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Cleaning amber pieces in an ionic cleaner


#1

Hi Orchidland,

I’m on the verge of purchasing an ionic jewelry cleaner. I read that
the ionic is safe for pearls, opals and other fragile materials like
turquoise and malachite, but there was no mention of amber that I
could find.

I’ve searched the archives to no avail for the answer to this
question: is it safe to clean amber-and-silver jewelry in an ionic
jewelry cleaner?

Thank you,
Mac


#2
I've searched the archives to no avail for the answer to this
question: is it safe to clean amber-and-silver jewelry in an ionic
jewelry cleaner? 

Mac, the ionic cleaners’ gentle application of voltage won’t harm the
amber on it’s own, or contribute to it in any way. What WILL harm the
amber is certain cleaning solutions you might use with the ionic
cleaner. Strongly alkaline agents, especially ammonia, will quickly
damage the amber, removing the polish. Ph neutral mild cleaners,
such as liquid dish washing detergent (palmolive, etc), probably
would be acceptable, but test it first on a small spot. The ionic
cleaner itself plays no part in this as far as the amber is
concerned. It’s all about whether the cleaning solution itself will
harm the amber. Of course, in the event you do find you’ve etched the
polish off the amber with too strong a cleaning solution, amber is
pretty easy to polish up again, so all wouldn’t be lost. But it’s a
needless extra bit of work.

Peter


#3

Hi there,

My first reaction is: Don’t do it, dude!!! Amber is tree resin
and unofficially I would say that the cleaner could actually put
pits into the surface…I just tried to clean the surface of a wax
that I was working on and it did get some pits…So, again, I would
advocate for gentle hand cleaning and maybe a soapy solution made
from gentle Ivory Soap.Dry with a light pat on a soft cloth…

Just my 2cents and a few years of practice(30 +)

From almost clear skies in California-Bay Area to be more exact,
Jo-Ann Maggiora Donivan


#4

Mac,

I am not sure about an ionic cleaner, but I am sure you can ruin
amber in an ultrasonic cleaner. I had one faceted for a client many
years ago and someone left it in the ultrasonic, it looked like a
root beer flavored Jolly Rancher that had been left out in the rain
when we finally took it out. It would have been OK if we had given it
a quick “swish”, but the combination of the heat, solution we used
and the vibration did it in. I would guess that heat and an
aggressive solution would do much the same thing in a mixing bowl
sitting undisturbed if given enough time.

Mark