap to cut any oil/grease and warm water to clean my diamond jewelry, it's very gentle and gets them very sparkly for general wear.
 

BeekeeperBetty

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I think you mean straight chlorine bleach, and not pure chlorine. Chlorine is a gas, and was used as a chemical weapon in the world wars.

Anyway, chlorine bleach will react with the alloys in the gold and will crack the setting. Even so, there are better ways to clean the diamond. You could try just dish soap and a toothbrush. A window cleaner will also shine it up. I've used the Diamond Dazzle Stik before, and it cleans well with little financial investment.

I also believe that any place you take it for certification will clean it as well.
 

Karl_K

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Aug 4, 2008
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bad idea for a lot of reasons the first of which is chlorine can attack the metal the gold is alloyed with.
White gold alloys are more prone to being damaged by it than yellow gold but both could be damaged.

Take it to a professional for cleaning.
 

denverappraiser

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I always clean them before I send stones in. That said, the problem here is with the mounting (and you skin), not so much with the diamonds themselves. They'll clean a lot better if you take them out of the mounting first anyway. My cleaning process involves a bit of elbow grease, steam, and ultrasonic cleaning in a solution of lye and water. Some also use a bath in nitric acid but DO NOT do both at the same time. Mixing lye and acid is a bad bad bad idea.
 

MollyMalone

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rubybeth|1461591778|4023321 said:
Do nothing. Cleaning will not change the grading of the diamonds * * * .
Actually, "cleanliness is next to godliness" when it comes to grading. Every 2-4 weeks, the GIA labs "boil" with acid the master sets of diamonds they use for color grading, and GIA reports in this article -- see the continuation on p. 309 of Box B -- that it has seen "up to four grade shifts" in diamonds with bruted girdles which were in outside master sets that had not been boiled frequently enough.
http://tinyurl.com/hn8ekxb

You'll see in this recent thread that Paul Slegers in Antwerp thought my belief that HRD itself would boil the OP's inherited stone, before grading it, was mistaken:
[URL='https://www.pricescope.com/community/threads/diamond-boiling-what-are-the-risks.221261/#p4007630']https://www.pricescope.com/community/threads/diamond-boiling-what-are-the-risks.221261/#p4007630[/URL]
So I guess such pre-grading cleaning of loose stones isn't routinely done by labs as I'd thought. (You could contact the particular lab who will be grading the stones to find out their practice.)

In any event, since it's been some time (years and years?) since the ring was cleaned, Karl's suggestion that you take it to a professional makes a lot of sense. I don't know what the norm is where you live, but I've never had an independent jeweler charge me for a cleaning a with their pro level ultrasonic machine and/or jet steamer.
 

denverappraiser

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By the way, if you're in the slightest debate if your diamond is fracture filled, don't do the acid bath. It'll destroy the filling.
 

Kim123

Rough_Rock
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Jul 16, 2015
Messages
16
Thank you!

Sorry, what does OP mean? (Sry, english is also not my first language)

Well, let's say that I have a choice if I let them be graded by HRD or GIA (in Antwerp).

MollyMalone - do you think that the ultrasonic has the same effect as this boiling in acid what you reffered that GIA is doing?

Beacause if GIA is in every 2-4 weeks cleaning their masterstones by boiling, there has to be good reason doing so. And if the stones in my ring have been there ca 20+ years and the girdles are bruted, I just want to get most of my stones.

GueSs have to ask GIA and HRD directly what is their rutine to clean the stones before grading.
 

kenny

Super_Ideal_Rock
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28,123
OP stands for Opening Post, or Original Poster.

I have an old small diamond with a bruted girdle.
Many times, at work, I've examined it under a fine microscope.

Instead of being polished smooth it's pitted with microscopic high and low points, like a very coarse knife sharpening stone.
Such a surface must be very very abrasive.

Diamond being the hardest material nothing will smooth down this abrasiveness over the years.
To the contrary, the bruted girdle will easily scratch/abrade everything it comes in contact with.
It seems reasonable that residue of decades of those encounters can build up in the microscopic nooks and crannies of a bruted girdle.

When GIA grades color the diamond is table-down and they look into the pavilion.
I don't know whether a very dirty girdle would affect the grade, but I suspect it could.
Even though bruted some light can enter the diamond at the girdle, just as light can enter a bathroom window that is frosted instead of see-through.

I'd look around for a gem lab facility that can boil it in acid.
I believe that is the most effective process for cleaning the most stubborn residue from diamonds.
 

kenny

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Kim123|1461604640|4023396 said:
Thank you!

Sorry, what does OP mean? (Sry, english is also not my first language)

Well, let's say that I have a choice if I let them be graded by HRD or GIA (in Antwerp).

MollyMalone - do you think that the ultrasonic has the same effect as this boiling in acid what you reffered that GIA is doing?

Beacause if GIA is in every 2-4 weeks cleaning their masterstones by boiling, there has to be good reason doing so. And if the stones in my ring have been there ca 20+ years and the girdles are bruted, I just want to get most of my stones.

GueSs have to ask GIA and HRD directly what is their rutine to clean the stones before grading.
Which lab to choose? HRD or GIA?
If in USA I'd send it to GIA.
If in Europe perhaps HRD or GIA.
If elsewhere I'd call local jewelry stores and ask which lab graded more of the stones they have for sale.

Someone world-traveling expert like John Pollard might be the best one to answer this question.
 

Kim123

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Jul 16, 2015
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Thank you!

In Europe HRD and GIA are both widely accepted. Ofcourse, here are people who only work with GIA and nothing else too.

One of my stones will be ca H-I color and another one ca L-M.

And I know that in antwerp there are special labs for boiling and they will certanly say I need it, because they want to make their cash :angel:

So for me would be perfect if the grading lab will maybe offer to do this if I ask their opinion or about their cleaning rutine.
 

ringo865

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Feb 14, 2014
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Not sure about HRD, but GIA won't grade set stones. So you'd have to take them out of the mountings. And if they are antiques, versus vintage, you might not wish to remove them.
 

MollyMalone

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Yes, your idea of asking the labs about what cleaning they will do is an excellent one!

I found an old (1999) article where a director of GIA's lab in California said that they "deep clean" customers' loose stones before grading them. But I don't know if that is still GIA's policy.

Hope you will come back to tell us what the HRD and GIA labs in Antwerp say -- that would be very useful information, good luck!!
 

kenny

Super_Ideal_Rock
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Here's a good example of how an abrasisve material builds up residue of what it has come in contact with.

Above is my kitchen knife sharpening steel (actually white ceramic).
Notice all the black.
That's not dirt.
It is metal from the knives.
That metal residue is now firmly embedded in the microscopic nooks and crannies of the hard abrasive ceramic.

Occasionally I'll scrub it with baking soda. but that only removes maybe 70% of it.
I'll bet an acid bath would clean it all off, but why bother?
But I would bother with preparing a diamond for grading since color grade has a huge effect on value.

screen_shot_2016-04-25_at_10.png
 

Kim123

Rough_Rock
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Jul 16, 2015
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ringo865|1461606398|4023407 said:
Not sure about HRD, but GIA won't grade set stones. So you'd have to take them out of the mountings. And if they are antiques, versus vintage, you might not wish to remove them.

Yes, HRD will also grade set stones, but then it will be jewelry grading report. But I will take them out of the ring anyway and will grade loose stones :)
 
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