Silver has a tendency to tarnish, caused by the interaction of air (sulfur-containing gases) with the silver, but why does my silver jewellery not tarnish the same way? Most of the jewellery is made of silver with the 925 mark- which is sterling silver. It means that it has 92.5% pure silver and 7.5% other metals, mostly copper mixed in. This metal oxidizes very fast and it is the number 1 reason for why silver jewellery tarnishes. Silver clay or PMC (Precious Metal Clay), has 99.9% pure silver, so it will tarnish- but at a slower rate. The question occurs: why to add copper? This metal and other alloys make the silver more durable and longer-lasting.
I do NOT recommend number 1 and 3 cleaning methods for jewelry that has precious or semi-precious stones. Also, be aware that these methods are NOT good for antiqued (oxidized) silver, as cleaning will remove the antiqued finish on the silver along with the tarnish.
1) Aluminum folic and baking soda. Line a bowl with aluminum foil. Make sure the shiny side is facing up and the jewellery is touching the foil. Add baking soda, so that it covers the item, and pour boiling water over it. Leave for about 5-10min, rise and dry. I evaluate this method an 8/10.
2) Polishing cloth. Most of the polishing cloths which I saw on the market have a Two-Cloth System for cleaning and polishing. Usually the inner cloth removes tarnish, and the external cloth polishes. The average time of use is 2 years after they first appear to be dirty. I evaluate this method to be a 9/10.
3) Jewellery Cleaning Solution. The new cleaning solutions are non-toxic. Soak your silver jewelry in a basket inside the container, wait a few seconds, rinse it under warm water with soap and dry. I evaluate this method a 6/10.
Summary. After method 1 and 2, I still had to use a polishing cloth to bring out the shine but the bead was clean inside. The cleaning solution left my hands very dry, so you should most likely use rubber gloves. The polishing cloth didn’t clean the bead inside but it gave the best results in a very short amount of time.
You need to remember that some of the jewellery is oxidized in purpose to complete the look of the piece. Oxidized silver jewellery should not be cleaned with jewelry cleaning dips that will strip the blackened surface. The good news is that if this already happened to you, you can take your jewellery to the jewellery store with a goldsmith or a silversmith aside and they will darkened the piece of jewellery by introducing it to a chemical process. This process will create a patina, dark color that occurs when the silver is introduced to sulfides. It is a sped up version of the natural tarnishing process.
How to prevent silver jewellery from tarnishing?
- Keep your silver sealed in a plastic bag when not being used.
- Always take it off when showing, bathing, cooking, working, or applying your makeup.
- Put your jewellery on with clean hands.
I hope this will help 🙂