Growing up, I remember watching my mother spend hours polishing her silver before having guests over. She’d stand over the sink with a cloth and the polish and shine it until it looked perfect. Now, with gold and silver prices skyrocketing, I buy a lot of scrap silver because people are just tired of cleaning it. Fortunately, jewelry is small, and if you know the tricks, it’s simple to clean.
Polishing cloth: This is the easiest way to clean silver jewelry that has been oxidized (the black stuff in the cracks). If you don’t want to risk losing the oxidation, buy a silver polishing cloth for a few bucks (we carry them for $7) and go to town on your jewelry. It works great for large pieces without much detail in them, or pieces with delicate gemstones, but can be tricky on chains and other small items or items with lots of cracks and crevices.
Silver solution: Not for the faint of nose, this stuff can be stinky, but it is highly effective. It usually comes in a small plastic tub with a little plastic basket inside. A quick dip in the solution, and silver comes out clean. This is probably the quickest and easiest way to clean your silver as long as it has no gemstones, glued on crystals, or pearls.
Homemade solutions: White toothpaste and baking soda are said to work well, however I have never tried either one. Both should be safe for most faceted stones, but should be avoided on jewelry with pearls, opals, intricate inlay work, or anything with glued on stones or crystals.