Peacock ore should not go in water.
You can use water to clean it, but we recommend against extended soaks or exposure to moisture.
In the article that follows, you’ll learn more about peacock ore, as well as why this is not a stone to soak.
Can Peacock Ore Go In Water? (EXPLAINED)
What is Peacock Ore?
The stone bornite (aka chalcopyrite) also gets called peacock ore because when it tarnishes, it turns iridescent hues of gold, pink, green, purple, and blue.
This causes the stone to look like a peacock’s feathers.
When the copper and iron in the crystal that forms chalcopyrite oxidize, the stone develops this rainbow.
Why The Hardness Matters
Gems and minerals differ in hardness based upon chemical composition and formation.
Jewelers use the Mohs scale to describe the hardness of a stone.
Diamonds top the list for hardness, ranking 10 on the Mohs scale.
Talc ranks one on the scale because of its powdery nature.
You could pick up a chunk of the mineral talc and crush it easily.
It is the same talc they process for use as baby powder.
In general, it is accepted that you should not place stones with a hardness of five or less in water.
Peacock Ore’s Hardness
Peacock ore falls between 3.5 and 4 on the Mohs scale.
This means you cannot safely immerse it in water since its softness provides it no protection.
Properly Cleaning Peacock Ore/Chalcopyrite
You need to be careful when cleaning this material.
You understandably want to preserve the beauty of your peacock ore stones.
This means learning the appropriate way to clean them and which methods to avoid.
You have two options when cleaning this type of stone.
You either want it to keep the peacock colors or you want to remove the tarnish and restore it to its golden color.
It typically resembles brass when not tarnished.
If You Want to Keep the Colors
First, simply brush or wipe off dirt from the rock and see what you can remove by hand.
Next, you can try cleaning dirt and debris off of this gemstone by rubbing it lightly with a slightly dampened cloth and mild soap.
This should not significantly moisten the item.
This preserves its peacock colors.
If you are going to utilize something abrasive, check the soap or scrub’s ingredients to make sure nothing in it exceeds a five on the Mohs scale.
You will scratch the stone if you use an abrasive cleanser.
Another option is to clean it gently with a jeweler’s brush or toothbrush and whitening toothpaste.
In the end, proceed slowly to make sure that your cleaning efforts are not damaging the surface colors of the stone that you want to preserve.
If You Want to Remove the Tarnish
You fondly remember the brass-colored nature of the chalcopyrite and want it to shine again.
You will need oxalic acid or HCl.
The latter option is what Peruvian exporters use when they ship chalcopyrite and pyrite to the US and Europe.
They bathe the stone in HCl before shipping it.
Before you soak any type of pyrite in acid, take everything outside.
The interaction between the two causes a hydrogen sulfide gas, which will smell like rotten eggs.
This is not something you want to breath.
It works to desensitize the sense of smell, so you may not realize how bad things get as the gas builds up to a toxic level.
Doing all of the cleaning outdoors protects you from this.
You can also use sodium dithionite to remove iron stains.
This removes limonite and if you cannot recall whether you owned a lustrous or dull peacock ore, you will find out by using it.
If it still seems dingy, try a bit of Super Iron Out or Lime Away.
Drying the Stone
Regardless of the cleaning method, you need to dry the mineral immediately.
This is true of any mineral that can rust or tarnish.
Set the peacock ore out in the sunshine to thoroughly dry.
You can dry it on a windowsill in the sunshine if you do not want to set it in the yard.
You can also treat your chalcopyrite specimen with ultraviolet light to sterilize it.
This can help it prevent damage while on display.
All of these cleaning methods help remove bacteria that could damage your stone.
Dampness creates an issue for your stone since it tends to tarnish.
You might want the rainbow of colors of a peacock ore, but you may want your chalcopyrite to resemble brass or gold again.
Either way, your cleaning methods matter.
So does drying it.
That’s because water can cause rust. It can cause oxidation.
If you are in a situation where you cannot dry the item in the sunlight, you can use a hair dryer on the lowest possible setting.
You should also use a diffuser.
Hold it at least six inches away from the stone.
If you are cleaning an item with multiple types of stones in it, you cannot immerse it in any kind of solution.
You must know that all of the stones can be cleaned using the same method.
This method does not work for all stones.
You cannot use this cleaning method or drying method for other minerals or gemstones.
You must check the Mohs scale for each stone type and find a suitable cleaning method for it.
This is why jewelers typically clean methodically using a small brush.
It allows them to carefully clean each stone using its appropriate method without disturbing the other jewels.
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