Cleaning Crystals or Gemstones - Case Study
Crystals and gemstones have been highly sought after for thousands of years due to their mesmerising appearance and believed metaphysical properties. They can come in various shapes, sizes, and colours, and they are used in jewelry, decorative pieces, and even in industrial applications such as cutting tools and electronic components. Over time, crystals and gemstones can accumulate dirt, soil, oil, and other forms of contamination that can affect their beauty and value. Dirt and soil can obscure the stone's surface, making it appear dull and lifeless. Oils from skin contact or cosmetics can cause discolouration or even damage the stone's surface over time.
It is crucial to clean crystals and gemstones regularly to maintain their beauty and value. Proper cleaning can restore their lustre and shine, making them more visually appealing and valuable. However, improper cleaning methods can damage or even ruin the stone, leading to a loss of value. One of the best ways to clean crystals and gemstones is through ultrasonic cleaning. Ultrasonic cleaning uses high-frequency sound waves to create tiny bubbles that agitate the cleaning solution and remove dirt and other contaminants. It is a gentle and effective method that can clean even the tiniest crevices and hard-to-reach areas of the stone.
However, not all cleaning solutions are suitable for all types of stones. Some stones are sensitive to acidic or alkaline solutions, and using the wrong cleaning solution can damage the stone's surface. It is essential to choose a cleaning solution that is specifically formulated for the type of stone being cleaned.
In addition to regular cleaning, it is also essential to store crystals and gemstones properly. Storing them in a cool, dry place away from sunlight can help prevent discolouration and damage. Avoid storing them in direct sunlight or damp areas, as this can cause discolouration and deterioration.
The material used in this study was Fluorite crystals, which were contaminated with dirt and soil. The customer's criteria were to have the crystals free from all contamination.
Process for Cleaning Fluorite Crystals:
The cleaning process involved two batches of crystals (Batch A and Batch B) and several steps using specific cleaning solutions and equipment.
Batch A: The first batch involved three crystals that were cleaned as a batch. The cleaning process included the following steps: Pre-cleaning: The crystals were placed facing down in a basket to ensure optimal results as the crystals were in the direct line of the ultrasonic waves. First wash: The crystals were cleaned in Rodaweg, a solution with very high emulsifying properties that are very effective at removing stubborn contamination/dirt. The crystals were cleaned in the Rodaweg for 30 minutes and then rinsed in tap water for 2 minutes with ultrasonics. Second wash: The crystals were then placed in the Solvit 4 acidic wash tank and cleaned for 30 minutes. Solvit 4 de-greases, de-oxidizes and also conditions/neutralizes the surface of the crystals, ensuring a spot-free finish. Rinse: The crystals were then rinsed in tap water again for 2 minutes with ultrasonics, followed by a final rinse in DI water using ultrasonics for 2 minutes. Drying: Lastly, the crystals were dried in a hot air dryer for 5 minutes at 65°C. The batch was inspected, showing good results, and the process was repeated. Total cleaning time in each fluid was 60 minutes.
Batch B: The second batch involved four crystals that were cleaned using the same parameters as Batch A. The only change was the cycle times, where all crystals in Batch B were cleaned in Rodaweg and Solvit 4 for 60 minutes. All temperatures and rinsing times remained the same as Batch A. The cleaning process produced excellent results, and the crystals were free from all contamination, meeting the customer's criteria. The cleaning method used was effective in removing stubborn contamination/dirt and ensured a spot-free finish.