Silver, or Argentum that means white and shiny in Latin, is one of the precious metals that reacts with other chemicals. It is used to detect other chemicals like Arsenic in ancient times. Silver is also used to make jewelry in these days.
Although silver is glamorous in jewelry, it deteriorates with time because of sweat and air. When silver reacts with sulfur in the air, it forms the tarnish coating of silver sulfide(Ag2S). Copper(Cu) in our dipping process is also the factor of tarnishing.
Reasons for silver jewelry tarnishing
Silver in rural areas has slower tarnishing because of less sulfur in the air, compared to the urban areas that have more pollution.
Silver jewelry that has less than 5 percent of pure silver will have faster tarnishing. (Sterling Silver contains 92.5%, Quality jewelry uses 99.99% pure silver with 92.5 parts per 100, and other metals in 7.5)
Jewelry has not used a dipping process that prevents the tarnishing process.
Incorrect usage such as using perfume on it.
Using inappropriate chemicals like toilet cleaner to maintain silver could dissolve the coating off, resulting in the tarnishing.
It’s not easy to prevent tarnishing
Putting jewelry in the container could slow down the tarnishing process. Except it has priceless value, it would be meaningless if the jewelry has not been worn to show their beauty. However, maintaining silver jewelry is still important to prevent tarnishing. You can easily care about your silver jewelry in these ways.
Rub toothpaste on silver and leave it for 30 minutes or until its dry. Then, use cotton buds to clean toothpaste off and put the jewelry in a zip-lock bag. This method suits silver jewelry that does not contain any other gems.
Put silver in warm water mixed with dishwashing liquid for 10-15 minutes. After that, gently rub it with a toothbrush, rinse with clean water, and wipe with cotton or use a dryer. Keep it in the zip-lock bag. Putting containers underneath is recommended in case the gemstone is slipped from its silver base.
Use liquid solution specifically made to clean silvers. It is best to choose the solution with no cyanide.
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