Why and How Does Silver Tarnish?

When you purchase a fine silver item or a piece of jewelry, you expect it to be an investment that stands the test of time. Silver, a popular and budget-friendly option when compared to platinum or white gold, is a go-to jewelry metal for when you want a glamourous piece that doesn’t break the bank.

However, as is the case with all metals, silver tarnishes, sometimes faster than you’d expect it to. Tarnishing is not exclusive to low purity silver–even sterling silver will tarnish. Let’s explore why silver items tarnish and how you can slow down the process, clean your silver, or get tarnished silver off your hands.

How Does Silver Tarnish? What Does it Look Like?

Inevitably, over time, your silver jewelry and other items will start to change in color. To start, it will be a very slight yellowish tinge, which may go to purple before ultimately turning black. Thankfully, tarnish on silver can be removed and your items can be brought back to their original white luster. However, why does silver tarnish in the first place? Here, we will explore why this happens to your silver as well as how you can avoid it or at least slow down the process.

Why Does Silver Tarnish?

There are a few different factors that play into why silver tarnishes. The most common reason is exposure to oxygen which reacts with the surface of the silver to form silver oxide.

Another factor that speeds up the tarnishing process is humidity. If you live in a particularly humid climate, this may be why your silver is tarnishing faster than normal.

Certain chemicals can also cause silver to tarnish. For example, sulfur compounds are often found in cosmetics, clothing, and even the air. When these come into contact with silver, they can create a chemical reaction that causes the silver to tarnish.

How to Avoid Silver Tarnishing

Now that we know some of the main reasons why silver tarnishes, let’s explore how we can avoid it.

One of the simplest ways to keep your silver from tarnishing is to store it properly when you’re not wearing it. The best way to do this is in an airtight container or bag that will keep oxygen and humidity out.

You should also avoid exposing your silver to harsh chemicals whenever possible. If you’re wearing silver jewelry, be careful when applying lotions or perfumes as these can contain sulfur compounds that will cause the silver to tarnish.

If you do notice that your silver is starting to tarnish, there are a few things you can do to clean it. One option is to use a specialty silver polish which you can find at most hardware stores. You can also make your own polish by mixing baking soda and water into a paste. Rub this onto the silver using a soft cloth in a circular motion before rinsing it off with warm water and drying it with a soft cloth.

Silver is a beautiful metal that can add a touch of elegance to any event or outfit. However, over time it will start to tarnish. By understanding why this happens and taking the proper steps to avoid it, you can keep your silver looking like new for many years to come.

Caring for Your Silver

There are a few things you can do to avoid silver tarnishing. One is to keep your silver in an airtight container when you’re not using it. Another is to polish your silver regularly with a soft cloth. If you do need to clean your silver, use a mild soap and water solution. You can also buy special silver polishes that will help protect your silver from tarnishing.

If you take proper care of your silver, it will last for many years and retain its lustrous appearance. However, if caring for your silver proves too much–the Gold Guys will purchase silver items of value regardless of their condition or appearance.