“Will this tarnish?” is a question frequently asked about jewelry before a purchase is considered. Funny, no one asks, “Will these jeans get dirty?” or “Will these shoes get scuffed?”. At least, not that we’ve heard of from any of our clothing or shoe store friends. Yes, sterling silver will tarnish given the right conditions. And yes, it can be easily cleaned.
Not needing to polish every piece of jewelry before you put it on and rush out the door is the goal. Properly stored, silver jewelry can be ready to go whenever you are. Own a jewelry box? You can tuck anti-tarnish paper in it’s nooks and crannies or keep a couple of pieces of chalk in the corners. This only truly works if you bother to close the lid of the jewelry box to maintain the inside humidity level. Don’t throw out those silica pack thingies that say “Do Not Eat” when you get a new pair of shoes. Those packs absorb moisture and if you don’t keep them with your shoes, try them in your jewelry box (with lid closed of course). At Silver Linings, we store jewelry in plastic bags that zip or snap closed. Some bags have a piece of anti-tarnish paper in it, some do not. Either way, maintaining the humidity level is key and a sealed environment can help. We recommend not putting a freshly worn piece in a sealed container unless it gets a swipe with a polishing cloth first, lest you culture an exciting new fuzzy growth on your jewelry.
A polishing cloth is your jewelry’s best friend. That cloth will wipe away any oils, lotions, perfumes, horse manure, or crab meat that happens to adhere to your jewelry. Silver Linings sells polishing cloths at both our St. Michaels and Easton locations and we will send you one if you “like” us on Facebook and provide us a mailing address. Polishing cloths will last a very long time, even after they get quite black from many polishing adventures. Silver polishing cloths are treated with chemicals, so washing them in the washing machine (as one of our concerned customers did) to remove the accumulated tarnish will actually reduce it’s effectiveness.
Jewelry with an “antiqued” or darkened patina should always be cleaned with a polishing cloth. Liquid cleansers will strip the blacking and having it reapplied is labor intensive, expensive, and it will usually never be the same. Stones that lose their luster due to an improper chemical bath are usually toast.
We love it when our customers ask us what to do with their fabulous new jewelry! Silver Linings is available to answer your jewelry cleaning questions and would love to chat about it right here!