Cleaning Silver Jewlery With and Without Gem Stones & Semi-precious Stones

I love my silver jewelry!

However, it can be difficult to keep silver from tarnishing. This was what my silver jewelry looked like when I started my silver cleaning project.


I have two types of silver jewelry, half of which is silver only and can be cleaned in a bath of baking soda and hot water. The other half is silver with gemstones or semi-precious stones and cannot be submerged in the hot baking soda water bath. The stones will not take the treatment. Silver and gem or semi-precious stones can be cleaned with toothpaste and an old soft toothbrush. You may asky why I am not using silver cleaner,

Here is what you will need for cleaning silver jewelry without stones:

Aluminum foil

One bowl either metal or pyrex that will take almost boiling water

Water brought to just below boiling on the stove top, heat enough water to fill bowl slightly over half way

One bowl for cool rinse water

1 cup baking soda

Kitchen tongs or large slotted spoon

several terry towels

Your cleaning setup will look something like this:

Notice that the metal bowl that I use for the baking soda and boiling water is lined with foil.  To line the bowl, turn it upside down and mold the foil, shiny side down to the bottom of the bowl. Lift the foil off, turn the bowl right side up and the lining will fit perfectly. The foil attracts the tarnish from the silver. When you finish the foil will have turned darker

Bring water to just below boiling

1 cup baking soda in foil lined pay

Pour hot water over baking soda, the baking soda will fizz for a short time

Place silver items in the hot water with the kitchen tongs

Allow silver to soak for about 5 minutes

Lift out individual pieces and check that the tarnish is all gone, set aside any items that need another bath

Place clean items in cool rinse water

Items that need another 5 minutes to be completely clean, pour out warm water, head more clean water on stove top, place another 1 cup baking soda in the foil lined bowl, and proceed with the process a second time.

When all items are clean and rinsed lay them out on terry towels and pat dry.

I leave my clean item out drying for 12-24 hours to make sure they are completely dry before storing (see below for storage)

If there are bead necklaces or bracelets I drape them over the bottom bar of a metal coat hanger so the water can drain out of the inside of the beads for approx 24 hours


Below is the process for cleaning silver jewelry that has gemstones or semi-precious stones.

What you will need:

Toothpaste and an old soft toothbrush

Bowl of clean water

Terry towels




















Each time you rinse gemstones or semi-precious cleaned items check to make sure all toothpaste residue has been rinsed off before laying on terry towels and drying. With this bracelet that has onyx cabochons, and carved coral I had to brush and rinse in clean water numerous times to remove all the toothpaste residue from the carved coral.

Something else I learned in my research into cleaning and maintaining silver jewelry, I had been storing my silver all wrong. I had the items laying out in the air in open top boxes on my jewelry shelf. Though the shelf is inside a closed cabinet the boxes were not covered.  Exposure to the air is what makes silver tarnish, even if the cabinet door is usually closed, the air still surrounds the silver. When my jewelry was all cleaned, dry and ready to put away, I bought small containers with flip tops to fit inside my jewelry shelf. I further bought smaller open boxed that fit inside the closed containers to separate the pieces and keep them from tangling.  Here is what my silver jewelry looks like now.





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