• Whitney Hayes

Does all Silver tarnish?

So, as you may or may not know, Tayler and I have recently begun our jewellery journey. After careful consideration (which consisted of us both thinking it would be super cute to have PB themed jewellery) - we invested in some general stock to keep in our Witchy Cottage to experiment with over the summer before we decide what to sell in time for Halloween.

These items consisted of various types of pendants, charms, stones, jump rings, chains, earring backs and hooks. The beautifully elegant and shiny (initially anyway) French earring hooks we acquired were labelled 925 Sterling Silver - which you can tell in any case by the small "925" engraving found on the curve.

We've all seen the number before. We look out for it when we buy jewellery, to double check it's authenticity. And when we see it, we somehow feel more justified in our decision to purchase the brand new addition to our sparkly collection - because we know that "it won't leave a horrid green mark on our skin" right? (A priority for those of us who do not care to look like a modern Elphaba!)

But does that mean that it won't tarnish? And what does that number mean anyway?

After a few weeks, we noticed the earring backs began to tarnish and immediately panicked that something was wrong #anxiety - so we did our research and learned some cool facts about silver we thought we'd share with you guys to set your minds at ease if it should ever happen to any of your gorgeous items, PB themed or otherwise :)

What does 925 Mean?

It's a percentage! It means the quality of the silver is 92.5% pure and the remaining 7.5% is made up of other metals or alloys (usually copper). This is common with jewellery because 100% pure silver is extremely pliable and difficult to work with. The downside is that it will tarnish sooner, developing a thin black coating.

This happens to all silver eventually.

So, what now?

Being aware is the first step. Well done! The second is prevention (or postponement). Silver tarnishes due to the chemicals it reacts with (like those nasty oils on your fingertips!) so leave it alone as much as possible. Last to put on, first to take off - with jewellery, this a good phrase to remember when it comes to your daily routine. This should postpone the inevitable, but of course it is difficult to avoid fiddling with shiny, dangly things. We get it. So, when it eventually does tarnish - the third step is just knowing what to do about it.

There are several ways you can polish silver to look brand new. Below I've listed a few to give you an idea of your options!

Tarnish-free Tips:

  • I found the cheapest, quickest and least-messy way to do this is to just use baking soda. We have a box in the house at all times in any case, and it's inexpensive. Pop some in a pot of previously boiled water. Dunk your tarnished silver items in. I would say aim to do this for as little as 10 seconds but use your discretion if they are extremely tarnished. Then if there are any areas missed, you can use a dipped cotton swab to clean off any left residue. I know my cousin has always used white vinegar for her silver rings, and I know that you can use baking soda, water and white vinegar together. But I personally never have white vinegar in the house. It's really up to you which method works best and saves you having to buy random extra bits you won't need to use for long periods at a time.

  • Another solution involves good old lemon juice and olive oil. Two things I always have in the house, being Italian. You don't need much. 1 tsp of olive oil and a half cup of lemon juice. Soak a little cloth in the solution and wipe your items down, then rinse and dry them. See which method you prefer. And remember, if one doesn't work the way you thought it would, you can try another method until they look as good as new.

  • Exposure to just about anything tarnishes silver (even air... just regular air) so I've noticed keeping things in little airtight bags work to delay the inevitable. The little plastic seal ones you can get in hundreds for £1 are always useful. But then, who has the patience to organise their jewellery like that. I definitely don't. More power to you if you do!

  • KETCHUP! Yes, ketchup. I know right? I refuse to try this on the grounds that I do not want to smell like ketchup for any length of time. Having said that, it apparently really works. So, if the sound of it doesn't make you gag, give it a go! (Let us know how you found it, I'm really curious!)

So there you have it. Some simple solutions for your Silver beauties. I'm sure there are plenty more home remedies out there, so give it a good Google search and have fun!

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