Although gold is often talked about when it comes to jewelry, silver is a popular precious metal that also has some great value. Like gold, silver in its pure form is too soft to be used in jewelry. As a result, other metals like copper are added to the silver to produce sterling silver. These other metals are what cause sterling silver to tarnish and when the silver does start to tarnish the pieces lose their value. Fine silver is nearly 100 percent pure silver and it does tarnish slower than sterling silver. However, fine silver is typically only used in chains and it does still tarnish over time. Silver is going to tarnish regardless of what type it is, but using proper cleaning and storage techniques can help slow the tarnishing process and help keep the value of your pieces.
Cleaning Your Silver
In order to keep your silver in the best shape possible it is recommended that you clean it periodically and store it properly. During the cleaning process you want to keep in mind to be extremely gentle with your pieces because silver is a very soft metal and can be easily scratched. There are many techniques out there on how to clean your silver, but when you start to notice tarnish on your silver the best way to clean it is to use a warm, soapy water mix and a soft tooth brush. Dip your silver pieces into the water and gently rub the pieces with your fingers. Take your silver out of the water and if needed, softly rub the tarnished areas with your tooth brush. Once finished, rinse with warm water and then dry the pieces with a cotton cloth. The tarnish should be removed and if cleaned regularly, the dark tarnish that is difficult to remove will never form on your pieces. Before storing your cleaned silver it is best to lay your pieces flat and let them air dry overnight. If your silver looks dull, once dried you can polish it with a non-abrasive jewelry cloth.
There are some do not’s that you should be aware of when cleaning your silver.
- Do not use toothpaste to clean your silver as it is much too strong of a substance.
- Do not use baking soda to clean your silver either.
- If your silver jewelry contains soft gemstones or pearls do not immerse the jewelry in the warm water while cleaning as this can damage the stones.
- Do not wear your silver jewelry when showering or swimming in a pool as both can cause tarnishing.
Storing Your Silver
Cleaning your silver pieces is a great way to help prevent your silver from tarnishing. However, cleaning alone will not prevent tarnishing. Storing your silver in the proper way is also an important aspect of keeping it tarnish free. To prevent as much wear and tear as possible you should make your silver the last thing you put on in the morning and the first thing you take off at night. Never sleep in your jewelry to avoid scratching and stress. Before putting the silver jewelry away for storage wipe the pieces clean with a soft cloth to remove all oils and dirt. When storing, wrap your clean silver pieces individually in anti-tarnish tissue. Then place your pieces in a plastic bag and squeeze out as much air as possible before sealing. By keeping your pieces in a bag tarnishing will be slowed and your jewelry will not be scratched.
Selling Your Silver
Cleaning and storing your valuable silver pieces properly will minimize tarnishing and will help maintain the value of your pieces. At South Bay Jewelry & Loan we care about our customers and want to make sure that we provide them with the best information on how to keep their valuables in great condition. If you are thinking about selling your silver jewelry or pieces come down to our location in Lawndale, CA where our experts will give you advice and the best prices possible for your valuables.