Silver Jewellery maintenance tips

Silver is one of the brightest reflectors among metals. Maintaining this silver patina is very important to retain the beauty of silver jewellery. A few tips on how to maintain your silver jewellery is given below. If you follow these simple steps you can enjoy the beauty of your silver jewellery for a very long time.

Pure silver or fine silver is usually alloyed with other metals to increase its tensile strength. Silver can be classified according to the amount of pure silver present. Coin silver has 90% pure silver and the rest the metal. Similarly sterling silver (used to make jewellery) has 92.5% of pure silver in it.

Silver is chemically known as Argentum (‘Ag’). Unlike gold, silver will easily react with oxygen and moisture present in the air forming a thin coating over the metal. This is called tarnish. It’s important that you remove it during the early stages to avoid permanent damage.

What is Tarnish?

Tarnish is a chemical compound formed due to the oxidation of silver. Usually silver reacts with hydrogen sulphide, sulphur dioxide or chloride salts in air causing a discolouration on its surface. And this discolouration is tarnish.

Removing tarnish from silver

Tarnish in its beginning stage

If you can see a yellowish brown tinge on your silver there is nothing to worry. Your silver has just started to tarnish. All you need to do is rub your jewellery piece thoroughly with a silver polishing cloth. You can buy silver polishing cloth at super markets, online jewellery stores etc.

Tarnish at its worst stage

If the silver has a dark purple shade it means tarnish is at its worst. Follow the instructions as soon as possible. Make a mixture by adding two spoons of baking soda into hot water. Pour it into an aluminium pan and drop the tarnished silver into it. Take it out after sometime. Rinse it under warm running water, pat and dry using a silver polish cloth. Wrap it in an anti-tarnish paper and keep it in a dry place. The true lustre of silver will return within a few days.

Preventing tarnish

  • Clean silver jewellery regularly with any phosphate free detergent.

  • Do not wear silver jewellery while entering swimming pool or while showering.

  • Wear your jewellery after your make up; this will reduce the contact with sun tan lotions, hair sprays, body lotions and other chemicals.

  • Remove your silver jewellery before doing any physical activities (exercise or other house hold chores).

  • Store your silver jewellery in an atmosphere which can retard tarnish.

Storing silver jewellery

Silver should be stored in a tarnish repelling atmosphere i.e. wrap silver in acid-free tissues and store it in tarnish resistant cloth or polyethylene bags. Make sure that the polyethylene bags do not come in direct contact with silver.

Another trick to prevent tarnish while storing is to drop a chalk piece in the jewellery box.

To prevent scratches make sure you store the jewellery pieces separately or wrap it in silver polish cloth individually.

It is also important that you should never keep silver near stainless steel containers. Also don’t handle silver by wearing rubber gloves; it will increase oxidization because it emits sulphur.

You may also be interested in article about Gold Jewellery Maintenance.

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