Silver jewellery has all sorts of initial appeal: the weight; the feel, and the look. And you wear it, and wear it, and wear it some more: for work and for play, and just because. It’s no wonder that the initial look that sparkled starts to become a little tarnished.
Just like your clothes, your jewellery does get dirty and will need to be cleaned! Silver tarnishing occurs when items made of silver begin to become discoloured – perhaps turning black or yellow in certain places. Tarnished silver can be an inconvenience, but luckily, this is nothing to panic about! Your jewellery isn’t irreparably damaged. In these five easy, eco friendly steps, you can reverse the effects of tarnishing.
- First rummage in the kitchen cupboards for some aluminium tin foil, salt and baking powder, then line the bottom of a heat-resistant dish with the foil.
- Sprinkle in 1 tsp baking soda and 1 tsp table salt, and place your jewellery in the mix.
- Add boiling water to submerge your tarnished silver and leave for two to three minutes. The water has to cover the silver completely.
- Let the water cool before removing your jewellery from the dish.
- Finally, rinse the silver clean with cool, running water, and buff the silver dry with a lint-free cloth.
The chemistry behind it all:
Tarnishing is a pretty basic chemical reaction – it’s the silver slowly reacting with sulphur compounds in the air. The black tarnish left behind is just what’s left over- silver sulphide. When you place the silver in hot, salty water with the aluminum foil, the sulphur tarnish transfers from the silver to the aluminium and you’re left with sparkling silver jewellery.
If this method doesn’t take your fancy, there is a whole host of brands and products that clean silver. Look online, and in store and you’re sure to find a lot!
Here are some products we normally use to clean tarnished silver in the studio:
Silver tarnishes faster in areas with high humidity and air pollution, so remember to clean your jewellery more often if this applies to you!