Exercise care in protecting your investment and your selection of authentic Indian jewelry will bring you enjoyment for years to come.
Turquoise is a porous stone. In even the hardest turquoise, deposits collecting in the pores of the stone can cause a color change. Therefore, care should be taken to protect the stones from oils, grease and chemicals. Always remove rings and bracelets before washing dishes or doing dirty work. Hand lotion can change the color of a stone. In addition, it is wise to avoid the use of chemical silver polishes with Indian jewelry that includes stones or has intentionally oxidized areas as part of its design.
Other Stones and Settings
The same care should also be taken with other stones (including coral, spiny oyster, etc) in Native American jewelry, as liquids can affect the setting and cause stones to loosen.
Coral should never be subjected to liquid cleaning solvents or extreme heat – it can turn white.
Polishing and Cleaning
You will want to polish your jewelry using a soft jeweler’s cloth (found in hardware stores, jewelry stores and Bed, Bath & Beyond). When not in use, storing in a zip lock bag can help delay tarnishing. Silver tarnishes less with frequent wearing. You can also add a piece of anti-tarnish paper/strip to your jewelry box or in zip lock bag with jewelry. 3M and Intercept make affordable products for this. Intercept sells 100 1"x1" tabs for a very reasonable price; as they should be replaced every 12 months or so, this comes in handy! Visit interceptjewelrycare.com for more info.
Remember to touch up your jewelry with a polishing cloth after each wear, especially if planning to store for a while afterwards.
Electrolytic Cleaning Plate
We tried this ourselves and found it really does work. That said, the rules about stones, settings and liquids still apply, however, this is a great solution for restoring tarnished silver chain, liquid silver, or any other silver-only piece (except those with oxidization or antiquing as part of the design) or silver-plated item that is beyond what a polishing cloth can do. We tried the Silver Lion plate with Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda on some old chain and scrap metals that appeared beyond hope and were surprised at how well it worked. Note that the water needs to be very HOT. We used boiling water in our experiment and noted that once the water cooled, the process stopped working. You can find various brands of Electrolytic Cleaning Plates on the web (Amazon, etc.). Be sure to follow the instructions that come with the plate.
Silver Paste and Liquids
Again, we do not recommend these for cleaning items with stones, inlay or oxidized, antiqued or patina finishes. BUT....sometimes they can be the best option for all-silver items that are beyond hope where a polishing cloth is concerned. This is a good option for chains, collars, bracelets and necklaces that are meant to be completely shiny and oxidization free.
That said, silver will eventually tarnish. It will tarnish less with frequent wear. Be sure to wipe your silver jewelry with a polishing cloth after each wear to remove body oils. This will really help to prevent tarnishing. Afterwards, keep in a sealed bag with an anti-tarnish strip, or in a jewelry box lined with jeweler's cloth. Another trick we found useful is to save all those silica gel packets and silica gel cannisters you get in pill bottles, shipped items, shoe boxes and more. They are excellent for use in your jewelry box to help prevent tarnish on your silver.
Have fun and enjoy!