The absolute best thing on the market to use is our Polishing Cloth, which works on all metals and is safe for stones. This is my personal preference for all of my jewelry, both in my studio and for my own collection. Do not use chemical solutions, like Tarn-X or other jewelry cleaning solutions, as some jewelry has an applied patina which would be destroyed. Avoid immersing porous or fragile stones such as turquoise, malachite, pearls, emeralds, or opals, into chemical anti-tarnishing agents because it will damage the stone. If you have questions about specific pieces, please contact us.
You can use a special silver cloth to polish your items, but a lint-free flannel, microfiber, or other soft nonabrasive cloth will do as well. Do not use paper towels or tissues to polish your jewelry as they contain fibers that can scratch the silver.
When polishing, use long back-and-forth motions that mirror the grain of the silver. Do not rub in circles, as this will magnify any tiny scratches. Also, change to a different section of your cloth frequently to avoid placing tarnish back on the silver. You can use a Q-tip to get into small, detailed areas.
Be careful with silver-plated items, as excessive polishing can remove the plating (depending on the thickness) and leave pieces worse than when they started.
Clean your jewelry periodically. An old soft toothbrush is useful to get into any difficult nooks and crannies with warm, mild, ammonia- and phosphate-free dishwashing soap and water. After using any cleaner, be sure to thoroughly rinse your jewelry with running water or a clean, damp cloth. This is especially important for detailed or etched items, since polish can stick in small crevices and harden. After, dry the pieces with a microfiber cloth, such as our Polishing Cloth, to prevent white water spot stains from forming.
If your pieces are heavily tarnished and you don’t have the time to clean them, take them to a professional jewelry cleaner or send your Black Water Siren jewelry to us for professional polishing for a charge. Very old, fragile, or valuable pieces should also be cleaned by a professional.
Sending Your Jewelry to Black Water Siren for Cleaning
Black Water Siren pieces sent to us for cleaning will incur a $10 cleaning charge per item. This includes a general inspection, tightening any loose stone settings and jump rings, and minor adjustments to ensure the structural integrity of the piece.
We also clean and polish other jewelry, please be aware that if you send jewelry for cleaning that our studio did not create we are not responsible for damage or breakage caused during cleaning or polishing.
Over time, your jewelry will develop a patina, especially when exposed to heat and humidity. The more you wear your jewelry, the less tarnished it will become because it’s constantly being “polished” by contact with skin and clothing. To restore the finish, use a jewelry polishing cloth.
Tips to prevent tarnish
♦ Elements: Heat and humidity accelerate oxidization, so avoid leaving jewelry in the bathroom. Lotions, cosmetics, hair spray and hair products, and perfumes are also “enemies” of silver and will accelerate tarnishing.
♦ Avoid exposure: Contact with household chemicals, perspiration, rubber, chlorinated water, or any substances which contain sulfur (e.g., mayonnaise, eggs, mustard, onions, latex, wool), will cause corrosion and tarnish — so it’s a good idea to remove silver jewelry when doing household chores. Direct sunlight also causes silver to tarnish, so be sure to take off your silver jewelry before you go swimming and sunbathing.
♦ Storage: As exposure to air tarnishes it, storing silver in airtight plastic bags with anti-tarnish strips is a great preventative measure. Just make sure you don’t store multiple jewelry pieces in the same bag: silver and gold in particular are soft metals, so the individual pieces can scratch each other. Link or chain bracelets should be kept unclasped or unhooked to prevent scratching as well. If you can’t use plastic bags, try to make sure that the storage area has low humidity. You can also place a piece of chalk, a packet of activated charcoal, or a container of silica gel in the storage area to minimize tarnish.
♦ Wear: You can avoid tarnish by wearing your jewelry often. The oils in your skin will “clean” the silver and keep it looking shiny.
Beauty products can affect jewelry. Spray perfume or hairspray can discolor gold or make pearls turn yellow. Put jewelry on after you have applied cosmetics and sprays.
