All About Turquoise Jewelry: Buying, Cleaning And Care

Turquoise jewelry is beautiful when properly cleaned and polished. Learn how to take care of your own turquoise pieces.

Turquoise jewelry is not only something to wear proudly for now, but it can later become a treasured family heirloom. That won't be the case if you don't take proper steps to keep the piece in mint condition. Many pieces of turquoise are set in silver and when dealing with silver, tarnish often occurs. Although some people like the look that the oxidation gives the turquoise, but many prefer to keep the silver as new and shiny as it was originally. To help prevent tarnish, never wear your turquoise jewelry near the beach or any salt water, remove it when entering a chlorinated pool or while using bleach at home, and never wear it while handling citrus fruit. Salt, bleach and acids have a major effect on silver, but won't actually damage the turquoise piece. Even the acid in one's skin can cause tarnish on the silver. Some wearers coat the back of a bracelet or the inside of a turquoise ring with clear nail polish. This will keep it from having contact with the skin's acid and lower risk of tarnish. The nail polish is not damaging to the piece itself and can be removed or reapplied at any time.

Porous or organic stones such as turquoise are known to suffer damage, such as pits or holes, after being treated with commercial cleaning solutions. A better method for cleaning turquoise is to make a mix of half ammonia and half water, then add a squirt of dishwashing detergent. An old toothbrush will help you scrub the jewelry with the mixture. After cleaning and drying, rub all silver sections with a soft cloth and mineral oil. For light tarnish, you can also use toothpaste or glass cleaner with ammonia. You can also purchase a jeweler's cloth which is a soft buffing fabric that helps prevent future tarnish. You can use the cloth to polish your turquoise pieces while sitting around watching tv or while talking on the phone. After cleaning, don't store your turquoise jewelry in the same compartment as other jewelry. The turquoise piece could get scratched very easily, diminishing its value. If you must store the turquoise with other pieces, drop it into a small velvet bag before placing in jewelry box. You can also store the turquoise jewelry in a zipper-type plastic bag to prevent increased oxidation. And, store bracelets or necklaces laying flat, not bunched up.

General everyday care of your turquoise jewelry will assure that it will retain its value. Never wear your turquoise when doing tasks like cleaning, gardening or using household chemicals. Take your jewelry off before applying perfume, cosmetics or using hair spray. Take off your jewelry when participating in any contact sports. Never store the turquoise piece near a heating vent, window sill or on a car dashboard. Sunlight can have a devastating effect on turquoise, fading it from its original color. From time to time, examine the prongs or the setting for the stone. Make sure there are no loose or raised metal pieces. If there is, take it to the jeweler's for repair to prevent it from catching on something and increasing the damage.

You can purchase turquoise jewelry at almost any jewelry store, online at auctions, or from your local pawn shop. You can also occasionally find pieces at area flea markets, but you must be able to spot a real turquoise stone from a fake if purchasing in this manner. Many people have been fooled by purchasing a turquoise piece which later turns their skin black. Or, what appeared to be silver, suddenly starts disappearing. After making a purchase, consider insuring the piece against damage, theft or loss. Taking precautions to prevent damage from occurring and using the right techniques for cleaning your jewelry will assure that they'll retain their value, even increase in worth, over the years.

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