Most precious and semi-precious stones can be cleaned in an ultrasonic cleaning machine, like the ones found in jewelry stores. However, one major exception is Emeralds. They are softer than many precious gemstones, and often very included. The ultrasonic waves cause vibrations that basically shake the jewelry clean, but they can also enlarge inclusions and can cause the oil that many emeralds are treated with to ooze out. So, the best way to clean emeralds is really just with a damp soft cloth.
Other good options for cleaning jewelry at home are commercial liquid jewelry cleaner, you know the kind in the jar with the little tray and tiny brush, put it in swoosh it around and voila! Good old fashioned mild soapy water and a soft toothbrush work well too.
Other stones require special care because they are porous and the harsh chemicals in most jewelry cleaners can affect them. Pearls, coral, opal and turquoise should generally just be cleaned with a soft damp cloth to preserve their beauty.
An anti-tarnish polishing cloth is an easy way to keep silver, gold and platinum shiny and looking good.
A good rule of thumb is to make your jewelry the last thing you put on and the first thing you take off, this is especially important to remember when wearing pearls. Due to their delicate, organic nature many everyday products like makeup, perfume, hairspray and lotion can dull the surface and eat away at the nacre.
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