• TARNISH; The Arch Nemesis of Sterling Silver

    TARNISH; The Arch Nemesis of Sterling Silver
    We all experience that moment when looking through your collection of silver jewelry and find it dark, lackluster, and muted.   Frankly you find it dull and uninviting to wear.  That my friend is Tarnish, the arch nemisis of sterling silver.  
    What causes Sterling silver to tarnish also known as oxidization?
    Sterling silver is comprised of 92.5 % silver and 7% copper.  The copper content is what  adds to its strength for creating durable long lasting  jewelry.  Its that small percentage of copper that will react to sulfur and moisture in the air which is why jewelry tends to tarnish fasture in areas of higher air pollution and  humidity. 
    Household chemicals, such as lotions, hairspray,  perfumes and deodorant when come in contact with silver can also speed up the oxididation process.
    What are some easy ways to avoid jewelry tarnish
      1. Prevent tarnish all together by storing your jewelry in a dry airtight container or ziplock bag.  
      2. It’s best to not leave your jewelry unprotected in the bathroom,  Do not wear in the shower, swimming pool and most definitely not a hot tub.  The chemicals and the moisture will make tarnish appear much faster.
      3. Minimize contact with chemicals and make-up
      4. When taking off your silver jewelry, clean with a soft dry cloth or polishing cloth and return it to your air tight container.  You can even use an anti-tarnish strip which absorbs immpurities and slow the tarnishing process.
      5. Remember jewelry is the last thing you put on before leaving for your day and the first thing off when returning.
    Ways to clean your jewelry once tarnish has appeared
    Cleaning an item as soon as tarnish appears is always the easiest, but sometimes the oxidized look enhances unique textures in your silver jewelry so its up to your personal preference.
      1. My favorite polishing cloth is a Sunshine Cloth.  Believe me it It works like magic!!
      2. You can wash with mild dish soap and scrup with cotton swab or soft brush for silver jewelry with no gemstones or pearls
      3. Sometimes you may need the assistance of a professional jeweler who may have more advanced cleaning equipment such as an ultrasonic machine.  (Its on my wish list).
      4. Contrary to past myths DO NOT use toothpaste, it can be abrasive, thus scratching and  ruining your jewelry.
      5. Got some pesky tarnished rings?  A simple thing to do is wear them for a day or two.  The natural oils of your skin will begin to remove surface tarnish. 
    To sum up make sure you get into the habit of storing your jewelry in airtight containers.  Avoid leaving in high mositure areas such as the bathroom,  leave at home if going to the pool or beach.  Clean your jewelry as soon as tarnish appears and you will help preserve it to last a lifetime and maybe even pass on to someone else.   
    Ready for some new silver pieces?  Look here
  • Comments on this post (0 comments)

  • Leave a comment

Related Posts

The Top Ten Jewelry Myths; Refuted
The Top Ten Jewelry Myths; Refuted
Do Opals really bring bad luck?   Are Diamonds actually the rarest gem on earth?  I scoured the internet and looked up t
Read More
What does Gold-Filled Mean?
What does Gold-Filled Mean?
What is Gold Filled material?  Is it better than Gold Plated?  Read more to find out.
Read More
Earring Design #6
Earring Design #6 "Tempting Tourmalines"
Another lesson in letting go of the original plan.
Read More