Does all silver jewellery tarnish?

Posted by Lana Gevorkian on

Does Silver Tarnish, Why, and How do I Remove It?

One of the most common complaints about silver jewelry is that it turns black with time. Can you prevent that from happening, and how should you clean the black tarnish from your silver pieces? 

The short answer is: Regardless of how well you care for your silver jewellery, all silver jewellery will naturally oxidize or tarnish over time. But don't worry, all silver jewellery can ALSO be restored back to its original colour with a little TLC, or a quick trip to the jewellers. 

Keep reading to find out how you can easily restore your silver jewellery back to its original brightness and colour at the comfort of your own home.

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Why does silver tarnish when I wear it?  

"Oxidizing", also referred to as "tarnishing", is a natural and unpreventable process that all silver jewellery must endure. Silver tarnishes because of the following factors: 

Reason 1: Environmental Factors
When silver comes into contact with the light, air, or sulfur, a chemical reaction takes place and a black layer is formed. Silver oxidizes faster in places with a lot of light and high humidity. For this reason, we recommend storing your jewellery in a dark and cool place. 

Reason 2: Body Chemistry and Sweat
Besides that, the natural oils that your skin produces can also react to your silver jewelry. The extent to which the silver reacts with these substances from your skin is highly dependent on the type of food you eat, alcohol consumption and whether you are taking medication. These things influence the acidity of your skin, which can cause a reaction.

Also sweat (which ammonia occurs in) raises the acidity of the skin and could tarnish the silver.

Reason 3: Chemical Exposure
Contact with products like cosmetics, hair spray, perfume, deodorant, body lotion, bleach, etc., can speed up the oxidizing process.

Does lower quality jewellery oxidize?

It is a common myth that "real" or "high quality" silver jewellery doesn't turn black or change colour. In actuality, the oxidation of silver jewelry is a sign that it is really silver. Other metals oxidize differently.  

How to restore your silver jewellery?

If you want to skip the jewellers here are a few remedies for cleaning your silver jewellery: 

Remedy 1: Polishing Cloth

A silver polishing cloth is the most effective solution and should be your first line of defence. In fact, each order from Misc. Jewellery comes with a free mini polishing cloth (that is suitable for both Silver and Gold). Since silver has potential to easily scratch, it’s important that you polish with a special silver cloth or with the one provided. We highly recommend the Connoisseurs Polishing Cloth. Stay away from paper towels or tissues because they contain fibers that scratch silver.

why does silver tarnish

Use back-and-forth motions that mirror the pattern of the silver jewelry and switch to different sections of the cloth to avoid re-tarnishing the silver. You will know it's working when the rubbing motions begin to produce a dark colour on the polishing cloth. 

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Remedy 2: Polishing Solution

If the polishing cloth is not effective enough to restore the colour, your next best bet is to purchase a bottle of polishing solution. We highly recommend the Connoisseurs Polishing Solution. Place one piece of jewelry in dip tray at a time. Dip for up to 30 seconds. Rinse thoroughly in lukewarm water. Dry with a lint-free cloth. For pearls or other precious stone, we recommend using a specific pearl and precious gem stones friendly solution.  

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In Conclusion

With the right love and care, your silver jewellery can look as good as the first day you bought it! Use a polishing cloth, polishing solution, or the services of a jeweller to remove tarnish or oxidizing. 

About Misc. Jewellery

Misc. Jewellery is made up of a strong network of Toronto-based jewellers and vendors. Timeless jewellery. Zero supply chain markup. We get it straight from the source. Shop classic sterling silver jewellery and silver jewellery care. 

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  • Thank you for sharing this informative guide on silver tarnishing and restoration! It’s helpful to understand the reasons behind silver oxidation and how environmental factors, body chemistry, and chemical exposure can contribute to tarnishing over time. I appreciate the clarification that even “real” or “high quality” silver jewelry is prone to tarnishing, as this dispels a common myth.

    Your tips for restoring silver jewelry are practical and accessible, particularly the recommendation of using a silver polishing cloth as the first line of defense. Providing a free mini polishing cloth with each order is a thoughtful gesture that ensures customers can easily maintain the brightness and color of their jewelry. Additionally, the caution against using paper towels or tissues due to the risk of scratching silver is valuable advice for preserving the quality of silver pieces.

    Overall, this guide offers valuable insights and practical solutions for addressing silver tarnishing, empowering readers to keep their silver jewelry looking its best for years to come.

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