Silver jewellery is a beautiful and popular choice for many people. It's less expensive than gold or platinum but is nonetheless popular thanks to its versatility. This cool-toned metal looks incredible against most skin tones and pairs perfectly with all stones, including diamonds. However, silver jewellery can tarnish over time if not properly cared for. Luckily, cleaning silver jewellery is easy and only takes a few minutes.
Taking care of your silver jewellery doesn't have to be a chore. Regular cleaning will help you to stay on top of the tarnish and maintain the sparkle.
The properties of silver jewellery
Silver is a soft metal that can scratch and dent easily. It is also a reactive metal, which can tarnish when exposed to oxygen and moisture. The combination of these two properties means that silver jewellery requires special care.
Why it needs to be cleaned
Tarnish appears on silver jewellery as a dark patina. It is the result of a chemical reaction between silver and sulphur in the air. Tarnish is not harmful to silver jewellery, but many people prefer to keep their jewellery looking shiny and new.
How to clean silver jewellery
There are many ways to clean silver jewellery, but the most important thing is to use a gentle method. Harsh chemicals and abrasive materials will damage the silver and could leave it with scratches or discolouration. Here are a few different methods for cleaning your silver jewellery.
One of the simplest and most effective ways to clean silver jewellery is to make a paste with water and baking soda. Baking soda is a mild abrasive that will remove tarnish without scratching the silver. To make the paste, mix equal parts of water and baking soda. Apply the paste to your silver jewellery with a soft cloth and rub in a circular motion. Rinse away any traces of the mixture before drying with a clean cloth.
Another gentle way to clean silver jewellery is with toothpaste. Toothpaste contains mild abrasives that will remove tarnish without damaging the silver. To use this method, apply a small amount of toothpaste to your silver jewellery and rub it in a circular motion with a soft cloth. Next, rinse the jewellery with warm water and leave it to air dry, or pay dry with a cloth.
Vinegar is another household item that can be used to clean silver jewellery. The acid in the vinegar will dissolve the tarnish. To use this method:
- Mix equal parts of water and vinegar.
- Soak your silver jewellery in the mixture for a few minutes, then remove it.
- Rinse the jewellery off with warm water and dry it with a soft cloth.
You can also purchase specialist silver polish to help remove tarnish and restore the natural sheen. However, this is one of the more expensive methods, as you will need to use silver polish and a silver polishing cloth. You simply wipe the jewellery with a dab of the jewellery polish on a special, lint-free cloth to remove the tarnish. Once clean, you then wipe away any traces of the polish with a clean, lint-free cloth.
How to protect silver jewellery
The best way to protect silver jewellery is to keep it clean and dry. Store your silver jewellery in a cool, dry place out of direct sunlight. You can also purchase specialised jewellery boxes or anti-tarnish bags. These are designed to keep silver from tarnishing by absorbing sulphur in the air.
When not wearing your silver jewellery, it's important to put it away properly to prevent tarnish. Also, be sure to clean your silver jewellery before storing it. This will remove any dirt, oils or residue that could accelerate tarnishing.
Moisture is often to blame for the tarnish, so you should take steps to store your silver jewellery in a dry place. For example, you could try adding silica gel packets to your jewellery box to help keep tarnish at bay.