Generally speaking, silver cleaning solutions, cleaners or creams should not be used to clean Native American silver jewelry. These types of solutions could damage the stones or inlay or cause the color of the stones to change. And some Native American silver jewelry is made with a technique where strategic areas of the jewelry are intentionally blackened to provide design definition (oxidization); solutions would remove/damage the oxidized areas. Therefore, we believe the best and simplest way to care for Native American sterling silver jewelry is to use silver polishing cloths that have been specially designed and treated for the purpose of cleaning sterling silver jewelry. These cloths are made of a felt-like material and are impregnated with special non-scratch micro-abrasives. You just rub the surface to be polished with medium pressure to remove tarnish and even light surface scratches. We recommend a cloth like the Sunshine Polishing Cloth, which we sell on our website.
Hopi Silver Overlay jewelry, in particular, should not be dipped in any type of liquid silver polishing cleaner, nor should you use any other type of chemical silver polishing cleaner or solution because the dark recessed oxidized areas will be ruined - the contrast of the design and hence the essence of Hopi jewelry will be lost. Use only silver polishing cloths like the ones we sell and avoid rubbing the dark recessed oxidized areas.
Keeping your sterling silver in the open air for extended periods of time without wearing it can cause it to tarnish. Believe it or not, wearing your silver jewelry is the best method for the prevention of tarnish! Infrequently worn silver jewelry should be kept in a sealed plastic bag. An important exception to this rule relates to jewelry that has been intentionally oxidized or antiqued, as part of the design. This type of jewelry should not be stored in airtight plastic bags, so simply punch a hole in the plastic bag.
Natural turquoise is a beautiful stone that is porous so use caution when caring for and cleaning turquoise jewelry. Protect turquoise from extreme temperatures, cosmetics, perfumes, skin oils, grease, or any other harsh chemicals, as they might discolor the stone. Remove jewelry before swimming, bathing, showering, performing gardening, household tasks or any strenuous activity. Do not submerge turquoise in water and avoid using commercial jewelry cleaners, ultrasonic cleaners, chemicals or even soap. A polishing cloth is the safest way to clean or polish turquoise.
Avoid dropping, banging or scratching inlay jewelry. Do not attempt to reshape or bend a bracelet, necklace, ring or pendant with inlay or channel work. Do not re-size rings with channel or inlay work. Changing the shape of the underlying metal can loosen the stones. They can actually pop out while the item is being bent and/or the integrity of the setting can be compromised, so that the stones may fall out later on, without being noticed. Do not wash with soap and water. Instead, use polishing cloths to shine or clean inlay jewelry.