I have jewelry on consignment at several wineries, and it was recently time for me to rotate my inventory. When my pieces were returned, many were terribly tarnished, even the tiny spacers! They all look so awful. Is there something I can dip these pieces in without hurting the stones? Or will I have to take all the pieces apart and polish them by hand? My boss (we do research in wines and grapevines here at the University where I work) said the problem is the sulfur in the air at the wineries that's causing this.
What an interesting, but annoying, phenomena! You have several options for cleaning your pieces other than taking them apart, though. One is to rub a polishing cloth on your pieces. These work quickly at removing tarnish and leave the piece with a nice shine. Another method is to do a tarnish remover dip--just let the pieces soak in the fluid for several seconds, rinse and wipe dry. Check the ''Cleaning Gemstones'' chart before doing this method to make sure the cleaning fluid won't negatively affect your particular stones. Once you've cleaned your pieces, store them in airtight containers with Shine-On™ anti-tarnish papers, or simply place them in recloseable anti-tarnish bags. Another thing to consider is your display tags--make sure they are made with acid-free paper. Some papers contain a high percentage of sulfur, thus contributing to tarnishing.