Most of us have sterling silver jewelry in our collection, either inherited from our grandmothers, mothers or the pieces we have chosen and purchased ourselves. What is so alluring about this material and color of jewelry is that it can easily be matched with various outfits and is suitable for different events. However, there is a question we have all been asking ourselves from time to time – does sterling silver tarnish?
The answer to this question is yes, it does. This is due to the fact that sterling silver consists of 92.5% of silver and 7.5% of other metals. These other metals, such as copper, cause your silver jewelry to rust. Copper reacts to moisture from the air, shower, deodorant, perfume, etc. making sterling silver jewelry tarnish. No matter how frustrating it might sound, do not let this put you off these amazing pieces of jewelry since there are easy and fast ways you can take care of your sterling silver jewelry collection.
How to clean sterling silver jewelry?
Here are a few tips on how to preserve jewelry in the best possible condition.
Store Your Jewelry Properly
Although we all often leave our jewelry on the nightstand or forget it in the bathroom after taking a shower, sterling silver jewelry should be stored in a dark place in your home. Keep your jewelry pieces away from heat, sun, and moisture. The best way is to place each sterling silver jewelry piece in a box or a plastic bag separately and not to store multiple jewelry pieces together. Not only does this decrease tarnish, but it also reduces scratching. Make sure you remove air from the plastic bag as this is what will additionally protect your sterling silver jewelry from tarnishing. In addition, you could also get some anti-tarnish paper strips and place these together with your stored jewelry in airtight plastic bags.
Keep Sterling Silver Jewelry Away from Moisture
You should not shower or bathe with your silver pieces. It is perfectly normal if you occasionally forget this rule and jump into a swimming pool wearing your silver jewelry, but try not to do it often. Moisture is one of the main reasons your sterling silver jewelry tarnishes. That is why you should remove your jewelry before taking a shower, swimming, going into a sauna, and a hot tub or spraying on deodorant, a perfume, a hairspray, etc. How long does it take for sterling silver to tarnish? It might take from a couple of months to a few years. This depends on both how well you take care of your sterling silver jewelry collection, but also if it is in contact with moisture and humidity.
Wipe Your Jewelry Off After Wearing It
Once you have had fun clubbing or at that great celebration, take your jewelry off and wipe it down using a soft dry cloth. This does not require a lot of time if your sterling silver jewelry does not show signs of tarnish or dirt. It will take you no more than a minute to perform this and then store your jewelry safely back to its container. Besides wiping off your jewelry, you might consider polishing it from time to time. For this purpose, you can use a special silver cloth, but also a microfiber or some other soft non-abrasive cloth. Be careful not to use harsher towels or tissues as their fibers could easily scratch the silver.
Clean It More Thoroughly
It is perfectly normal to start noticing some signs of tarnish on your sterling silver after a while. If wiping off the dirt and tarnish from your jewelry does not work, you could take the following how to clean sterling silver steps:
- Fill in a container with warm water and put a few drops of mild dishwashing soap,
- Put your sterling silver jewelry into the container and either uses your hands or a soft baby toothbrush to gently wash the pieces of jewelry,
- Use a cotton swab or a soft toothbrush to clean tight corners and reach any crevices,
- If your jewelry pieces have gemstones, beads or pearls, do not submerge them into water. In this case, it is better to use a cotton swab or a soft cloth with mild dishwashing soap to clean only the silver,
- Take the jewelry out from the container, rinse it thoroughly, wipe it down completely and carefully and let it air dry before storing it back to its box or bag. Do not forget that moisture is one of the biggest enemies of your sterling silver jewelry.
Avoid Contact with Harsh Substances
Many people recommend different rust removers, the most common of which are toothpaste and baking soda. Some have tried these and swear by them. However, you should be aware that these methods might discolor the silver and scratch the surface of your pieces of jewelry. In addition, a few people mention other even harsher chemicals such as acetone or bleach. Do not use these as in time they will damage the surface of your sterling silver jewelry. Furthermore, avoid exposure to perspiration, rubber, household chemicals or any substances containing sulfur such as eggs, mustard, mayonnaise, etc. as these also cause tarnish. Therefore, it is a good idea to take off your sterling silver jewelry when doing household chores.
Professional Care for Your Jewelry
Take your sterling silver jewelry to a professional jewelry repair in Miami to get them cleaned. This is always a good idea, especially if you have some older or more heavily tarnished sterling silver pieces of jewelry and you cannot or just do not have the time or the will to do it yourself. Pay extra attention to fragile or valuable jewelry pieces or the ones with stones, beads or pearls and consider taking these to a professional cleaner too.
Wear Your Jewelry
If you believe that the sterling silver jewelry is best kept properly and safely stored and not worn a lot, you are wrong. It is quite the opposite. Would you like to preserve your jewelry in the best possible condition? Then you should wear them all the time.
Does sterling silver rust? Yes, it does. Does that mean you should not wear it? No, it does not.
In fact, the oils in your skin keep your jewelry from tarnish and make it look shiny. Just make sure you follow some of the precautionary steps mentioned above and your sterling silver jewelry will look great and last for generations. Would you like to keep a professional, business-like look when going to a job interview or work, and yet add something special to your appearance? Go for a subtle sterling silver piece of jewelry.
If you are getting ready for a date or a birthday celebration, make sure you wear jewelry for this occasion as well. When contemplating buying a special gift for a family member or a friend, sterling silver jewelry is yet again a great idea. Purchasing it from a reputable jewelry company and taking care of it properly will provide you with timeless sterling silver jewelry pieces. Whether it is for you or you are considering buying an exquisite piece of jewelry for your family member or friend, sterling silver is always a good idea. After all, what lady doesn’t like receiving a beautiful piece of jewelry?