how to store and clean gemstonehow to store and clean gemstone

Onyx, with its captivating bands of color, has graced jewelry and decorative objects for centuries. But like any treasured possession, proper care is essential to ensure your onyx continues to radiate its natural beauty for years to come. This guide equips you with the knowledge and practical steps to effectively clean, store, and maintain your chalcedony pieces.

cleaning gemstone jewellery
cleaning gemstone jewellery

Understanding Onyx: Its Composition and Potential Weaknesses

Before diving into cleaning techniques, understanding the properties of onyx is crucial. Primarily composed of silica, chalcedony boasts a Mohs hardness rating of 6.5 to 7, making it relatively scratch-resistant compared to softer gemstones. However, it’s still susceptible to chipping or cracking if subjected to forceful blows or sudden temperature changes. This knowledge informs how we handle and clean our onyx pieces.

Gentle Cleaning Techniques for Maintaining Shine

Now, let’s delve into the practical aspects of cleaning your gemstone. The good news is that onyx doesn’t require harsh chemicals or abrasive cleaning methods. For routine cleaning, a simple solution of warm water and a mild dish soap works wonders. Gently swish your onyx jewelry or decorative object in the soapy water, using a soft-bristled brush to remove any dirt or grime lodged within the crevices. Rinse thoroughly with clean water and pat dry with a soft microfiber cloth.

Addressing Stubborn Stains and Discoloration

While warm soapy water tackles most cleaning needs, occasionally, you might encounter stubborn stains or slight discoloration on your gemstone. In such instances, a mild solution of white vinegar and water (one part vinegar to three parts water) can be used. Dip a soft cloth in the solution, wring it out thoroughly to avoid excessive moisture, and gently wipe the affected area. Rinse the area with clean water afterward and pat dry with a microfiber cloth. Important Note:¬† Always test any cleaning solution on an inconspicuous area of the onyx first to ensure it doesn’t cause any adverse reactions.

Avoid Harsh Chemicals and Abrasives: Keeping Onyx Safe

While tackling stubborn stains, it’s tempting to reach for harsher chemicals or abrasive cleaning agents. However, resist this urge! These can damage the surface of your gemstone, dulling its shine and potentially causing permanent etching. Similarly, avoid using ultrasonic cleaners, as the vibrations can cause cracks in the stone. Stick to the gentle cleaning methods mentioned previously to maintain the pristine beauty of your gemstone.

Storage Matters: Protecting Your Onyx from Damage

Once your onyx is clean and dry, proper storage becomes crucial. Here are some key points to remember:

Store onyx in a cool, dry place

¬†Avoid excessive heat and direct sunlight, as these elements can contribute to the stone’s fading or cracking.

Wrap onyx in soft cloths

When storing gemstone jewelry, individually wrap each piece in soft cloths like microfiber or chamois to prevent scratches from other jewelry items. For larger onyx objects, consider using padded storage boxes.

Separate onyx from harder gemstones

Store your gemstone jewelry away from harder gemstones like diamonds or sapphires, as these can scratch the softer onyx surface during accidental contact.

Prevention is Key: Minimizing Everyday Wear and Tear

By incorporating a few simple practices into your daily routine, you can significantly minimize wear and tear on your onyx pieces:

Remove gemstone jewelry before engaging in activities

Take off your onyx jewelry before cleaning, showering, swimming, or exercising. Exposure to harsh chemicals, chlorine, or excessive sweat can damage the stone.

Apply cosmetics and lotions first

Allow cosmetics and lotions to dry completely before putting on your gemstone jewelry. Certain chemicals in these products can dull the stone’s shine or cause discoloration.

Store onyx jewelry separately 

Don’t toss your gemstone jewelry carelessly into a jewelry box. Store it individually in a pouch or compartment to minimize the risk of scratches from other jewelry pieces.

Professional Cleaning and Maintenance: When to Seek Expert Help

For heavily soiled onyx pieces or those with deep cracks or chips, professional cleaning and restoration might be necessary. A qualified jeweler or gemstone specialist can assess the damage and recommend the most appropriate course of action. Additionally, if you plan on wearing your gemstone jewelry frequently, consider getting it professionally cleaned and inspected every year to maintain its optimal condition.

By following these simple yet effective tips, you can ensure your onyx jewelry and decorative objects continue to radiate their captivating beauty for generations to come. Remember, with a little care and attention, your gemstone pieces can become cherished heirlooms, imbued with history and timeless elegance.


By Luke