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Emerald cleaning question

Joined
Jan 20, 2012
Messages
2,196
How would l know if I damaged my emerald while cleaning it? What would it’s appearance be like?

Oh dear... well hopefully that's not the case! :| It would depend on how you cleaned it. The best way to care for emerald is to use warm (not hot) water, a soft brush, and some mild detergent (such as Dawn). Steam cleaners and ultrasonics can fracture or cloud the stone.
 

headlight

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Nov 2, 2003
Messages
3,050
Thank you so much for your reply as I’m dying!
I used room temp water (so good there) and Dawn (good there), yet it accidentally was in the dish for
Approx 25 min. (not good). I did not do any brushing (so at least I didn’t screw that up). Then rinsed.
What would it look like if that damaged it?
Husband says he sees no difference but I can’t count on him because he’s not a detailed person like me.
And now I don’t know if I’m looking for something(s) that aren’t really there, and/or I’m thinking it must be ruined because it soaked but that may not necessarily be the case.
So I was wondering if I did, in fact, ruin it what visuals would I see to indicate it.
I’ve scoured the internet on this and most articles have caused me to plunge into total devastation, yet then there have been some that said a longer soak in the correct temp and soap is okay.
But nothing states what the stone would look like if it was damaged.
Thanks for your help.
 

VividRed

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Dec 25, 2018
Messages
600
I can’t imagine that what you did damaged an emerald, unless it was filled with water soluble material or with SO much oil that it all went away in soapy water. Did you chip it? Perhaps,
but that is not due to cleaning it.

How much did you pay for it? Does it have a certificate? Can you take a macro picture
and share it with us?

Don’t obsess over this, chances are you didn’t damage it at all. Would it make you feel better to show it to a jeweler?
 

headlight

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Nov 2, 2003
Messages
3,050
Hi! Thanks for your reply.
No chips. Also bezel set which is good.
I highly doubt filled with water soluble filler - it is stated that what they use to enhance, in general to gemstones, is oil, wax, resin, or glass so amongst that list I believe it would be oil which obviously would then not be water soluble.
If it was filled with so much oil as you mentioned that it all went away in the soapy water, what would the stone look like?
Cost - a very large amount.
I’m not really wanting to take to a jeweler.
I can try to get a photo tomorrow. I’m with my husband and he is really annoyed I’m obsessing over this.
No certificate.
 

Avondale

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Oct 31, 2021
Messages
255
I'm with @VividRed on this one, I don't think you damaged it at all. I don't see how a bit of soaking in water could hurt the crystal structure, chip or crack the stone. If it were that fragile, it wouldn't have survived to modern days to be mined and set in jewellery. The worst that could've happened to it is for some of the oil used to have been partially removed.

As to how that would look like, here's a comparison picture of the same emerald before and after oiling:
1663138960207.png
Picture is from https://www.ssef.ch/emeralds-and-the-saga-of-cleaning-and-filling-fissures/
The oil improves the clarity of the stone because it makes cracks and fissures invisible to the naked eye. Once the oil is gone, you can again see the inclusions clearly.

Even if that had happened (which I also doubt considering neither you, nor your husband can see any difference in the stone), then it can always be re-oiled, which is something that would need to happen after some years anyway, because natural oils dry out eventually.
 

Mrs_Strizzle

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Jun 14, 2018
Messages
1,461
Yes, everything that Avondale said. If cleaning it did "damage" you would say that there are a lot more Jardin or inclusions in your stone that wasn't there before. Because you don't immediately say that I think you are good!

Now I'm dying to see your ring btw:razz:
 

headlight

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Nov 2, 2003
Messages
3,050
Thanks so much for all the new posts! I am so appreciative of everyone participating in this! The delay in my reply is due to it getting late where I am and I had to go to sleep.

I am not concerned about cracking or chipping.

