As the Queen of Clean, I frequently field questions from my friends and colleagues about how to clean different pieces of jewelry. Depending on what they want to clean, I may recommend our Fine Jewelry Cleaner, Gentle Jewelry Cleaner or Silver Cleaner. I will assume that you have deduced what you should clean with Silver Cleaner, but my friends will ask, “What’s the difference between Fine and Gentle Jewelry Cleaner? Does it really matter what I use?” Yes, it does; and the why all comes down to what variety of stone you are cleaning.
In order to properly clean your jewelry, it is important to understand how “hard” the gemstones in the piece are. Softer, more porous jewels cannot handle the same chemical treatment as harder gemstones. But how can you know how hard they are?
If you ask your jeweler that question, she will likely reference the Mohs scale. The Mohs scale of mineral hardness characterizes how scratch resistant various minerals are. Minerals are compared by the ability of one mineral to scratch the surface of a softer mineral. The scale is named for German geologist and mineralogist Friedrich Mohs who created it in 1812.
You can probably guess what mineral tops the scale: diamonds. Ten minerals make up the scale and all other minerals fall on the scale based on the hardest mineral that mineral can scratch. The Mohs scale minerals range from softest (talc) to hardest (diamonds). The scale does not measure absolute hardness but rather the relative hardness of one mineral to another.
What does this mean for cleaning your jewelry? At The Kingswood Company our cleaning formularies are designed to safely clean all the jewelry in your wardrobe. Our Fine Jewelry Cleaner, which contains ammonia, is safe for diamonds, amethyst, rubies, sapphires and more (for a full list visit our Education page). And our non-ammoniated Gentle Jewelry Cleaner is safe for use on softer and more porous stones such as emeralds, opals, pearls, turquoise and more (for a full list visit our Education page). If your piece of jewelry is made of multiple stones, always use the cleaning formula that is safe for the softest or most delicate element in the piece.
So now you know Mohs! And while it is interesting, I don’t recommend you scratch your jewels to see how hard they are.
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