You’re planning a spectacular lunch. You’ve chosen the ideal outfit, shoes, and cosmetics. You go to put your favourite piece of silver jewellery on as a finishing touch, but when you open your jewellery box, it’s covered in a horrible brown and black tarnish that makes it unwearable. So, what’s next?
While removing silver tarnish is simple enough, doing so incorrectly or with the wrong materials might result in further tarnish or, worse, harm to your jewellery.
Thankfully, understanding how to clean silver jewellery is easier than you might think, and just a few equipment and procedures are required. Cleaning your favourite silver pieces will become second nature once you’ve mastered the technique, and you won’t be surprised when you open your jewellery box to find a tarnished necklace.
Continue reading to learn how to properly clean your silver jewellery to extend the life of your favourite pieces and allow you to wear them anytime you want.
According to Wikipedia, tarnish is caused by a chemical interaction between a metal and a non-metal component, most commonly oxygen and sulphur dioxide, that results in the formation of a metal oxide (and occasionally metal sulphide or chloride) on the metal.
The good news is that regular silver tarnish is non-corrosive, and the metal behind the oxide layer should be perfectly fine. Silver, on the other hand, can tarnish when exposed to chlorine and acids, which can be more harmful to the metal and result in pits.
Tarnish can take the form of a patchy yellow, brown, black, or grey coating on the surface of your silver jewellery. Due to its copper element, sterling silver tarnishes more easily than pure silver, and the tarnish is more apparent and darker in colour. Pure (or fine) silver, on the other hand, can develop a matte grey oxide on its surface over time.
Because pure silver is too soft to be used in jewellery, most pieces are composed of sterling silver or similar alloys. However, you might have sterling silver jewellery with a pure silver plating on the surface, which can aid to resist tarnishing. Learn more about the differences between sterling silver and pure silver.
TARNISHING OF SILVER
It’s normal for your silver jewellery to tarnish. Even the best silver jewellery tarnishes, so don’t blame your problem on the jewelry’s quality or the fact that it isn’t composed of actual silver. Tarnish, on the other hand, proves that it is indeed silver!
When silver is exposed to airborne gases, particularly sulphur, it discolours and darkens as it reacts with the gas, forming a tarnish layer on the surface. When silver is exposed to a variety of other chemicals, a similar reaction can occur.
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