Silver Tarnish And Removing Tarnish From Silver Jewelry.

Silver Tarnish: In very simple language, silver tarnish is the discoloration that occurs on silver jewelry. Your favorite silver jewelry could be tarnished. In this page we will deal with tarnishing of silver jewelry.


What Is Silver Tarnish? Silver jewelry when new looks bright and gorgeous. Over a period of time the same silver jewelry starts to show changes in color and turns from a yellowish tint to deep yellow and even black. This is called the tarnishing of silver and is a natural process. The notion that silver tarnish only occurs with silver jewelry made from low purity silver is not correct.

What Causes Silver To Tarnish? The presence of Hydrogen Sulfide in any material that silver comes into contact with, is one of the prime reasons for silver tarnish. Sulfur containing materials generally cause silver to tarnish and Hydrogen Sulfide is just one of these. Materials like wool, rubber bands, a few types of paints and rubber (latex) gloves are some of the common materials that cause tarnishing of silver. Certain foods like eggs and onions also hasten the silver tarnish process. You can therefore realize that, touching silver jewelry with oily hands or after a meal could also stain your silver jewelry with tarnish. The extent and speed with which your silver jewelry tarnishes is also related to the climate and in general, high humidity would result in silver tarnishing much faster.

Cleaning Silver Tarnish: It is best and easiest to clean tarnished silver in the first stages. Tarnish on silver will start with a mild color change to yellowish spots or patches and this is easily cleaned by washing the jewelry with a detergent that does not contain any phosphate based chemicals. If your silver jewelry is washed often in this way, you will rarely need any harsher treatments for silver tarnish. When you wash your silver jewelry be careful to avoid getting the jewelry scratched or dented due to being rubbed or hit against the sink or water tap.
In more severe cases of silver tarnish, the tarnish changes to a darkish brown and sometimes to a black color.
In that case, place a sheet of aluminum foil in the bottom of a pan, add 2-3 inches of water, 1 teaspoon baking soda, 1 teaspoon salt, and bring to a boil. Add silver pieces, making sure the water covers the silver pieces. Remove silver, rinse, dry, and buff with a soft cloth. This method cleans the design and crevices of silver pieces.


Can Silver Tarnish Be Eliminated Or Slowed Down? It would be best to believe that silver tarnish could be slowed down and not eliminated altogether. There is a golden rule for wearing jewelry and it holds true for both silver and gold jewelry. The rule says that '.... your jewelry should be the last thing that you put on before going out. It should also be the first thing to be taken off when you get back home......' Ingredients in cosmetics like powder packs, hair sprays etc can cause your silver jewelry to tarnish easily. Wash your silver jewelry with a phosphate free detergent before storing the jewelry. This practice will protect your silver jewelry from tarnishing and rarely require you to perform any tarnish cleaning processes.
The process of plating silver jewelry with rhodium, gold or even platinum is often done. Besides enhancing the looks of your silver jewelry, the plating is also supposed to form a tarnish resistant coating that delays the onset of silver tarnish.
Do not use the above cleaning method with the baking soda on plated jewelry as it is likely the plating to go!

Can Tarnished Silver Jewelry Look Good? Silver will tarnish and you will need to use various methods to clean tarnished silver. Removing all the tarnish from your silver jewelry is not a very easy task and might, in some cases involve seeking professional help. We look at silver tarnish from another point of view, as certain jewelry designs look classic and antique when they tarnish. There is another process in jewelry manufacturing that actually seeks to make silver look old and tarnished! You could select high end silver jewelry designs that are antique and old. These type of silver jewelry if made with good craftsmanship and high quality gemstones will look gorgeous when they do tarnish. Moderate polishing is enough in cases where severe tarnish is found and the traces of tarnish that remain will add to the beauty of the design.