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What to do if your silver is turning black and tarnishing

If your sterling silver jewellery has been sitting around for a while, it might start to tarnish. This is not reflective of the quality of the piece; in fact, it's a sure sign that it is real sterling silver. I've rounded up 4 tips and tricks for keeping your sterling silver jewellery collection looking great!

1. Store your jewellery properly

When not wearing your jewellery, the best place to keep it is somewhere away from humidity and sunlight. I like to store mine in little plastic baggies with an anti-tarnish tab inside my jewellery box. I also use small velvet pouches that have been created with anti-tarnish fabric. As a bonus, your earrings will always be stored together, and your chains will never get tangled.

2. Never use tarnish remover dips

These dips (store bought or DIY) cause a chemical reaction and actually remove a fine layer from the surface of the silver. This can be devastating for soft gemstones and pearls and will take away the beautiful dark patina in all the low spots. If you use them once or twice, you may not notice much change, but over time, the surface of the silver becomes etched and pitted, losing its shiny finish. The surface will take on a matte look that cannot be removed without being buffed out by a jeweller.

Clean your jewellery regularly

3. The best way to clean your sterling silver jewellery is to start with mild dish soap, warm water, and an old toothbrush. This will break up any hidden oils, lotion, and dirt. After the piece dries, I use a polishing cloth to buff the surface. My favourite brand is "Sunshine" cloths, which have polishing compounds embedded in the fibres. You don't ever wash them and can use them effectively even after they turn black!

When to remove your jewellery

4. Take your jewellery off before swimming or cleaning. The chemicals in hot tubs and household cleaning products have been known to etch the surface of sterling silver over time. I also want to make a note about hot springs—the sulphur in the water can tarnish silver very quickly!

I hope you've found these tips and tricks helpful. Your silver jewellery is super easy to maintain and take care of, and it should last a lifetime. Tarnish is not reflective of the quality or value of your jewellery. In fact, it is one of the signs that you have real sterling silver, which is what sterling silver is famous for (and not in a bad way!). If you missed my last blog post about why I love a good dark patina (AKA tarnish on purpose), you can check out this blog post I've written about it here.


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