Helpful Care Hints for Fine and Sterling Silver Jewelry
These are a few helpful hints on how to care for fine and sterling silver pieces that do not have any antiqued oxidized finishes.
To maintain the original condition of your silver jewelry, polish your pieces regularly using a non-abrasive cleaning cloth. Silver polishing cloths are available in many jewelry stores.
If your silver jewelry does tarnish and you do not feel that the silver cloth is enough, you can try using a liquid silver polish with a soft, smooth cloth. Occasionally we also use a non- electric soft toothbrush to get into crevices and hard to reach places. When polishing silver avoid all gemstones and pearls. The natural nacre surface on pearls can be easily damaged (See About Pearls).
Soap and water will help keep your silver looking good. Do not dry silver off with paper towels or tissues as this may scratch the metal, always use a soft cloth. Over time most silver will acquire a patina cause by minute surface scratches and wear.
When you are NOT wearing your silver jewelry, store pieces in a cool, dry place. Zip-lock baggies and individual cloth pouches are ideal for this and will help prevent both tarnishing or scratching by other pieces. Air causes silver to tarnish, and when your jewelry is not in use, keep it sealed and it will tarnish less.
Never immerse silver jewelry in chlorine, salt water, mineral springs, and suntan lotion. Remember, some household cleaners contain chlorine bleach, these solutions will cause discoloration and may possibly loosen gemstones and can ruin pearls.
Avoid abrasive cleaners, detergents and commercial jewelry cleaners “dips”. Using harsh polishing cleaners can scratch the surface on silver, gemstones and pearls. The natural nacre surface on pearls is especially vulnerable. Also avoid baking soda and toothpaste. They also can cause very fine surface scratches which are nearly impossible to remove without professional help.
Never use an ultrasonic cleaner, ammonia or any chemical solution to clean pearls, opaque gemstones, such as turquoise, malachite, onyx, lapis lazuli and opals. They are a porous and may absorb chemicals, which build up inside the stone and cause discoloration or as with pearls may dissolve the surface. In general we try to avoid using ultrasonic cleaners.
If your jewelry contains gemstones or pearls, avoid immersing in water, as this can loosen some settings. This can discolor string holes on pearls as well.