I love sterling silver jewelry, but I don’t love tarnish. It can add depth and beauty to silver jewelry where an antique look is desired. But, when you’d rather not have to deal with it, here are a few tips to slow or prevent tarnish from forming in the first place.
Tarnish forms when silver combines with sulfur in the air to form a dark silver sulfide. Other chemicals, moisture in the air, and salts and oils from our skin can all speed up this process. So, to slow or prevent the tarnishing process, keep your silver jewelry high, away from sulfur gases in the air, and dry.
Quick and Easy Tips to Help Prevent Tarnish
Keep your Jewelry Clean
- Make your jewelry the last thing that you put to keep chemicals, like perfums or hair sprays, from coating the surface of the metal.
- When taking it off, wipe your jewelry clean with a soft cloth to remove salts and oils that may have been deposited from your skin.
- Wrap your jewelry in anti-tarnish fabrics or jewelry pouches. Some anti-tarnish fabrics are treated to prevent tarnish. Others, contain tiny bits of silver that act to scavenge sulfur in the air and prevent it from forming on your jewelry.
- Store individual pieces of clean jewelry in small zip top bags. This will limit exposure to air and slow tarnishing.
- Anti-tarnish strips are strips of treated paper that can be placed in your jewelry box or cut and stored with jewelry in small bags. They last for about six months and neutralize sulfur gases in the air.
Keep Your Jewelry Dry
- Don’t throw away those silica gel packs (desiccant) that come with your new shoes and leather handbags! They are wonderful for absorbing moisture in places where the air doesn’t move around too much. As you collect them, save them in a zip top bag to keep them dry. Place one in each of the drawers of your jewelry box as needed.
- A piece of chalk in your jewelry box can also absorb moisture for several months.
My preferred method is to use small zip top or anti-tarnish fabric bags to protect silver pieces. What are your tips and tricks for keeping your silver bright and shiny?
Copyright 2010 Beads and Honey.