One of the most desired pieces of metal when crafted into beautiful jewellery, silver in its oxidised form has a charm like none other. However, do you know that most pieces of silver jewellery contain a certain percentage of copper that's added to make the silver stronger? Unfortunately (or not) this copper is also responsible for causing your silver to tarnish and discolour easily. It is when this copper reacts with elements in the air that you'll notice a thin yellow or dull gold film forming on your jewellery. While some women prefer to have their silver looking clean and polished, others actually prefer this over-oxidised look.
Making silver susceptible…
True to the rule that the littlest of possessions require the most robust maintenance, silver too is susceptible to a lot of environmental factors. If you’re wearing silver jewellery, steer clear of the pool since the chlorine will react with the metal. Sweat is also a cause of discoloration (if you love your jewellery enough, you'll remember to take it off) Detergents, soaps, shampoos and other cleansing paraphernalia that isn’t silver friendly isn’t advisable. As are creams of any kinds such as body lotions, sunscreens, hair gels and so on. With a list this long, the conclusion is simple –Your silver jewellery should be the last thing you wear before you leave the house and the first thing you remove when you get back home.
Storing your silver…
Here’s how you can better care for your stunning silver jewellery:
Tarnish protect bags: Silver jewellery is best stored in tarnish protect bags. While this won’t stop your silver from tarnishing, it will definitely slow down the process. Usually, they can be found at your jeweller. If he doesn’t have them, you can even stitch yourself some cotton pouches, place a few anti-tarnish strips inside it and tuck it away in a case.
Paper: The other popular option practiced by many generations of jewellers is to wrap silver in tarnish resistant paper, or acid free tissue paper and place it in a case.
Chalk: A popular storage remedy is to pack a piece of chalk with your jewellery or throw in a small silica pouch into your jewellery box. These absorb moisture and take the tarnishing down a notch.
Wrapping your silver ornaments in cloth also ensures that they don’t rub against each other or other harder jewellery and get scratched.
Cleaning your silver…
Did you know that the more you wear your silver jewellery, the less likely it is to get tarnished? But if, like us you prefer to match and rotate your jewellery, you’ve got to pay special attention to silver. This means, even if you’re not wearing it, check in on it every now and then to give it a good shining.
Over time, your jewellery is inevitably going to get tarnished. Until then, invest in a good polishing cloth that you can use on a regular basis. For jewellery that is heavily tarnished, you can ask your jeweller for some commercial cleaners. They’re strong (and therefore not advisable for regular cleaning) but can do the job well. While washing it off, use lukewarm water instead of hot water.
The verdict’s still out on the popular toothpaste and toothbrush solution since it can prove to be a bit too strong and leave scratches all over the surface of your jewellery.