Silver is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful precious metals, and its refined luster gives elegance and finesse, especially when it comes to jewelry. Compared to other metals used to make jewelry, silver is more delicate and prone to dirt. All silver jewelry darkens when exposed to air, light, and moisture. A change in the color of silver often occurs in contact with the skin.. Fortunately, restoring to its original luster is easy, and you don't have to be a professional or use expensive tools to clean your silver accessories.
How can you tell if your jewelry is indeed silver?
Look for a stamp - real silver has the “925” or “S925” stamp on it, which stands for 92,5% silver.
Real silver jewelry is not attracted to a magnet - if your jewelry is real, it won’t be strongly attracted to a magnet.
Why does silver jewelry tarnish, and is there any way to prevent it?
All silver jewelry darkens when exposed to air, light, and moisture as the metal reacts with elements in the environment. Fortunately, restoring to its original luster is easy, and you don't have to be a professional or use expensive tools to clean your silver accessories.
Here are some proven methods that will help you restore the magnificent shine of your silver jewelry:
Method 1 - Jewelry cleaning solution.
Many jewelry stores offer relatively inexpensive sets for cleaning jewelry. Cleaning is done from 20 seconds to 2 minutes with rinsing, but no more, careful enough not to damage it. Works best for jewelry with crystals, as it is very mild and won't damage them.
Method 2 - Warm water and Soap
Mixing some warm water and mild dishwashing soap is the simplest way to clean your silver jewelry. Simply fill a bowl with warm water and a few drops of soap. Let the jewelry soak for 2-5 mins and then use a soft brush to clean any crevices. Then rinse off the ring and wipe dry with a microfibre cloth. Avoid using paper towels as this can scratch the ring. If you’re ring has a gemstone it’s best to double check if the stone can be submerged in water. Pearls for example should not be soaked in water. However most gemstones are okay.
Method 3 - Baking Soda and Aluminium foil
This is the most involved method and the one that needs care to be done properly.
- Cover a bowl with aluminum foil
- Bring water to a boil and add enough to fill the bowl
- Add 1 tablespoon of baking soda per cup of water into the bowl
- place the silver jewelry in the bowl and make sure the silver touches the foil
- Leave it in the solution for 2-5 minutes
- Remove the jewelry and rinse under cool water. Dry with a microfibre cloth
This method works by reversing the chemical reaction that caused the jewelry to tarnish in the first place. Which is what makes it such an effective way of cleaning.
How to prevent tarnishing of silver jewelry
The most effective way of fixing tarnishing jewelry is to not have it tarnish in the first place! Proper storage and wear is key to having silver jewelry that lasts a lifetime. Although you can't completely protect silver jewelry from air, heat, or moisture, you can do your best to limit exposure.
Storing jewelry in a cool dark place such as a ring box or a microfibre pouch works great. It’s important not to store jewelry in the bathroom as the extra moisture can affect the jewelry.
Removing your jewelry before showering, swimming or doing dishes is another way to limit the number of harsh chemicals that your jewelry is exposed to. And putting jewelry on last after lotions and perfumes helps.
Lastly, a somewhat surprising way to prevent tarnish is to simply wear your jewelry. The daily motions of life actually do wonders for helping silver keep its shine.