The most important part of caring for your jewelry is determining how to care for each piece of jewelry. When you purchase an item, you should ask the seller what they recommend. Each piece is unique and most need a particular type of care.
Sterling silver jewelry care can vary from piece to piece. Some sterling silver jewelry these days has an anti-tarnish finish to them or is even rhodium plated so you do not need to polish them. Also the designer to bring out the design or patterns in the piece has oxidized some sterling silver pieces. Most all sterling silver jewelry, if not worn everyday, would be best stored in a sealed plastic bag with the air removed, stopping the oxidation process.
If you find you need to polish an item, we recommend using a gentle polishing cloth that has a chemical within it to break up the oxidation. You can polish the silver but will preserve oxidation that may have been included in the design. Gently rub the jewelry item with the cloth where you needed to remove the oxidation. There are jewelry pieces you should never polish like sterling silver jewelry that has a brushed finish, which is popular in Native American jewelry. These pieces were oxidized in a sulfur solution and then brushed with steel wool to create a soft-brushed silver affect. Polishing brushed sterling silver jewelry will remove the brushed finish. Again, the best way to care for jewelry when it is not being worn is to store them in a sealed plastic bag.
A polishing cloth is also safe with all different types of gemstones and organic gems. If you are cleaning a piece with ivory though, you should make sure you do not touch the ivory to the polishing cloth, you may get unwanted oxidation on the ivory and it does not come off easily.
If you have a sterling silver chain or sterling silver jewelry pieces without gemstones you could place it in liquid silver cleaner. These cleaners are more toxic and your hands must be cleaned thoroughly after use. To clean a piece of sterling silver jewelry with a silver liquid cleaner, you should take the basket out of the solution, place your item in the basket and drop the item for just a few seconds and then remove. Quickly rinse the item of the solution and let the water run over the piece to be sure all the solution is removed. Finally, pat the item dry completely and wash your hands. If cleaner remains on the piece of jewelry, it can speed up the oxidation process. We do not recommend any gemstones in our liquid silver cleaner. Liquid silver cleaner can also help clean vermeil jewelry. Vermeil is gold over sterling silver and when vermeil appears more orange than gold, it is the silver underneath oxidizing. To clean vermeil you do not want to rub the piece but submerge it in the liquid silver cleaner to remove the oxidation. Thoroughly rinse the item and dry it completely off, and make sure you wash your hands. Vermeil jewelry is also best stored in a sealed plastic bag. Some jewelry has areas that are hard to reach or has gems that cannot touch liquid cleaners, using a q-tip with liquid silver cleaner can help.
To revive your gems that appear dull or cloudy, we recommend our gem and jewelry cleaner. You do not have to submerged the jewelry item in the solution but use the brush with some cleaner and get behind and around the stone to clean up any build up of lotions and/or soap that have accumulated during wear and rinse thoroughly. Be sure your gemstone is safe to use a cleaner on like amethyst, aquamarine, citrine, diamond, garnet, tanzanite, topaz, peridot, ruby, sapphire, and emerald; most are hard gems and usually faceted. You should never try to clean porous stones with any cleaner like turquoise, labradorite, larimar, lapis, onyx, opal, rhodochrosite, malachite, moonstone, agate or druzy agate; the porous stone will absorb the cleaner and leave it dull and unpolished. Also organic gems should not be cleaned with a liquid cleaner like amber, pearl, any type of shell, coral, ivory or jet; the gem will dry and appear dull and unpolished.
Feel free to ask us what we recommend to care for your jewelry items. We sell all the cleaners you might need listed above at http://shopbejeweled.com/collections/jewelry-care. Also remember to store jewelry pieces you do not wear everyday in a tight sealed plastic bag for easy care. And wearing your jewelry frequently can also reduce the need to clean them.