The purity of the silver used to make the jewelry pieces determines how malleable it is and how quickly it will tarnish: .950 sterling silver bend easily and tarnish quickly than .925 sterling silver, and fine silver (.999) is generally too soft for producing functional objects.
The silver is usually alloyed with copper to give it strength, while at the same time preserving its bright appearance reflecting the light in its beautiful way.
The Sterling Silver used to make this shop jewelry pieces is .925 sterling silver, an alloy made of 92.5% pure silver and 7.5% copper.
Oxidized pieces have darkened parts, to make details stand out more. Remember this detailing can be lost, with excessive cleaning and polishing.
Learn some things about how to keep your silver jewelry perfect, even forever!!
- Tips to avoid silver to tarnish
- How to polish your silver
- Commercial VS homemade silver cleaners
- Things you should not do
- Make your homemade silver cleaners
It works well when the tarnishing is not too severe and its the perfect method for cleaning oxidized silver, as you can stay away from the dark detailed areas.
Use a special silver cloth to polish your items, or a lint-free flannel, microfiber, or other soft nonabrasive cloth. When polishing, change to a different section of your cloth frequently to avoid placing tarnish back on the silver.
If your pieces are heavily tarnished and you don’t have the time to clean them, take them to a professional silver cleaner. Very old, fragile, or valuable pieces should also be cleaned by a professional.
Commercial silver polishes are easy to find and use, but you can also make your own environmentally-friendly homemade silver cleaners. Some chemicals are not good for health or our environment and it is preferable to use natural way when possible.
If the polishing cloth fails to remove tarnish, soap and water should be your next step: Warm water and a mild, ammonia- and phosphate-free dishwashing soap. This method should also be used to clean your pieces before using any of the other methods listed below.
Olive oil + lemon juice:
Mix 1/2 cup lemon juice with 1 tsp. olive oil in a bowl large enough to hold the cleaning solution and a small microfiber cloth. Dip the cloth in the solution and wring it out so that it doesn’t drip, then polish the silver, rinse, and dry.
White vinegar and baking soda
It will remove heavy tarnish that’s preventing you from polishing your silver. Soak the tarnished piece in a solution of 1/2 cup white vinegar and 2 tbsp. baking soda (be careful it will fizz some seconds) for two to three hours, then rinse and dry.
Baking soda, salt, aluminum foil, and boiling water
Line a glass roasting pan or the kitchen sink with aluminum foil, with the dull side facing down. Pour enough boiling water so it will cover the pieces when you place them inside. Add 2 tbsp. of baking soda and 2 tbsp. of salt and stir the solution to allow the baking soda to dissolve and remove any granules that could scratch the metal. Now place the silver pieces on top of the aluminum foil. The reaction of this solution causes the tarnish to transfer to the foil, and in 5-10 minutes the tarnish will disappear from the jewelry. The reaction will produce a smell of rotten eggs, as the sulfide tarnish comes off the silver, so be prepared. Use salad tongs or nitrile gloves (not rubber gloves, those contain sulfur) or drain into a colander to remove the silver jewelry from the hot water. Rinse the jewelry with water, dry and buff with a soft cloth and your silver should be clean, shiny and ready to keep you looking amazing.
If your pieces are very tarnished
You can use several of these methods.
Remember, silver is valuable and it can become family heirlooms, so don’t forget to take care of your silver jewelry and it will always shine. Well-cared-for silver jewelry can give you many years of enjoyment.