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Inherited emerald I think needs oiling

Hello fellow jewelry lovers (?)

I recently inherited a small quite inconsequential emerald pendant from my mother-in-law. I actually think she inherited it from her step mother, because she only wore Silver Native American Jewelry. So it’s old, at least 30 years, but probably 40+. It was in a thin 14k setting with three .2mm pinpoint diamonds (looked like a standard cheap mall jewelry setting). I showed it to the gemologist I took my jewelry to for insurance and he said well maybe bring it back after you set it, it might be worth something then, and he mused it could actually be a beryl. It’s 1.74 cts and a standard emerald cut. But a lovely lightish bright green (which I prefer) it’s quite included. With a few lines visible in it. I would like to make it as beautiful as possible because it’s sentimental to me and my husband…I read someone here say if it’s over 30+ years it’s probably oil, but that might’ve been a post from 00…I’ve been reading all about cleaning using slowly low simmering (not boiling) pot of water vs 24-72-1werk ling hour soak in acetone or methyl alcohol under a lamp for “heat” it’s currently 30F out here with a bit of snow. To remove any oil or possible residue from a fixative, before trying to recoil it with scientific grade cedar wood oil under pressure. That I might need to repeat the oiling process several times. I thought I’d try my food vacuum (for freezing meat-which I’ve never actually used) then I read about this winderkind Arthur Groom in New Jersey…but since the gemologist didn’t want to charge me to even evaluate the stone, I fear it may be to expensive. Though I did shoot them a note on their jewelry site to ask the cost vs doing it myself. If I try to clean and re oil it myself could it crack or could I harm the stone? Or make it change color? Thanks any info welcome. Paddy Peters

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It is impossible to state a value for your stone without seeing it and even an estimate is impossible with your description, because not all green beryl is emerald (depends on the shade) and what you describe could be worth $100/ct or $300/ct or maybe more. “lightish bright green” is not a prime emerald color to me, but maybe we describe color differently…so who knows what it’s worth.

I would strongly advise against any home cleaning beyond using a very gentle wipe. even with a toothbrush and some mild soap you’d have to be careful. Maybe a q-tip and some slight rubbing would clean out grease in the setting. If the stone is oiled, and most of them, especially included one, are, you can pull out the oil and damage the stone’s appearance. I know a lady who put her emerald in a home ultrasonic cleaner and cleaned all the oil out of it, after which it was dull. Emeralds are vulnerable to heat, so I wouldn’t heat it. It could even crumble. The chances that you could get all the oil out somehow with a vacuum and then get some back in there right are not good.

I’d get the gemologist to give me a seat of the pants value for it before I did anything. If it looks good as is I would leave it, but if he thinks it could be spiffed up with a new oil treatment, you could inquire into that. The most accepted treatments today are the standard old Canadian Balsam or the newer proprietary epoxy fillers. Using a dye with the oil or resin is considered a no-no. The old oil can be removed and some new inserted. Here is a link to a long GIA article that can tell you a lot about emerald treatment:

Basically a good jeweler or gemologist could probably refer you to someone, or you could find someone on line, who would re-oil your stone. You’d have to be the judge of whether the cost was worth it, but sentimental value often trumps actual appraised value. Have fun with your jewelry!

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Thank you! I’m going to think on it. I appreciate the excellent information. Paddy

No ultrasonic; it’s already included and it may continue to crack and maybe even fall apart. If it were mine, I would try soaking it in acetone for a week or so (no heat, see above) and then try cedar oil. Heat and/or ultrasonic could definitely harm a treated or included emerald; I would avoid both. I would consider finding someone who has experience working with emeralds as you mentioned; the cost might be more than the stone is worth but if it’s sentimental it might be the way to go.

Get another Gemologist. emerald IS a beryl that is green in color.
Do not boil it. No ultrasonic or steamer either. Inclusions are so common in emeralds that there is a euphemism in the jewelry trade for them. It’s called “Garden” or “Jardin”
Pretty much all emeralds are oiled. It is considered a standard and acceptable practice in the gem world. However oils that are tinted with green dye are not acceptable.
You can try to re-oil it with cedar oil. Put it in a small shallow dish place the emerald in the oil and put it under a warm, not hot light bulb over night. If the stone seems prone to crumbling and is unstable then Opticon would be a better choice.
Good luck and enjoy your heirloom. The value is in the memories of beloveds and family more than the value of any material possession.

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Thank you. I’m going to trying soaking it in acetone first then oiling it myself. I called Arthur Bloom they want $500 to do their opticon treatment. I’m quit sure it’s not worth $500! Except to me…which was a good point. Thank you for your generous advice! Paddy Peters

I’m going to try the soak you advised then reoiling it myself. Arthur Groom wants $500 to do their proprietary optician treatment. I’m quite sure the stone isn’t worth 1/5 that…except to me. Thank you for your generous advice. I appreciate it! Paddy Peters

Jardin is what we say to customers. Behind closed doors it’s just schmutz.


Feel free to try the cedar oil first. If that doesn’t work you can Opticon it yourself. Rio Grande has it for about $26.00. Opticon Fracture Sealer and Hardener
It’s best if you can, to remove the stone from the setting before treating it so that you don’t end up with cedar oil all over the other stones and mounting. The residue can leave one with a rash if it comes into contact with your skin while wearing the pendant.
Also I would not soak it in acetone in case the stone was stabilized at one time. Rather use Dawn dish detergent with some water and a small amount of ammonia or in a cold soak over night. Rinse thoroughly, dry and then use the Cedar oil or the Opticon. Both processes need to sit for at least 12 hours or more under a warm but not hot lamp.
With the Opitcon I soak it over night in Part A overnight under the lamp. I do this in a very small container. If you have access to a vacuum pump it’s useful to put the stone in the Opticon soak for a few seconds in the vacuum bell jar while it and the part A are still warm. After the soak wipe off the excess but leaving a light film of the stuff on the stone Then I add a drop pf Part B onto the stone with lt it rest for a minute or two and then finally wipe off the excess Opticon
I’ve stabilized and brought back many stones to life this way.
That said if you pass on or sell the piece you must disclose that the stone has been treated. If you have any questions feel free to PM me at

Ok. I’m going to do exactly that. Unfortunately, the stone has been soaking in the acetone for the last 12 hours. I just ran to check it, it seems ok. I pulled it out and will continue with dawn dish soap. Ordered the cedar oil and I’ll order the opticon now. At the price Arthur Groom was going to charge I decided to buy a vacuum pump myself it’s still 1/2 the cost they were charging me for one 1.75 Ct stone and I’ll have it for the future. I read you can do this with tourmaline! This emerald will go to my daughter or son who are learning all this alongside me…but of course I’d disclose to any future (thus far non existent customers). Thank you for being so free and helpful with your knowledge. It’s very uplifting to receive help from strangers. Best wishes to you, Paddy Peters

Ha ha. I like the term Schmutz. I’m going to use it with my two 13 year olds!

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Schmutz is the noun. The adjective is schmutzig (often pronounced schmutzik).