How to Care for and Clean Sterling Silver Jewelry
1. Clean your jewelry before it becomes badly tarnished.
It is much easier to remove tarnish and soil when it is minimal. The longer you go between cleanings the harder it is to restore it to its original luster. Use a yellow polishing cloth, such as the “Sunshine Cloth” and store your jewelry in a zip-lock bag or an airtight container.
2. Always remove your jewelry before using any product that contains bleach, ammonia, alcohol, citrus juice, salt, detergent or turpentine.
Avoid wearing your jewelry while swimming in chlorinated or salt water. Prolonged soaking in water can loosen stones in their settings and damage porous stones like turquoise. Remove your jewelry before bathing.
3. Ultrasonic cleaners can damage your stones.
Only the hardest stones like diamonds can be cleaned this way. Pearls, shells, Coral, Turquoise, Opal, Lapis Lazuli and many other stones can be permanently changed and can even break into pieces.
4. Store your jewelry in the proper manner.
Avoid storing your sterling silver in the open air. It is much better to store it in a jewelry box or zip lock bag to keep the air out. Protect your jewelry when traveling by wrapping your pieces in tissue to avoid scratches and breakage.
5. Check for loose stones or parts and have them repaired right away so as not to loose any stones or parts.
With normal wear and tear, changes in humidity, the vibrations of travel, and bending the jewelry can cause the stones to loosen over time. If a stone rocks in its setting you will need to tighten the bezel around the stone to prevent the loss of your precious gemstones. You can usually tighten these yourself, if you use special care. The back of a spoon works well to run along the bezel to press it down on the gemstone and tighten it again. Many bezel set stones have a layer of padding or sawdust beneath the stone to cushion it. If this padding is missing, the stone will be too low in the setting. In this case, it is advisable to consult a local jeweler to tighten the bezel. If you notice a stone is missing, look for it immediately. If you can find it, the repair is simple and takes just a few minutes. If it cannot be found it is more difficult to find a perfect match for the lost one but it can still be done.
6. Put your jewelry on last.
Hairspray, perfume, lotions, makeup and water can all affect your jewelry. Put your jewelry on after dressing and grooming.
7. If you will be working or playing hard, remove your jewelry.
It’s not a good idea to sleep with your chains or earrings on. Chains can tangle or kink and earring posts can bend or break.
8. With a little care you will enjoy your jewelry for years.
Native American jewelry is a classic American art form that is not dependent upon trends and passing fads. A beautiful, handcrafted piece of sterling silver jewelry with genuine stones and gems will hold its value and remain an important part of your jewelry wardrobe.