Silver Tarnishing – Ladies love to wear silver jewelry as it does not go out of trend and make you shine on every occasion. But while getting ready for the most awaited family function, if you find that your silver necklace, earrings, or bangles are tarnished and they need proper cleaning, it may destroy all your party vibes.
There is no doubt to say that silver is one of the most popular metals that is used in two forms: solid sterling silver and silverplate. Sterling silver is composed using 92.5% silver with a 7.5% proportion of any other metal, mostly copper. However, on the other side, silverplate is made up of another metal with an electroplated silver layer over it.
Studies reveal that the pure form of silver has natural properties to resist tarnish, but it is very soft and cannot be used directly to form any kind of jewelry. This is the main reason why the professionals need to mix some other metals with pure silver to get the right shape of the jewelry.
Why silver products tarnish?
Before we talk about why silver products tarnish, it is first important to know what is tarnish? Tarnish is basically a very thin layer of corrosion that leads to a black or dull grey coating on the metal. It is observed that this tarnish usually protects the inner layers of jewelry by reacting only with the outer ones. Tarnish can be better recognized as silver sulfide material and it is formed when silver reacts with the sulfur compounds present in the atmosphere.
Tarnish is a chemical reaction that occurs when the metals mixed with silver react to the sulfur and moisture content in the surrounding environment. Studies reveal that sterling silver experiences more tarnish when placed in high humidity climates or in areas with high air pollution. Other than this, things like hairspray, perfume, moisturizers, and deodorants can also speed up the tarnishing process.
Here we have listed few common tarnishing culprits so that you can make easy decisions about avoiding them:
The beauty products such as perfumes, lotions, shampoos, and hairsprays are generally loaded with sulfates. The residues of hands and airborne particulates can tarnish silver. Therefore, it is advised not to store silver material in the vanity area or bathrooms. One should not handle the silver jewelry while applying lotion or makeup on the hands.
Printed papers and leather
Newspapers, tissue papers, and many other craft papers are designed using acid-based sulfur dyes which is harmful to silver material. Therefore, you should not wrap your expensive silver jewelry in any of these papers. The popular leather cords used in jewelry making are also tanned using sulfur-based acids. If you are a jewelry maker or seller, it is better to keep those tools separately from silver material.
Exhaust and rubber
Many studies also reveal that machine, airplane, and car diesel exhaust can also contain a higher content of sulfate particulates. Therefore, one should not store silver metals in the garage or in the car. Rubber is also processed using sulfur material that has lots of concentrated residues. It can also decay the appeal of your silver jewelry.
Now you have gone through the factors contributing to silver tarnishing. This information may help you take relevant preventive steps to avoid harm to your beautiful silver jewelry collection. However, below we have also mentioned few additional tips that you should follow to keep your silver material shiny forever.
How to prevent silver jewelry from tarnishing?
Here are the necessary steps that you need to follow for preventing the tarnishing of your silver materials:
Check the storage conditions
The first most thing you need to do is choose the right storage space for your silver products. The area must prevent tarnishing instead of accelerating it. The crinkly plastic bags, rubber, and plastic bins are likely to increase the production of sulfate in the air. While storing your silver jewelry supplies in common storage units, you may automatically speed up the tarnishing. Therefore, it is better to keep your silver in the enclosed, dry spaces. You can also find specially designed anti-tarnish bags or silicone packets to avoid the interaction of moisture or humidity content with your jewelry.
Take away tarnish causing items
As we have already discussed, the printed papers and beauty products are likely to speed up tarnishing action. You should keep all such items away from the silver storage area so that tarnishing can be avoided. The jewelry sellers are also advised to educate their customers regarding all these issues. You can also provide some high-quality package inserts to your loyal customers so that they can store their jewelry carefully. Other than this, tarnishing can be also caused by tap water that has rich chlorine content or wool clothing as well. Therefore, you need to prevent silver from these enemies as well.
Consider anti-tarnish alloys
You will be happy to hear that some silver alloys are less affected by tarnish. For instance, TruSilver and Argentium are the most common silver alloys that come with high tarnish resistance due to different chemical makeup. However, these alloys are comparatively expensive than sterling.
Many studies also provide insights about modern age anti-tarnish treatments that can help you avoid tarnishing issues. Some of the widely recommended options are flash plating, spray-on anti-tarnish treatment, e-coating, and wax-tub tumbling. These treatments also offer enhanced durability and efficacy while ensuring proper shine in your jewelry for the long run. Now you have gone through some of the most trusted tips to prevent silver tarnishing. However, if you already have some silver items with tarnish, it is better to consider proper cleaning techniques to bring back the natural shine of the metal.
You can clean your silver collection at home using simple hot water mixed with baking soda and salt. Soak your accessories in this mixture for five minutes and then rinse using simple water. Use a soft cloth to dry your jewelry and soon it is ready to use. However, one can also consider professional assistance to remove tarnish from silver jewelry.