This item contains genuine silver, which means that it requires special care to keep it looking its best. Silver is a beautiful but highly reactive metal, and will tarnish rapidly in certain conditions.
Tarnish is a chemical reaction that occurs when the chemical element silver (Ag) reacts with hydrogen sulfide (H2S) and oxygen (O2) to form silver sulfide (H2S). When that happens, you will see a dark skin appear on the surface of your jewellery, which dulls the beautiful silver shine.
The good news is, you can slow the reaction with proper care, or remove the skin of silver sulfide to restore it's shine. Luckily, the rules of silver care are simple and finite! Let's run through them so you can help you keep your silver jewellery looking its best.
The Rules Of Silver Care
RULE ONE: AIR BAD!
Basically, any time silver is exposed to normal air, tarnish is gonna happen a little because that's just what it does. Store your silver jewellery in air-tight conditions when you're not wearing it. A simple ziplock baggie can do the trick. Just make sure you squeeze out the air before you close it.
RULE TWO: SKIN BAD!
The residue on human skin will accelerate the chemical reaction that causes tarnish. Obviously, it's kinda pointless to not wear your jewellery, so the best thing you can do is to simply give your jewellery a wipe down to remove any residue when you take it off, before you put it away.
RULE THREE: WATER/SWEAT BAD!
Exposing silver to water and/or human sweat will cause extreme acceleration of the chemical reaction that causes tarnish. Take your silver jewellery off before you bathe or swim, if you're exercising, or if it's just a super hot day and you're likely to be sweating a lot.
If your jewellery does get wet or sweaty, wipe it down thoroughly with a soft, damp cloth and then it dry with another cloth, to remove as much water/sweat as possible.
RULE FOUR: COSMETICS, LOTION, PERFUME, AND EVERYTHING BAD!
Yes, seriously. Silver is a fickle beast and it loves to react with anything it can get its little atoms on. The simple way around this is to apply any cosmetics, lotions, and sprays you're planning to wear and let them dry thoroughly before you put your jewellery on. And of course, clean your jewellery when you take it off.
RULE FIVE: CLEAN, CLEAN, AND CLEAN IT AGAIN!
I know I've said this a few times now, but cleaning your silver regularly really is the best way to keep tarnish at bay. Storing it in an airtight baggie isn't going to help if there's already a reactant chemical on the surface from when you last wore it. I clean mine after every time I touch it.
Other Ways To Stop Tarnish
The good news is, there are tools available to help you limit the spread of tarnish in the first place, and to help you remove any tarnish that has built up.
- When you receive your purchase, you'll find a small black envelope containing a little purple polishing cloth. This has been treated with an anti-tarnish formula, so it's a great tool to help you keep your jewellery clean. Plus, it's free! Yay!
- Need something bigger? Grab an E'arrs Buff & Polish Cloth. They're fabulous!
- Painting your jewellery with clear nail polish or E'arrs L'Protect Jewellery Shield not only protects you from any allergens in the metal, but also provides a layer of protection between your silver and the chemicals that can cause it to tarnish. You'll need to replace it regularly, but it works great!
- You know those silica packs that come in everything these days? Instead of throwing them out, toss them in your jewellery box instead! They absorb moisture, so they'll help keep the area dry and safe for your silver. Alternately, you can keep a stick of plain white chalk in there for a similar effect.
- They're a little hard to find in New Zealand at the moment, but you can purchase anti-tarnish tabs or strips that you insert into the bag with your silver items. They contain chemicals that neutralise the tarnishing reaction. We're hoping to be able to stock these soon. In the meantime, check your local jewellery store or Amazon to see if you can find some.