What is tarnish? Why does it happen?
Tarnish is a thin layer of corrosion that develops on metals like (sterling) silver and copper as their outermost layer undergoes a chemical reaction. Oxygen, airborne pollutants, dust and moisture are the main causes for tarnished jewelry. When jewelry gets tarnished / oxidized the metal often looks dull, gray or it looks like it has a black film / coating / patina, which can really reduce the beauty of your jewelry.
In some designs I use this natural chemical reaction, because it can create more dept in a design or give a silver piece of jewelry a more rustic or antique look. This type of jewelry is often called silver jewelry with a patina / oxidized finish. But if you want to prevent your jewelry from tarnishing, here are 7 steps:
When you are NOT wearing your silver jewelry, it is best to keep it in a closed box, away from (sun)light and air (oxygen). Jewelry boxes (like the ones your grandma used to have for example) are the best, so you can store all your jewelry in one place, but separate them inside the box. This way they are carefully protected and you’re making sure your jewelry will remain beautiful!
To store tiny earrings / ear studs you can use a button to make sure you don’t loose one piece of a pair. Although wearing 2 different earrings might work for you too? I love to mix and match or wear different earrings! 😉
If you have problems with chain necklaces that get tangled up, this might be a super tip! Especially when you’re traveling, but also to store your chain necklaces in your jewelry box: Open the lock of your chain necklace an put one side of the chain in a straw and the other side out, then close the lock again.
4. CHALK OR SILICA
If you put a piece of chalk or a bag of silica inside your jewelry box, it will absorb moisture. Change it for a new one every couple of months.
5. DON’T WEAR / AVOID WEARING JEWELRY WHEN:
you’re working out
you’re going to a (hair)salon
you’re cleaning, since cleaning products can damage your jewelry or you might get it entangled somewhere, so you can put on cleaning gloves to protect your rings, or take off any jewelry you wear and store it safely.
you’re taking a shower / bath
you’re sun ‘tanning’ or go out in direct heat or hard sunlight, because this might tarnish your jewelry or fade gemstones.
6. A QUICK CLEAN
You can clean your jewelry gently with some water and a soft cloth in order to remove skin oils, dust, makeup,… after each wear, it will really help prevent the forming of tarnish on your jewelry. Just make sure that the jewelry is really dry before storing it in your jewelry box. To be honest, I don’t do this every time for jewelry I wear almost every day. But for jewelry I wear only on special occasions and store it for longer, this is a real time saver (better to prevent than clean)!
7. JEWELRY = FINISHING TOUCH!
Something else that has impact on the polishing and can make your silver tarnish faster: all kinds of soap, lotion, sunscreen, perfume, make up, hairspray,… since they contain chemicals that can be harmful to your jewelry. So when you are getting dressed it is best to first put on everything make up , body lotion or whatever, perfume, clothes,… and than jewelry as your last finishing touch!