silver jewelry

Why silver tarnishes

  1. Silver tarnishes because of oxidisation – but it is not caused by oxygen exposure. Tarnish develops due to the presence of hydrogen sulfide in the air or in any materials that come into contact with the silver.¹
  2. Unlike rust, tarnish is a ‘self-limiting’ patina, affecting only the top few layers and ultimately protecting the metal.² While this is good news overall, it is not particularly pretty. It can cause more damage to silver-plated items that only have a thin layer of silver.


Make-up present on the skin or clothing is the most common cause of blackening or smudging. Cosmetics often contain chemical compounds which are harder than the jewellery itself. These compounds can rub off very tiny particles of metal which appear as jet black dust.

Solution: Use a silver cloth to polish your jewellery. Remember to remove rings & jewellery while applying make-up. Using soap & water, clean the areas of your skin that will come into contact with the jewellery making sure all soap is rinsed off and your hands are dry

Contact with Sulpher Compounds

Sulpher compounds can also cause Sterling Silver to tarnish. Avoid wearing your jewellery in heavily polluted environments. Also, be careful when handling coal or oil, and when preparing foods containing sulphur such as eggs, onions, fish or shellfish

How do I keep my silver from tarnishing?
Place tarnished silver on foil, pour over boiling water, sprinkle over a good quantity of baking soda – at least a few Tbsp.
  1. Watch as the tarnish moves from the silver to the foil. Repeat again as necessary.
  2. Once clean, remove from solution, wash well in warm soapy water and buff dry with a soft cloth.


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