Quite often I get jewelry in return which I have to "repair", and very often it turns out the surface has just tarnished. Silver and jewellery is just on of those items you actually have to care a little for. All silver will oxidize in contact with sun, oxygen, humidity, water, perfume, salt, the grease on your fingers. Sometimes fast, sometimes slow.
Nothing to do about it..
..so here is what to do with it!:
First of all :
Do not shower with your jewelry or leave your silver jewelry in the bathroom.
Keep your jewelry out of the sun, preferably in ziplock bags when you´re not using them.
If you are lifting weights, doing hard manual labour or digging in the garden; take your rings off as they will scratch.
Use and old toothbrush, a baby toothbrush is the best. Use dishwashing liquid and hot water and brush it clean. This will take away the grease, -especially rings with stones need this treatment as the little holes on the back will get clogged up. Dry it properly with toilet paper.
If it has tarnished ; that means when it has started to get yellow / brown/ black, it is time to use the silver polish. If you have a polishing cloth (ask you local goldsmith) and the item is polished (shiny), you can use that or the creamy silver polish. Use the baby toothbrush to get into all corners. Follow instructions on your silver shine product.
If the surface it matted (not shiny) I prefer to use silver dip. Dip if for a few seconds, then rinse in hot water. Dry. Works like magic. Do not use this if the piece is set with pearls or brittle stones like emerald.
Pearls and silver
Pearls are difficult and delicate little things. They love grease and dislike soap and chemicals like silver dip or silver polish. Now and then, rub them a little on your forehead or against your skin. They love that. But what to do when you have tarnished silver with pearls?
If the silver is shiny, use the silver cloth. If that does not work, cover your pearl with tape and use the silver polish (try to avoid the pearl) or dap silver dip onto the surface with a q-tip, trying to avoid the pearl. Rinse well.
Some jewelry are already oxidized from start, this is great, no polishing needed. However, sometimes your fingerprints leave marks, -I use a microfiber cloth to take the greasy prints away, or toothbrush and dishwashing-liquid. Do it as soon as you see the marks. If they are left of very long they can etch into the surface and be harder to get off.
The other problem with oxidized silver is that it rubs off, and suddenly you have silvery edges. Sometimes this just looks cool, but if you want to have them black again you can try this trick:
Remember that you never use silver spoons when eating eggs? -This is why: boil an egg, take out the yellow part and crumble it and put your silver jewelry and yolk in a plastic bag for. The sulphur in the yolk will start to oxidize the silver after a while. Take it out after some hours and check how it works, leave it in until you´re satisfied. Clean well with brush:)
Matted surface which has become shiny
When we wear our jewelry, especially rings, we polish them naturally with our skin. Sometimes this can be frustrating when your lovely matted surface suddenly is shiny. A little trick is to use a dishwasher-sponge, you know the one with a sponge on one side and a scotchbrite on the other. That scothbrite side is perfect for matting the surface. If you want to polish up the edges you can use something which is steel and rounded, like a spoon or the handle of a butterknife.
KGD - kaja gjedebo design
I have been working as an artist and jewellery designer since 2002, after graduating as a furniture designer from Edinburgh College of Art in 1999.