If you love your silver jewelry you probably don’t want to see it get ruined.
Whether it's a beautiful, full of history locket, that somehow became a family heirloom, or a more recent purchase, we hold them all close to our hearts.
Sterling silver jewelry has a fantastic durability, that’s a fact. The 7.5% copper that's added to the 92.5% pure silver, creates a harder and stronger silver alloy.
However, even the best quality jewelry requires special care to look great throughout the years. Caring properly for your piece of silver jewelry will make all the difference. That includes knowing how to safely store and clean it.
Without further ado, here are 5 great tips to help you clean and care for your silver jewelry.
1. Take off your silver jewelry
It’s probably true that you love a special piece of jewelry so much, that you end up wearing it all the time. It may be a wellness jewelry piece, lucky charm, or a piece that you simply adore. You get used to wearing it every day, and it’s just inconvenient to take it off if you will be wearing it again shortly after. Nevertheless, if you want to avoid being heartbroken because you lost or damaged your favorite piece of silver jewelry, take it off before doing any of these activities:
A dive in the pool or in the ocean can do wonders for your state of mind. For your silver jewelry, however, not so much. When swimming in cold water, our fingers shrink, which makes it more likely for our rings to fall off. Besides, be aware that chemicals in the water can be very damaging to your silver jewelry. Chlorine is one of the most common chemicals that will react with silver. Saltwater can also be corrosive and leave a residue that will need to be removed.
Resembling chlorine, cleaning supplies and bleach can be harmful to your silver jewelry. Cleaning supplies are full of harsh chemicals that can alter the color of your silver jewelry. A heavy day of house chores, or washing dishes, can also put a strain on your piece.
Sweat can be harmful to silver jewelry, so avoid working out while wearing silver or gold-plated silver jewelry. Sterling silver can tarnish if you work out with it because the copper in the silver alloy can corrode when exposed to sweat. Besides, your blood circulation changes, and your rings might feel tight and uncomfortable. Not to mention the damage caused by gripping your jewelry against heavyweights.
Doing home improvement projects
You’re probably picturing hammers and power tools by now, and that’s totally valid. DIY projects require more pressure than usual on our hands and that can damage your jewelry. However, so does paint, glue, and other building materials. It can be particularly hard or impossible to remove those traces from your silver jewelry piece.
Caring for small children
I’m sure mothers can relate to this one. Those amazing shining and dangling earrings are the first things an infant will go for. Kids love shiny things, and it’s right within their reach when you’re holding them. You should make sure to take off your jewelry when caring for small children if you want it to be left in one piece.
Or instead, go for very small pieces like stud earrings instead. Necklaces or rings that are rounded and don’t have sharp edges are also a good option, because they won’t scratch children as easily.
2. Safely store your silver jewelry
How you store your silver jewelry really affects its longevity. Most people are really careful while wearing their pieces, but then don’t store them properly - not knowing or forgetting that their silver jewelry can also sustain damage during storage.
It’s important to keep them away from air if you want to prevent tarnishing. When silver is in contact with air for a long period of time, a chemical reaction occurs. That’s what causes your silver jewelry to tarnish. To slow this process, store your silver in an airtight container, but before that, clean it very well with a soft dry cotton cloth so that you don't store it with any residues of body grease or sweat.
All silver jewelry should be stored out of direct sunlight. Place your pieces of silver in a dark and dry area and allow plenty of room for each. Preferably, keep them in separate bags. This way you’ll be preventing scratching and tarnishing, and they won’t get a tangled mess.
3. Properly clean your silver jewelry
Despite your best efforts to care for silver jewelry, your pieces will eventually need cleaning. There are several ways to do this, and some work better than others.
Don’t use paper towels or toilet paper. Use a simple microfiber cloth, an organic cotton soft cloth, or a special jewelry cloth to clean and polish your silver pieces. Clean with long up-and-down strokes, because you’ll be able to gently clean your silver pieces without scratching the metal.
You can also use warm water and gentle soap; the water itself doesn’t cause damage. But make sure all soap residues or water are wiped clean.
Additional tip: Don’t use toothpaste or baking soda to clean your jewelry. Contrary to popular belief, these substances can be too abrasive to use on silver jewelry.
4. Learn how to avoid tarnishing
How to avoid tarnishing is one of the most essential things you’ll want to know in order to care for silver jewelry. Tarnishing can be really annoying, but there’s no way to prevent it from happening. You can only learn how to slow down this natural process. Don’t expose silver jewelry to substances that can cause tarnishing. Apart from chlorinated water, direct sunlight, household chemicals, and too much air exposure, you should avoid having your silver jewelry pieces in contact with hairspray, lotions, and perfumes. Also, don’t forget to remove your silver rings while cooking. Certain foods containing sulfur, like eggs and mustard, can speed up tarnishing.
5. Wear your silver jewelry
This last tip may come as a surprise, but it’s as important as the others. Wear your silver jewelry, and you’ll be preventing it from tarnishing. The natural oils in your skin will provide a protective barrier against moisture, preventing tarnishing and keeping your silver piece shiny. Letting it sit in a jewelry box will do more harm than good.
Jewelry is intimate and personal. There’s probably a sentimental reason behind every piece of jewelry you own, and you might want to cherish them forever. Understanding how to care for silver jewelry pieces can make a huge difference.
Don’t be afraid to wear your silver jewelry and don’t be afraid to clean it. Follow these tips and enjoy it for the rest of your life.