Although we are all about the jewelry, crystal vases, decanters and glasses are all very nice too. This article outlines how to clean crystals of all kinds.
Crystal comes in a rainbow of colors, varying hardness, and many applications. “Crystal” defines the molecular structure of various elements. Some crystals are food, like salt and sugar. Others are useful in medicine, others are useful in engineering, and yet others are used in manufacturing to produce beautiful items for the home. Lastly, our favorite use of crystals is for jewelry.
Lead crystal chandeliers, bowls, vases, and other housewares are beautiful additions to any home. Once upon a time, lead crystal dishes were used to prepare and serve food, but now we know better. Today, lead crystal housewares are displayed and rarely used.
Swarovski is a bead and jewelry company that specializes in crystal, and increasingly, you can find raw crystals in jewelry. Cut and polished gemstones are all crystals as well. Caring for them requires a little more knowledge about your stone, but the guidelines provided here give you a great place to start.
The more lead is in your crystal the heavier it is, and the softer it is. Start with dusting the piece with a soft cloth. If that is not enough, clean with warm water and a soft cloth. Please wear gloves when cleaning your crystal with warm water as it has lead in it. If warm water is not enough, you can use gentle dish soap and warm water. Make sure to dry your pieces completely with a lint-free cloth as they will show water spots!
Swarovski and Bead Crystals
Over time crystal beads lose their sparkle, but simple cleaning techniques can keep your crystals shining.
To clean crystal beads, take a microfiber cloth and gently rub in a circular motion. If the beads are especially dirty you can use a small amount of water to loosen the dirt and continue to rub the beads clean. If water and rubbing are not enough, you may use a drop of dish soap diluted in warm water and an extra soft toothbrush. Do not apply the soap directly to the beads and do not scrub with vigor. Scrubbing with soap can remove the AB (Aurora Borealis) treatment from the crystals.
Polished and Raw Crystals
Most of the gems used in jewelry are crystals. Rubies, garnets, emeralds, diamonds and quartz stones are all crystals. Keeping them clean keeps your jewelry looking new years after purchase.
Crystals come in different hardnesses with diamonds being the hardest. Moonstone is a soft stone, but not as soft as opal. When cleaning crystal gemstones use lint-free cloths to rub away any dirt. If you know your stone and it is at least a 4 on the Mohs scale (harder than Marble) you can use water and dish soap to rub your stone clean, or gently scrub with an extra-soft toothbrush as described above.
If your stone is softer than a 4 on the Mohs Stone hardness scale do not rub or scrub it. If you have a soft stone, gently dip the stone (moonstone, barite, azurite, or other soft stone) in soapy water. Remove the gem from the soapy water and carefully dry it off with a scratch-free, lint-free cloth. Repeat the process until the stone is clean taking care not to scratch it.
Alternately: Dip the soft stones in warm soapy water and use a blow dryer on the low setting to dry the stone. Repeat the process until the stone is clean.
Opal is a very soft water stone that requires delicate cleaning. Dip the opal in soapy water then shake the water off. Rinse in cold water and let the stone air dry. If you must use a cloth to remove debris, do not apply pressure with the cloth because opals are easy to scratch.
To make the cleaning faster, you can enjoy a movie while you work. Here are some old films from the 1920s with great jewelry to admire, and a couple of them are silent so the blow dryer won’t make a bit of difference.
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