Many of us know how magnificent a shiny piece of silver jewelry is when it first arrives. Unfortunately, that mirror shine will inevitably tarnish with time. Is tarnish permanent? Thankfully, not at all! There are many effective ways to remove tarnish from jewelry and you do not need a jeweler to do this for you. Below I've put together a list of the jewelry industry secret tips and tricks used to remove tarnish and keep silver jewelry looking shiny and alive!
For those of you that are not quite sure what tarnish looks like, the characteristics of tarnish on silver are yellow or black tones that appear on the surface of the metal and can not be wiped off. The silver piece below is an example of what silver looks like when it is tarnished.
What causes tarnish to occur? Tarnish is created from oxidative reactions and/or oxygen exposure. For example, high levels of humidity, tap water, news papers and tissue paper, chemicals found in beauty and household products and air pollution.
Now that we've covered the basic overview on tarnish, let's jump into the anti-tarnish tips and tricks from jewelers!
Tip #1. Store your jewelry with one of these two surprising items
You know those silica gel packets that come in a new box of shoes? The ones that say "DO NOT EAT" on the packaging. Well, from now on, save those packets! You can also buy silica gel packets on amazon. The second item you can store your jewelry with is chalk! Both the silica gel packets and chalk absorb the moisture that would end up tarnishing your jewelry.
Tip #2. The importance of air tight, anti-tarnish storage
When not wearing your jewelry, make sure to store your jewelry in air tight storage made with anti-tarnish technology. This also means that these products are not made with sulfites that speed up the tarnish process. For this reason, I do not recommend storing jewelry in ziploc bags because of the sulfite residue.
I like these air tight anti-tarnish bags. If you prefer a container so that your jewelry is all in one place, this air tight container was made with anti-tarnish technology. Make sure to add a silica gel packet or piece of chalk to your anti-tarnish bag or container along with your jewelry piece to absorb moisture!
Tip #3. Take off your jewelry when showering, doing the dishes, going to the pool/jacuzzi/ocean or for sweaty workouts.
Here's a little check-list graphic I made for those interested in staying more on top of their jewelry care.
Tip #4. When taking off your silver jewelry, store it away immediately.
Its best to keep your jewelry storage in convenient places like your bedroom's bathroom so that this step becomes an easy routine.
Tip #5. Sunshine polishing cloths
These Sunshine polishing cloths are incredible!! I use them in my jewelry business all the time to add life to jewelry that has lost its shine. The five clothes in the pack will last you a long time! Also pro tip: don't be alarmed when the cloth turns dark grey when you rub your piece. That a sign the polish cloth is doing its job! Learn more about them and how they are used in the video below.
Tip #6. Make sure to keep your jewelry pieces away from wood
Any chemically stained wood or treated surfaces can speed up the tarnish process.
Tip #7. Ammonia free soap and super soft baby toothbrush
Many people will recommend a simple soap and toothbrush method to add shine back to a silver piece. I would disagree as many soaps have harmful chemicals that can speed up the tarnish process. As for toothbrushes, the bristles of a toothbrush can add tiny scratches to a jewelry piece. Ammonia free soap is fabulous paired with a super soft baby toothbrush as an alternative. This process can be followed by a good polish session with a sunshine polish cloth.
Tip #8. Lastly, the tried and true, white vinegar, salt, baking soda and boiling water
This method works great to remove heavy tarnish as long as it is followed by polishing with a polish cloth. All you need is a cup of white vinegar, salt, tinfoil, two tablespoons of baking soda and boiling water. Soak your jewelry in this mixture and finish with a good polish session. Watch this quick video below to see how easy this is to do!