Don’t wear your silver jewelry when doing housework, gardening, and other manual tasks. This will eliminate the possibility of physical damage or damage from exposure to chemicals and cleaning products such as bleach, ammonia, alcohol and acetone.
Jewelry (Silver, Pearls, etc.) should be the last thing you put on when dressing. Apply makeup, hairspray, perfumes and lotions first. Then when dry, put on your jewelry. This reduces the chances of your jewelry being damaged by the chemicals commonly found in these products.
Silver Jewelry should never be worn in pools and spas. The chemicals common in pools and spas, especially chlorine, can react with the alloys in silver jewelry causing unwanted color changes and even permanent damage.
Be careful wearing jewelry when participating in any sporting activities. Hard blows can damage fine jewelry. Tight grips on things like tennis racquets and baseball bats can also lead to the bending a breaking of ring shanks. If sharp edges on your jewelry comes into contact with other players skin you could cut or injure someone.
Silver jewelry deserves to be cared for properly, and how you store your jewelry is very important. A cool, dry place will help reduce the amount of oxidation or tarnishing that naturally occurs over time. Storing silver jewelry with anti-tarnish cloths or strips will also help slow the tarnishing process. Ideally, you should wrap each piece separately in an anti-tarnish cloth and place it into its own soft pouch or plastic bag. Never store multiple items in a way that they can come into contact with each other as scratching will result.
Clean your silver jewelry as needed. Silver jewelry that’s worn often will rarely tarnish.
One of the quickest and easiest things you can do to keep your silver jewelry sparkling is to wipe each piece immediately after you take it off and then store it properly.
Prompt cleaning is especially important when your silver comes into contact with foods containing sulfur or foods that are acidic or salty. Foods such as table salt, eggs, onions, mayonnaise and undiluted vinegar are harmful to silver jewelry. If your jewelry comes into contact with these items, wash and rinse it right away to prevent tarnish and discoloration.
When tarnish is present, simple hand washing may not be enough to remove it. Your best option is to use a silver polishing cloth. You should polish using back and forth motions, not circular; to avoid dulling the item’s finish. Move to different sections of your polishing cloth often to avoid re-depositing tarnish back on the piece. You can use a cotton ball or Q-Tip for small detailed areas. Don’t scrub - use a light touch and let the polish do the work.
Never use a dip to clean a piece of silver jewelry set with gemstones as the stones may be damaged.
Your friends may have suggested toothpaste or baking soda to clean silver. Don't Do It! These are more abrasive than professionally formulated polishes and should be avoided as they may damage the finish on your pieces.
As with any piece of fine jewelry, particularly if it is very intricate or has great sentimental value, consult your professional jeweler for the best cleaning options. Jewelry & Timepiece Mechanix offers silver cleaning, repair, and restoration services.