Does Sterling Silver Tarnish?
You may be wondering... does sterling silver tarnish? Quick answer - Yes. But with the right care, it can be prevented. Here's how to care for your jewelry to keep it looking good.
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Sterling silver has become more and more popular among those who wear jewelry on a regular basis. If you're looking for gorgeous jewelry that you can wear on almost any occasion, sterling silver should be at the top of your list.
High quality sterling silver jewelry can last for decades and is the backbone of many jewelry collections. When taken care of properly, there is no other option that gives you more "bang for your buck" than sterling silver.
There is one common question most people ask when purchasing sterling silver for the first time: "Does sterling silver tarnish?"
The answer is - Yes, it can. Sterling silver is made up of 92.5 percent silver and 7.5 percent of other metals that form an alloy. Some of those other metals, primarily copper, can cause sterling silver to tarnish over time when they interact with moisture that's in the air.
Fortunately, there are a variety of things you can do to limit the amount of tarnishing that will take place when you wear sterling silver jewelry. Take a look at some tips below.
Store Your Sterling Silver Jewelry Properly
The first thing you want to do in order to prevent sterling silver jewelry from tarnishing is to store it properly whenever you aren't wearing it.
Far too often, people will take their jewelry and throw it on their nightstand or dresser when they don't have it on. This is not the right way to go about storing it safely.
You should place sterling silver jewelry into a cool and dark part of your home when you aren't wearing it. It should be far away from sunlight, moisture, and heat.
You should also consider placing each piece of sterling silver jewelry into its own plastic bag and removing air from the bag. This will prevent it from coming into contact with contaminants that could cause it to tarnish.
You might even want to invest in anti-tarnish paper strips that can be placed alongside your stored sterling silver jewelry. That should guarantee that you won't have to worry about your jewelry tarnishing at all.
Keep It Away From Moisture
If you accidentally wear your sterling silver jewelry into the shower one day or forget you have your sterling silver jewelry on and jump into a pool, it's not the end of the world.
But moisture is one of the things that will almost guarantee your sterling silver jewelry will tarnish. So you should keep it away from moisture at all costs.
You should never leave any sterling silver jewelry sitting in the bathroom where it can be exposed to humidity and moisture from a shower. You should also limit the number of times you wear sterling silver jewelry into a pool, hot tub, or other bodies of water.
You want to make sure you aren't exposing your sterling silver jewelry unnecessarily to water at any time. Moisture is one of sterling silver's biggest enemies and you won't be asking "Does sterling silver tarnish?" for long when you have it around water. You'll be able to see the tarnish form for yourself in no time.
Wipe It Off After Wearing It
Each and every time you take off your sterling silver jewelry, you should return it to its proper storage. But before you do, you should take a dry soft cloth and wipe it down.
You don't have to go too crazy getting up in every single nook and cranny of your sterling silver jewelry, especially if you don't see any visible signs of tarnish. But by wiping down your jewelry, you will remove anything that could potentially cause problems later.
Clean It at the First Sign of Tarnish
At some point in time, you're probably going to see a small amount of tarnish form on your sterling silver jewelry. Don't be alarmed!
If wiping your jewelry down with a cloth doesn't remove it, there are a few steps you can take to get sterling silver clean again. Follow these steps to make your sterling silver jewelry sparkle:
- Fill up a cup with warm water and a couple drops of a mild dishwashing soap
- Place your sterling silver jewelry into the cup and gently handwash your jewelry to remove tarnish
- Utilize a cotton swab to get deep into tight corners and clean them out
- Use a baby toothbrush to clean away any tarnish that you can't remove by hand
- Remove your sterling silver jewelry from the cup, wipe it down, and then allow it to air dry before you place it back into storage for safekeeping
As long as you follow these steps and don't allow any moisture to build upon your sterling silver jewelry before you store it, you should be able to safely remove all of the tarnish from it.
Keep Harsh Chemicals Away From It
There are some people who will recommend that sterling silver jewelry enthusiasts use all kinds of crazy concoctions to clean their jewelry. For example, some people swear by using toothpaste and baking soda to clean jewelry.
You're allowed to try whatever you want. But in most cases, those things can scratch the surface of a piece of jewelry.
There are also other harsh chemicals like bleach and acetone that people try to use to clean sterling silver jewelry. They can actually wear down the surface of silver and make it look very dull over time. You should never use them to clean your jewelry.
Wear It Regularly
After reading all these tips, you might be inclined to throw your sterling silver jewelry into storage for life and never wear it. But that's the last thing you should do.
If you want to keep your sterling silver jewelry looking its best, the most effective way to do it is to take it out and wear it all the time. As long as you wipe it down when you're done wearing it, it should look like new at all times and last forever.
Look for Rhodium Finished Sterling Silver
Rhodium is a metal in the platinum family that is used to give white gold its white appearance and has become a popular option for sterling silver plating as well.
High-end sterling silver jewelry coming out of Italy is often finished with a thick layer of rhodium over the sterling silver. This prevents tarnishing entirely and gives a look that is virtually indistinguishable from white gold. Win-win!
Does Sterling Silver Tarnish? Only If You Don't Care for It
As you have seen, the answer to the question "Does sterling silver tarnish?" isn't the answer most people want to hear. But that shouldn't stop you from investing in sterling silver! There are so many sterling silver necklaces, bracelets, and more to choose from.
Check out our blog for more information on caring for your sterling silver jewelry when you're not out showing it off.