There are many ways to clean your silver and turquoise on the internet but not all of them are safe. In cleaning turquoise jewelry several factors come into play.
1st is the type of piece you are working with. Is it a piece of history that the patina (aging or tarnish) is part of its character, history and value. If so use no chemicals, only a soft towel and water. In this case even a tooth brush could damage the patina and devalue the piece. If the patina is not important to your piece then a silver cleaner like Tarn-X works great but be careful it will dissolve shell, turquoise and coral or other calcium based material.
2nd the type of stone is to be considered. Here we are talking about things found in “NA” (Native American) style jewelry. Claws, bone, wood, coral, turquoise, shell, jasper and malachite. I’m sure I missed a few. Lets tackle the organics first. Claw, wood and bone swell when soaked in water so that’s never a good idea. This can actually expand the “bezel’s” ( the metal wrapped around the item) setting and loosen it’s grip on the item. Chemicals are a no-no because the item will absorb the smell or stain or dissolve depending on what you use.
Stone are similar and different at the same time. While they will not expand they can stain or dissolve with chemicals. Most agates and jaspers are water resistant however some jaspers like Biggs Jasper will absorb liguids. Turquoise and malachite will absorb liguids if the turquoise is not “stablilzed” (Impregnated with plastic resins) and can be damaged by cleaners. For these stones it is best to use a soft toothbrush and warm water to clean and dry immediately. The same goes for shell material. Soaps will discolor it and chemicals can etch the surfaces very easily.
3rd. The condition and setting matter also. If you have cracked or loose stones be careful and do not clean your piece over the gaping jaws of a sink’s drain hole. You may loose an important stone. Often times turquoise stones were “cushioned” By putting sawdust in the setting under the stone. If soaked this will expand (organics/wood) your bezel and loosening your stone when it dries out.
Bottom line: The best way to baby your piece is to wipe it clean with a warm damp rag or use a soft toothbrush when necessary, never soak organics and stay away from chemical cleaners unless you are sure of the outcome. Hope this helps, Kyle