Posts Tagged ‘real emerald’

How to clean your emerald jewelry.

In one of my previous blogs, Durability of Emeralds, I said that quality natural emeralds that are set properly are not all that fragile.  Even so, one of the reasons that emeralds get the reputation of being fragile is how people are told never to clean their jewelry by ultrasonic cleaning or steam tools that are standard equipment in most jewelry stores.  You may be led to believe that these methods of cleaning will change its appearance.  In some cases it will.

Ultrasonic cleaner

Before many emeralds reach the retail market they are subjected to specific chemical treatments.  These treatments are just like makeup.  It is applied to hide blemishes, to enhance natural color, and to give a luster that does not appear naturally.  Again like makeup, the treatment is not permanent and can be washed off or can wear off over time.  Ultrasonic and steam cleaning do a really good job at washing off this treatment but do not harm the stones in any way.  If a stone has been treated, its appearance will change and the change will not be for the better.

Not to keep you in any more suspense, you can never go wrong by cleaning your emerald jewelry with warm soapy water and a soft bristle brush like a child’s toothbrush.  Make sure to rinse the piece in the same temperature water as you used to clean it so you don’t alter any of the inclusions in the stone.  Dry the piece with a soft towel.  This method of cleaning is the most gentle and the best way to clean a treated stone.

Steamer jewelry cleaner

Steamer jewelry cleaner

At Queen Emerald we always purchase our stones from the most trusted resources in the emerald market.  I subject our stones to the harshest cleaning methods before I ever put them in the jewelry case or put them for sale on our website.  Queen Emerald tries its best not to buy treated stones but even if one is bought by mistake (nobody is perfect), the cleaning I give it brings it back to its natural state.

If you did not purchase your emerald from Queen Emerald I will give you the same advice that everyone else will give you about how to clean your emerald.  Do not use ultrasound or steam cleaning techniques, use soapy water.

At Queen Emerald every emerald is hand selected and is guaranteed not to change over time no matter what cleaning method you use.   You can wear your emeralds daily, clean them often without worry, and enjoy them for a lifetime.

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Which emerald is a good emerald? CLARITY

CLARITY

Clarity in emeralds speaks about what the gem looks like on the inside and this is what makes an emerald a different gem than any other.  Most emeralds present inclusions that are small bits of other minerals, gas, liquid, and crystals that the emeralds take on in the crystallization process.  About 99% of all natural emeralds will present inclusions.

Emerald inclusion from Chivor mine

Emerald inclusions from Chivor mine

Inclusions in emeralds are sometimes easy to see without a loupe or microscope.  (A loupe is the one-eyed 10X magnifier that a jeweler wears on a string around his neck to make him look important.)  What in other gems may be considered “flaws” or “imperfections”, in emeralds is totally natural and is one of the things we try to find every time we seem them under a loupe. That is why gemologists, appraisers and experts don’t use the same criteria to judge clarity that they use for other gems like diamonds and topazes.

The Gemological Institute of America, GIA, categorizes three clarity types for colored gems:

Type I gemstones, often virtually inclusion-free, such as aquamarine, citrine, topaz and green tourmaline.

Type II gemstones, usually included, such as ruby, sapphire, garnet, peridot, amethyst and spinel.

Type III gemstones, almost always included, such as emerald and red tourmaline.

So…please don’t be afraid when you see an inclusion in an emerald.   It is a natural part of this gem.

Emerald inclusion from Coscuez mine

Emerald inclusion from Coscuez mine

Inclusions in Colombian emeralds most of the time present elongated and thin shapes with peaked ends.  They are also called “jardin” or gardens because they look like branches and plant roots.  They are like finger prints.  Every single individual presents its own internal “garden” or layout for its inclusions.  Be careful that they don’t look like bubbles, they don’t look arranged in a specific order, and they don’t have a specific spot in the gem.  When you are considering the purchase of an emerald, look at the gem through the jewelers loupe to find the inclusions.  Some of them can rule out your purchase and some can be quite beautiful.

When does clarity affect the price in an emerald?  When it presents too many inclusions, when the gem does not look like a crystal because it is excessively included, and when it is too difficult to see facets on the pavilion, the back part of the emerald.

Inclusions can compromise the durability of a stone and lessen the value when they are close to the surfaces of the gem.  Some inclusions can create fractures in the emerald.  If any of these inclusions are at the surfaces the stone can be broken easily through that part.

In general, the fewer the inclusions, the higher the value of the gem.  Of course, clarity is an important factor in evaluating an emerald but it is not the most relevant.  Inclusions in emeralds are very special.  Expect to find them.  Actually, any emerald without them is immediately suspected as synthetic or an imitation.

In the next blog we will discuss carat weight and size in emeralds.