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Confused about "Gem Cloth"

This topic contains 5 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by Profile photo of ladybug ladybug 1 year, 10 months ago.

Viewing 6 posts - 1 through 6 (of 6 total)
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    Profile photo of patrick

    Hi everyone.

    I feel so stupid for asking this question! But I am so very confused…

    Simply put, what do people mean when they say “Gem Cloth”?

    Is it the type that is meant to polish gem stones?

    Or is it simply a soft untreated cloth meant to wipe away fingerprints and such?

    I just received my jewelers loupe and some gems stones to start studying, and I want to wipe them clean so I can inspect them better. But I cannot figure out for the life of me what type of cloth is best to use just for wiping fingerprints and small debris away!

    I have plenty of microfiber cloths around for gadgets and my photography equipment, etc. Are those okay to use on 6-7+ Mohs scale gems?

    Or do I need a special type? I read someone about getting “100% cotton, untreated, soft cloth” to use.

    Could someone please guide me in the right direction?

    Knee slapper for sure…


    Profile photo of gemguy

    Hey Patrick –

    I think it’s a totally reasonable question, and to be honest, the answer is not as straightforward as you may think! Very coincidentally, I’ve just undertaken a very large project to re-organize the content on IGS, and to also augment certain topics where necessary with comprehensive information. I actually noticed that the Cleaning of Gemstones was a gap in the available information, so I added and edited an article by Gerry Wykoff from our founder Don Clark’s archives. Scroll to the middle of the article and you will find a table that I added which lists stones and stone families, and recommends how they should/can be cleaned or wiped.

    Long story short, virtually all gemstones will respond nicely to the careful application of warm water-detergent-soft brush. But there are some that take special attention (see the table in the article). A clean microfiber cloth is more than sufficient for almost all applications.

    Profile photo of patrick

    Thank you for the excellent response! And thanks for the new addition to the info. Very helpful

    Profile photo of ladybug

    I have also used bird’seye cotton diapers, well washed. These are VERY soft, and can be cut into usable size– about 4″x3″. I don’t use any brush bigger than a very soft camel hair artist’s brush, and I never use a toothpick to clean around prongs in settings. Regular care prevents crud around settings.
    Wipe pearls and amber with a soft cloth, and store them in individual velveteen bags. Pieces on display should be in suspension boxes, Riker mounts or secure gem display boxes.
    I did carry a large jewelry wardrobe on a trip, and I packed each pearl strand in baby socks!

    Profile photo of jrasmussen

    I use dawn, warm water and a very soft babies tooth brush for cleaning. Some folk like steamers and/or ultrasonic cleaners, but, I tend to hesitate primarily because a lot of the stones I work with have great cleavage planes.

    any cloth that is used must be clean, basic house dust has a strong quartz component, so it will be detrimental to all stones softer than MOHS 7.


    Profile photo of ladybug

    I really like the article about cleaning gemstones! This is the kind of info that should be printed out and kept handy. I’ve done just that– it’s part of my reference library. Hard copy, three-hole punch, notebook. It’s the kind of info I would print on cardstock and put into Mylar page protectors.

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