Next Appraisal Clinic: February 9th
Silver jewellery can be worn in the same manner as any precious metal jewellery. Periodic polishing and cleaning should be the only maintenance required. It is time to take care of your silver jewellery when it starts to tarnish or darken, depending on frequency of use, storage methods, exposure to chemicals and other factors.
Over time, any sterling silver jewellery exposed to air will tarnish. Comprised of 92.5% silver and 7.5% other metals, it’s the other metals, typically copper, that make sterling silver tarnish. Other metals in silver jewellery react to moisture, humidity, chemicals (hairspray, perfume, deodorant, body lotion, bleach, etc.) can speed up the tarnishing process.
Some silver jewellery is rhodium plated which substantially reduces or eliminates tarnishing. Also, a small percentage of the general population have a more acidic body chemistry which causes silver jewelry to tarnish very quickly, requiring constant cleaning which can be troublesome. Rhodium plated sterling silver may be a better choice in these instances. Rhodium plated silver, which is identified by its brighter, shinnier, whiter appearance, usually requires only a simple polish from time-to-time unless the rhodium wears off. If this happens, your silver jewellery can be professionally rhodium plated to restore back to the original finish.
When silver jewellery is not worn everyday, it has to be stored properly to prevent tarnishing. Oxidization, heat, and direct sunlight all promote and increase tarnishing. First, clean the jewelry properly to be sure it is tarnish free. Put the jewellery into a new ziplock plastic bag and squeeze out any extra air to seal it. For long term storage or for silver more prone to tarnishing, you can purchase anti-tarnish ziplock pouches from our store which have special agents built into the pouch developed to reduce tarnishing. Place the sealed silver jewellery into a dark box through which light is not penetrable.
There are a few ways to clean and maintain tarnished silver jewellery:
1. For the most effective and easiest day-to-day clean we have ever found, we recommend the use of a special polishing cloth with an anti-tarnish agent built right into the cloth. This product, originally developed to polish Pandora silver, is available at our store.
2. Longstanding, deep, and stubborn tarnish may have to be professionally polished to be removed. Please come see our experts for advice and solutions.
3. We also carry a line of various silver cleaners for home use. Silver dips are one of the most popular and quickest cleaning methods. These products are all very effective, but must be used with great care. Oxidized silver (blackened or antiqued) and silver with delicate stones (pearls, shells of any sort, wood, cameo, opals, turquoise, emeralds, etc) must never be dipped. Dipping must be limited to just a matter of seconds. Immediately rinse with clean water to avoid any residue build-up which could cause acceleration of tarnishing over repeated dippings. Completely dry before storing or wearing.