How to Care for Native American Jewelry
Maintaining the high quality of your Native American Jewelry is important, as with any prized piece. We recommend professional cleaning from a specialty jeweler, but as a whole there are many ways to avoid damaging your jewelry.
Important General Care Notes for Gemstones
- Never use toothpaste to clean a gemstone or the metal around it. This can damage the surface of the metal, scruff certain gemstones, and in some cases, permanently ruin a piece.
- Likewise, do not use bleach to clean your jewelry. This is especially damaging to metal and for some gemstones, can cause deterioration. Turpentine, acetone, ammonia, and denatured alcohol will also damage the jewelry.
- Avoid swimming with your gemstone jewelry! Chlorine can breakdown the durability of a gemstone, so remove any jewelry before swimming in a pool, and thoroughly wash off any sunscreen or leftover pool water before putting jewelry back on.
- If you wear cosmetics (foundations), perfumes, or spray-style hair care, do not apply these while wearing your jewelry. Wait until the cosmetic has settled, and then put on your jewelry. Avoid having your jewelry touch foundation or spray tans.
- Extended exposure to sunlight may cause certain gemstones to fade in color and shine. Instead, store your jewelry is a cool spot such as a jewelry case.
- Cleaning Your Gemstone – It is recommended that after each wear, you gently use a polishing cloth to wipe clean your gemstone. This will get rid of any body oils on the jewelry. Do not wet the cloth or scrub with it, a simple soft cleaning will do.
Caring for Metal/Stiff Native American Jewelry:
- Do not bend or widen bracelets, necklaces, or other jewelry that is made of metal or other stiff material. This can damage the metal and distort any imagery within it. Likewise, altering a stiff piece can cause gemstones to become loosened and even fall out. If a stiff piece does not fit correctly, please contact us for options in adjustment.
- Money clips are one of the few metal items that can be slightly bent, due to their purpose. They are constructed to be slightly tightened or loosened to accommodate your needs. We do not recommend stretching it much further than it is already adjusted to.
Caring for Inlay & Pearl (Fragile) Native American Jewelry:
- Inlay jewelry has gems that are placed in fragile designs to reflect culture and beauty. Because of their delicateness, it is important to treat these pieces with great care. When wearing a piece with inlayed gems, avoid allowing it to come in moving contact with a hard surface (such as dropping it onto a nightstand). This can cause the gems to crack, break, or fall out.
- Avoid wearing inlay jewelry such as rings when working with your hands in instances where the gems could come in contact with hard surfaces or damaging substances. Gardening, pet cleaning, and house cleaning can cause inlay jewelry to collect the substances and damage the gem.
Caring for Silver & Sterling Silver Jewelry
- Long term exposure to the elements can actually damage sterling silver jewelry. If you only occasionally wear your sterling silver pieces, store them in a plastic bag that is placed in a cool, dry place. This will prevent discoloration and tarnishing.
- Prongs holding in gems on sterling silver jewelry are very fragile. Regularly examine the prongs for any looseness, damage, or loss discoloration. If you notice anything, contact a professional jeweler to avoid losing the gem.
- If you notice your sterling silver taking on a yellow, black, or darker color, it is becoming tarnished. This happens when it is exposed to humidity, acids, and other elements. Regularly example your jewelry for these signs.
- Use anti-tarnish cloths as the best defense. These can be bought at any jewelry store and can be used to wrap individual silver pieces.