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Does Sterling Silver Tarnish?

Does Sterling Silver Tarnish?

Does Sterling Silver Tarnish?

Yes - Sterling silver does tarnish. All silver, including sterling silver, will eventually tarnish. There are a few platings that can be used to keep silver from tarnishing like rhodium plating. However, the jewelry will now have rhodium on the outside rather than silver. The best practice would be to use a few methods that help keep tarnish at bay longer. Those methods are discussed below. 

Silver naturally tarnishes due to a chemical reaction called oxidation. A thin layer of tarnish will appear on the surface of the silver when it is in contact with oxygen for long periods of time. Luckily it does take quite some time for oxidation to occur and is easy to clean. 


How long does it take for sterling silver to tarnish?

It is difficult to put an exact time frame on how quickly silver will tarnish. The rate of tarnish on silver can be affected by a number of things. Chemicals, like chlorine from the pool, or household products like beauty products can increase the rate of tarnish. It is important to wipe down or clean your jewelry if you know it came in contact with any chemicals. It is also important to keep your sterling silver jewelry put away in an air tight container when it is not in use. 


Can you wear sterling silver in the shower?

Yes - Sterling silver can be worn in the shower. Water itself does not hurt sterling silver. It is recommended that it be dried thoroughly after the shower is over. Pool water can be a different story however. Pools have varying levels of chlorine and as we learned above, chlorine and other chemicals can increase the rate of tarnish. If you do happen to swim with your sterling silver jewelry, it is highly recommended that it be cleaned with soap and water after you are done swimming. 


How to clean tarnished silver.

The good news about tarnish is that it is very easy to clean. There are a number of methods you can use to clean tarnish. 

#1 Light tarnishing - Most of the time, if you keep up with cleaning your jewelry, it makes it easier to clean. If you have very light tarnishing on your piece, then a simple water, soap and hand scrub may be all that it takes. Simple scrub down your piece with your fingers with some warm water and soap. Be sure to rinse all the soap off in the end. 

#2 Medium tarnishing - If you piece is very visibly tarnished, you may need a specific tarnish cloth to help clean it up. Luckily tarnish cloths are easy to come by. We recommend any who owns a piece of silver jewelry own a silver tarnish cloth. 

#3 Heavy tarnishing - If your piece as been sitting for years in the open and has never been cleaned, it may take something a bit more to get it nice and bright again. There are a few chemical products that help remove tarnish easily. Again, these products are easy to come by as well. A simple search for silver cleaner or silver dip will point you in the right direction. 

Or Goddard's Silver Dip will do the trick: 


How to keep silver from tarnishing.

On top of being easy to clean, silver is also fairly easy to keep tarnish free longer. There are a few methods you can use to keep your jewelry from tarnishing. 

#1 Exposure to air - It is highly recommended that your silver jewelry be kept in an air tight jewelry box when it is not being worn. This will prevent it from being contact with air and will keep it tarnish free longer. 

#2 Chemicals - Avoid your jewelry coming in contact with chemicals. As we mentioned before chlorine in pool water should be avoided as well as other household chemicals 

#3 Tarnish Tabs - It is a good idea to keep a tarnish tab in your jewelry box with your jewelry. The tarnish tab helps keep silver from tarnishing. 


I hope this information is helpful. As always, we are here to help. If you have any questions about the above or anything else related to jewelry please do not hesitate to reach out to us. 

  • March 06, 2018
  • Jared R
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