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Sell With a Story: Gemstone Care and Jewelry Maintenance

Learn basic tips and tricks to helping your customers care for their gemstone jewelry.

Jewelry is more than a simple fashion statement. These are pieces with cherished emotional value. Whether it’s a simple everyday style or a prized heirloom, jewelry matters to us. Proper care and cleaning of the gemstones they hold is essential to maintain their beauty and longevity. However, it is important to know which methods are safe for the specific gemstone in each piece so that you don’t risk damage.


Every gemstone has a different tolerance for cleaning methods depending on a variety of factors, such as type of mineral, its durability, its clarity level, treatments the gemstone has undergone, etc. Some cannot handle the abrasive contact from the vibrations of an ultrasonic cleaner. Others can be damaged by the sudden heat from a steam cleaner. It’s important to know the nature of each gemstone when cleaning so that they maintain a lasting quality.

Safe Cleaning Options for Gemstones

When looking to clean gemstones and jewelry, the safest option in general is warm soapy water, a toothbrush, and a soft cloth. However, ultrasonic cleaners and steam cleaners have greatly improved quality and efficiency when it comes to cleaning certain gemstones, especially with stubborn dirtiness. The trick is knowing which cleaning option is safest for each gemstone.


To help at a quick glance, here is an overview of general guidelines for cleaning many of the gemstones used in fine jewelry. Use this chart as a reference and consult a gemologist when in doubt.

Click the image below to download your free gemstone care guide.

Factors to Keep in Mind When Cleaning Gemstones

As with all guidelines, there are exceptions and special considerations. Here are a few conditions to remember.

Stones With Low Clarity

Inclusions and fractures create weaknesses that can lead to shattering when exposed to abrasive contact, heat, or chemicals. For example, Emerald is a gemstone with a natural tendency to have many inclusions. This makes the stone highly likely to take damage if used with an ultrasonic or steam cleaner. Use either option with extreme caution depending on the gemstone’s clarity.

Stones With Treatments

Certain gemstone treatments — such as coating, fracture filling, impregnation, and dying — may not hold up to cleaning conditions even if the gemstone itself is durable. Such is the case with treated diamonds, Rubies, and Sapphires. It’s best to understand the types of treatments used on the gemstone in question and how they react to cleaning conditions before proceeding.

Stones With Low Durability

Gemstones like Pearls and Opals possess highly vulnerable structures that are prone to cracking and breaking when exposed to abrasive contact, heat, and chemicals. These types of gemstones should never be used with either an ultrasonic cleaner or a steam cleaner.

jewelry cleaning

Three Tips to Give Your Customers to Keep Their Jewelry Safe

Encourage your customers to be proactive in the safe keeping of their jewelry and remind them that proper care on their part will lead to a longevity of quality for their precious pieces. Here are three tips to tell your customers when they get new jewelry.


  1. Avoid wearing jewelry while swimming, exercising, or sleeping to prevent harmful or abrasive contact with chemicals, sweat, or surfaces.
  2. Take jewelry off before cleaning or using any household chemicals.
  3. Take caution and avoid contact between the gemstone and any perfumes, body lotions, or hand sanitizers.


As a final reminder for your customers, invite them to return to you regularly for professional cleaning so you can help them ensure the cleanliness and security of their jewelry.

Diving Into Gemstone Education

Tending to pieces made with precious resources takes care and caution. The more you know, the better you can serve your customers. Visit the Stuller Gemstone Education section of our website to learn more and access resources you may need when diving into the colorful world of gemstones.


Heather Fontenot

Senior Director, Diamonds & Gemstones

Heather joined the Stuller loose stone merchandising team in August 2015 after attaining her bachelor's degree in Business Management from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. Her natural curiosity and love of all things that sparkle and shine has pushed her to learn as much as she can about Earth's most precious possessions.