I am often asked why my jewellery always looks so shiny and new! And my answer is always the same – I take care of my precious pieces just like I would any precious memory.

It’s hard not to be crazy about sterling silver Jewellery. Between its lustre, its brilliance, and its versatility, it’s easy to see why silver is one of the most popular materials for Jewellery.

But it does take a little more effort and care to take care of the sterling silver pieces which also have Paua Shell inlaid.

When oxygen or sulphur come in contact with silver, they chemically bond to its surface and cause the silver to appear dirty or discoloured.  Who wants that?

Fortunately, I find caring for my sterling silver pieces and reducing tarnish is as simple as doing the dishes. All you need is to arm yourself with a few facts about the metal and a few tips and tricks for care and cleaning. With this ultimate guide, you’ll leave ready to start wearing your fabulous sterling silver Paua jewellery again with all its shine!

A few things about our sterling silver range

Our exquisite collection of sterling silver Jewellery is made from Sterling Silver 925. Sterling silver is an alloy of silver containing 92.5% pure silver and 7.5% other metals, usually copper. The copper gives the alloy strength while maintaining its malleable properties with the high precious metal content. It is the malleable property of silver, or its ductility, that makes it an easy metal to work with. This means it can be easily formed and shaped into the beautiful designs that you can see in our collection.  Our wonderful collection of Sterling Silver Jewellery incorporates our unique and special New Zealand Paua Shell. The Segments of shell are cut according to the design of the piece and then inlaid into the sterling silver.

Once you have purchased your gorgeous item of sterling silver Pau Shell Jewellery from Ariki New Zealand you will no doubt want to maintain it to its original appearance as much as possible. Your love and care for these precious pieces would keep them beautiful and lustrous for an extended period of time. Therefore, please let me share some important tips with you on how to take care of your precious Paua Shell.

This discoloration or tarnish is caused by storing your sterling silver in the open air and humidity for extended periods of time. This tarnishing is a natural process that is a chemical reaction in the air called oxidation.  It first appears as a golden hue on the sterling silver and progressively turns to black.

Preventative care of your Paua Shell/Abalone Jewellery

Experts recommend that Paua shells should not be exposed directly to sunlight. The reason behind this is simple. Direct sunlight can cause fading and the lustre might get lost.

Avoid getting hairspray or perfume on the shell as this might mark it.  Minerals spas are great – just remove your silver shell Jewellery before you jump in! Please don’t ever wear your Jewellery in a mineral spa or swimming pool- your Jewellery will turn very black.

Shampoos, soaps, perfumes and many such everyday use items contain chemicals that can affect your jewellery. So take off your precious bracelets, necklaces or earrings before taking bath or before doing any such activity that involves the use of chemicals.


Another tip is to keep your individual pieces in a small air-tight protective bag as well as separate compartments in your Jewellery box.  Sterling silver reacts natural to air and moisture and will tarnish over time.  Keeping your precious Jewellery in air tight bags will greatly reduce the incidence of tarnishing.  Your Jewellery will also be protected from scratches and scuffing. We provide anti-tarnish paper strips with each and every piece of Ariki New Zealand Sterling Silver Jewellery that you can place inside your Jewellery box. Cut the strips into small pieces and place one in each small plastic bag with your Jewellery. You can find more of these strips at a craft or jewellery store.

However, the easiest and most enjoyable tip to take care of your precious Paua Shell jewellery pieces is to wear them as much and whenever you can. Our skin produces natural oils that are considered good for this type of jewellery. So do not wait for a special day. Rather, make a usual day special by wearing your Paua Shell!

Cleaning your Paua Shell/Abalone Shell Jewellery

Use a polishing cloth.  One of the best ways to clean your Jewellery is with a professional Jewellery polishing cloth. The cloth is treated with cleaning chemicals and not only will the cloth last a long time; it will give you an amazing shine each and every time. Silver polishing cloths are available at major supermarkets, at hardware stores and at Jewellery stores. These cloths are impregnated with cleaner and have anti tarnish properties and are excellent for bringing silver to a perfect shine

If you do not have a professional Jewellery polishing cloth I find that a lint-free flannel, microfiber, or other soft nonabrasive cloth will do as well. Do not use paper towels or tissues to polish your jewellery as they contain fibres that can scratch the silver.

When polishing, use long back-and-forth motions that mirror the grain of the silver. Do not rub in circles, as this will magnify any tiny scratches. Also, change to a different section of your cloth frequently to avoid placing tarnish back on the silver. You can use a Q-tip to get into small, detailed areas.

Please don’t dip!  Please…. never dip any silver Paua Shell Jewellery in ‘dip’ solutions or commercial cleaning solutions even though it may say that it is for silver Jewellery.   Chemical dip contains acids and accelerates the tarnish removal. The corrosive nature of acid can damage and pit your silver.  Dip cleaners will work the first few times, but after that the silver Jewellery may turn in colour and will never look the same. And the Paua shell inlay in your silver Jewellery may be damaged from the dip solution.

Never put your silver in the dishwasher. The harsh dish detergent and high water temperatures are too abrasive for your prized sterling silver.  Always wash your silver by hand and dry with a soft 100% cotton cloth.

However as I stated before – I find caring for my sterling silver pieces and reducing tarnish is as simple as doing the dishes.

This is because I use the mild dishwashing liquid or soap and warm water to keep my precious pieces looking as lovely and shiny as they were when I first got them.

Warm water and a mild, ammonia- and phosphate-free dishwashing soap should be your first line of defence if the polishing cloth fails to remove tarnish.

After using any cleaner, be sure to thoroughly rinse your silver with running water then dry the pieces with your cloth to prevent white water spot stains from forming.

A fresh start for your Jewellery

Well-cared-for silver Jewellery can give you many years of pleasure and enjoyment and even become family heirlooms. And, of course, silver is valuable. So don’t wait until tarnish has become so bad that you forget about your silver treasures or even get rid of them. Give your Jewellery a fresh start today!