Protecting Sterling Silver from Tarnishing

Have you ever purchased any sterling silver jewelry and realized that over time it’s begun to tarnish? No one likes to see any of their jewelry looking less than its best. Plus, that green mark tarnished jewelry leaves on your skin is less than desirable. Here are a couple of tips to help keep your sterling silver clean and looking its best.

What Causes Tarnishing?

First, let’s understand what tarnishing is. Sterling Silver is a combination of silver and other metals. The small percent of other metals that are found in sterling silver are usually what oxidizes and causes that tarnishing. This process of oxidization is accelerated in areas of high humidity and contact with chemicals found in materials like makeup, hairspray, lotion and the likes.

That being said, here are a couple of ways to keep your sterling silver from tarnishing and to clean it up if it does begin to tarnish.

Be Careful with Makeup

Any makeup that is touching or will touch your jewelry is likely to cause blackening or smudging. This is because makeup contains chemicals that corrode tiny particles of the metal. When this happens, it looks like black dust.

The best way to keep this from happening is to not wear jewelry when putting on makeup or other cosmetics. It’s also a good idea to clean off any makeup that might have ended up in a place where it will directly touch your jewelry and make sure that all soap is rinsed off and your skin is dry.

Avoid Humidity and Moisture

Obviously, if you live in a humid climate, you can’t avoid moisture all together, but there are some ways that you can protect your jewelry. One thing you can do is use a silver cloth to polish your jewelry. You should do this frequently. Another thing you can do is to store jewelry in an airtight container and make sure you always take your jewelry off before showering or swimming.

How to Clean Already Tarnished Jewelry

If you own a piece of jewelry that is already tarnished, there are a few ways to bring it back to its former glory.

The first way would be to polish it. You can do this easily by taking a silver cloth or microfiber cloth and rubbing the area that is tarnished. You should use long motions instead of short quick ones. Silver is a softer metal and using cloths with texture or rubbing to quickly can do more damage than good.

There are also silver cleaners that you can buy or make. However, not every cleaner is safe for all sterling silver jewelry especially if there are other gems in the jewelry. For this reason, if polishing fails, you can always bring your jewelry to a professional, like us at Isbell Jewelers, and have your jewelry cleaned and polished.

We want to make sure your jewelry stays beautiful for years to come! Contact us and we’d be happy to help!