Saturday, October 1, 2011

Cleaning and Caring for Black Onyx Gems

There are some fabulous gems that nature creates and with a bit of human intervention, we have an amazing stone that we can set into jewelry and enjoy for years.  Black Onyx is one of those gemstones. Black Onyx is an opaque gemstone created from a mineral called Chalcedony which is a crystalline form of silica that produces agate and many other types of mineral gemstones. Onyx is a variant of agate with black and white banding.

Black Onyx is a popular stone that is often set into sterling silver and stainless steel jewelry, although you can find it set into gold and platinum too.  You often find Onyx created into a pendant style cut called cabochon or beads. It has been used for centuries in cameo jewelry and other fine carvings. It is polished to a fine luster and is dramatically beautiful.

Before cleaning your Black Onyx pieces know that the onyx gemstone has a very porous surface so you should never use chemical cleaning products or water to clean your onyx jewelry because water and cleaning agents can discolor your stone forever...a process that can never be reversed.

To clean any jewelry containing an onyx stone you will need two soft cotton cloths or small microfiber cleaning cloths. You will slightly dampen one of them to wipe the debris and dirt off your stone and then immediately dry it off with a second cloth.  If the metal portions of your jewelry are dirty and need to be cleaned, we recommend that you use a special jeweler's cleaning cloth to clean just the metal portions of your jewelry pieces.

You should not bathe, shower, swim, wash your hands or clean your house while wearing jewelry made with onyx. If you happen to get your jewelry wet by accident it is important to follow the steps listed above to clean it right away as you want to remove any chemicals immediately. It is a rather hard mineral so it can scratch other jewelry pieces. Storing it in a separate jewelry case or sectioned compartment is recommended to preserve all of your jewelry.

by Kaye Lefier, Contributing Editor at, online store specializing in wooden jewelry boxes and leather jewelry cases. Kaye is an avid Jewelry Collector and writes about Jewelry and Jewelry Trends

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