Turquoise is considered a semi-precious stone and has long been thought to contain healing or spiritual powers. For this reason, many Native American tribes and ancient Egyptians used turquoise in their jewelry. Today, turquoise is still a very popular semi-precious stone and is most often set in sterling silver. Both sterling and turquoise require special care and cleaning to avoid damaging the jewelry. Since turquoise is a very soft stone, traditional silver polishes may scratch or damage the stone.
To begin, mix the baking soda with a bit of warm water until it forms a paste. Spread the baking soda paste onto the silver parts of the jewelry only. If any of the paste gets on the turquoise, wipe it off immediately. Allow the paste to sit on the silver for at least one minute. The longer you leave on the paste, the more tarnish it will remove.
Rub the paste off using a clean white cloth. Be sure to clean every nook and cranny of the silver. Once all the paste has been wiped off, rinse the jewelry with hot clean water. Dry the silver with a clean dry cloth to avoid water spots from forming.
To clean the turquoise stone on your jewelry, take an old soft toothbrush dipped in warm water and gently scrub the stone. Unfortunately, even the gentlest soap can damage turquoise, so it is important to only use water. Thoroughly dry the stone after cleaning.
To prevent sterling and turquoise jewelry from getting dirty or scratched, store the piece by wrapping it in tissue paper and sealing it in a zipper-seal plastic bag.
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Megan Lawless is a freelance writer based in Chicago. She holds a Master of Business Administration in marketing communications from DePaul University. She currently works as a marketing consultant in the legal profession. Lawless has had articles published on eHow.com.