Sunday, 18 July 2010
Caring for your silver jewellery
When you first buy your silver jewellery, it's bright, shiny and beautiful, but in time silver tarnishes from the interaction of silver and sulfides in the air. (Incedentally I often purposely darken some aspects of my designs, using liver of sulpher - but that's a different story!)
First the tarnish will take on a golden hue, and eventually, it will turn the piece black. This is a completely natural process. In more humid conditions, the sulfide levels are likely to be higher, and so it follows that your jewellery is more likely to tarnish quicker.
BUT there are things you can do;
1) USE a soft cotton cloth to polish away light tarnishing. Regular buffing in this way should keep your jewellery shiny. A special silver cleaning cloth makes the job a lot easier and faster.
2) If the tarnish does not come off, try WASHING the piece in soapy water using a soft bristled brush (like a toothbrush). This should prove effective in most cases.
3) If all else fails - silver cleaning dips/liquids are fast and easy, but be warned, do not use these with fingerprint jewellery or that with any darkened design aspects, as they will remove the blackened finish. Also they can easily take off the polish of many gemstones. If you do use a dip please please please don't leave it in too long and make sure you rinse extra well with water or a residue will form which is tricky to remove. I would recommend sticking to the simple methods 1 and 2 above if at all possible.
3) AVOID - wearing your jewellery in swimming pools - silver and chlorine do not mix well. And be careful when handling chlorine cleaning products and bleaches. What better excuse not to clean the bathroom !!
4) Finally when you're not wearing your item - STORE it in a sealed bag or similar to stop the reaction with the air.
You can expect your silver to look fantastic and last for generations with just a little tlc every now and then.