If you’ve just bought some brand new, beautiful and shiny sterling silver jewelry you may be wondering what you can do to keep it that way.
Well the main advice to keep your sterling silver jewelry shining is quite simple: keep it dry. When left by its self, silver jewelry tarnishes fairly slowly; in fact some jewelers refer to the tarnish as patina to give it a more positive spin. But anyway, the addition of copper to the silver jewelry is what causes the tarnishing. Sterling silver is 92.5% silver and the rest of 7.5% are usually copper, and copper oxidizes quite easily when it is exposed to moisture.
There are however a couple of ways to slow the tarnishing of your silver jewelry. You can eliminate it all together if you can plate your silver jewelry with rhodium, which is a very non-reactive metal in the platinum group. And, indeed, some manufacturers of silver jewelry are now offering rhodium plated styles. There are also a couple of new alloys used in silver jewelry today that tarnish much more slowly. One of these new alloys has some of the copper replaced with germanium which also makes the silver somewhat more resistant to scratching.
But if like most people, you have your regular, garden variety sterling silver jewelry, here is what you need to do. Store your silver jewelry in a zip lock bag. Also get in the habit of saving those little silica gel packets that come in vitamin supplements and pockets of clothing to absorb moisture. Add one of those to the bag with your silver jewelry. There are also anti-tarnish strips that can be added to the bag. There are also many tarnish removing polishing cloths that contain a chemical that will help your silver jewelry resist tarnishing.