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Thursday, October 27, 2016

How to Properly Take Care of Silver

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Happy Spring Taxco Silver Choker


Sterling silver jewelry continues to soar in global popularity. From silver bracelets and earrings to rings and necklaces – these items are synonymous with true elegance and perfect for all occasions. Like other precious metals, however, silver is not exempt from tarnishing or corrosion. In fact, oxygen and sulfur always comes into contact with sterling silver jewelry sets, pieces, and accessories. These elements bond to the surface of the items and cause them to appear dirty or discolored. This is why so many silver items lay dormant in countless jewelry boxes across the world.
Fortunately, there are a few ways to effectively clean, store, and prevent tarnishing for all your favorite silver items. In fact, these following tips and suggestions can truly restore the natural luster and shine of your silver. This helps to increase its value over time – while preventing the elements from gaining a foothold on your sterling silver pieces again.

Preventive Care Solutions

Whether for anklets, charm bracelets, or lavish and exquisite silver jewelry sets – did you know that wearing these items often can prevent tarnishing? In fact, the oils in your skin can help “clean” the silver and keep them looking shiny and robust. While this may seem a bit farfetched –leading silver manufacturers and brands have always encouraged clients and customers to wear their sets and accessories frequently. Simply placing these items in boxes or even glass cases can result in oxidization and tarnishing that can de-valuate your items and render them worthless over time.


Avoid Exposure


As with any precious metal or jewelry, contact with household chemicals can cause irreparable harm and damage. To effectively protect your fine silver and secure longevity, you must avoid excessive exposure to the following chemicals and elements:

·         Excessive perspiration, rubber, chlorinated water, and household cleaning solvents and solutions.

·         Any items that contain sulfur, including but not limited to mayonnaise, latex, wool, mustard, and onions.

·         Prevent corrosion and tarnish by removing your silver jewelry from the body when doing household chores, swimming, and especially sunbathing.
Keep silver away from lotions, cosmetics, hair spray, and even perfume. These are considered “enemies of silver” and are known to accelerate tarnishing.
 Storage Solutions

Silver is mainly tarnished by exposure to air –and the chemicals and elements found within. To effectively safeguard your items, you will need airtight plastic bags with anti-tarnish strips. These can be found at local grocery stores, while anti-tarnish cases are available at area jewelry venues. While bags
are a great storage and preventative care solution – NEVER store multiple jewelry pieces in the same bag. Remember, silver is a soft metal and contact with other pieces can result in scratches and abrasions.
Link or chain bracelets should be kept unhooked or unclasped to prevent scratches as well. If placing items in cases – try placing these boxes in rooms or areas that have lower humidity. This will prevent moisture from tarnishing the pieces – and you can even place pieces of chalk, activated charcoal, or silica gel in the storage areas to minimize tarnish and refortify protection.

Polishing Tips

Polishing your silver works well when tarnishing is not too severe. In fact, regular polishing (using commercial cleaners but not all the time) is considered the best way to clean oxidized silver – and preserve their natural shine and allure. As mentioned earlier, silver is soft and always susceptible to scratching. Therefore, you should use a special silver cleaning cloth to polish your items. These can be found online or at local jewelry shops – but other soft non-abrasive cloths will work as well. These, of course, must be lint-free flannel or microfiber based materials that will not harm your silver. 

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Sterling Silver Jewelry Cleaners
When polishing your sterling silver jewelry, cutlery, or even tea sets – use long back-and-forth motions that emulate the grain of the silver. For example: use long motions for long grains and shorter ones for shorter grains. NEVER rub in circles as many people unfortunately do, as this will accelerate any existing scratches or abrasions. You can also use a Q-Tip for small and intricate areas, and always use different parts of the cloth to avoid placing any tarnish back on the silver.

Professional Silver Care Cleaners

Unless your pieces are heavily tarnished – or you simply don’t have time to clean them – professional silver cleaners are always available. With years of extensive industry experience, these specialists have the tools and expertise to remove tarnish and restore your pieces back to normal. They also specialize in cleaning vintage, fragile, or valuable silver pieces, accessories and sets as well.

Commercial Silver Cleaners

Commercial silver polishes are easy to find and use. However, they do have a myriad of drawbacks – and should never be extensively used to clean or polish silver. For one, the vapors from silver polishes can cause health problems, and can even be fatal if inhaled in a closed or unventilated room. The powerful cleaning solvents founds in commercial cleaners may also need to be disposed of in an environmentally-friendly manner. This prevents the cleaners –after they are done – from contaminating groundwater.
In addition to health issues, extensive use of commercial silver cleaners can actually cause more harm to your sterling silver pieces. This is because they remove the anti-tarnish coating and valuable patina within items. While cleaners do secure a temporary shine or buff – your silver will tarnish more quickly since their surfaces have now been breached and broken down. According to silver experts, it is simply best to use anti-tarnish cloths (dry) for regularly cleaning your sets and accessories.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

7 comments:

  1. Thanks for sharing such a helpful post. I have some silver made jewelry items and some of them have become little blackish. I was thinking to throw them out. But now after reading your tips, i think i have to change my mind. Great ideas indeed:)

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