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cleaning druzy in tiny geodes

Posted by Anonymous User  
Anonymous User March 01, 2007 07:16AM

i'm working with small geodes from mexico. i was sanding the edges and some of the dirt from the wet sandpaper got inside and i wanted to check the easiest safe way to clean this. these are very small and i used a toothbrush and cleaned them somewhat but the crystals are micro and when i look with a magnifyer i can see that they could be cleaned better.

without using any special chemicals, how can i get this druzy clean?

water will not harm or erode the crystals will it?

thanks for any easy tips
Jenna Mast March 01, 2007 08:21AM
In my experience, quartz crystals in geodes are very stable in water. The largest concern, and I've only had this happen to one geode, is mineral deposites from hard water. You could used distilled water if you're concerned about it.

That may not be dirt you are trying to scrub out though. It may be staining from something if the geode had a crack or hole in it, or it could simply be the color of the crystals themself. Mexican geodes often contain smokey quartz, which is dark in appearance, or amethyst, citrine, or ametrine (a combination of amethyst and citrine). There may also be inclusions. Some Mexican geodes will also contain other minerals such as tourmaline...typically the black variety. All of these can be potentially mistaken for "dirt".

If it is dirt then try using something with super fine bristles. Toothbrush bristles are often too large to get between the cracks. If it's a hearty geode, and not fragil, you may try a water pic. A lot of people are fond of ultrasonic cleaners but you'd want to make sure your geode isn't too fragil to put in one.
Alan Plante March 01, 2007 04:45PM
Hi Eric

Have you tried - or thought of trying - an ultrasonic cleaner? They are about the best thing going for cleaning dirt and debris out of nooks and crannies in intricate specimens. If you do try one, try it on one of your less-prized pieces first - make sure it doesn't do any damage to anything before you start working on cleaning your better specimens.

I'll also "second" Jenna's recommendation for using distilled water. This can be pretty important - probably even more-so when using an ultrasonic cleaner.


Everett Harrington March 01, 2007 05:50PM
Hello All,
I just want to add that in Mexican geodes, I have never heard of tourmaline being found in them. Per Min Rec Sept/Oct 1972 minerals found in these geodes are quartz, amethyst, calcite, hematite, todorokite, goethite, apatite, kaolinite, gypsum, dahillite, birnessite, chalcedony, cryptomelane, opal, pyrolusite, ramsdellite, and rancieite. This was based on a scanning electron microscopy study by Robert Finkelman, John Matzko, Ching Chang Woo, John white, and Walter Brown.

Anonymous User March 03, 2007 08:27AM
thanks guys!

theses are tiny little things but they have beautiful druzy inside. i was using polishing powder to get the edges nice, but some of the residue from the wet mixture got inside and i can't get it completely clean. i'm just using water and a very fine little brush.

is there any household item that i can use to rinse them and leave them sparkling? i'm making a piece of jewelry with one and i want it to sparkle good, but i'm not having any luck with just water.

i don't have a water pick and these are so small that i would be kind of difficult. just wondering if anything would work by just rinsing?

thanks for any suggestions,
Jenna Mast March 03, 2007 02:31PM

My apologies, I was thinking of the Ocho (occo, oco, etc) geodes when I mentioned tourmaline. These are from Brazil but I sometimes see them labeled as from Mexico. They're the first thing I think of when people mention tiny druzey geodes:-)

Thankyou for the correction.
robert knox March 03, 2007 05:01PM
Eric, I use a laundry strength soak (45 min.)of Oxy-clean to remove dirt(or mud) from quartz geodes. If your sure its only quartz and its still not shiny after rinsing, try a another bath in white vinegar(20 min.) and rinse. Its worked well for me!
Everett Harrington March 03, 2007 05:05PM
Hello Jenna,
This was more of a helping hand than a correction. I do not know nearly as much about minerals as I'd like to. I guess that would be all of us though. Las Choyas and Trancas geodes are some of the most amazing geodes on this planet. Something like 17 different rare Mn oxides are found in them. Geodes are my specialty!!
Jenna Mast March 03, 2007 06:21PM

I have a passion for geodes as well! I like the element of surprise I guess. I appriciate the wealth of knowledge that can be found here, in fact the reason I began posting on mindat is because I recently expanded my collection (didn't get richer, just lucky!). The specimens did not come with any information and I quickly found my knowledge lacking in a few areas. Anyway thanks again for your input. Correction or not it is always appriciated.
Everett Harrington March 03, 2007 09:07PM
I'm holding the McRocks 4th annual geode hunt the last weekend of march in Keokuk, if your interested in coming please check the mssg boards over at mcrocks.com.

