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Is citric acid okay to remove mineral deposits on my CBI e-ring? Pros pls weigh in!

Gemstonesrock

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Sep 16, 2019
Messages
123
Hi everyone,

Recently I noticed that my 2.23ct E VS2 CBI had been looking a little muted- she was still as white as ever, but lately she had been much less lively (loss of fire, sparkle and contrast). I looked under my 10x loupe and saw what looked like faint milky streaks and "bubbles" on my diamond. I was baffled because I clean her religiously- I'm talking OCD style- at least once but more often twice a day! Here's what I do: I either coat her in Lavish jewelry cleaning foam or I soak her in a ramekin of hot water and Dawn dishwashing liquid. I then take the soft jewelry brush that came with my Lavish and meticulously clean all the surfaces of the diamond and the nooks and crannies of the setting, including poking the bristles into the sides and undersides of her Mark Morrell platinum setting. I even make sure I get to the diamond's culet. Finally, I rinse my e-ring in hot water and immediately dry her with a soft cloth. Often I'll finish with a cool blast of my hairdryer or dab her with an alcohol wipe. On top of that, I use an ultrasonic once a week to make sure any caked-on lotion, hand sanitizer or grease gets kicked to the curb.

My theory is that my diamond has accumulated serious mineral (calcium carbonate) deposits on her. This would seem to make a lot of sense as I moved to an area with insanely hard water. Our water leaves mineral deposits like I've never seen before. Chalky white water spots show up on the shower glass door after just ONE shower, and I have to descale my hot water kettle at least once per week. See attached picture below of the milky calcium carbonate build-up that happens in my hot water kettle just 4 days after being de-scaled! It is hard to believe that the interior of the kettle is as reflective as a mirror when it's descaled.

I searched Pricescope for advice on cleaning diamonds with mineral deposits and only found a few mentions regarding this specific problem. I saw that vinegar was mentioned a couple of times so I soaked my e-ring in household white vinegar for a couple of hours. I saw modest improvement but not enough. So I had the idea to use what I use to descale my hot water kettle: I decided to soak my ring in 35% citric acid solution, as I read on the internet that organic acids are safe for diamonds and platinum metal. I wore gloves when I plucked her out so as not to touch the acid. Voila! 90% of the scale is gone and my CBI has found its original liveliness again.

Soooo I should probably have posted my query before going ahead with the 35% citric acid, and now I'm concerned if this is okay? If it is indeed fine to use citric acid, is this something I can I do once a week without harm to my jewelry? Can I go to a stronger concentration since I still have some mineral scale left on my diamond? Please please weigh in, jewelry/diamond pros (@Wink, @Rockdiamond, @Texas Leaguer), scientists and anyone who has conquered this problem!

IMG-3374.jpg
 
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yssie

Super_Ideal_Rock
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Aug 14, 2009
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21,105
Your treatment is certainly safe for your CBI! Safe for any diamond, with one caveat - I've heard that sudden and dramatic changes in temperature can cause problems in diamonds with surface-breaking fissures. A CBI would never sport such an inclusion so no worries there ::)

I can't imagine citric acid causing any reaction in any platinum mount, given how little alloy is present regardless of specific composition, but I'll let the experts weigh in on regular/routine/prolonged treatment. I'm curious about the answer myself as I've got unbelievably hard well water too - I'll do a vinegar bath every so often.
@MWM @Garry H (Cut Nut) @John P @Victor Canera @denverappraiser
 
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OoohShiny

Ideal_Rock
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8,002
You could buy some distilled / de-ionised water (for kettles and car radiators) for very little money and then have a separate kettle for your bling - IIRC that has very few deposits (if any?) in it so it stops limescale!

We have a similar hard water supply where I am. It is a PITA but now I find 'soft' water (by which I mean naturally soft, not full-of-treatments soft) really annoying because it has no 'bite' and it takes an age to rinse off in the shower :lol:
 

meesmom

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Feb 25, 2015
Messages
505
I have the exact same problem, this sounds like a wonderful solution!! I'm ashamed to admit it, but a couple of times i actually used scrubbing bubbles bathroom cleanser on it. It worked pretty well but it can't be a very good idea....where do you get citric acid??
 

meesmom

Brilliant_Rock
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Feb 25, 2015
Messages
505
You could buy some distilled / de-ionised water (for kettles and car radiators) for very little money and then have a separate kettle for your bling - IIRC that has very few deposits (if any?) in it so it stops limescale!

We have a similar hard water supply where I am. It is a PITA but now I find 'soft' water (by which I mean naturally soft, not full-of-treatments soft) really annoying because it has no 'bite' and it takes an age to rinse off in the shower :lol:
Yes my parents have a water softener and i never feel like the soap comes off lol!!! I could stand in the shower for days, it seems...
 

