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Gemstone Cleaning Chart


Follow the guidelines in this Gemstone Cleaning Chart to properly care for and clean your gemstone beads and jewelry.

Gemstones require different cleaning methods based on their hardness, this chart lists the recommended cleaning methods for each stone in order to achieve desired results.

Cleaning Gemstones
Gemstone Toughness Mohs Hardness Steaming Ultrasonic Boiling Soap Untreated Cloth
Alexandrite Excellent 8-1/2 Yes Yes No Yes Yes
Amazonite Poor 6 - 6 1/2 Never Never Never Safe Yes
Amber Poor 2 - 2 1/2 No No No Luke-warm soapy water is safe. Do not use a brush because it may leave scratches. Yes
Amethyst Good 7 Risky Usually Safe No Yes Yes
Apatite Fair 5 Never Risky Never Safe Yes
Aquamarine Good 7 1/2 - 8 Usually Safe (unless it contains feathers or fractures) Usually Safe No Yes Yes
Aragonite Fair - Poor 3 1/2 - 4 Never Never Never Usually Safe Yes
Calcite Fair - Poor 3 Never Risky No Cool soapy water is safe Yes
Carnelian Good 7 No Usually Safe No Yes Yes
Citrine Good 7 No Usually Safe No Yes Yes
Coral Fair 3 1/2 - 4 Risky Risky No Yes Yes
Chrysocolla Poor 2 to 4 No No No Luke-warm soapy water is safe. Do not use a brush because it may leave scratches. Yes
Cubic Zirconia (CZ) Good 8-1/2 Safe Safe Safe Safe Yes
Diamond Good 10 Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Diopside Poor 5 1/2 - 6 Never Risky No Safe Yes
Emerald Poor - Good 7 1/2 - 8 No No No Yes Yes
Fluorite Poor 4 Never Never Never Safe Yes
Garnet Good 7 - 7 1/2 No Usually Safe No Yes Yes
Howlite Fair 3 - 3 1/2 Risky Risky Never Safe Yes
Iolite Fair 7 - 7 1/2 No No No Yes Yes
Jade, Jadeite Exceptional 6 1/2 - 7 Safe Safe Safe Safe Yes
Jade, Nephrite Exceptional 6 - 6 1/2 Safe Safe Safe Safe Yes
Kyanite Poor 4 - 7 1/2 No No No Yes Yes
Labradorite Poor 6 - 6 1/2 Never Never Never Safe Yes
Lapis Lazuli Fair 5 - 6 No No No Yes Yes
Malachite Poor 3 1/2 - 4 No No No Safe Yes
Moonstone Poor 6 - 6 1/2 Never Never Never Safe Yes
New ''Jade'' Poor 2 1/2 - 6 Risky Never No Safe Yes
Olive ''Jade'' Poor 2 1/2 - 6 Risky Never No Safe Yes
Opal Very Poor - Fair 5 - 6 1/2 No No No Yes Yes
Pearl Poor 2 1/2 - 4 No No No No Yes
Peridot Fair - Good 6 1/2 - 7 No Risky No Safe Yes
Rainbow Moonstone Poor 6 - 6 1/2 Never Never Never Safe Yes
Rhodochrosite Poor 3 1/2 - 4 1/2 No No No Cool Soapy Water Yes
Rhodonite Poor - Good 5 1/2 - 6 1/2 Safe Usually Safe No Warm Soapy Water Yes
Ruby Excellent 9 Yes Yes No Lukewarm Soapy Water is safe. Yes
Sapphire Excellent 9 Yes Yes No Yes Yes
Serpentine Poor 2 1/2 - 6 Risky Never No Safe Yes
Shell Fair 3 1/2 Risky Risky Risky Safe Yes
Sodalite Poor 5 - 6 Risky Never Never Safe Yes
Spinel Good 8 Yes Yes No Yes Yes
Sunstone Poor 6 - 6 1/2 Never Never Never Safe Yes
Tanzanite Poor 6-7 No No No Yes Yes
Topaz Poor 8 No No No Yes Yes
Tourmaline Fair 7 - 7 1/2 No No No Yes Yes
Turquoise Poor - Good 5 - 6 No No No Yes Yes
Zircon Poor - Fair 6 - 7 1/2 No No No Yes Yes

Toughness:

Toughness is a material's resistance to breakage. The combination of hardness and toughness largely defines the durability of a gemstone.

Hardness:

A measure of a mineral's hardness and its resistance to scratching, invented by Austrian mineralogist, Friedrich Moh. The scale goes from talc (number 1) being the softest, to diamonds (number 10), being the hardest substance known by man.

Customer Comments

We would like to share some of the customer comments we received in response to the article "Gemstone Cleaning Chart" as featured in an email newsletter. Please keep in mind that the comments expressed below are those of our customers and do not reflect the views of Fire Mountain Gems and Beads.

''Hi! I just received your latest Jewelry Maker's Newsletter - what a wonderful guide you included with the gemstone cleaning guide! I immediately printed a copy to keep with me! Really, really helpful.

Thanks!''
- Julie

''Hey Fire!!!! Your "Gemstone Cleaning Chart" is GREAT, Thank you. I will pass this on when I give a gemstone necklace or bracelet. Thanks again.''
- Maxine

''Awesome information. Thanks.''
- BJ

''Thank you so much for including the methods for cleaning gemstones in your newsletter. It will become a permanent addition to a lot of beaders' information.''
- Sharyn

''Thank you SO much for the gemstone cleaning chart. I've been looking for something like this forever.''
- Debbie

''The recent newsletter was full of things I wanted to know. Thank you. I especially liked the gem cleaning chart. I found some rough gemstones and was wondering how to clean them.''
- Sally

''Gemstone Cleaning Chart: AWESOME. BEAUTIFUL. LOVELY. What a wonderful tool to have. Thank you for making that available. YOU GUYS ARE THE BEST!''
- Lisa

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