Caring For Your Silver Jewellery

November 19, 2018

Caring For Your Silver Jewellery

Sterling silver is one of the most popular types of metal used for jewellery because it is affordable, suits all skin tones, is durable and is very lightweight.

One of the downsides to silver though is that it can tarnish over time through no fault of the owner; however, with a bit of care it is possible to keep your silver jewellery looking bright and shiny for a lot longer.

What causes silver to tarnish?

The biggest cause of tarnish is all around us. Air contains a mixture of oxygen and sulphur which react with silver causing a dull film to build up on the metal, usually ranging in colour from yellow to black – this is known as tarnish. Tarnish can also be caused by other things such as salt water, swimming pools, soap, cleaning and beauty products such as perfume or hairspray; it’s found that in areas with high pollution and humidity the tarnishing process occurs more quickly.

Sterling silver is a mix of 92.5% silver and 7.5% other metals including a small amount of copper, it’s these other metals (typically copper) that contribute to the tarnishing of sterling silver. Although tarnish is classed as a type of corrosion it is easy to remove, unlike rust.

How can I remove tarnish from my sterling silver jewellery?

There are lots of ways that you can safely remove tarnish which has built up on your silver pieces.

By far the easiest way to clean your silver jewellery is to use one of the many specially designed baths or polishing cloths. These baths and cloths are easily available online or from some high street retailers and jewellers, they work quickly and easily to remove tarnish and bring your silver back to life.

In our workshop, we use Town Talk original anti-tarnish silver polishing cloth which is impregnated with a silver cleaner as well as an anti-tarnish agent. You gently polish the piece of jewellery that you want to revive using the cloth and within just a few minutes the tarnish will be removed, and your item will be clean and sparkly again.

If you have several items, you wish to clean at once a bath is a great way to do this as you can put multiple items in together; they are also perfect for pieces of jewellery which have small crevices such as links on chains or which are too small to polish by hand. For these we recommend the Town Talk Exquisite Silver Sparkle Medium Strength silver bath.

Caring for your medical jewellery

 How can I stop my silver from re-tarnishing?

Although you cannot stop silver items from tarnishing there are a few ways you can slow down the process.

  • After wearing your silver jewellery it’s a good idea to clean it before putting it away, some cloths have anti-tarnish agents built into them which help reduce the speed at which tarnish will develop.
  • Try to keep your silver jewellery out of contact with substances that encourage tarnishing such as water, cleaning products and perfume. Always remove your silver jewellery before washing up, taking a bath or shower and activities such as swimming.
  • Always apply make-up and toiletries before putting on your silver jewellery.
  • When storing silver jewellery try to keep them somewhere which limits its exposure to air and humidity. Using small plastic bags that seal would be ideal or keep a sachet of silica gel nearby as it will absorb humidity delaying the tarnishing process.
  • Anti-tarnishing strips can be purchased which you can place with your silver jewellery. These absorb the agents which cause tarnishing from the air.
  • Store silver jewellery out of direct sunlight in a dark cool place.

If you have a piece of silver jewellery which is severely tarnished, and you don’t want to try and tackle it yourself most high street jewellers offer a jewellery cleaning service at a relatively inexpensive price.

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