OoohShiny

Ideal_Rock
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8,002
Yes my parents have a water softener and i never feel like the soap comes off lol!!! I could stand in the shower for days, it seems...
I stayed in a hotel in Belgium the other year and I think someone had messed up the dosing on their system - having a shower felt like washing in cooking oil, sort of slimy, and you couldn't drink from the tap! lol
 

Gemstonesrock

Shiny_Rock
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Sep 16, 2019
Messages
123
I have the exact same problem, this sounds like a wonderful solution!! I'm ashamed to admit it, but a couple of times i actually used scrubbing bubbles bathroom cleanser on it. It worked pretty well but it can't be a very good idea....where do you get citric acid??
@meesmom I get the 35% citric acid from Amazon- prebottled for use in coffee makers.


But I'm thinking about now switching to 100% citric acid powder that I can dilute in water to make my own solution- much more economical!

 

meesmom

Brilliant_Rock
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Feb 25, 2015
Messages
505
@meesmom I get the 35% citric acid from Amazon- prebottled for use in coffee makers.


But I'm thinking about now switching to 100% citric acid powder that I can dilute in water to make my own solution- much more economical!

Thank you!!
 

Gemstonesrock

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Sep 16, 2019
Messages
123
@OoohShiny and @meesmom thx for comments on the water softener- I was starting to think I should get one but I certainly don’t wanna have endless, slimy showers hahaha! I do like the idea of getting a jug of distilled water for jewelry cleaning! Geez the things we do for our sparkly babies!
 

Daisys and Diamonds

Ideal_Rock
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Apr 30, 2019
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6,124
After reading this thread you have given me a thought
We have really hard water here

Im going to use the water that the dehumidifier makes - i usually water the plants at the front door with it
 

meesmom

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Feb 25, 2015
Messages
505
Sooo i just asked my husband if we had any citric acid lying around, and he reminded me of dishwasher crystals we have that are supposed to descale it (i always forget to use it:roll2:). I took a tiny bit and disolved in hot water. I left my ring in for about 5 min. (I was too scared to leave any longer) rinsed, dryed, and louped it. It really worked!! There is still some spots on the pavilion, tho, so I think I may give it another go tomorrow. Thanks so much @Gemstonesrock, for the great information!!! :appl:
 

SparklieBug

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Feb 23, 2013
Messages
130
Our water is mineral-y so I buy distilled water for use only in the ultrasonic cleaner for my sparklies. LOL! I put a bit of Dawn dish liquid in and let it run for 10+ minutes. I do rinse in tepid tap water, shake it off and immediately dip in rubbing alcohol so there’s no streaking or residue on the stones. Works a charm!
 

Kaycee2018

Brilliant_Rock
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730
Our water is mineral-y so I buy distilled water for use only in the ultrasonic cleaner for my sparklies. LOL! I put a bit of Dawn dish liquid in and let it run for 10+ minutes. I do rinse in tepid tap water, shake it off and immediately dip in rubbing alcohol so there’s no streaking or residue on the stones. Works a charm!
This is very similar to my routine. Our tap water is very hard. I put blue dawn in the tub of my ultrasonic with filtered tap water from my kurig (so hot, but not boiling), followed by a brush with a soft toothbrush (sometimes a second run in the kurig) and distilled water, then and alcohol dips. Works like a dream.
 

MWM

Rough_Rock
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Aug 5, 2019
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@Gemstonesrock,

Dawn dish washing liquid is great stuff. Our water is hard enough to load up a valve in about a year.
Scrubbing Bubbles can't hurt your platinum ring. CLR calcium lime and rust remover won't hurt your primary diamond or the little blue diamond below or your platinum engagement setting. Citric acid won't hurt your platinum ring because there is no solder or reactive metals in that piece.

Please don't put any silver or gold alloys into citric acid.

I am only suggesting the above treatments for your MWM platinum ring and your diamonds. Any other metal mount and gems of any description need to be addressed individually.

I have used Easy Off oven cleaner to remove baked on lime scale from diamond after heat from sizing bonded the scale to the diamonds in a wedder. Vacuum table, ultrasonic cleaner and steamer required. You don't want to do that.

You have a sturdy engagement ring. Enjoy

mw
 

Gemstonesrock

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Sep 16, 2019
Messages
123
@MWM Hi Mark, it’s great to hear from you! Thanks so much for taking the time to weigh in. I’m glad to now have a few solutions to the mineral buildup that won’t negatively impact my diamond and beloved setting.
 

jaaron

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Jan 1, 2016
Messages
828
We have super hard water in London. I do use filtered water to clean jewellery but still found it wasn't as clean as I wanted. A while back I started putting a tiny splash of dishwasher rinse aid (I use Ecover brand which is natural) in with the Dawn detergent and that seemed to solve it.
 

