I thought it would be useful to know how; having bought your lovely silver jewellery; you keep it in pristine condition.
First of all, it’s important to understand that whatever you do, silver will tarnish. Silver reacts with sulphur or hydrogen sulphide in the air and becomes dull and eventually blackens. There is nothing you can do to stop it. However, you can delay the process, and it is simple enough to restore your silver jewellery back to it’s original brilliant shine.
Here are the key rules for keeping you jewellery in top condition:
1. Avoid contact with perfumes, hairspray, chlorinated or salt water and household cleaning products as they will all speed up the tarnishing or “blackening” process.
2. Don’t bathe or shower in your silver jewellery. Not only will it tarnish the silver but it will also weaken any suede or leather and cause it to break.
Put your jewellery on last, AFTER your hair & make up are done.
3. Keep your jewellery away from direct sunlight or strong artificial light for long periods of time. It is always better to keep it in a drawer or cupboard.
4. NEVER keep loose pieces together (I learned this the hard way with my own) – silver is a relatively soft metal (like gold) and the jewellery will scratch if it rubs together. The best option is to store your silver jewellery separately in its original pouches or boxes. If this takes up too much space, wrap the pieces in tissue to protect them.
Once the silver starts to get dull, there are several ways to restore its shine, depending on the level of tarnish and the type of piece it is.
There are 3 main products for polishing silver.
Firstly, a polishing cloth, which is a soft cloth impregnated with a light polishing solution. This is the best option for all but the most awkward of heavily tarnished pieces as it is the most gentle. You can buy these cloths online, from jewellers and from most good supermarkets.
Secondly, polishing creams/Pastes. These are put onto a cloth or duster and rubbed on the silver. They work well on heavy tarnish, but they are less gentle and they will get stuck in settings and other nooks and crannies and if they are not thoroughly cleaned off they will leave a dusty residue.
Finally there are dips. These are liquids, usually with a basket in the pot for the jewellery. They work by stripping the tarnish from the jewellery. They work incredibly well BUT they are a strong chemical, and will wreck stones, crystals etc that are set in the silver. They will also destroy leather or suede, so they should really only be used as a last resort and only for pure silver.
The best thing to do is to remove the tarnish regularly so it doesn’t build up. If the tarnish is light (just a dullness), then a quick buff with a silver polishing cloth every few weeks is ideal. If you don’t have a polishing cloth, a dilute solution of washing up liquid and water will also work. Do make sure you dry the jewellery thoroughly before putting it away, and don’t use this option on jewellery with leather or suede which will deteriorate if it gets wet.
Depending on your jewellery, we would recommend different techniques for cleaning:
For flat smooth surfaces, always use a polishing cloth, which will not scratch the surface of the jewellery.
For very heavy tarnish, we recommend using a silver polishing cream, BUT don’t use a cream on pieces with intricate detail where the paste can become stuck and leave a dusty residue.
You should only use sterling silver dips, for pure silver pieces with very complex designs with lots of nooks and crannies which make them difficult to clean with a cloth and almost impossible with a paste.
Never use a household cleaner as many contain Ammonia, which will turn Silver black. If this happens, a quick dip or rub with vinegar will reverse the effects of the Ammonia.
Silver is a beautiful metal, and easy to keep looking fabulous. Good quality silver jewellery, if treated well, should last you for decades rather than years.