Selenite takes its name from the Greek word for the moon. Also known as moon stone, selenite is a form of gypsum. The stones are commonly clear to translucent but may contain light tints of various colors. Selenite has been found on every continent except Africa and Antarctica. It is most commonly located in the United States and Europe, according to the website Mineral Data. Cleaning selenite samples requires a knowledge of the mineral and some basic materials.
Wash the mineral specimen with warm water. Not all materials will wash off with water, but always start with the simplest solutions.
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Clean the selenite with a soft brush. Do not use metal wire brushes; the metal is harder than the selenite and will scratch the specimen. Using a toothbrush along with warm water and mild soap may remove some surface dirt or oils that have accumulated on the selenite during handling.
Pry loose any larger surface items. Use a wedge-shaped piece of wood or bamboo to attempt to pry foreign materials from the selenite. Wood and bamboo are softer than the selenite and won't scratch the sample.