Take good care of your Sterling Silver Jewelry the right way.
Sterling silver is 92.5% silver and 7.5% copper. The copper in the alloy reacts to the sulphur compounds in the air (Sulphur Dioxide is a major component of air pollution) by tarnishing (oxidizing).
If your jewelry is made of fine silver - stamped .925 - it will get dirty,
but won't tarnish the way sterling, coin or European (.800) silver does.
This is because fine silver contains only a trace amount of other metals.
We believe cleaning silver jewelry should be reserved for those times when
there really is no other way to make the piece wearable. We like to think of a
commercial dip solution that removes tarnish the way you would think of bleach.
Bleach helps to remove stains ... but takes the color from the fabric along with the stain.
We use solutions like this rarely - basically as a last resort to remove stubborn tarnish.
If you really need to clean sterling silver jewelry because it is deeply tarnished,
a commercially available dip solution works, but is not recommended.
If you do this, remember - your silver needs to be washed well and polished after cleaning.
These solutions generally will clean gemstones, also ... but only the
harder, non porous stones - quartz, including citrine and amethyst, natural topaz, ruby and sapphire, and diamond. Don't use these solutions on emeralds or "mystic" topaz.
Do not use these dip solutions on pieces that contain soft or organic gems, but not limited to - turquoise, malachite, opals, ammonite, shell, coral or pearls.
Jewelry containing these "gems" should also never be cleaned in ultrasonic machines.
To polish our jewelry, we use a jeweler's rouge cloth. This is a two part cloth -
one side is a deep red color that contains a polishing compound (rouge). This type of cloth is safe for use on jewelry containing the organic and soft gems mentioned above.
First rub the jewelry with the rouge cloth. Then give it a sparkling polish with the yellow cloth.
This will remove the tarnish but leave that nice patina, and make your silver jewelry shine.
Wash your silver jewelry after cleaning or polishing to remove all traces of polish and cleaner.