silver jewellery

Tarnish on jewellery is caused when the metal reacts with sulphur, a chemical found in the air, wool, and foods such as onions and eggs. Handling silver after touching these items can cause it to tarnish.

To keep jewellery clean, “the best thing you can do is wipe it with a soft cloth each day after wearing it,” says Don Brown, owner of Don’s Jewelry and Design in Washington, Iowa.

There’s a distinction to be made between types of jewellery, too: Unlike fine jewellery that’s made with materials like gold, diamonds, and gemstones, fashion jewellery is commonly made with plated metals, semi-precious stones, beads, and glass—the latter is more prone to tarnishing over time. Ahead, we share how to minimise signs of wear and discolouration.

Store It Properly

Store pieces in a closed jewellery box or in velvet or cotton jewellery bags, keeping the items in separate compartments or bags to prevent them from scratching one another. You can also add strips or Tarnish Inhibitor Cases with adjustable dividers that have a patented, anti-tarnish additive moulded into them and provide up to five years of protection.

Clean It Regularly

Remove existing tarnish by filling a dish with warm water and a few drops of mild dishwashing liquid; dip a soft toothbrush into the mixture, and scrub jewellery, working around stones and any grooves that are meant to be blackened. (Silver-and-turquoise jewellery is often deliberately tarnished in these areas.) Do not soak pieces, as this can loosen glue that holds stones in place. Dry thoroughly with a soft cloth or hair dryer set to low in order to avoid spotting.

If soap and water don’t do the trick, try a commercial cleaner. Brown likes polishing cloths treated with cleaning chemicals—find them at jewellery stores or online—because they are gentle and easy to use. Liquid polishes and pastes, applied with a soft cloth, also work well. Avoid submerging jewellery in a silver dip, which contains harsh acids that can damage the surface. If tarnish persists, you may want to take the items to a jeweller for a professional cleaning.

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