Sterling silver jewelry pieces are classic and always pleasing to the eye. Their lustrous look surely entices people who are searching for shiny jewelry at a low price. Sterling silver jewelry is made of shiny and versatile metal. However, many people are surprised when these jewelry pieces suddenly become tarnished and corroded.
Although sterling silver jewelry will tarnish over time, there are ways to prevent it or at least slow it down. There are various techniques on how to better take care of your sterling silver jewelry. Learn these simple methods you can even do at home.
Before heading to the step-by-step guide on how to better handle your sterling silver jewelry, let us first look briefly on what sterling silver jewelry is and why it tarnishes.
Sterling Silver Jewelry
Sterling silver is said to be the most popular silver alloy. This jewelry is usually called .925 silver, as it consists of 92.5% fine silver. The other 7.5% is made of other materials, usually of copper. For more background on sterling silver jewelry, click on this link that will lead you to our previous post on this type of jewelry.
Sterling silver jewelry is very attractive especially if you are the type of person who loves shiny pieces. However, sterling silver tarnishes over time. It loses its glossy appearance due to its exposure to oxygen. Another factor is the oxidative reactions that occur with sulfur.
A sample of a tarnished sterling silver ring
Simply put, sterling silver jewelry tarnishes due to pollution and high humidity. It is also prone to damage when it’s always exposed to sweat. Tarnishing also occurs when sterling silver pieces are exposed to chemicals found in deodorant, lotions, perfume, bleach, and other similar substances. The sad part is, these things are what people usually use on a daily basis. Thus, these pieces are always at risk of tarnishing if you are not careful and aware of these factors.
If you think wearing your sterling silver jewelry often increases the chance of its tarnishing, you need to be aware that keeping them and not wearing them for a long time will also lead to tarnishing and corrosion. You might be asking now, “So what should I do with my sterling silver jewelry, then? Will there be ways to prevent its tarnishing?”
Do not fret. Yes, there are many ways on how to keep your sterling silver jewelry from tarnishing. Read on and you will realize that you can do these simple ways even at home.
Tip 1: Know where to store your sterling silver jewelry
You can keep your sterling silver jewelry in almost any jewelry container you have. But the best one you should use to store your sterling silver is in a regular zippered plastic bag.
To ensure that your sterling silver is safe in storage, put it inside the zippered plastic bag. Close it half way and squeeze all air out. After this, seal the bag completely. Remember: always make sure that the zippered plastic bags you use do not contain Mylar or polyethylene (materials found in common plastic, for instance, those used to seal comic books). These substances are abrasive and will easily corrode your sterling silver jewelry.
Note: you may only store one sterling silver jewelry piece per zippered plastic bag to avoid scratching and entangling them.
Tip 2: Use anti-tarnish bags
If you need to store many sterling silver pieces, it will be more practical to get anti-tarnish bags instead. These are more durable containers that you can use for a longer period than zippered plastic bags.
Tip 3: Store them away from sunlight and wood
Storing your sterling silver jewelry in a cool place away from sunlight will prevent from being damaged and tarnished. Also, do not let your jewelry lay in treated surfaces such as wood furniture. These types of surfaces are stained and will likewise stain and speed up the tarnishing of your jewelry.
Tip 4: Use these tools to help prevent tarnishing of your jewelry
There are various materials you can use at home to prevent your sterling silver jewelry from being damaged.
Chalk naturally absorbs moisture and chemical residue. You may put the chalk inside your jewelry box or where your jewelry bags are placed.
Anti-tarnish strips are made of non-toxic materials. Placing these strips inside your jewelry box or storage area will absorb agents in the air that cause tarnishing or further damage.
Silica Packs are placed inside storage areas to keep products or items moisture free. They are often seen in new shoes, bags, and even clothes. Next time you buy new stuff and see these packs, remember to keep them and use them for your sterling silver jewelry storage. You can keep your jewelry from damage and you can help save the planet by recycling as well!
Anti-tarnish cloths absorb sulfur and oxygen and ultimately prevent tarnishing. Use them in your sterling silver jewelry after use to wipe away sweat and other damaging substances.
Tip 5: Do not leave your sterling silver jewelry anywhere
After using your sterling silver jewelry, store them immediately and do not let them lay anywhere to prevent exposure to humidity. Do not wear your jewelry pieces while in the shower or when swimming, too. Exposing your sterling silver to moisture, humidity, and chlorine will increase the risk of tarnishing.
Tip 6: How to clean a tarnished sterling silver jewelry
If you are not able to prevent the tarnishing or corroding of your sterling silver jewelry, then immediately clean it with a polishing cloth that’s specifically designed for silver. If it can’t be repaired by polishing then use a silver wash.
However, if damage has progressed, it is best to bring your sterling silver jewelry to a professional jeweler. Do not experiment at home to avoid further corrosion.
Sparkling Sterling Silver
Now that you know how to take good care of your sterling silver jewelry, and you are sure how to handle them next time you purchase more. Check out our beautiful sterling silver collection at Lavari Jewelers.