I recently inherited several necklaces from my mother-in-law. She was a smoker. I wanted to know how to clean some of them. The ones I don't know about are made out of different rocks, gems. Some tiger eye, some onyx, etc. Not sure what they all are, but I would love to know how to clean these. I have searched the website, but can't find anything for this type of jewelry.
My advice is to have the pieces in question looked at by a jeweler. Some do this for free. Although they won't clean them for free, they can possibly tell you what type of stones are in the pieces of jewelry. At least then you will know what you are dealing with and if there is any way to clean them yourself. Often you will find that gems such as opals and onyx have to be cleaned by someone who knows what they are doing if it is something you are planning on wearing/keeping.. They can be fragile and will weaken and break. Wish I knew more, but I learned by experience.
Yes, I agree with Angie that you should take the stones to a jeweler. Especially if you want these to stay in the family as herilooms. Better to be safe than sorry. You can buy these soft jewelry polishing cloths and that might be what you could use but I would want you to first ask an expert.
You could try using denture cleaning tablets.
Good advice to go to a jeweler. Sterling silver and gold are soft and once scratched, or pitted by chemicals like denture cleaner, cannot be restored except by re-dipping, if at all. Many gems, like opal, onyx, pearls, turquoise, are also very soft and easily damaged. Over the counter jewelry cleaners have warnings on the packaging, but people often don't read the fine print.
If they are covered with that smoker's greasy smoke film - I don't see much harm in gently wiping them (the tiger's eyse , and onyx- & other semi-precious stones like amethyst,etc.) with a cloth and gentle soap to dissolve the greasy layer - but opals are fragile - perhaps they should be professionally cleaned - I don't know about the turquoise - but most jewelers deal in the more precious stones & would charge much too much for such a cleaning - Of course, gold & silver would survive such cleaning well, too....
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