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How to Fix a Scratched Gemstone

Annabelle / November 6, 2019

You look down at your rings and notice that the sparkly colored gemstones aren’t looking as sparkly as usual. Is it dirt? You run your rings under water and do a bit of rubbing with a soft cloth- but no, it’s not coming out. Chances are, the surface is scratched after years of loving wear. Learn more about how to get those stones back into shape so you can enjoy them again.

How Do Gemstones Get Scratched?

The first thing you should know is that not all gemstones are created equally. Some stones are softer than others and more prone to damage, and over time they’ll show signs of wear. This is especially true for gems set in rings, because your hands come into contact with a lot of surfaces on a daily basis. Whether it’s banging your hands on a table, desk, or drawer, all that abrasion will cause chips and scratches to show on the surface of your stones.

Another thing to keep in mind that not all “stones” in jewelry are genuine. In vintage jewelry or class rings, glass or simulant stones are common. These gems will scratch easily.

Getting Your Dull Gemstones Fixed

Now that you know why your stone’s looking dull, the next step is to get it fixed. When you take your gems to a jeweler, the first thing they do is evaluate the piece and assess the damage. Is it covered with a matrix of scratches on the top? Are the facets of the gem completely worn down? Or is it just plain dirty?

If the gem is just dull because there’s a thick accumulation of grime behind the setting, the jeweler will clean it with the method best suited for the gemstone. Tougher gemstones can withstand steam cleaning and ultrasonic cleaning, which can get into the tiny nooks and crannies of your jewelry to knock the dirt out.

scratched-gemstone-dirty

This rose gold and aquamarine ring was extremely dirty.

However, if the stone is really scratched or chipped, the jeweler will have to polish and re-facet it.

Polishing a Scratched Gemstone

Once the jeweler determines that your stone is indeed physically damaged, they have to evaluate whether or not the job can be done (and to what extent) based on the amount of damage. Certain stones are scratched or chipped so deeply that polishing will not restore the piece, while other stones cannot be polished due to their nature or the design of the jewelry’s setting. Since this process is usually done on a case by case basis, we’ve compiled a list of four examples for your reference.

  1. Surface scratches: This antique aquamarine ring arrived with a web of very small, superficial scratches on the surface. Because the scratches were not particularly deep, this ring was able to go through the standard stone polishing process, revealing the beauty of the original stone after work.
    scratched-gemstone-antique-aquamarine

    The aquamarine ring before and after extensive restoration work.

  2. Cloudy facets: Not all scratches look the same. How a stone becomes abraded depends on its physical makeup; in this case, this gem was worn down to the point where it looked opaque. In order to restore its original look, the lapidary made sure to follow the existing pattern of facets when polishing. This particular restoration was not able to remove a deep fracture at the top left of the stone; the damage was internal and beyond the reach of the polishing process.
    scratched-gemstone-cloudy

    The ring before and after polishing.

  3. Chipped facets: This class ring suffered a lot of damage at one area after years of wear and tear. The bezel setting around the stone was also broken, leaving the gold uneven in certain locations. Our jeweler restored the bezel by reinforcing the rim with additional gold, and the lapidary carefully buffed the stone to restore the three facets that had been heavily chipped.
    scratched-gemstone-class-ring

    The ring before and after polishing and setting repair work. Note that the polishing didn’t completely remove the damage.

  4. Missing facets: At one point, this class ring probably had facets on the top. After more than seven decades of wear the gem’s surface was flat as a board and grainy in texture. Our client wanted it to be “shiny,” and given the fact that the stone was glass we decided to not re-facet this piece. Instead, we buffed the top of the stone to make it a smooth, cabochon cut. This restored its transparency, revealing the inner facets of the stone and enhancing its original color.
    scratched-gemstone-class-ring-facets

    This class ring went through extensive restoration, including stone polishing.

