Silver jewellery is great for everyday wear. It is fairly inexpensive when compared to other precious metals and the bright grey tones suit everybody. When it comes to looking after it, however, there are a few things to consider. The number one thing I get asked about with silver jewellery is tarnishing – this is when the surface of the metal loses its lustre and can blacken in some cases. Here is a quick guide on how to look after your silver jewellery and how to bring back the sparkle.
1. Wear it
Tarnishing happens when the surface of silver oxidizes. This is due to the copper content in silver. Tarnishing can be avoided through wear as the natural oils in our skin prevent the oxidization occurring. You’ll notice unworn silver jewellery going a bit lack-lustre or even blackening because it is not getting any protection from your skin.
2. Store it somewhere dry
While you are not wearing your silver jewellery, it is important to store it in such a way to avoid oxidisation. Hanging a silver necklace up in your bathroom will soon lead to black metal – the warm, moist atmosphere will speed up the oxidisation process. Try to keep it in its original box somewhere dry, or even better, inside a plastic zip lock bag.
3. Silver polishing cloth
For some quick and easy silver maintenance, get a silver polishing cloth. These can brighten up silver and make it look like new again. We sell these cloths in our online shop.
You can buy a silver polishing dip, which works like a bath of cleaning products. I am not personally a big fan of these, although their results are very good. They are made from a very strong chemical, which I don’t like the idea of as it is impossible to ensure you have removed all of it from your jewellery, meaning that the chemicals will sit on your skin. For very badly tarnished jewellery, however, this technique will give you the best results.
5. Ultrasonic cleaner
An ultrasonic cleaner is a great investment. You can find a basic one online for around £20 – usually aimed at cleaning glasses and CDs. (Buy one with a plastic basket rather than a metal one to avoid scratching your jewellery). They consist of a water tank with a basket inside and they send an ultrasonic pulse through the water, which loosens dirt and grub that accumulates even in the cleanest person’s jewellery. This works particularly well to remove grime from inside hard to reach settings.
Once your jewellery has been in the tank for 10 or so minutes, you can rinse it under a running tap and brush away the now softened and loosened dirt using a soft toothbrush and some washing up liquid. Just make sure you rinse the washing up liquid completely away from your jewellery to avoid causing a reaction when worn, and dry your jewellery thoroughly. I find this technique works a charm on all jewellery!
6. Take it off
Contrary to my first point, I highly recommend removing silver jewellery when doing anything hands on. Silver is the softest of the metals used in jewellery so very quickly attracts scratches and dents. This is particularly important for any silver jewellery with stones set in it, as a silver setting will not be very strong.
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