Big Fat Facets

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Jun 7, 2019
Messages
1,223
i've used many products & methods to clean my jewelry. i have used dr bronners, caldrea, ecover, jewelry solution cleaner, ultrasonic, steam, boiling filtered water from the kettle straight into a cordial glass, a designated baby toothbrush at the sink, while i'm shampooing my hair in the shower ... haven't noticed any deposits ...

i'd be hesitant with any type of acid. it could be corrosive to the metal holding your diamond in place
 
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meesmom

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Feb 25, 2015
Messages
505
@Gemstonesrock,

Dawn dish washing liquid is great stuff. Our water is hard enough to load up a valve in about a year.
Scrubbing Bubbles can't hurt your platinum ring. CLR calcium lime and rust remover won't hurt your primary diamond or the little blue diamond below or your platinum engagement setting. Citric acid won't hurt your platinum ring because there is no solder or reactive metals in that piece.

Please don't put any silver or gold alloys into citric acid.

I am only suggesting the above treatments for your MWM platinum ring and your diamonds. Any other metal mount and gems of any description need to be addressed individually.

I have used Easy Off oven cleaner to remove baked on lime scale from diamond after heat from sizing bonded the scale to the diamonds in a wedder. Vacuum table, ultrasonic cleaner and steamer required. You don't want to do that.

You have a sturdy engagement ring. Enjoy

mw
I'll admit it....In a moment of extreme frustration I have eyed the CLR under my sink. But knowing it ate through a pair of my heavy duty kitchen gloves, I chickened out!!:lol:
Thank you for the information!! :)

Edit: I also have and use Sparkle Sparkle spray and it says it has "citrus extracts". Is this in any way similar to citric acid? I love my Sparkle Sparkle, but the citric acid was way better, no question about it!!
 
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Lykame

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Jun 1, 2018
Messages
1,418
This is a great thread. I have similar issues, I live in an area with very hard water. I have tried various things but also very nervous about corrosion. In England we have Fairy, which I believe is a Dawn equivalent. Equally, Fairy has a polymer in it that forms a layer on your hands to try and 'protect' them (hmm) so I think that also happens on my rings; I have sort of gone off using Fairy. It definitely gets rid of the grease and it's great with a soft toothbrush, but it doesn't dry well even with a soft cloth. I need to buy some 'rubbing alcohol' although in England I think it's just called isopropyl alcohol.

I've tried putting rinse aid into the water but that didn't really seem to help. I've pondered using some dishwasher salt - chemically that makes sense so I'll probably try that next. Hopefully that doesn't ruin my ultrasonic. Nervous to use acids but it sounds like citric acid would be okay.

Things to try! :)
 

Gemstonesrock

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Sep 16, 2019
Messages
123
We have super hard water in London. I do use filtered water to clean jewellery but still found it wasn't as clean as I wanted. A while back I started putting a tiny splash of dishwasher rinse aid (I use Ecover brand which is natural) in with the Dawn detergent and that seemed to solve it.
@jaaron I looked up Ecover dishwashing rinse and it indeed contains citric acid! I couldn't figure out what % strength it is, but this seems like a good solution!
 

Gemstonesrock

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Sep 16, 2019
Messages
123
This is a great thread. I have similar issues, I live in an area with very hard water. I have tried various things but also very nervous about corrosion. In England we have Fairy, which I believe is a Dawn equivalent. Equally, Fairy has a polymer in it that forms a layer on your hands to try and 'protect' them (hmm) so I think that also happens on my rings; I have sort of gone off using Fairy. It definitely gets rid of the grease and it's great with a soft toothbrush, but it doesn't dry well even with a soft cloth. I need to buy some 'rubbing alcohol' although in England I think it's just called isopropyl alcohol.

I've tried putting rinse aid into the water but that didn't really seem to help. I've pondered using some dishwasher salt - chemically that makes sense so I'll probably try that next. Hopefully that doesn't ruin my ultrasonic. Nervous to use acids but it sounds like citric acid would be okay.

Things to try! :)
@Lykame, based on what I found on the internet, PLEASE HOLD OFF on using dishwasher salt in your ultrasonic. I found this info on the internet explaining that the dishwasher salt specifically works with the resin balls in your UK dishwasher to attract calcium and magnesium ions, but that by itself it does NOT fight mineral deposits.

