Congratulations! You are the proud owner of a beautiful piece of emerald jewelry. Emerald is a popular and durable gemstone known for its luminescent green hue and classic bezel-set form. A properly cared-for natural emerald stone can easily last a lifetime or more. As you may have heard, several famous examples exist in museums and collections around the world. Whether your emerald is a vintage treasure or a freshly cut new gem, the tips in this article will keep it shining for years to come.
How to Tell if an Emerald is Real
Nowadays, it can be a true challenge to tell if a gem or piece of jewelry is authentic. While false emeralds can be visually like the real thing, they will differ greatly in physical properties and therefore care. Before going over the details of real emerald care, it is important to make sure what you have is genuine. Here are some quick checks:
First, did your emerald come with a gem certification? Not all real emeralds are certified, but a certificate from a reputable lab is a guarantee of emerald quality.
Second, does your emerald sparkle when you hold it in the light? A real emerald should not.
Finally, is your emerald flawless? If so, it is probably a lab-created emerald. Lab-created emeralds are real and will benefit from the same care as their natural counterparts.
Real Emerald Care
Please note that the following care instructions are meant for real emeralds only.
Guidelines and Risks to Avoid
- DO clean emeralds 2-3 times a year, following the directions below.
- DO NOT use an ultrasonic cleaner.
- DO NOT use commercial cleaners.
- DO NOT wear emerald jewelry in the shower, while swimming, or to sleep.
- DO NOT expose emerald jewelry to beauty products or perfume.
- Lastly, DO bring emeralds to a professional jeweler every several years for reoiling.
How to Clean Emeralds
- 2 soft microfiber cloths
- 2 vessels of lukewarm water
- A small amount of mild soap
- A soft brush, such as a jewelry brush
- Gently wipe the emerald with a soft microfiber cloth.
- Immerse the emerald in a vessel of lukewarm water with some mild soap.
- Gently brush the emerald clean with a soft brush, such as a jewelry brush.
- Immerse the emerald in a vessel of lukewarm water without soap.
- Gently dry the emerald with a soft microfiber cloth.
Fine Jewelry Care
You are now aware of how to take care of loose emeralds. Of course, when an emerald is set in a piece of jewelry, such as natural emerald earrings, there are other components you should keep in mind. For example, many pieces of jewelry will feature other gems in addition to the emerald. There is also the material comprising the body of the piece, whether it be precious metal or an alternative material. These components will have their own care requirements, and they are just as important to maintaining the quality of your jewelry as emerald care. In this section, we will cover general guidelines for keeping fine jewelry.
While lovely on their own, emeralds are commonly set with diamond or cubic zirconia accent stones for that extra flash. Luckily, the care details for most gemstones are quite similar. In the case of cubic zirconia, which is of comparable hardness to emerald, care and maintenance are essentially the same. All of the above guidelines and cleaning instructions can be applied to pieces with cubic zirconias as well. When it comes to diamonds, you may rest assured that they are even easier to maintain. Their superior hardness shields them from abrasion, so as long as the jewelry is kept at an emerald’s standard of care, the diamonds will be just fine.
That said, it is worth noting that rings with multiple set gemstones are more prone to losing stones than simple gem rings. If your piece has many individual gemstones, be careful about exposing your jewelry to extreme temperature changes, rough impacts, and situations where it may catch on things. If you notice any damage to the setting, such as a misshapen prong, you should visit a professional jeweler for repairs as soon as possible.
Valuable gemstones like emeralds are usually set in precious metals like gold, silver, and platinum. If yours is set in an alternative material such as titanium, stainless steel, or meteorite, you may skip this section and seek more information on your specific material.
Gold is prized for its chemical inertness, which protects it from tarnishing with exposure to light, oxygen, and water. However, it is also a relatively soft metal. Gold jewelry is prone to scratches and abrasion from regular wear, so you may want to polish such pieces once in a while to restore their shine. Unfortunately, polishing too often will also damage the metal, so it is best to avoid activities like sports and yardwork if your emerald is set in gold.
Silver is just as beautiful and timeless a precious metal as gold. Like pure gold, pure silver will not tarnish. When used in jewelry, though, it is usually alloyed with another metal, such as copper. Such sterling silver is harder than pure silver, but it is prone to oxidation due to the presence of more reactive metals in its composition. If your emerald is set in silver, you should store it in a dark and dry place whenever it is not being worn. Should the silver tarnish, you can restore it by either polishing or treating it with aluminum and baking soda.
Platinum is harder than both gold and silver, and it will not tarnish over time. However, it is still considered a soft metal, so you should still exercise caution accordingly to minimize scratches and abrasion. Thankfully, the higher density of this metal makes it more resistant to wear. Rather than tarnishing, platinum pieces will develop a soft patina with age, which many consider beautiful. If this is not to your taste, you may wish to have your platinum jewelry professionally buffed or plated with rhodium once or twice a year.
Fine jewelry is the ultimate fashion statement. With the information in this article, you are now fully prepared to both enjoy and care for your new emerald. Value it properly, and it will shine for the rest of your life.