Sterling silver’s popularity for all forms of jewelry continues to rise. One misplaced drawback rests in exaggerated maintenance myths regarding tarnishing. Actually though, with a few tips for wearing and storing, cleaning becomes a less frequent and extensive burden with most Sterling pieces.
Sterling Silver Storage
Wearing your Sterling silver jewelry provides your best defense against tarnishing. Tarnishing occurs through an oxidation process with silver’s exposed to oxygen or sulfur. And while wearing jewelry doesn’t stop this process, the natural oils from your body actually help clean the surface of your jewelry, often reducing the need for polishing. When you’re not wearing your favorite pieces, make certain to store them in a manner that minimizes oxygen exposure. Airtight bags work best to lengthen times between polishing.
Another neat trick involves those strange white packages you notice in shoeboxes or other packing materials: silica gel packets. These tiny gel beads adsorb moisture, meaning that it’s drawn to the beads’ exterior surfaces, keeping it away from your jewelry. In case you’ve tossed out these little gold mines, they can be purchased from home improvement centers until you build up your supply again.
To polish off existing tarnish, use specific polishing cloths – very carefully, rubbing in one direction. Avoid polishing in circles or too vigorously, especially around areas of engraving. Some pieces also boast intentionally oxidized areas as part of the design. Work carefully if your piece contains areas that need polishing while keeping oxidized design areas intact.
Sterling silver, especially pieces with higher levels of silver purity, can tarnish without proper care. However, if you have pieces that have built up a heavy amount of tarnish, our staff at Ben David Jewelers can safely clean and polish your pieces – returning them to their original shine and onto you where they belong.