How Air Pollution Affects Your Jewelry and How to Avoid Tarnish
Your jewelry is undoubtedly precious. Whether it marks a milestone, was given for a special occasion, or has an important significance to you, it likely holds sentimental value. With that being said, you want to ensure that your jewelry remains clean and looking its finest. While you probably already know not to wear it when taking a shower, doing strenuous chores, and to keep it away from harsh chemicals, did you know that air pollution can also cause damage to your jewelry?
Despite the many efforts to combat air pollution, it is a growing concern today and for many reasons. In regards to precious metals, clean air is essential to preventing tarnish and discoloration. So how does air pollution exactly affect jewelry?
Sulfides in Air Pollution
Air pollution contains sulfides such as sulfur dioxide and hydrogen sulfide. When sterling silver jewelry is manufactured, stored, and displayed, it is exposed to these pollutants which can cause the metal to turn black – a process called oxidation. Air impurities can turn sparkling jewelry darker, causing it to lose its shine which reduces value.
Exposure to Moisture
As you probably already know, contact with water can cause jewelry to tarnish, hence why it’s urged not to wear jewelry when swimming or taking a shower. But contact with moisture in the air is another major element that can cause jewelry to tarnish and is often not taken into consideration.
Preventing Future Tarnish
With all of this pollution causing tarnish, you are probably wondering what you can do to prevent it. When you take off sterling silver jewelry after wearing it, jewelry should be stored in anti-tarnish bags. Avoid laying it on a table or counter since this will allow pollutions to accrue. If you own or work in a jewelry parlor, you should put all displays away in a jewelry box or container to keep the jewelry looking and feeling new. Also, give each piece of jewelry its own space – don’t jam-pack them in one area, as metal can scratch and scuff other metals. Always place each piece of jewelry individually in a pouch or bag.
Having your jewelry cleaned by a professional will also help to prevent tarnish and keep the quality of the metal. However, you should avoid polishing your jewelry too often, because the more you polish it, the more and faster it will tarnish. That’s why it’s important to use anti tarnish packaging for your silver jewelry. You can also use a soft specially treated polishing cloth that will keep the original shine of the silver, and you can easily do this yourself. Another great way to prevent tarnish is to wear your jewelry. Yes, it’s that simple. The more you wear your silver, the less likely it is to tarnish.