Take off your jewelry, especially rings, when doing household chores or gardening. They could become damaged by knocking out stones or coming into contact with abrasive materials which discolor metal.
Settings can get clogged up with soap and hand cream. Take them off before washing hands and using cream.
Heat and hot water can loosen settings where an adhesive has been used. Pearl rings, earrings, and pendants have this type of setting.
Strong smelling foods like fish & onions can tarnish gold and silver.
Don’t wear jewelry to bed or when getting wet. It is a good idea to take your jewelry off before bed and store it properly so it will maintain its luster. Wearing silver while showering or swimming will likely tarnish it more quickly. Enameled pieces in gold or silver should not be exposed to water or cleaning agents.
You should not ever immerse jewelry adorned with pearls or opaque gemstones (e.g. turquoise, opal, carnelian, onyx), as this could seriously damage these softer stones. (Give these pieces a very brief rinse if they become too dirty.)
Even for jewelry with clear gemstones (e.g. blue topaz, amethyst, garnet), take special care when using a silver cleaner: the chemicals could lodge under the gemstone settings or loosen any glue. And remember, do not use silver cleaners on your oxidized jewelry — stick to the polishing cloth instead.
Don’t expose silver or gold to chlorine, sulfur or strong household cleaning supplies since the harsh chemicals can erode the quality and sheen of the metals.
Commercial silver polishes and dips are easy to find and use, but have several serious drawbacks. For one, the vapors from silver polish can cause damage and even be fatal if inhaled in an unventilated room. The powerful solvents in commercial silver cleaners may also require special hazardous waste disposal to avoid contaminating groundwater or causing other environmental harm.
Commercial silver cleaners can also actually harm your silver by removing the anti-tarnish coating and valuable patina. Even though cleaners might give a temporary shine, the pieces will tarnish much more quickly and have to be cleaned more frequently once you have broken down the surface.
Protecting your pearls by caring for them properly will help to preserve their life span. The actual care and cleaning process is very simple and can be done in only a few short minutes. It doesn’t matter if the pearl is a mabe, biwa or pearl beads the care is pretty much the same.
Pearls are produced by living organisms; therefore they contain calcareous crystals which are very sensitive to chemicals and acids. The content of protein and water in Pearls can subject them to drying out and cracking if not properly taken care of. It is advisable that pearls be dampened periodically, in lightly salted water.
Pearls, because of the natural creation process, are not as durable as other precious stones; therefore it is recommended that they are stored apart from other jewelry to prevent scratching their delicate surface. In addition, pearls should not be exposed to substances such as dish washing liquid or acidic products like vinegar, lemon juice, hairspray or perfume.
After wearing your favorite mabe pearl or freshwater pearls simply wipe them off with a soft cloth or chamois, the cloth can be damp or dry. This will help prevent dirt from building up, as well as stop the accumulation of perspiration, which is slightly acidic and can cause deterioration of the pearl nacre.
If wearing a pearl ring or pearl bracelet the manner in which it is removed can, in addition to cleaning, preserve its beauty. Always remove the ring by grasping it from the shank rather than by the pearl itself. This will help the pearl from coming into contact with the oils on your skin or from becoming loose.
For pearls that have not been cleaned for an extended period of time, or have become very dirty, the best remedy is to take them to your local jeweler for a thorough cleaning. If you would rather take care of the cleaning yourself, it is a very simple process.
Start by gently washing the pearls in water using a very mild dish soap such as Ivory, Lux, or baby shampoo. Ensure the soap is extremely mild as some commercial dish soaps, such as Dawn, can actually cause damage to the pearls because of their high level of acidity.
While washing the pearls, pay close attention to the areas around the drill holes where dirt tends to collect. Once the washing process is complete, simply lay them flat in a moist kitchen towel to dry. Once the towel is dry the pearls are ready to be worn or put away.
These few simple caring steps can make a tremendous difference to the life of your pearls and will allow you to pass them down from generation to generation.