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Ionic cleaner and the effect on stones


#1
        I have used the ionic cleaner for several years and
fine it great for cleaning gold and silver, especially silver. 

Does anyone know how the ionic cleaners are with the more
fragile stones? The stones you wouldn’t clean with ultrasonic?
Like opal?

Mark W. in slightly cloudy Oregon (the heat wave is over, but
still no rain)


#2

The ionic cleaning method puts no more stress on the stones than
the same solution used just as a soak. Just be sure that
whatever cleaning solution you are using is also safe for the
stones in question. Opal is safe for almost any solution, just
watch out for sudden changes in temperature. Turqoise, amber,
coral, malachite, etc, on the other hand, need a bit more care
in selection of the cleaning solution.

Peter Rowe


#3

Mark, I clean all types of stones in my ultrasonic, including
opal. Of course, highly included or fractured ones get soaking
and brushed treatment. Careful pre-inspection and not leaving
them for prolonged periods helps. Curtis


#4

Mark:

I have used the ionic cleaner with great success for all
sensitive stones such as opal, emerald and others. The solution
unlike regular ultrasonics, isn’t as harse and will not harm the
stones but cleans them in a gentle bubbling fashion. Hope this
helps!

Bill Warren, The Gold Mine
Hudson, NC


#5

Peter: I just got one of the ionic cleaners at a gem show and it
works pretty well, takes about 2 seconds to clean silver, but am
wondering if a dip cleaner would do just as well. Anyway, there
IS a warning in the package about hematite stones. Though the guy
at the show said just do it quick, the brochure says only dip,
don’t use the electricity with hematite.

I do have another question about turquoise though. Turquoise
goes green over time and I’m wondering if there’s some solution
that could reverse the oxidation , if thats whats turning it
green? Or could you even put green turquoise in hot pickle and
would that strip the green away?

As for horror stories and ultrasonics I recently made a lapis
bracelet and left it in the ultrasonic and walked away to return
to a nicely porous piece of lapis when I returned. I was able to
repolish the stone in the bezel and used some wax and blue
sharpie pen to touch up areas I couldn’t reach…never
again…really dumb…Dave

Kickass Websites for the Corporate World http://www.kickassdesign.com
Crystalguy Jewelry http://www.opendoor.com/stephensdesign/crystalguy.html
Recumbent Cyclist’s Advocacy Group
http://www.opendoor.com/stephensdesign/bent/rcag.html


#6
   I just got one of the ionic cleaners at a gem show and it
works pretty well, takes about 2 seconds to clean silver, but
am wondering if a dip cleaner would do just as well.  Anyway,
there IS a warning in the package about hematite stones. Though
the guy at the show said just do it quick, the brochure says
only dip, don't use the electricity with hematite. 

Electrically conductive stones, like hematite, might, it seems
to me, loose their polish, especially since it’s an oxide, and
the solutions are designed to dissolve oxides…

  I do have another question about turquoise though. Turquoise
goes green over time and I'm wondering if there's some
solution that could reverse the oxidation , if thats whats
turning it green?  Or could you even put green turquoise in hot
pickle and would that strip the green away? 

Once it’s green, it stays that way. It’s not reversible. And
it’s not just a simple oxidation reaction, as I recall.
whatever, you still can’t reverse the process without destroying
the integrity of the stone.

Peter


#7
   I do have another question about turquoise though.
Turquoise goes green over time and I'm wondering if there's
some solution that could reverse the oxidation , if thats whats
turning it green?  Or could you even put green turquoise in hot
pickle and would that strip the green away? 

I have worked with turquoise for close to 25 years, having
started my career in the Indian goods trade. Allow me to get on
my soapbox.

Most turquoise is fairly soft, with the better turquoise in the
range of Mohs hardness of 5-6. Some turquoise is extremely hard,
with a Mohs of 7.0-7.5, but it is very rare and quite expensive.
Stabilized turquoise is so soft, it has been “stabilized” by
injecting resin under pressure to make it hard enough to take
cutting and polishing. Turquoise is a compound of hydrous
phosphate of copper and aluminum, and occasionally iron. This is
why turquoise is usually found in copper mines.

Stabilized turquoise will not change color with time because the
resin prevents absorbtion of most chemicals, e.g. chemically
inert. Enhanced turquoise has had the color improved by inducing
an electrical charge, sometimes with heat also. Gem grade
turquoise is hard and low in porosity, and will not change color
over time under normal wearing conditions. Natural turquoise will
change color over time, due to normal environmental factors, and
will aquire a “patina”. This patina may range in color from a
deep royal blue to a deep sea-green. It is much sought after by
turquoise afficianados. The reason for the color change is
because natural turquoise is somewhat soft, it is able to absorb
perspiration and oils from a person’s skin. Depending on the
wearer’s pH, the color will be more blue or more green over time.

Likewise, because it is porous, it can also absorb things such
as lotions, dishsoap, cleaning agents, alcohol and all the other
lovely things we women use on a regular basis. These can be
absorbed into the turquoise with detrimental color changes.
Ammonia will change turquoise to black over time. Most jewelry
cleaning solutions have some type of ammonia.

Jewelry with turquoise in it should never be cleaned with any
commercial type of jewelry cleaner. The best way to clean this
jewelry is the old-fashioned way, with a buffing compound (I use
Fabulustre) or something like a Sunshine Cloth. Buffing compounds
need to be removed with plain water and a toothbrush, or using a
steamer.

When we bought turquoise jewelry, we had to determine whether it
was natural, stabilized, oiled/waxed or enhanced. Most times we
were able to determine by feel, although it took a lot of
training. Oiled/waxed turquoise has a greasy drag to it,
stabilized is slick and glassy, natural and enhanced are slick
with a slight drag. If we had a problem determining if a method
was used, we would go to the oxalic acid and hot pick methods.
Oxalic acid will leave a white spot on the turquoise if enhanced,
with no effect on natural turquoise. A red-hot needle will give
off acrid fumes if stabilized, and a smoky wisp if waxed or
oiled. Natural turquoise will just smell like hot rock. Another
method was to drag the turquoise across our tongues, but we had
to stop that when we had a hepatitis pandemic.

Today, however, none of these methods are absolutely reliable.
Turquoise may be both enhanced and stabilized and the oxalic acid
won’t be a sure clue. Fracture sealing is also listed under
stabilization methods, so it only shows up in the areas that were
porous enough to absorb the resin. Most people have no clue if
their turquoise has been treated in some way. So it’s best to
play it safe when cleaning this jewelry, and charge more for the
extra time.

Other soft stones, such as lapis, coral, shells, malachite and
others with a Mohs hardness of less than 7.0 can be adversely
affected by commercial cleaning solutions.

K.P.


#8

Well, I’ve just got to add this about the Ionic cleaner and soft
stones.

We’ve been using one for years, and it (IMHO) is absolutely safe
for all soft stones like amber, opal, malachite, coral, lapis,
turquoise, etc. I’ve used these stones in my wire designs for
years and have never seen any adverse effects after the use of
the Ionic. Since my husband cuts most of the stones we use, I’m
pretty sure I would have “heard about it” if I would have
damaged his work/polish in any way.

Again, just don’t use it on hematite.

Kristi (and Rick)
Wire Wrapping Etcetera