It is a loss of oil that i am worried about and, if that’s the case, is there now like an opening so to speak that future cleanings (just placing it in the water and giving a little delicate brushing and removing from the lukewarm Dawn-water solution to rinse) will continue to cause the stone to leak?
Have I created an opening/broken the “seal”?
I do not see inclusions to the naked eye. Under a loupe on the pavilion side (the underside) I did see what might have been extremely narrow “lines”, very faint. I think they were green, not white. I wish I could look again but I am on vacation and don’t have my loupe.
Also, I can’t recall if I saw them there before. I am trying to remember but I wasn’t looking for that when in the store… all I recall seeing was green and then an area of like a gold color - is that the oil? It was there when I looked after the incident. Whether it was exactly the same as when I looked in the store I can’t recall now and don’t have my loupe with me this week.
I think the polish (shine, finish) on the table seems to still be there but could it have dulled? Would that be affected if there is lost oil?
This is a small round stone. Depending on position, I feel like it will be darker in like the center, almost a black… yet given it’s a round it has the pointed culet so maybe that is the darker part? And it moves when my angle moves? If I hold it up to the window, the center (what I think would be the culet area) seems like a clear hole, no color there. But when on the neck or laying on the bed that clear area is not there… I see fully saturated color.
As I stated above… the thing I think I may have seen what I am referring to as the dark thing sort of center that can move depending on my movement (not entirely certain as it’s getting really hard to remember anything before)… Is that obstruction from the viewer? Can you have that in a round cut emerald gem?
This stone will give off flashes of great light return upon movement (almost as if it glows it’s so pretty) but now I am wondering if since the incident the flashes are not seen in all positions or if it’s just my mind playing tricks on me.
Additionally, when I would look straight on, the highlighted light return areas reminded me almost of that nice light return pattern you get in a diamond. Of course I know it’s not going to have what a diamond does with the arrows yet it is a round stone so this emerald doesn’t have the look of an emerald in an emerald shape where you just see the color through table, this round stone is very lively with so much movement and when i would look in the mirror and it caught the light and gave that beautiful flash it reminded me of the optical pattern because it seemed to be emanating from the center equally all around the stone, yet now I wonder if the movement is less, if the areas it will flash at are reduced/missing in some areas, and also if the flashes are less crisp, or mushy.
Could any of these things be indicative of oil loss? Or am imagining all of it given I know what happened to the stone?
Am I thinking it looks less than it was yet it was always like this?
It just doesn’t make sense to me that it could not have been damaged (oil loss) and a perceived visual change given everything I read online about emerald cleaning emphatic about not soaking. The only thing I saw that differed from all sites saying do not soak said to soak for 10 min yet even with that mine was still beyond that time.
What happened was that I was afraid to use a brush for fear of scratching so I was just going to let it sit in the dish for a couple minutes and rinse. Well I stepped away and got distracted and took a shower and when I was drying off, putting on moisturizer, etc., I realized it was in the dish and made a run for the kitchen where it was.
I’m such an idiot. I actually wasn’t even going to clean it as I had just got it 2 days earlier but I’m so used to cleaning my diamonds everytime I wear them. I wanted to be sure to keep my emerald as clean. You have no idea how much I have beaten myself up over this. I’m truly devastated and my husband cannot deal with listening to me any longer so the strife from that has just added to the immense angst I am going through.
Please let me know what you think… if it’s possible nothing happened in spite of all the sites strongly saying do not soak. My brain cannot rectify that the stone could be fine when everyone is so emphatic about the no soaking part.
Oh also my husband thinks it’s fine because he says it’s not like it soaked for hours. He doesn’t think anything was ruined in 25 min. But he doesn’t know anything about this stuff. Yet as I said now many times, if all the sites say DO NOT SOAK (just like that!) how could the piece not have sustained damage. Or are they trying to make the point of not soaking for like half the day or overnight? Yet when they say “soak for one minute” or “do not let the stone sit in the soap-water solution for more than a couple minutes” I interpret it as 25 min would surely damage???
 

headlight

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Nov 2, 2003
Messages
3,050
Some photos… I’m now convinced there is oil loss and devastated.
64F48156-1EEF-4FC2-A9E4-D09E2F40A509.jpeg
 

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headlight

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Nov 2, 2003
Messages
3,050
Thanh you so much for your reply and assessment.
I just question the areas devoid of color.
I am debating between having it inspected and hear back if they can do anything vs sucking it up and making another purchase which is very painful on the bank acct, or just reconciling that it wasn’t meant to be. I won’t wear it the way it is because I know it isn’t the same. The photos proved to me what i was thinking.
If you think it’s gorgeous now you should’ve seen it before I messed up!
So you think those “open” areas devoid of color are normal???
 

