Tips and Notes

image of malachite and sterling silver choker beautiful earrings of faceted smokey quartz ovals paired with silver

I am not a gemologist but have managed to pick up some knowledge of semi-precious stones and metals through working with them over the years, talking with the gem traders, and doing a little research on my own. This page is meant to pass on some of that information so that you will know how to keep your semi-precious jewelry in great shape. (Be fore-warned though - I'll probably also end up sharing some of my thoughts, experiences, and feelings about the materials and pieces shown on this site.)

Be Careful How You Clean Your Jewelry!

It's a fact that sterling silver will tarnish, especially in humid areas and worse still if it's exposed to "the salt sea air". Later on I'll post some tips on helping to keep tarnish at bay, but right now I want to address a worse problem. While most commercial silver cleaners do a good job on removing tarnish they are also likely to destroy porous semi-precious stones like malachite and turquoise and organic materials such as coral and pearl! As a general rule of thumb the "glassier looking stones" such as garnet and topaz can withstand the cleaner, but if you're not absolutely sure what stones you have it's better to be safe than sorry.

I learned this lesson the hard way when I dropped a pair of malachite and silver earrings into liquid tarnish remover. It fizzed up like green Alka-Seltzer and completely ruined the stones. These days I mostly use a jeweler's polishing cloth, but even that can be a problem around pearls as some of the red jeweler's rouge can stain them if you're not careful.

Originally I did not mean to offer anything for sale on this page, but none of the other pages on this site seemed suitable so I decided to offer some Jewelers' Polishing Cloths mentioned in the above post here.

Jewelry Polishing Cloths

My newest customer reminded me about these. They work very well and I formerly sold lots of them but when I discontinued/merged my second website with this one, I forgot about them. They are particularly good when cleaning silver jewelry with stones that would be damaged by liquid silver cleaners. One word of caution though, be very careful when working around pearls and other light colored porous jewels to avoid staining.

Here are the two sizes that we carry.

picture of jeweler's rouge polishing cloth

$9.95   Add To Cart

The smaller jewelry polishing cloth is 6 inches by 8 inches instead of the 9.75 by 10 inches of its larger cousin.

$8.50   Add To Cart

Help Prevent Tarnish in the First Place!

As the saying goes, "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure". So what can you do to prevent your silver jewelry from tarnishing in the first place? The first and simplest method is to handle and wear it very often, but in practical terms the best thing to do is to keep your silver in a closed container or sealed plastic bag. You can purchase anti-tarnish strips to seal in with it. If you don't have easy access to those just toss a piece of simple white blackboard chalk in. I looked up the last trick before writing this as I knew that the chalk works but had no idea why. It turns out that chalk is very good at absorbing moisture from the air!

What A Little Customization Can Do!

Those of you who know me or at least have followed my businesses for any length of time know that customization has always been at the top of the list of the "extras" that I provide. I really love working with my customers to produce/provide just what they're looking for. The most memorable case came about some years ago when a customer from across the country called and told me that he wanted to buy a very special gift for his girlfriend. He said that he liked the blue moon earrings he had seen on my site but wanted to know whether or not I could add a pair of blue sapphires to the design!

image lapis lazuli moon earrings

The above picture is the way the earrings started. I wish I could find a picture of how the customized set came out, but I'm afraid that I deleted the picture I sent to my customer once we had closed the deal. I believe that I designed a gold wire wrap design and suspended the sapphires in gold cinch mounts from the lapis moons. At any rate my customer was delighted and so was I.

Please remember to visit our sister site, Greenbriar Gifts and Giftbaskets.