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Silver Tarnish

Are you noticing that your silver jewellery turns black over time? 

If yes, it means you are experiencing silver tarnish. Not to worry, all silver jewellery tarnishes over time whether you are wearing it or not. While tarnishing can be annoying, it is relatively easy to remove once you know what exactly it is. 

 Why, silver tarnish?

Sterling silver jewellery is timeless jewellery that can last a lifetime. Over time, any sterling silver jewellery piece exposed to air will tarnish. Sterling silver is 92.5% pure silver and 7.5% alloy, typically copper. It’s the other metals, primarily copper, that cause sterling silver to tarnish. 

The copper reacts to moisture and sulphur in the air, causing the tarnishing reaction. Silver tarnishes faster in areas with high humidity and air pollution. Chemicals like hairspray, perfume, deodorant, body lotion, bleach, etc, can speed up the tarnishing process. 

 How fast does silver tarnish?

The rate at which silver tarnishes depends upon the product under which the metal is placed. Wearing the jewellery and exposing it to sweat, lotions, perfumes, colognes, soaps, and other chemical exposures can speed up or slow down the tarnishing process. It can begin to turn black in just a few days or can even take many months or years.

How to clean tarnished silver at home?

One of the popular ways to clean tarnished silver is using a jewellery polishing cloth. Polishing cloths are pieces of fabric that have polishing paint embedded into the fabric to make it slightly abrasive. It allows the silver sulphide to be buffed off the piece of jewellery, leaving it with a subtle shine!

Why should you clean your silver jewellery?

It is very much necessary to clean your silver jewellery to prevent it from tarnishing. And here are some tips on how to help prevent tarnishing on your silver jewellery from happening in the first place: 

  • Store your sterling silver jewellery in a cool, dark place away from sources of sunlight, heat and moisture. There are certain special fabrics, bags, and boxes that are made for storing jewellery that will inhibit the formation of tarnish
  • Using a polishing cloth will not only help your jewellery tarnish more slowly, but it will also help keep the shine on the piece much longer. Use it once or twice a week.
  • If the polishing cloth doesn’t remove all the tarnish, wash silver jewellery (without gemstones or pearls) in warm water with a few drops of mild dishwashing liquid. Immerse the sterling silver in the water, and gently hand wash. Use a cotton swab for tight corners, or soft baby toothbrush can be used for more deeper cleaning if needed.