Imagine putting your favorite shoes on to go out for a gathering with your best friends, you have been waiting for this moment to show off your beautiful pair of shoes. All of you were having fun somewhere outdoors, in a beautiful garden but at some point... it started to rain!!! All of you had to rush inside the house but the sky was pouring and you had to cross all the garden to get there. The water was soaking your shoes and the mud started to cover the heels, and part of the sides. Oh no, what an unfortunate situation, those were your favorite shoes.
Once you get home tell me... what would you do? Would you throw them away? or just try to clean them.
Let's think about another example: your favorite dress.
This time you have a date with the man of your life, you dressed to kill because you really want to impress him. There you are, at a fancy restaurant having the most amazing time, enjoying his company and suddenly..... a small piece of food manages to get its way to land ON YOUR DRESS!!!! You try to clean that awful stain very quickly, pretending that nothing happened, you just keep smiling and enjoying the rest of your evening.
So again, once you get home... what would you do? Would you throw your dress away? Would you never buy another dress like that because this one got stained?
Ok, let's not be so extreme and just think that this time you are wearing a blouse that makes you look terrific, you love it. You get out with your friends, go for lunch, have fun and basically spend the whole day going up and down without having any spill on your blouse whatsoever. Then, you arrive home, take a shower and you put on your pajamas.
The question again is... what would you do? Would you put your lovely blouse in a hanger and keep it in your closet in between your clean clothes? It's true that it has not a single stain, but you were wearing it for the entire day and even though you might have taken a shower in the morning, well, that doesn't mean that you didn't sweat right? So, putting the blouse that you wore during the whole day without washing it back to your closet, may end damaging it after some time.
Well, these examples are for you to think about your sterling silver jewelry the same way.
Many people believe that sterling silver has to rest impeccable forever and ever without putting any effort to keep it shiny to be a quality piece. Nothing more wrong.
Remember that silver is a precious metal and it reacts to the elements that surround it. But there's an interesting fact here, pure silver doesn't tarnish.
Then you must be wondering... if silver doesn't tarnish, how come my sterling silver jewelry does, and here you are telling me that it is normal.
Ok, let me put it this way:
Pure silver does not tarnish
Sterling silver does.
If you have been following my blog, you might remember that you can not have a piece of jewelry made out of pure silver, the metal is very soft so it needs to be alloyed with another metal to make it stronger. Sterling silver is the result of alloying 92.5% of pure silver and 7.5% of another metal (in Mexico it's usually copper). Alloying with copper maintains the silvery color of the metal and increases its strength.
There you have the answer: copper tarnishes over time and with use. Exposing copper to air turns it black, and exposing it to water turns the surface greenish-blue.
But this doesn't mean that your silver jewelry has to be tarnished all the time. There are very few steps that you need to follow, to make sure that your jewelry will look amazing every time you wear it.
The same way you have to take care of your shoes, your clothes, your skin, your nails, your hair etc, you need to put some attention to your jewelry so it will be ready to wear the next time you take it out of your jewelry box. It is just a matter of understanding that you do need to take care of your silver jewelry before and after wearing it. But don't worry, the care I mean is really simple, actually it is kind of a matter of common sense but sometimes we don't pay attention to the small details that end up making the difference in a good or bad way.
The easiest way to keep your silver jewelry looking as new is to take preventive actions, to avoid having to take other kind of measures to fix what you could have prevented in the first place.
Remember that your silver jewelry tarnishes as the result of the copper reacting to moisture and sulfur in the air, so areas with high humidity and air pollution are not a good match for your jewelry. Also, chemicals like deodorant, hairspray, perfume, body lotion, bleach, etc., can speed up the tarnishing process.
After taking this into consideration, here are some recommendations to take good care of your precious jewelry and avoid getting it tarnished:
STORE IT PROPERLY
The way you store your jewelry is key in the condition you will find it the next time you think of wearing it.
First, don't just leave it on your dresser table, thrown in a drawer or in an open jewelry container.
The best thing to do is to store your jewelry in individual bags (zip lock kind work well), to keep air exposure out so the shininess and brilliance of your jewelry won't be affected.
It is very important not to bunch several pieces in the same bag to avoid tangling and scratches.
I also recommend to wrap every piece with craft tissue paper before putting them in their individual bag. I like doing that.
Strong chemicals, sulfur, sweat and perspiration, chlorine, and harsh sunlight can tarnish your jewelry.
Remember that preventive care is way easier than dealing with damaged jewelry!
You should seriously think about removing your jewelry during the following times:
- Household chores, such as dishes, laundry, and when using cleaning supplies
- When exercising, at the gym, or playing contact sports
- Swimming, hot tubs, or saunas
- When getting ready (i.e: putting on lotion, makeup, hair products). You should wait for a while before putting your jewelry on.
- Preparing foods that contain sulfur (this includes eggs and mayonnaise).
- Outside chores such as gardening.
BEFORE & AFTER
A very simple way to keep your jewelry always looking good is to polish it with a soft cotton cloth before and after you wear it. If you get used to do this regularly, you will notice that it won't take you more than a few seconds to do it and it's totally worth it.
You can either buy a special cloth to polish silver or simply use a soft cotton cloth to gently buff your jewelry. You will notice that even if your piece looks clean, it will leave dark stains in the cloth while you polish it. It is normal and is actually a sign that you are dealing with a silver piece, so don't worry at all.
If you follow these simple steps, you will notice that you won't have to be struggling trying to bring back the shine and beautiful look to your sterling silver jewelry.
If you know something else that we could do to prevent our jewelry to tarnish and I missed mentioning it here, you can share it with us in the below Comments section.
And remember, don't throw away or avoid buying beautiful clothes, shoes or jewelry, just take good care of them and enjoy your stunning clothing and accessories 😉