How to clean silver and silver jewelry

silver jewelry, clean silver

In ancient times silver had more value to our ancestors than gold. It was considered that silver has magic power so every silver item had its own meaning and purpose. Nowadays almost every family has silver tableware, jewelry, accessories. But silver has a weakness – with time it obtains green, grey or dark blue taint and loses its natural clear shine. Luckily this issue is easy to fix.

Despite the fact that silver is a precious metal and resistant to organic acids and high-pH conditions, it is almost helpless to hydrogen sulfide which is contained in the air. That is why long exposure to air leads to silver tarnish. Sulfides are also contained in pharmaceuticals, cosmetics and perfumes. Keeping silver close to drugs or contact with cosmetics and perfume also end up with silver tarnishing.

Not everybody knows the fact that if a person wearing silver chain with a pendant has low state of health his jewelry gets tarnished much faster. Scientists have proved that the color of silver changes according to the chemical makeup of a person’s sweat. If human body contains big amounts of nitrogen silver almost does not tarnish, but if it contains lots of sulfides than it causes silver rings, earrings and bracelets tarnish very fast.

High humidity conditions also cause silver jewelry to lose its shine and get tainted.

Main principles of taking care of silver

To provide the best care to silver jewelry one should know the alloy of silver which the jewelry is made of. The alloy could be sterling which means it contains up to 95% of silver and cooper, coinage alloy, matted alloy, etc. The way of taking care or cleaning silver jewelry also depends on if it contains gemstones, pearls or other elements.

Never use harsh sponge or abrasive materials to clean silver jewelry. It causes micro scratches on silver surface which could only be fixed with professional polish.

The main rule of cleaning silver is to put it in soap water before applying any chemicals on it, such as ammonia, hydro dioxide, alcohol or soda. After cleaning rinse silver jewelry in water let it dry and polish with plate leather.

There are special cleansing liquids and polishing clothes for silver jewelry on the market which are easy to use. Deep the jewelry into this liquid and take it out in a certain time and it looks like a new one. Those liquids are also suitable for jewelry with gemstones and pearls.

General recommendations from the seller of silver gemstone jewelry

If silver jewelry became dirty with cosmetics, dust or send the best way is to clean it in warm soap water. It is also ok to use dishwasher liquids instead of soap. Then clean the jewelry with soft toothbrush. This will not return original shine to your jewelry but will clean it very well.

To remove tarnish effect from silver jewelry without gemstones or pearls deep it into ammonia liquid or lemon acid liquid. To make it more efficient warm the liquid a little bit.

Potatoes are also good when it comes to cleaning silver rings. Mix grated potatoes with water and deep your silver jewelry in this mixture for several minutes, then take it out and polish with woolen fabric. This is people’s way to clean  silver jewelry used by our grand-grandmothers.

The most efficient way to clean silver is using soda. Place jewelry in soap water before using soda to achieve the best result. Then clean it with soda mixture (liquid or thick). Put some water drops in soda and apply on tarnished silver with fingers. To avoid micro scratches use gentle moves.

Soda may also clean your old tarnished silver tableware. Put silver spoons in a pot covered with foil. Add 2-3 table spoons of soda and cover with foil again. Add boiling water. After 10-15 minutes take the silver spoons out and rinse with cool water.

The next good way is to use salt. Cover any container with foil and put tarnished silver jewelry in it in one layer. Add salt, some soda and some drops of dishwasher liquid. Pour boiling water in the container, take the silver out in 10-15 minutes and rinse in cool clean water.

If you have ammonia it can be used to clean your silver jewelry as well. This way is more aggressive than those mentioned above. Mix tooth paste and soda together and then add 4 drops of ammonia. Apply this mixture on a soft toothbrush and gently clean the silver. Then rinse in cold water. This is a very effective way to clean very old darkened silver but it is not recommended to use it very often not to cause micro scratches on the surface.

How to clean silver jewelry with gemstones

The best way to clean silver jewelry with gemstones is to use special cleansing liquids. They help to clean the jewelry without damaging it and also create a protection layer on its surface.

To clean silver jewelry with gemstones at home use warm water, grate some soap into it and add a few drops of ammonia. Boil the mixture. When it cools down apply the mixture on silver jewelry with soft toothbrush. Use cotton swabs moisture in this mixture to clean the area around the gemstone. Then use flannel fabric to polish the stone. Do not use sharp instruments to clean your jewelry.


Such natural materials as pearls, corals, amber are very sensitive to chemicals, so it is better to use professional help to clean jewelry with this materials.

Do not wear silver jewelry right after it was cleaned. Leave for several days in order to natural protective layer could appear on its surface.

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