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 Jewelry Education & Learning Center

Caring For Your Gemstones & Birthstone

Your gemstone jewelry will be as multifunctional as it is multifaceted. A fabulous investment, it is also a wonderful way to experiment with color. Glittering gemstone jewelry will add perfect polish to any look.

This page is dedicated to providing you with some practical care and maintenance information about your gemstone jewelry, as well as a little insight into the intriguing history of each gem.

Birthstones serve as reminders of the beauty and mystery of life. Various birthstone lists associating one or more gemstones with the months have been developed through the centuries.

COLORED GEMSTONE CARE

To keep your colored gemstones at their best, follow a few simple steps:

Put on your jewelry after using makeup, perfume or cologne, and hair products.
Before storage, wipe gemstones with a clean, soft, damp cloth and gently pat dry.
Avoid exposure to hairspray, perfume, chlorine and perspiration, which can dull gemstones.
Use mild soap and warm water to clean most stones.
Do not use toothpaste or any other abrasive cleaner on stones or mounting.
Use a soft toothbrush to gently scrub your jewelry.
Never use boiling or hot water to clean gems.
Do not wear jewelry while doing household chores.
Wrap each piece in soft tissue or cloth to prevent damage during storage.

ULTRASONIC CLEANERS

These are machines that clean jewelry by bombarding it with sound waves. This vibration shakes off dirt, but the vibrations can also cause damage to the gemstone, especially brittle stones like emeralds. Any stone inclusions can be greatly enlarged by the shaking, making the gem less attractive and valuable. Because of the risk, we recommend caution when using the ultrasonic cleaners.

January: Garnet - 2nd Year Anniversary Stone

History
It's believed that the name of this rich, red gem was inspired by the luscious, red fruit of the pomegranate. Garnets are symbolic of love and devotion. They are also rumored to keep the wearer safe from harm.

Care
It is best to clean your garnet jewelry with a soft bristle brush and store in a cloth bag.
February: Amethyst - 6th Year Anniversary Stone

History
Purple, a color often identified with royalty, was a favorite among kings and pharaohs, thus, amethysts were prominently featured in crown jewels. Amethysts were also associated with Dionysus, the Greek God of wine. In ancient Rome, they were worn to prevent intoxication and bring the wearer tranquility.

Care
It is best to clean your amethyst jewelry with a soft cloth and store in a cloth bag. Also, avoid strong heat, chlorine or salt water.
March: Aquamarine 

History
These sea-blue gems bear the Greek name for sea water and were believed to be the treasures of mermaids. Rumored to prevent aging, aquamarines have been used to cure everything from hiccups to laziness.

Care
Clean with a soft bristle brush. Keep away from harsh chemicals and sudden temperature changes.
April: Diamond  - 10th Year Anniversary Stone

History
Pure carbon, diamonds are one of the earth's most common and oldest elements. Diamonds were originally formed under intense heat and pressure deep in the earth. Millions of years ago, volcanic forces pushed them to the surface where they were scattered along rivers and oceans. Diamonds are the hardest substance found in the world and have always represented inner strength and courage.

Care
Avoid storing diamonds with other jewelry since they can easily scratch other stones. Clean with a soft bristle brush and mild household cleaner.
May: Emerald - 20th Year Anniversary Stone

History
The vivid color of emeralds represents rebirth and symbolizes the beauty of Spring. They are also prized for their ability to reveal true love.

Care
Clean your emerald jewelry with warm, soapy water and have a jeweler re-oil it annually. Never use an ultrasonic cleaner. Store in a soft cloth bag.
June: Pearl - 3rd Year Anniversary Stone

History
The regal pearl was believed to possess life-restoring powers. There are many different types of pearls including freshwater, saltwater and cultured. Pearls are also an ideal gift for brides.

Care
Avoid contact with harsh chemicals and household cleaners. Never use an ultrasonic cleaner for your pearl jewelry.
July: Ruby - 15th Year Anniversary Stone

History
Rubies are rare and extremely valuable, sometimes exceeding the cost of diamonds. Synonymous with royalty, throughout history majestic rubies have been presented during coronations.

Care
These durable gems can be cleaned with a soft bristle brush or a damp cloth.
August: Peridot - 16th Year Anniversary Stone

History
Formed from fire and found in rocks near volcanoes, legend has it that Peridots are tears belonging to the goddess of volcanoes, Pele. This soft, green gem was also worn as protection against evil spirits.

Care
Peridot is a soft gem so be sure to protect against scratches; avoid contact with perfumes and harsh chemicals.
September: Sapphire - 45th Year Anniversary Stone

History
Ancient myths described that the earth rested on a giant sapphire whose brilliant color was reflected in the sky. The sapphire was once worn by the world's most famous emperors and kings to protect themselves from harm and envy. Sapphires can be found in all colors ranging from assorted blues to pinks and yellows. Sapphires are the second hardest substance on earth.

Care
Clean with a soft bristle brush and keep away from harsh chemicals.
October: Opal  - 14th Year Anniversary Stone

History
Considered a symbol of hope, opals were believed to have fallen to the earth in a fiery flash of lightening. Opals are also believed to possess the mysterious wonders of the skies in their colorful depths. Opals are one of the few gemstones that are sedimentary in origin.

Care
Opals are fairly soft stones so it is important to avoid ultrasonic cleaners.
November: Citrine  - 13th Year Anniversary Stone

History
The French word for lemon, citrines are one of the most affordable gems on the market. Citrines are believed to symbolize happiness and were believed to be a gift from the sun. Citrines have also been used as an antidote for snake venom, as well as a talisman against the plague, bad skin and evil thoughts. They are believed to aid digestion as well as remove toxins from the body.

Care
Clean with warm water and a soft bristle brush. Store in a soft cloth bag.
December: Blue Topaz  - 4th Year Anniversary Stone

History
This stone is actually brown when mined, but turns a pale blue when exposed to heat. Topaz is believed to strengthen the mind. Originally used in Ancient Egypt, this stone's popularity grew tremendously during the Middle Ages. Topaz represents fidelity and was often given to new couples.

Care
This stone is soft so beware of chipping. Clean with a soapy solution and a soft bristle brush.
Tanzanite 

History
Tanzanite is an excellent alternative to blue topaz as the December birthstone. Tanzanites are only mined in Tanzania, and have been gaining popularity in recent years. This exotic stone is a medium blue to purplish blue with flashes of violet.

Care
This soft stone should be handled with care and cleaned with a soft, damp cloth.
Jade  - 12th Year Anniversary Stone

History
Jade is found in a variety of colors including purple and red, as well as the well-known shade of dark green. In some cultures it has been used as a cure for kidney ailments.

Care
Jade is an extremely durable stone and can be cleaned with a damp cloth.

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