Silver is a soft metal in its pure form and is too soft to use in jewelry; thus, it is mixed with other metals to make it harder. Sterling silver is a popular alloy is is 925 parts per thousand of pure silver. Sterling silver marks most common are: .925, 92.5 or Sterling. Copper is the most common metal used in the mixed with silver at 7.5 in making sterling silver. Copper adds hardness to the silver but brings out the tendency to tarnish. Tarnish occurs when the sterling silver is exposed and reacts with the gases in air or other substances it comes in contact with.
Silver that is worn daily often develops a lovely glow or patina, areas that darken. Some people like this look with contrasts and prefer to not polish out to a silver shine. If you prefer a shiny look to your silver use a polishing cloth with one of the Hagerty Silversmith Polish products and store in an air tight or anti tarnish bag or enclosure.
We highly recommend cleaning your Native American jewelry and silver jewelry with a polishing cloth and storing your jewelry in a jewelers zip lock bag or tarnish preventive storage container to prevent tarnish. You may also store anti-tarnish strips in your bags to prevent tarnish. Soft clothes and tissue may also be used. Your stones should be kept away from harsh chemicals, cleaning detergents and heat. Some stones can be permanently damaged if cleaned in an ultrasonic cleaner: amber, coral, turquoise, lapis, opal, pearl. We have found the best cleaner that is safe for your turquoise and gemstones to be Hagerty Silversmiths Spray Polish used with a polishing cloth. We offer a selection of silver jewelry cleaners and care products for your sterling silver jewelry, turquoise jewelry and Native American jewelry.
Stones should be occasionally checked. If the stones are loose and wiggle, some simple repairs can be made by the owner. By placing a tiny amount of glue, such as Sobo polyvinyl acetate emulsion, between the edges of a loosened stone and its bezel will help secure the stone. The edges of the bezel can be gently pressed in around the loosened stone, also, to help tighten the setting. If your stone comes completely out, the stone needs to be reset by an experienced jeweler or silversmith. Avoid excess bending of silver bracelets and most inlay bracelets can not be stretched or bent. With proper care, you should have a lifetime of enjoyment with your Native American Jewelry.