Silver jewelry is beautiful, but it needs some TLC every now and then in order to keep it’s shine.
Why Does Silver Tarnish?
Oxidation, or tarnish, is a reaction between silver and the air around it. Sometimes, you’ll notice that antique pieces are darker than your newer silver. Silver Magpies explains, “As far as silver is concerned, tarnish and patina are not the same thing Patina is a gorgeous, mellow, grey, soft, lustrous finish that well used and cared for silver develops. As silver is a soft metal, every time it’s used it acquires tiny marks. These marks are part of the living finish of silver and should be prized.”
Sterling silver is actually a mixture of 92.5% silver and the rest is mostly copper. Usually, when metals are mixed it lessens the perceived value. However, sterling silver actually gains value over time. It requires the amount of care that it does because silver is such a soft metal. With the addition of a harder metal it allows jewelers, like Caracol, to create such exquisite and intricate designs.
Below, we’ve put together a few lists of cleaners you can buy (on Amazon, of course!), and cleaners you can make with everyday items that are likely somewhere in your pantry.
Cleaners You Can Buy
Cleaners You Can Make
Ingredients: ½ c. White Vinegar + 2 tbsp. Baking Soda
Directions: Soak silver jewelry for 2 - 3 hours in mixture, then rinse dry.
Ingredients: Aluminum Foil, 1 tbsp. Baking Soda, 1 c. Water
Directions: Line a bowl with aluminum foil, Add baking soda to cup of boiling water, Place jewelry in the aluminum, Pour water/baking soda mixture into bowl with jewelry and aluminum foil and let sit for a few minute.
Ingredients: Mild Dish Soap, Warm Water, Soft Cloth (no paper toweling)
Directions: Mix a few drops of mild dish soap with warm water and use a cloth to gently wipe away any minor discoloration. Rinse in cool water and buff dry.
Extra Tip! Substitute carbonated water and soak to clean gemstones.
Should You Have a Cleaning Schedule?
There really isn’t a set time schedule that is recommended for cleaning jewelry. The best advice out there is to simply, keep an eye on it. Be sure not to wear your jewelry when washing your hands, putting on makeup or moisturizers, and especially when you’re using any cleaning products. If you notice any discoloration, use some of the cleaning tips above to keep your jewelry at its best.