Amber. It takes a bit of care.
Amber is a soft “stone” that requires a little care to wear. It has a MOH’s hardness rating of 2-2.5, which means it can easily be scratched. Here are some items you want to keep away from this soft piece of fossilized pine resin:
- Sharp objects (even your fingernail!)
- Rough surfaces (plastic, wood, glass, stone)
- Other pieces of jewelry
- Coarse fabric (wool, polyester, etc.)
- Hard surfaces (wood, stone, glass, etc.)
- Chemicals (hairspray, lotions, strong soaps, perfume, cleaning solutions, etc.)
- Heat (fireplaces, hot vehicles, stoves, fires, hot appliances, etc.)
- Sunlight (direct, for a prolonged period)
Here are some examples of when you may accidentally injure your Amber jewelry:
- You are wearing a brooch that has popped loose, exposing the sharp pin. You accidentally brush your ring against the hook and a big scratch happens.
- You are playing with your pup in a park, and your amber ring grazes the cement sidewalk beneath you. Your stone gets a significant mark across it.
- You store all your jewelry together, and under the pile, the edge of a pendant bale is lying next to your amber ring. Every time you reach into your collection, the bale scratches the amber repeatedly.
- You are wearing a very heavy-duty wool sweater and holding a heavy grocery sack with the hand that you are wearing an amber ring on. As you move your hand around, the heaviness of the bag rubs the stone against your sweater, over and over. Your stone will then have little tiny scratches that dull its surface.
- You walk down your hallway, swinging your arms, and brush your amber ring alongside your textured metal hallway table. The top of your stone becomes marred.
- You are getting ready to go out and are wearing your amber ring. As you spray your hair with a beauty product, the spray gets on your amber. The chemicals eat into the soft stone and cause it to become cloudy.
- At a holiday party, you notice your fingers swelling from all the salty food. You slip your ring off and leave it sitting on the fireplace mantel. The heat from the fire degrades your stone. It becomes dark and loses its luster.
- It's summer, and you are heading out for a swim. You take your ring off and leave it on your car's dashboard. The sun's intense rays in the hot vehicle degrade your stone. It becomes dark and loses its luster.
Significant scratches can be fixed by a lapidary artist, but fine or light scratches may be buffed out at home using a jewelry polishing cloth. I use Sunshine Cloths by RioGrande and gently rub my amber to help it regain its sparkle. I also use 100% cotton cloths and warm water to clean my amber.
Overall, suppose you are wearing your amber jewelry regularly. In that case, you should expect it to get a bit dull over time. That is normal because the surface will touch many other surfaces as you go about your days. Just gently rub it once in a while with a soft cloth, and you will be able to keep your stone looking good every day.
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