Author Topic: So, how am I supposed to be looking after the Green Monster?  (Read 5120 times)

Offline Mrs Mitchell

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So, how am I supposed to be looking after the Green Monster?
« on: January 22, 2012, 12:13:21 PM »
Ok, I thought I knew all the things you need to think about when cleaning, wearing and caring for an emerald.

I don't, though. Well, I know all the don'ts. Don't put it in the ultrasonic, don't wear it to do heavy lifting, don't let it get scratched by other pieces in a jewellery box, don't wear it to wash my hands / the dog / the car / the windows and so on...

What I don't know is the 'do' list. How do I clean it? Can I use dish soap and a baby toothbrush? Or can I even let it get wet? When and where do I get it re-oiled? Is it oiled? I'm assuming it will be, but what sort of oil? How do I keep the step cut side diamonds clean, without hurting the Green Monster?


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Offline oldmancoyote

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Re: So, how am I supposed to be looking after the Green Monster?
« Reply #1 on: January 22, 2012, 01:28:33 PM »
Dish soap and toothbrush will do fine; don't soak the piece, just brush (and brush the diamonds more than the emerald). Emerald is "soft" for a gemstone, but not that soft: it's way harder than stainless steel. The fragility issues are due to inclusions and fractures - and sometimes their treatment - not to the material itself. So brush carefully around any areas that show inclusions, even if they seem deep in the stone.

The oil is traditionally cedarwood oil, because it is transparent, has a very similar RI  and it doesn't yellow. It should not be necessary to re-oil a stone for several years, with normal use and cleaning.

In theory re-oiling is as simple as cleaning the stone very thoroughly with solvents (turpentine), leaving the stone in the oil for 24-48 hours, then removing and wiping it carefully to leave only the oil filling in the cracks. Leave to dry for another 24-48 hours. In practice, don't try this at home.  There is no certainty that the stone was treated with cedar oil to start with, nor that the oil was pure, so the solvent may or may not remove the old treatment fully, and the re-oiling may well cause a wonderful layer of gunk to build up; finally, the RI may or may not be exactly the same between the two oils used, so the stone can change appearance and take on a blotched look where the previous treatment has not been removed.

In summary: leave it to professional cutters and gemologists...

Offline Trinkette

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Re: So, how am I supposed to be looking after the Green Monster?
« Reply #2 on: January 22, 2012, 04:02:50 PM »
Cr*p. I just erased my post by mistake. *SIGH* Oh, well. It was too long anyway.Here's a quick recap:

GIA rates emerald as "medium" in terms of hardness, this is what makes it good for most everyday wear. However, it is only "fair" in terms of toughness (along with others like tsavorite, spessartite, rhodolite, opal, pearls, turquoise...) due to its tendency for cracking and breaking.

To your list of "NOs," I'd add "no steam cleaning."

I might even skip the toothbrush and opt for a rub (not a "scrub") with a cloth soaked in mild, soapy, warm water. Or, a soft make-up brush is a good option. Then, rinse in cool water and wipe dry with a lint-free cloth. Just remember, ANY soap will, over time, break-down any fillers present the gem. Don't be afraid to clean more frequently, as opposed to waiting so long that the build-up is too much for an effective gentle home cleaning. The good news is that colored stones do not attract grease and oils the way diamonds do.
« Last Edit: January 22, 2012, 04:03:37 PM by Trinkette »

Offline Mrs Mitchell

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Re: So, how am I supposed to be looking after the Green Monster?
« Reply #3 on: January 22, 2012, 05:53:41 PM »
Ok, thanks. So, I'm basically looking to clean gently around the emerald, just scrubbing the diamonds and leaving the gem as much alone as possible? I don't have a steam cleaner, so no worries on that score.

OMC, I'm all for have-a-go but there's no way on earth I'm taking this out of its setting to oil it. That is surely a job for a professional (unless I attend another 20 years worth of classes before it needs done...).  ;)

I think Trinkette made a very important point - I have worn it non-stop since it arrived, but haven't cleaned it yet. I normally clean a diamond ring once every couple of days at least unless I'm away from home, so I'm used to an obsessive level of cleaning. I haven't worked up the courage to clean this one, and I'm at risk of putting it out of the category of a gentle at-home clean!
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Offline oldmancoyote

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Re: So, how am I supposed to be looking after the Green Monster?
« Reply #4 on: January 23, 2012, 03:12:04 AM »
It's not that bad - I think emerald has an undeserved reputation for being "difficult", forgetting that widespread availability of ultrasonic cleaners, steam generators etc. (causes of most of the damage) is actually quite recent, and emerald is one of the oldest gemstones in use. I have an old (late 1960s) guide on "how to clean minerals", and it actually portrays emeralds as fairly robust compared to some of the "other stuff". Try cleaning okenite or cuprite, for example...

Emerald is a bugger to photograph, but you can clean it.
« Last Edit: January 23, 2012, 03:13:19 AM by oldmancoyote »

Offline Mrs Mitchell

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Re: So, how am I supposed to be looking after the Green Monster?
« Reply #5 on: January 23, 2012, 12:24:21 PM »
Ironically, I managed to photograph it rather well (though I do say so myself). I hope that doesn't meant the cleaning will be a bugger! ;D
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