Understanding how to clean amazonite starts first with understanding amazonite, and then once you know the material, you can work through the best method to clean it.
In this article, we’ll tell you first about amazonite (and why you should care), and then our recommendations for working with it.
How To Clean Amazonite (EXPLAINED)
Understanding Amazonite Before Working With It
In every case, with every kind of material, the first thing you need to do is understand the characteristics of it before you start doing anything with it.
Working on a stone/mineral without this knowledge could hard the piece or even injury you.
But if you didn’t do any research beyond the common name, you could really do yourself some damage.
What is Amazonite?
Amazonite (aka Amazonstone) is a green tectosilicate material, with a chemical formula of K(AlSi3O8).
That’s Potassium, Aluminum, Silicon, and Oxygen. As a material it is hard (Moh’s scale 6-7) but brittle, prone to splintery fractures.
The color is generally green or blue-green, which if often caused by the presence of lead or iron.
It can also be found in pink or yellow.
Due to its color, amazonite is often confused with jade, serpentine, and turquoise.
Why Does Knowing the Chemical Formula of Amazonite Matter?
There are some stones (as noted above) which contain metals (like copper) which should not be placed in water, or handled with care skin due to the risk of your body taking in toxic fumes or more metal than is safe.
Knowing the components of amazonite means that we know it can be placed in water without creating toxic fumes, and handle it bare handed.
Some stones (like Opalite) can develop yellowing or reddish staining as a result of being placed in water due to rusting, as the stone contains trace amounts of metals.
We also know from understanding where the color of amazonite comes from that it can contain lead.
This would definitely encourage us to avoid consuming, inhaling, or absorbing any of this substance in any way.
If you don’t know what you are handling, it is pretty easy to take actions that could result in damage.
Why Does the Hardness of Amazonite Matter?
Everyone should understand the hardness of their crystals.
Failure to do so will generally yield unfortunate dents/dings/cracks or even the destruction of your piece.
When a material is soft, you cannot not and should not store it jumbled up with hardness stones, carry it around in your pockets or purse, or put it in danger of falling from any sort of height.
Soft stones (even those which are not soluble) can also be easily damaged when placed in water to soak, or even more so when placed in a solution of salt and water.
If there are cracks in the material (visible or microscopic), water can seep in and cause the crack to widen or break apart.
Some materials dissolve in water (Selenite, for example).
Soft stones also cannot be cleaned by methods commonly used on harder stones, like using fabric cleaners, tumbling or chemicals.
In the case of Amazonite, the material is relatively hard, as far as materials go, though not at hard as some popular gemstones.
At a 6-7, you should be able to tumble small pieces or place them in water without concerns about the stone breaking apart.
Recommended Methods To Clean Amazonite
Now that we understand amazonite (stable, no trouble with water, hard but brittle, contains elements we don’t want to eat or breathe) we can talk about how best to clean it.
Cleaning Amazonite Jewelry/Cleaning Up From Daily Handling/Wear
If you already have a polished piece of amazonite (set in jewelry or as a piece to hold/display), cleaning could be as simple as running the item in the water for a brief period of time and buffing it with a soft cloth.
This should do much to remove oils from handling and other grime.
If water and a soft cloth do not suffice, we like to use a simple solution of dish soap and water, along with a sponge or toothbrush.
If your stone has been treated with oil to give it a shinier finish and has no other sealant or outer protectant, you might have to polish the material with that same oil again afterwards, as the soap may remove it, leaving the stone looking slightly duller than before.
Cleaning Up Raw/Unfinished Amazonite
Amazonite that is really dirty/raw/jagged might first require a soak in water, or in soapy water to loosen up dirt or other organic matter.
Scrub and return to the solution, until you are sure that you’ve gotten off as much of the grime as will come off.
If your cleaned up stone has areas where you can’t brush or scrub, try getting into those areas with a dental pick.
The stone should be hard enough that some gentle picking won’t damage the material in any way.
If the amazonite is discolored by rust or crusted with iron oxides, you can try soaking the specimen in Iron Out or even some of the more aggressive acids like oxalic acid.
Just make sure that you soak the material in water for a while after using the acid to make sure that all of the acid gets out of your material, especially the microscopic cracks that you cannot see.
If you don’t, your stone might suffer from some yellowing due to iron held in the cracks by the acid.
That being said, we want to give you the quick heads and reminder of how important it is to know what your material is through and through.
While amazonite on its own should be fine in oxalic acid, amazonite with fluorite will likely be harmed by the oxalic acid soak. This might also be the case if your amazonite is mixed with other elements.
Further, it is definitely not recommended for you to clean your jewelry or other finished amazonite with acids.
If you have finished jewelry that needs significant help, you are probably better off taking the piece to a professional.
If you have questions about your material, or help confirming what it is/is not, we highly recommend that you locate an expert in your locality (perhaps at a local rock/gem show or the local rockhounders club) to give you their opinion.
Amazonite can be cleaned up by tumbling. However, you need to take into account the hardness level (a 6-7), as it is slightly softer than other stones which are frequently tumbled (like agates).
It is also brittle, meaning that it is prone to splitting.
When tumbling amazonite, you’ll want to make sure that you do not put stones of greater hardness in the mix, which could leave your amazonite with dents/dings, or even break it into smaller pieces.
You will also want to add in cushion into the mix, using ceramic media or plastic pellets.
And even if adding cushion, you’ll want to check the barrel for broken up pieces to make sure that you can get the finished rocks as smooth as you want as you move through the grits.
You might have to send a few pieces back through the rougher grits if they look jagged.