Starstruck8

Shiny_Rock
Joined
May 13, 2021
Messages
272
This is a small round stone. Depending on position, I feel like it will be darker in like the center, almost a black… yet given it’s a round it has the pointed culet so maybe that is the darker part? And it moves when my angle moves? If I hold it up to the window, the center (what I think would be the culet area) seems like a clear hole, no color there. But when on the neck or laying on the bed that clear area is not there… I see fully saturated color.
As I stated above… the thing I think I may have seen what I am referring to as the dark thing sort of center that can move depending on my movement (not entirely certain as it’s getting really hard to remember anything before)… Is that obstruction from the viewer? Can you have that in a round cut emerald gem?
Is this what you see in the fifth and sixth pictures below the main picture? This looks like a small tilt window (which it perfectly normal). If so, it's caused by the cut, and would always have been there, nothing to do with cleaning the stone. Maybe you are only noticing it now because the lighting and viewing environment is different?

As Vivid Red says, your emerald is gorgeous. I'd be delighted to own such a nice emerald - really! Please enjoy it and stop worrying.

[Edited] I just noticed your latest reply: "So you think those “open” areas devoid of color are normal???" This makes me even more confident that it's the tilt window that's worrying you. Maybe you didn't notice it before, and now you can't unsee it. Be assured that cleaning would not have changed it, also that with coloured stones, it's a rare stone indeed that lacks a tilt window.
 
Last edited:

headlight

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Nov 2, 2003
Messages
3,050
Thanh you so much for the encouragement!
But how do you reconcile the fact that it soaked for the time it when they say do not soak? How is it that my stone could’ve defeated the odds and escaped damaged?
 

Starstruck8

Shiny_Rock
Joined
May 13, 2021
Messages
272
Thanh you so much for the encouragement!
But how do you reconcile the fact that it soaked for the time it when they say do not soak? How is it that my stone could’ve defeated the odds and escaped damaged?

People giving general advice usually err on the side of caution, if only because they don't want to be sued. They tell you all the bad things that could possibly happen, without indicating the actual risk. Sure, bad outcomes are possible, but they may not be likely. Take it as a lesson, don't do it again, and enjoy your beautiful emerald!
 

monarch64

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Aug 12, 2005
Messages
18,406
Wow! Your necklace is just gorgeous!!! I can see why you’d be concerned. Beautiful color.

I’ve just purchased two emerald rings and have a pair of studs on the way. I will NOT be using Dawn because regardless of countless recommendations it is still a soap that was once advertised to “cut grease,” and it’s what I use to soak baking pans, etc. in! I really don’t see the need for any soap at all; if tepid water and a soft brush aren’t enough to dislodge any dirt/debris I will take my rings in for a professional cleaning. I will also add that it’s imperative not to let jewelry get that dirty in the first place. I used to work in jewelry stores and cleaning people’s jewelry was a real eye-opener. Lots of yuckiness. The oils in our skin, lotions, hair products, lint, hair, and random detritus build up constantly so it’s important to make sure your jewelry isn’t constantly bombarded by those things and is cleaned carefully and frequently. Ok I’m getting off my little soapbox now. Just…if you’d seen the things I saw…Mon dieu.
 
Joined
Jan 20, 2012
Messages
2,196
Thank you so much for your reply as I’m dying!
I used room temp water (so good there) and Dawn (good there), yet it accidentally was in the dish for
Approx 25 min. (not good). I did not do any brushing (so at least I didn’t screw that up). Then rinsed.
What would it look like if that damaged it?
Husband says he sees no difference but I can’t count on him because he’s not a detailed person like me.
And now I don’t know if I’m looking for something(s) that aren’t really there, and/or I’m thinking it must be ruined because it soaked but that may not necessarily be the case.
So I was wondering if I did, in fact, ruin it what visuals would I see to indicate it.
I’ve scoured the internet on this and most articles have caused me to plunge into total devastation, yet then there have been some that said a longer soak in the correct temp and soap is okay.
But nothing states what the stone would look like if it was damaged.
Thanks for your help.