How Dishwasher Salt Works

Contrary to what some people may believe, dishwasher salt does not clean or fight hard water stains. Its purpose is to reset the unit’s built-in water softener. Some dishwashers, especially those manufactured overseas in the U.K., feature water softener baskets filled with small resin balls. These resin balls absorb calcium and magnesium ions – two compounds commonly attributed to hard water stains – from the water, promoting clean, spot-free dishes.

The resin balls have a negative atomic charge and the dishwasher salt has a positive atomic charge. When dishwasher salt is used, the resin balls attract the sodium ions; thus, resetting the resin balls so they are more effective at absorbing calcium and magnesium ions in a process known as ion exchange.

(source: https://fredsappliance.com/service/dishwasher-salt-use/#:~:text=Dishwasher salt is typically made,production of hard water stains.)
 

Gemstonesrock

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Sep 16, 2019
Messages
123
@junebug. Yes lemon juice contains citric acid, but it is on average 5-6% citric acid, so fairly weak. Household white vinegar is about 7% acetic acid. I think they are both worth a try because they are inexpensive and easily available. I think it's a good idea to err on the side of using the weakest acid that still works to dissolve your water supply's mineral deposits. Your water could be hard, but hopefully it's not as hard as mine. Since soaking in vinegar for an hour did not do much to tackle the mineral deposits on my diamond, I moved up to the 35% citric acid. Good luck!!
 

Lykame

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Jun 1, 2018
Messages
1,418
@Lykame, based on what I found on the internet, PLEASE HOLD OFF on using dishwasher salt in your ultrasonic. I found this info on the internet explaining that the dishwasher salt specifically works with the resin balls in your UK dishwasher to attract calcium and magnesium ions, but that by itself it does NOT fight mineral deposits.

How Dishwasher Salt Works

Contrary to what some people may believe, dishwasher salt does not clean or fight hard water stains. Its purpose is to reset the unit’s built-in water softener. Some dishwashers, especially those manufactured overseas in the U.K., feature water softener baskets filled with small resin balls. These resin balls absorb calcium and magnesium ions – two compounds commonly attributed to hard water stains – from the water, promoting clean, spot-free dishes.

The resin balls have a negative atomic charge and the dishwasher salt has a positive atomic charge. When dishwasher salt is used, the resin balls attract the sodium ions; thus, resetting the resin balls so they are more effective at absorbing calcium and magnesium ions in a process known as ion exchange.

(source: https://fredsappliance.com/service/dishwasher-salt-use/#:~:text=Dishwasher salt is typically made,production of hard water stains.)
Hi,

Thanks for your message. I was clearly having an idiotic moment, I know you need salt in dishwashers to soften the water and work on the calcium and magnesium in it and I remember from chemistry it requiring sodium chloride as well, but forgot the middle bit with the ion column. My bad, thanks for pointing it out. I'm sure salt water is bad for the metal of the ultrasonic too.

Basically ignore me (well, not completely).

xx
 

diamondseeker2006

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
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Jan 11, 2006
Messages
56,136
I was thinking like @junebug17 that a soak in lemon juice or white vinegar might be an easy thing to try for those without a severe problem. Our water was very hard when we moved in this house 10 years ago, and we eventually added a water softener. It has never crossed my mind to think of deposits accumulating on my diamond, but now I think I'll use a vinegar soaking once in awhile. And keeping a gallon of distilled water around for the ultrasonic is something I have needed to do, also.
 

Daisys and Diamonds

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Apr 30, 2019
Messages
6,124
i've used many products & methods to clean my jewelry. i have used dr bronners, caldrea, ecover, jewelry solution cleaner, ultrasonic, steam, boiling filtered water from the kettle straight into a cordial glass, a designated baby toothbrush at the sink, while i'm shampooing my hair in the shower ... haven't noticed any deposits ...

i'd be hesitant with any type of acid. it could be corrosive to the metal holding your diamond in place
Your very lucky to have soft water, i grew up with hard water but my OH cant get his head around it and is not at all impressed - where i just accept it
sometime down the line we are going to have to buy a water softener - i know they are available here but ive never come across anyone with one
 

meesmom

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Feb 25, 2015
Messages
505
Score!!! Look what I found in a bath bomb making kit i bought my daughter!!
20200927_181405.jpg
Anyway, i figure it cant be that dangerous if they put it in a kit for kids 8 and up. :D
 

Gemstonesrock

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Sep 16, 2019
Messages
123
@meesmom Ooh nice find! It's also the powdery stuff on Sour Patch Kids, so I agree it can't be that aggressive. It's definitely not a problem for just about all diamonds but I think acids are still not ok for gold alloy metals. BTW I got myself a jug of distilled water just for jewelry cleaning and it does make a big difference! I've also started taking my rings off (when at home) before I wash hands.
 
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