Everett Harrington March 03, 2007 09:07PM
oh boy...guess my name has changed ;-)

Anonymous User March 03, 2007 09:18PM
i forgot to mention that i used cerium oxide for polishing so the residue inside is cerium. just don't want to try something that has a bad reaction to this residue.

maybe i will try the vinegar?

any other options?

lemon juice.. citric acid? harmful?

thanks again
Everett Harrington March 03, 2007 09:24PM
Hello Eric,
a high pressure spray will be your best bet to clean out cerium oxide. Your not going to find an acid that will disolve cerium. You can make your own sprayer by buying a hose end cap and drilling a small hole in it create pressure enough to clean out the cerium.

Rock Currier June 17, 2007 04:11PM
A few seconds blast from a little hand held fabric gun, the kind used by your local dry cleaner will almost certainly leave the drusy quartz crystals in your geode sparkling. You might even talk your local drycleaner into letting you use it. You probably could even use what ever solvent he has in it to clean your geode as well as water.
Anonymous User January 30, 2008 02:51AM
Question to go along with Erichs...
When there are calcite formations in geodes.... are there any type of cleaners that you should steer clear of????
I wouldnt want to destroy the calcite formations..
Any ideas or info?

David Von Bargen January 30, 2008 02:04PM
Stay away from acids.
Anonymous User February 02, 2008 02:39AM
Quartz ofen has various degrees of iron hydroxides (rust) on it, yellow to rusty colored, and if it isn't thick, "Iron-Out," found in most areas (haradware, grocery stores) often works well. Clean the geode off with a tooth brush and mild cleanser. Rinse. Sprinkle Iron-Out on the specimen until thoroughly coated. Put 2 layers of wet paper towel everywhere on the druse too (over the Iron-Out coating). (Creates local concentration.) Place in appropriate-sized Zip-Lock type of bag, top off with water and close. Add just enough water to be able to close the bag with no bubbles in it. You don't want the water to have access to air, because it is taking oxygen out of the rust. Otherwise, it will take oxygen from the air as well, loosing effectiveness. Check after two hours, let soak longer, but not too long, if necessary. Good luck, Ken C.
Sal Noeldner February 04, 2008 09:09PM
this seems like a job for the Shark hard surface steam cleaner-it has a little wand that shoots high pressure steam/hot water out of an orifice (it also comes with an angle attachment) I bought it at K-Mart for forty bucks. I works great on quartz! Just soak the specimen in warm water or heat lightly in an oven to advoid thermal shock.
Donald Peck February 15, 2008 05:24PM
Or a jet of pressurized water? For delicate specimens I hold them upside-down and mist with a spray bottle. The dirt and debris run off. A little more aggressive: use a dental Water-Pic. More aggressive yet: a jet tip on a water hose.

Sal, I am going to have to go looking for one of those Shark steam cleaners!
KathyM December 02, 2012 10:43PM
I bought some Drusy slices some time ago. When I took them out recently to use them, I noticed that they looked dirty with brown spots and some of the stones appeared to have yellowed. (They are a pale blue)
What caused this and how can I get them clean? Soak in vinegar?
Don Saathoff December 02, 2012 11:04PM
Kathy, many minerals can form as a druse - it a textural term. Before attempting to give cleaning advice we need to know what the druse is. I have specimens with drusey quartz, calcite, chabazite, mimetite, mottramite, etc. Can you post a clear & sharp pic of the specimen?

Don S.
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