Silver is a soft metal that needs ongoing cleaning to maintain its original luster, and proper storage to prevent scratches. Any jewelry or other thing made with silver will change color over time due to a natural oxidation process with sulfides in the air. This can cause items to turn yellowish, then eventually darken to black with time.
There are several easy tricks of the trade that professional jewelers have developed to maintain the attractiveness of silver jewellery.
Appropriate sterling silver storage
While it’s tempting to wear a favorite piece all of the time, you should always remove your jewelry before using any kind of merchandise with chemicals or abrasives such as bleach, chlorine, ammonia, alcohol, turpentine or acetone. Including finger nail polish, dish soap, cosmetics, and sometimes even hair spray! A number of these products may permanently damage the silver as well as gemstones.
Dampness, atmosphere, and light can cause a bit to tarnish so the optimal method for storing sterling silver jewellery is within an airtight non-reactive container like a box lined with special non-tarnish cloth or mylar or polyethylene bag. Each piece of jewellery should be placed in its own bag so it doesn’t rub up against anything which could possibly result in scratches, kinks in chains, or even the harm of a gemstone.
Never place your sterling jewelry wood surfaces as most timber contains acids that could damage the finish. Card board and paper may also accelerate the tarnishing process.
Cleaning your silver jewelry
The more frequently you clean every piece the easier it’s, and the less wear and tear on your own jewelry, since the tarnish is minimal which allows for safer cleaning procedures.
Silver is a soft metal that may be scratched so be careful to rub gently when cleaning. Never use anything but a clean nub free cotton or flannel cloth, a special sterling silver cleaning cloth, or a very soft bristle brush like a infant ‘s toothbrush or a horsehair silver brush.
To remove dirt grime, fingerprints or cosmetics simply use a couple drops of liquid detergent (such as baby shampoo or woolite) in a cup of warm water and rinse thoroughly with clean fresh water. Dry it completely and lightly buff with a cotton fabric. Constantly use a lengthwise movement when washing or drying out your jewelry, as a round movement often causes scratching.
The safest method for removing tarnish is to use a silver plated cloth, but there are numerous silver spray polish or pastes which could work nicely for heavy cleanings if there’s a large tarnish build up. To achieve the best results use the spray or paste on the cloth and work into lather with your hand first. Tarnish in difficult to reach areas could be left to create an antique look and add definition to the jewelry. If you would rather wash out the entire piece you could have it professionally done, or use a soft bristle brush.
Sterling silver dips may be fast and simple but aren’t suggested by specialist silversmiths and jewelers. If using a silver dip it’s better to insert the item and remove it immediately, repeating after rinsing with water, instead of leaving the item from the dip for lengthy periods of time. Follow up by buffing with a soft cotton fabric. Should you leave the piece in too long, or don’t rinse it well enough with fresh water, a white residue will be left that may be difficult to eliminate.
In case you purchase a cleaner or dip, then ensure that the product is created for the type of jewelry item you need to wash. Dipping isn’t recommended for liquid silver or silver items with gemstones, and even paste or spray cleaners remove the natural sheen of stones so be sure to remove any hint of cleanser residue and rinse each item thoroughly with sterile water.
Additional jewelry cleaning tips
Baking soda can be mentioned a cleanser but some jewelers assert that this way is to abrasive. If you wish to avoid using chemicals and wish to test baking soda you should always try a small part of your silver jewelry bit at first to see if leaves any noticeable marks. To use baking soda, then lightly the item with wash water, the pour baking soda over the jewelry and rinse lightly with your fingers. After the tarnish is removed, rinse with more clean water and dry with an all cotton cloth.
If your jewelry has been coated with a lacquer shield (to slow the tarnishing process) you ought to wash the product just after each of the lacquer has completely worn off. Cleaning agents can reach underneath the lacquer causing deposit spotting.
Professional artisans recommend cleaning your sterling silver jewelry as often as once a month, with a yearly professional cleaning for luxury and heirloom pieces. Cleaning provides you the opportunity to also check for loose stone or parts. Always have your jewelry repaired right away to stop further damage.
Understanding the proper methods for storing and cleaning sterling silver jewelry is essential to the life of every piece.
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