Hey there orchid gem junkies…
We sell a lot of blue zircon at the store where I work. We call it
"Glacier Ice" (this is Alaska marketing, okay?).
Anyway, we sold a white gold pendant with an emerald cut, maybe a
carat, carat and a half blue zircon the other day. Boss (a GG,
incidently) wants it polished up and cleaned before boxing, etc. So
I polish it, swish it in the ultrasonic (this is a little ultrasonic,
no heater, slightly warmed by the action…) rinse in room
temperature beaker of water, Boss says, “you should never do that
with zircon, the temperature change could shatter the stone.” He
then proceeds to steam clean the piece, putting the gemdirectly
underneath the nozzle…
“Steam cleaning is okay,” he says…
Now, my question is: It would seem the temperature change from room
temperature to direct steam (assuming steam temp is minimum 212
degrees f.,) is greater than the temperature change from a slightly
warm ultrasonic (maybe 90 degrees?) to room temperature water (72?
76?). What is the greater potential for damaging this stone? Is there
some gemological principle I am missing here?
Help me, Obi Wan, you are my only hope…
BK in AK