Sunday, September 12, 2010

Blackening or Tarnishing of Silver

Sterling Silver tarnished over a period of time
Over a period of time, silver jewelry and articles tend to blacken. The reason is very simple: even though silver is fairly inert, it reacts with the sulfur present in the atmosphere to form silver sulfide which is dark in color. This corrosion causes temporary surface discoloration of silver which can be simply washed away with luke warm water and soap or detergent.

While washing your silver jewelry in water, please be aware of any stones, adhesives, treatments or materials which may get spoiled in water. The soap or detergent you use may contain bleach which can cause corrosion in stones such as peridot and enamel work or it may bleach some colored treated stones.

One of the best solutions for cleaning silver is silverex, a commercially available cleaning agent for silver. Again, make sure you read the instructions before using silverex on your studded and treated jewelry.

The most common and one of the best home remedy for cleaning silver articles is fluoride based toothpaste and luke warm water. Soak your silver articles in a bowl filled with luke warm water and toothpaste for about 10 mins to ½ hr. Gently scrub off the extra soap and dirt and wash in luke warm clean water.

Some important tips while washing your jewelry…
  • The toothbrush you use should be very soft
  • Do not wash your jewelry in the sink without the drain plug for fear of losing the jewelry in the drain
  • The water should not be too hot because it may corrode some stones, affect color treatment and adhesives that may have been used in your jewelry
  • Count the pieces of jewelry before you begin washing them
  • Check your jewelry for loose stones before you wash them
  • Make sure your cleaning area is out of reach of little children
  • The best would be to let your jewelry air dry or else wiping gently with a paper towel should work just fine as well
  • Since silver is extremely soft, make sure you do not drop your jewelry and scratch it
  • Do not wash more than one piece of jewelry at a time since they could scratch each other and spoil the finish
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