     

The Cost and Turnaround Time for Stone Polishing

Stone polishing typically ranges from $35 to $55, depending on the work required. Re-faceting work may cause an increase in the price, and the larger or more fragile the stone, the more expensive the job. It can take up to a week or so in order for the lapidary to finish the job.

It’s important to keep in mind that while stone polishing definitely can have a transformative effect, it’s not a cure-all for everything. Some damage can’t be fixed if it’s too deep, and we always make sure to prepare our customers when assessing their gems.

Now you’re all set to make your stone nice and shiny again! To get started, check out our gemstone polishing service:

  • gemstone-polishing-service

    Gemstone Polishing Service

    $55.00 Select options

 

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Jaime

I need to fix my chipped ruby stone on my college graduate ring. What are your costs and how long does it take. Please be precise and also if you are working given COVID-19

Ann Nino

Hello. I have a garnet pear gold ring that has scratches on the face. Can I send you a pic for a quote?

Christie Reck

I have 3 blue Fluorite gemstones cut in a pear shape and 1 that needs to be refaceted. It is slightly damaged at the top point of the gemstone. Is it possible that your business can help me out? Thank you

Zachary Ducharme

Hello, I have a sunstone that is set into a pendant that I made. Its a trillion cut about 14 mm by 8mm or something like that. The scratches are pretty light, only one scratch was made. Just wondering what your limitations are, if you can only repolish a gem thats on a ring, or if you could refacet/repolish a gem thats in a fairly large pendant

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Catherine

Hi there, I have reached out via email! If you didn’t receive it, please email us at [email protected] for further assistance. πŸ™‚

Michelle Ramos

Is it possible to polish small diamonds that are set in a channel? Some have scratches.

Catherine

Hi there, yes it is! Please email us a picture of your piece to [email protected] for further assistance! πŸ™‚

Britt Bishop

Hello there, I have a ring with a faceted moldavite stone that has a few tiny scratches on the stone- is it possible to repair it?

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Catherine

Hi there, We should be able to. You can use this link to place an order for gemstone polishing. https://quickjewelryrepairs.com/repair/gemstone-polishing/

Camilo Villanueva

This is really interesting how different cases need different work.

I’m looking to have the five tiny green stones on a white metal ring made shiny like in the original (1 stone was chipped by the way) bright green color, which still shows through when you shine bright light or sunlight through the stones.

How much would making it shiny cost?

I’m from Manila, the Philippines.

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Catherine

Hi Camilo, what type of stones are in the ring? Some stones cannot be polished since it may cause damage to the stones!

Dorian

I have a star sapphire with a scratch on surface of the cabochon. Is this repairable?

Catherine

Hi Dorian, it depends on how deep the scratch is. Could you please provide a picture?

Dianne

Dianne
Hi, I’m wondering if Citrine that is somewhat murky/foggy/dull like can be polished, it is a large round stone lots of facets, setting is filigree, wide flat/blunt type prong silver, I’m 75, it was my Great Aunts.

Catherine

Hi There, could you please email us a picture of the ring to [email protected]?

Fah

Hi i have this antique emerald gold ring very old and believe to be scratch and dirty, not sure if you can do anything please let me know all the details, what you can do and price. Thank you very much.

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Catherine

Hi Fah, I would suggest trying our gemstone polishing service. Should definitely help restore it! Here’s a link with more info and how you can place an order with us. πŸ™‚ https://quickjewelryrepairs.com/repair/gemstone-polishing/

Lisa Bick

Hi, I just received a ruby ring from my Aunt, it was my Great Great Grandma ring. The ruby has some surface scratches and is has a layer of seems to be dust which is ultimately become a dull film.

Catherine

Hi There, we’ll reach out to your shortly with further details! πŸ™‚

larry

what tools are needed to polish cabochons with Dremel

mj

Can you re-polish the faces of a bloodstone and carnelian fob?

Catherine

Hi MJ, We’ll reach out via email for a photo of the pieces!

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