Ruby ranks at a 9 on the Mohs scale of mineral hardness, and a rating of excellent in terms of toughness. Among all of the natural gems, the only ones to outrank ruby is diamond and moissanite. But though it is strong, it does require a good deal of special care and regular upkeep to bring out its optimum brilliance. With proper maintenance, this gemstone is one that is sure to last for many generations.
No matter what type of gemstone you might have, it is always advised that your jewelry be handled by its band or chain, and never by the actual stone itself. This prevents the gem from accumulating buildup of natural oils and other residue that are often transferred from the hands.
Exposure and Cleaning
Untreated rubies, as well as heat-treated rubies, are very durable. Any stones that have undergone lattice-diffusion treatment have fluctuating grades of treated-color permeation. For some rubies, the treated color infiltrates the entire stone, while others may have very light treated-color penetration. For these stones, any damage to or re-cutting of the surface can eliminate some of its color.
Today, there are large quantities of treated rubies that have fractures filled with high-lead content glass. These types of stones demand much more care than untreated, heat-treated, or lattice-diffusion treated ones. Because the glass can be easily damaged via contact with household chemicals and other common substances – like lemon juice, for instance – it’s important to take extra precautions with cleaning and exposure.
As with most other gemstones, rubies can accrue other day-to-day residue, including oil, dirt, makeup and more. For keeping your stone in pristine condition is to handle it as little as possible while completing routine tasks, such as doing dishes, applying makeup, spraying hairspray or perfume, cleaning the house, etc. Something to remember is: “Last in, first out.” You’ll also want to do routine cleaning on this stone at home to avoid having to do intensive cleanings, which can wear away at some of the essential oils that maintain the stone’s clarity. Follow these simple cleaning steps for the best results:
1. Begin by polishing the ring or stone with a 100% cotton cloth before applying any water, as this will loosen up any caked-on residue or oils.
2. Pour lukewarm water into a bowl or sink – an adequate amount that will completely submerge the stone. While the water pours into the container, mix in a teaspoon of mild liquid soap. If needed, place a towel or other protective material to the bottom of the sink to prevent any damage from the stone to the bowl.
3. Let the gem soak for a few minutes to allow dirt and oils to loosen. If it is especially dirty, marked or stained, leave it to soak for a couple of hours using the above mixture or with pure vodka (for only 15 minutes).
4. Using a soft-bristled makeup or jewelry brush, gently clean the surfaces of the emerald. For multiple stones in one piece of jewelry, be sure to clean in each of the crevices and along the prong areas, so as to not miss any parts of the smaller stones.
5. Rinse the stone with lukewarm water only. Do not use hot water. Repeat rinsing if necessary to ensure all soap and residue is removed.
6. Pat the stone dry using a soft, 100% cotton towel. Try to avoid using your fingernails to get in each crevice.
7. Put the gem in a safe, room-temperature place to dry to its entirety. The stone should be completely dry to wear.
Something else to do is visit a certified jeweler a couple times per year to have your gem thoroughly inspected and professionally polished. In doing so, you will ensure an even more intense brilliance in your ruby. Make sure to have the jeweler examine the stone’s mounting and setting, too, so you can check to see if the stones have been repositioned at all.
Although ruby has nearly the same durability as diamond, in terms of mineral hardness, that doesn’t mean it’s indestructible. In fact, if stored with other less-durable gemstones, it will probably damage them. Because of this, it’s crucial to protect your jewelry as much as possible, so as to not scratch or chip any pieces. It is advised to store each of your gemstones separately in compartmentalized boxes at room temperature.
Should your ruby become cracked or damaged, it is best advised that you take your stone to a professional for repairing, as it is a very hard mineral. Without proper knowledge of how to mend this gemstone, you may end up damaging other tools or materials in the process.