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To keep your gems sparkling, clean them when dust and fingerprints have dimmed their brilliance. The best way to clean your gemstone jewelry is in a bowl of water with a few drops of ordinary dish detergent. Using an old toothbrush or soft brush, scrub gently behind the stone where dust and soap can collect. Dry your jewelry thoroughly with a soft cloth, and use ‘Q tips’ to get into the more difficult places.

Although Rubies are well known for their durability you should remember that hardness and susceptibility to breakage are not related. Although a Ruby scores 9 out of 10 on the Moh’s scale, second only to diamond, most are included. Some Rubies are heavily included, in the case of Star Ruby, making the gem fragile and susceptible to cracking or chipping if hit. However, if you use your common sense, removing it before doing any heavy work, treating it gently and keeping it clean you should have a jewelry piece that will last for generations to come.

Lightly included gemstones usually go safely into ultrasonic cleaners. A home ultrasonic cleaner should be used with extreme caution. It can be used to clean lightly included Ruby, sapphire, diamond, iolite, amethyst, citrine, garnets, chrysoberyl, and unadorned jewelry but it may damage gems like emerald, pink tourmaline, peridot, pearls, coral, lapis lazuli, malachite, turquoise, and any gem that has many inclusions. When in doubt, don’t use it, and as always consult a local reputable jeweler before attempting any cleaning yourself.

Soaking a Ruby in vodka overnight will loosen stubborn dirt, which can then be rinsed and brushed away. Always use a soft brush but no abrasives, not even toothpaste. Abrasives such as this will not damage a Ruby, but will scratch the softer silver, gold or platinum settings.

To protect the beauty of your gems and jewelry, make sure you store each piece separately: Gems may not only scratch each other but also the metal components of the jewelry. Avoid creating a tangle of jewelry by wrapping each piece individually, or keeping it in its own compartment. This is especially important when you travel, make sure your jewelry pieces don’t jostle each other in one bag.

Gemstones are among the most durable of nature’s creations. With a little care, they will be as beautiful for generations to come as they are today.

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