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Caring for Native American Turquoise Jewelry

Congratulations! Your new piece of Native American turquoise jewelry, whether it has been newly crafted or is an estate piece, is not only beautiful - it is an investment.

Your stunning southwest jewelry, if it’s authentic Native American jewelry, has been crafted to high standards and will last a lifetime. But there are some basics you need to know about caring for your jewelry to ensure it remains looking its best now and into the future.

Native American turquoise jewelry is almost always set in silver.


Silver used in jewelry has been hardened with the addition of other metals, usually copper. The copper component of silver is what gives it its tendency to tarnish, which is the result of exposure and reaction to gases in the air and other contact substances.

Silver that is worn on a very regular basis will eventually develop a patina or darkened areas; it can be polished out but many people prefer this rustic effect.  Store silver carefully so it does not become scratched.


Like other precious and semi-precious stones, turquoise requires proper care including suitable cleaning and storage. Otherwise, turquoise can be damaged or become discolored.

Natural turquoise is a soft and fragile stone. As a phosphate mineral, it is easily damaged by solvents and can be harmed by contact with lotions, perfumes, hair sprays, sunscreens, and cosmetics. Natural oils in the skin can also damage the integrity and appearance of turquoise.

Exposure of turquoise to the sun can result in dehydration of the stone and changes to its color.

Turquoise should be cleaned with plain, clean water and a soft brush, and then dried with a soft towel or cloth.

  • Turquoise jewelry should not be submerged in water.
  • Turquoise should be kept separately from other gemstones, as harder stones may scratch the surface of the turquoise.
  • If you wear perfume or cosmetics, put on your turquoise jewelry after you have applied these – they can cause discoloration if the contact the stone.
  • Protect turquoise from extreme temperatures and prolonged exposure to the sun.
  • Do not clean turquoise with ultrasonic or commercial cleaners. Even mild detergents or soaps can damage the stone. (Other stones that can be permanently damaged by an ultrasonic cleaner include amber, lapis, coral, pearl, and opal).
  • Never wear your turquoise jewelry while cleaning, gardening, or doing heavy work.

Store your silver and turquoise jewelry in a dark place in a sealable container, jewelry pouch, or tiny plastic bag; prevent it from tarnishing with an anti-tarnish slip. If your silver jewelry does tarnish, gently rub it clean using a silver polishing cloth. Check it regularly for loose stones and damage; if these occur, take your jewelry to an experienced silversmith or jeweler.

Did You Know? The more you wear your silver jewelry, the less likely it will tarnish!

With a little bit of TLC, your turquoise will look amazing forever – so look after it. Leave it at home when you go to the beach or for a day in the sun and instead, embrace its beauty for a night out or an occasion out of prolonged direct sunlight.

Check out our stunning range of Native American silver and turquoise jewelry at Indian Traders today!