Understanding Tarnish and Keeping Your Silver Jewelry Shiny
Over the years, the popularity and value of silver jewelry has risen greatly. Silver is a precious, versatile metal that has a soft luster, making it a great addition to any wardrobe. However, silver is also fragile in comparison to other metals and can quickly develop tarnish. As a person who owns some silver jewelry that is valuable, sentimental or both, you may be wondering what the best methods for keeping your items shiny and untarnished are. Here are some useful tips and information to that end.
What Causes Tarnish?
Tarnish is a layer of corrosion that develops on many metals. Over time, exposure to moisture, corrosive gases in the environment, and certain materials, causes the outermost layer of the jewelry to undergo a chemical reaction. These triggers can include substances like tap water, household cleaning products, and beauty products. Tarnished jewelry looks darkened, dull, and even dirty.
How to Keep Silver Jewelry Tarnish-free
It is a lot less work to prevent tarnish than to remove it from jewelry. There are many different and easy ways to keep your jewelry shiny and here are the best of them:
1. Store your jewelry properly – Keep in mind that the moister the climate, the faster jewelry tarnishes. If you're not going to wear or use your jewelry for a period of time, you should store it in a cool, dry place. It is best to place your silver jewelry in an anti-tarnish storage bag or wrap it in a silver anti-tarnish cloth or polymer. These will keep your pieces protected from scratching and substances in the air that can speed up tarnish.
2. Keep your jewelry away from harmful substances – You may not realize it, but many of the common items people use every day can tarnish your jewelry. Some of these harmful materials include things like printed newspapers and perfumes. Be sure to remove these items from your jewelry station or storage area.
3. Don't wear your jewelry during certain activities – These include activities such as swimming, showering or washing the dishes. The chemicals involved in these activities can cause tarnishing.
4. Have your jewelry professionally cleaned – At least once a year, you should have a jeweler professionally clean and inspect your fine jewelry. This will help keep your pieces in tip-top shape.
5. Remember that not all jewelry is the same – Even if you store items under the same conditions, you will find that some pieces may tarnish faster than others. There are a few reasons for this: first of all, you may not know the history of the items before you received them, especially if they were given as a gift or passed down; secondly, silver items from different manufacturers may or may not have temporary treatments or polishing finishes; lastly, their time spent on the shelf, exposure to fumes, and other variables play a role as well.
Prevention is the first word in dealing with tarnish. Silver storage bags and careful attention to where you store items can go a long way towards keeping your valuable pieces looking shiny and new.