Semi-precious stones like Onyx are more resistant to damage making onyx a bit easier to clean than other siliceous stone jewelry . Mild solutions (including weak acids) are safe to apply on onyx. However, if a piece of onyx stone beads jewelry is coupled with metals like white gold, rose gold, silver or titanium, it would be a good idea to check if the cleaning solution is safe for use on these metals. Here we will cover the steps, guidelines, and miscellaneous tips about how to clean onyx stone beads jewelry.
Steps To Clean Onyx Stone Beads Jewelry
Whether you have genuine onyx or stained agate, the same steps still apply to clean onyx beads. Onyx is technically a gemstone, so there are some conventions on cleaning that may not apply to other types of jewelry.
The simplest and most straightforward way to clean onyx beads is by wiping the beads down with a dry piece of cloth.
This is recommended if the onyx beads are just dusty, or perhaps there is some mild crusting due to sweat and body oils. You should be able to see if the cleaning is effective if you see some luster coming back to the onyx. It is common for jewelry to look lackluster due to dirt and grime, and often, frequent wipe downs will solve most of your problems.
Unlike other precious stones, it is not a good idea to soak onyx in water for any length of time because of its porosity. While water will not immediately ruin onyx, its colors and general appearance may be affected over time, so it would be best to simply wipe it with a small amount of water or onyx-safe cleaner instead of soaking it. We think this is a good rule of thumb for the majority of jewelry as just soaking metals and precious stones in water won’t clean them, and might even cause rusting in many instances.
After applying any quantity of cleaner on the black onyx, or any kind of moisture for that matter, the piece of jewelry should be patted dry with a separate, clean cloth and then air-dried further before being worn again.
Frequently asked questions about cleaning onyx stone beads
1. I saw a cleaning solution on the Internet. Can I order it and use it to clean my onyx beads?
Many generic cleaning solutions on the Internet have harsh chemicals that are meant to forcefully remove stains and rust. Therefore, it may not be in your best interest to use these as they may cause the depth of color of your onyx beads to fade.
Tarnished onyx will look one or two hues lighter than they really are, and overall, this is not good news for jewelry owners as we want to preserve the original look and quality of any piece of jewelry.
And as we have mentioned earlier, onyx, despite its crystalline appearance, has a tendency to absorb liquids because of its natural porosity. Yes, you may not be aware of the small cavities on the surface, but they are there, and onyx can absorb moisture at a microscopic level.
2. Can I use ultrasonic cleaning devices on onyx stone beads jewelry?
While these devices are advertised as a “catch-all” for all kinds of jewelry, they can actually damage your onyx beyond repair. For the most part, these cleaners are only safe for hardier pieces of jewelry that have harder and more resistant precious stones set unto them.
If you want to get in deeper with the cleaning, what we can recommend is that instead of using a machine like an ultrasonic cleaner on your onyx beads, use a small brush with soft bristles, instead. Hold the onyx beads, on one hand, moisten the tip of the brush’s bristles and gently rub the onyx beads.
It is extremely important that you avoid using metallic brushes or any other abrasive implement made with harder materials to clean semiprecious stones. Anything that has the possibility of scratching or eroding a porous stone should never, ever be used in cleaning onyx beads.
3. How can I clean and polish the metal parts of onyx jewelry?
This is indeed a struggle for a lot of owners of onyx beads and onyx jewelry in general because onyx itself is terribly sensitive to moisture (even water), so it is quite tricky to apply a cleaning solution to the silver and gold parts.
Water and baking soda aren’t any better as the baking soda will not shield the onyx from the moisture. The safest way to remove grime and rust from the metal parts of onyx jewelry is by using a clean piece of cloth, cleaning brush with soft bristles, or even cotton swabs to apply the cleaning solution only to the metal parts.
When you see the grime and rust lifting away, you can then use the cloth/brush/swab to remove the leftover suds and solution completely. Just make sure that you do not get any of the cleaning solutions on the onyx itself. If you do, just wipe it off completely with a dry piece of cloth. Blot out any spills and excess solution with a cloth or swab and let the jewelry air-dry naturally.
4. Can I wear my onyx beads to work?
Yes, but take into consideration that onyx isn’t the hardest of semi-precious stones, and it is possible to actually damage the onyx by just accidentally bumping your wrist somewhere hard. Just be extra careful with the hand that has your onyx beads and you should be fine.
If you are cleaning the house or performing any household chores, it would be best to just remove the beads for the time being. Cooking is no better, as condiments, water, and, oil are all bad for semiprecious stones. And as we have already emphasized a while back, onyx is porous and absorptive, and therefore, it cannot be taken with you to the swimming pool, shower, or bathroom.
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