WHAT IS SILVER TARNISH?
According to Wikipedia, tarnish is a product of a chemical reaction between a metal and a non-metal compound, most commonly oxygen and sulphur dioxide, which forms a metal oxide (and sometimes metal sulphide or chloride) on the metal.
Tarnish can appear as a yellow, brown, black or grey coating on the surface of your silver jewellery, which is sometimes quite patchy. Sterling silver tarnishes more easily than pure silver due to its copper content and this tarnish is likely to be more noticeable and darker in colour. However, even pure (or fine) silver can develop a matte grey oxide on its surface over time.
Tarnish appearing on your silver jewellery is normal. Even the best silver jewellery tarnishes, so don't assume the problem is related to the quality of your jewellery or it not being made of real silver. If anything, tarnish indicates that it really is silver!
Many things in your everyday life can cause your silver to tarnish. These include:
- Hand creams
- Chlorine from swimming pools or cleaning chemicals
- The PH of your skin
- The air around you, especially if it's humid
Silver tarnish is almost impossible to avoid, but there are a lot of factors that can make it more or less obvious and happen more or less quickly. The good news is that you can make a big difference to how bad the tarnish gets and you can clean your silver to bring it back to its sparkling best.
HOW TO CLEAN SILVER JEWELLERY?
JEWELLERY POLISHING CLOTH
A jewellery polishing cloth can remove heavier tarnish than silver dip, but it won't be as effective as our homemade electrochemical cleaning method or silver polish for very heavy tarnish. However, it is generally easier and quicker than these processes, as well as being more gentle than a silver polish or cream. A jewellery polishing cloth will also give your jewellery a lovely shine.
Not only will these polishing cloths remove tarnish from the surface, they should also give your silver a beautiful shine, which can't be achieved with silver dip alone. This makes them a great follow up after dipping if your jewellery should be shinier than it is.
Apply a small amount of toothpaste to the jewelry. Start with a pea-sized amount—smaller if you are cleaning something tiny, such as a post earring. You can use your finger, a sponge, a paper towel, or even a q-tip to apply the toothpaste.
Put the jewelry into the our polish for 45 - 90 sec. Once the tarnish is removed, rinse with warm water, dry and buff with a soft cloth to shine.
HOW TO PREVENT SILVER FROM TARNISHING?
Try storing your silver jewellery separate from your other jewellery, in an anti-tarnish bag.
After removing your jewellery (and before storing), wipe it down with a polishing cloth to ensure it is clean and dry.
Keep your jewellery in a cool, dry location to avoid any moisture getting in (tarnishing speeds up in humid environments).
Ensure your silver jewellery is stored out of direct sunlight, as this too can accelerate tarnishing.
Avoid wrapping your silver jewellery in tissue paper - as tissue can also contain acids
Wear your jewellery regularly! The more friction there is, the less likely tarnish is to form.