Oh yeah, I don't think you have ANYTHING to worry about, my friend. Soaking the stone in luke warm water for a half hour shouldn't hurt it in the slightest. But to answer your question, if there had been damage, it would have either been in the form of new or worsened fractures, or the degradation of the filling material (which can yellow or turn cloudy). Again though, I can tell you with almost 100% certainty that your stone is fine.
 
Joined
Jan 20, 2012
Messages
2,196
Wow! Your necklace is just gorgeous!!! I can see why you’d be concerned. Beautiful color.

I’ve just purchased two emerald rings and have a pair of studs on the way. I will NOT be using Dawn because regardless of countless recommendations it is still a soap that was once advertised to “cut grease,” and it’s what I use to soak baking pans, etc. in! I really don’t see the need for any soap at all; if tepid water and a soft brush aren’t enough to dislodge any dirt/debris I will take my rings in for a professional cleaning. I will also add that it’s imperative not to let jewelry get that dirty in the first place. I used to work in jewelry stores and cleaning people’s jewelry was a real eye-opener. Lots of yuckiness. The oils in our skin, lotions, hair products, lint, hair, and random detritus build up constantly so it’s important to make sure your jewelry isn’t constantly bombarded by those things and is cleaned carefully and frequently. Ok I’m getting off my little soapbox now. Just…if you’d seen the things I saw…Mon dieu.

I agree with you that we always want to minimize the vigor with which we clean our gems and jewelry. And it's definitely a personal preference as to how we choose to clean our pieces. But for those times when removing even simply skin oils (which deposit on contact) from a gem requires more than just water, I do recommend using a diluted mild detergent such as Dawn. And I wouldn't suggest it unless I felt supremely confident that it would not damage the stone or compromise the filler. This is especially true for F1 and even F2 emeralds (I would advise against buying beyond those clarity enhancement levels anyway). But beware of having your emeralds professionally cleaned instead, because their methods are likely going to be more aggressive than warm soapy water. I recall you purchased your (positively beautimous!) emerald from Jr Colombian. Below is what they have to say on the matter. Again, I'm not telling you to use Dawn if you're not comfortable with it, of course. I just want others to know it is indeed a safe option. :)

 

VividRed

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Dec 25, 2018
Messages
600
Thanh you so much for the encouragement!
But how do you reconcile the fact that it soaked for the time it when they say do not soak? How is it that my stone could’ve defeated the odds and escaped damaged?

You can soak a stone in water for 100 years and nothing will happen to it except some mineral buildup. 25 minutes, or hours, or days, doesn’t do anything. You emerald went through a lot worse during its journey in the host rock :)

Btw the area with lack of color is a tiny window, nothing to worry about and completely unrelated to the cleaning, it was there since it was cut.

I honestly think you can relax :)
 

mayday

Rough_Rock
Joined
Jun 19, 2013
Messages
91
What a gorgeous pendant, the color in that emerald is to die for! You are very lucky, that seller has so many gorgeous stones.
My favorite advice for cleaning an emerald is "wipe with a soft cloth".
I second never letting it get that dirty in the first place, but I can see that with an open bezel pendant, skin oils will accumulate and might need brief contact with a degreaser.
On the plus side, your gorgeous stone is in a pendant so it is likely to avoid the knocks of life that a ring might suffer. I've seen a few emerald engagement rings where the stone becomes rather beat up with time.
 

T L

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Sep 20, 2008
Messages
24,806
I didn’t read all the comment, but in future, when cleaning an emerald, only use a soft toothbrush and ammonia free mild siap.

Never use a steam cleaner, ammonia based jewelry or dish soap cleaner, or an ultra sonic cleaner.
 

headlight

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Nov 2, 2003
Messages
3,050
Wow, thanks so much everyone for all these encouraging and educational replies!
It was actually purchased at Tiffany.
@VividRed So what I was thinking was an area that lost oil filler is actually a window???
With regard to your info about an emerald soaking for 100 years, my concern was with regard to the filler… a stone that hasn’t been fracture filled can’t lose filler (obviously) so my concern would be a filled stone sitting in an, essentially, “degreaser” (Dawn + water). What are your thoughts specifically in that regard? Thanks so much!
 

headlight

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Nov 2, 2003
Messages
3,050
With regard to the photos, so none of you think there is anything odd about that one sort of triangular shaped area that is clear/devoid of color? It is in all orientations.
 
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