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Last Friday we were lucky enough to have a break in the typical Southern Calif Desert heat wave and those lower temps gave me and a friend a chance to hit a new area for us to check for nuggets. After spending the day we managed to score 6 little nuggets between us, the top 2 were mine and the bottom 4 were his. As you can see, this first  picture was taken before anything was done to clean them up. My usual routine is once I get them home I give them a quick wash with some hot water and dish soap, then let them dry, then into a CLR (calcuim lime rust) remover bath for the next 24 hours. Once the bath is done its a rinse in some hot water and into a sonic jewelry cleaner for 5 minuets and I am done with them at that point. 2nd picture is them finished and the last 2 pictures are from a USB microscope. Would like to see how everyone else is cleaning up their finds.


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I clean mine in a ultrasonic cleaner with a couple of drops of Dawn dish soap, and jewelry cleaner for about an hour.

Rinse with distilled water and it looks great. When I pan for gold some of it looks pretty bad. 

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I soak mine in a container of muratic acid for 3-7 days and then into baking soda/water solution for 6-14 days depending on how coarse they are or if there is quartz attached with tiny fissures, cracks or pockets all over it. This is to nuetralize the acid completely.

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I toss mine in a crucible and let the heat take care of them.

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I don't do anything at all. They're fine the way they are.

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Here's a old post from Steve H. with some good information:

On 1/7/2014 at 10:32 AM, Steve Herschbach said:

You sure do not want to tumble that specimen gold! But that works good for placer gold as as well as the old salt and vinegar and shake it up trick.

Have you tried oxalic acid? Very cheap and safe. You can buy it by the pound here at Amazon Just add some to water and soak. Warming it speeds it up but it is slow acting so be patient. It works great on any rust staining but will not touch the gold or quartz. It is my go to stuff for rust staining but I do not think in this case it will make your gold any shinier. There must be tricks the specimen guys use after hitting it with hydrofluoric.

You can buy Whink Rust Stain Remover at most stores in the cleaning supply section. If you read the contents it comes in two types. Whink with oxalic acid. Same as the dry stuff I use but much more expensive way to buy it already mixed. Or there is Whink with hydrofluoric acid!! This amazed me after hearing how deadly HF is. One of my links below states "HF is so incredibly dangerous that it should never be used by an amateur, and therefore will not be discussed here further." But you can buy it over the counter in a grocery store! The difference is Whink is only like 1% HF Whink MSDS

I use the Whink HF formula when I want something stronger but it is still HF acid and so deserves respect. See the MSDS link above. It will etch the rock and eventually eat it away. It works just the same as stronger HF solutions, it just takes a lot longer. It will actually whiten dark rock but it leaves a artificial frosty looking surface so that I do not like all that much. Still, I find it useful for more stubborn jobs.

I used to use reagent grade nitric acid back in the day but it has just got too hard to get it. I left my last stash behind when I left Alaska.

How To Work With Acids

More Information on How to Work with Acids

I am wondering about steam cleaning. That is what most jewelers do, but you would not want to blast a super delicate specimen too hard. I want one though so will buy this cheap steam cleaner and report back on it.

Lots of good ideas at these links:

Really great article at http://www.mindat.org/article.php/403/Cleaning+Quartz

Another article on cleaning http://www.johnbetts-fineminerals.com/jhbnyc/articles/minclean.htm

Another great article http://www.the-vug.com/vug/articlecleaningccb.html

Another thread on this forum




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My basic cleaning is with hot water and Ivory soap with soft bristeled toothbrush ...gets the biggest amount of dirt brown clay stains off the gold and quartz. Looks very natural. 

Later I use about 5-7 days soak in white vinegar to slightly brighten the contrast between gold/quartz on some pieces. Still natural looking.

Lastly, if it's a piece for jewelry and going for high contrast, at Lunk's recommendation - I've used the HF Whink for 3 day soak then 3 days in baking soda solution. Results are brilliant white quartz, gold is bright. Like Steve mentions, even low %HF solutions are extremely dangerous and must be wearing protection.

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