Why Does Silver Tarnish?
Silver naturally reacts with hydogen sulfide found in the air which causes the silver to darken and patina (tarnish) over time. If worn, silver RARELY shows signs of tarnishing, since the small amount of rubbing against your skin or clothes will keep it completely clean. Please note that the process of tarnishing can be sped up by additional factors, please see below for "Reasons Your Silver Jewelry May Tarnish More Quickly Than Others".
Some tips for keeping your silver bright and clean, if you live in an area where silver tarnishes more quickly:
1. Wear your silver. Silver usually will not tarnish when worn, since it is constantly being rubbed on your skin or clothes.
2. When not being worn, place it in a zip lock plastic bag with as little air inside as possible, this will minimize the exposure to moisture and sulphur in the air.
3. Place your silver jewelry in a jewelry box that is lined with anti-tarnish fabric. Most jewelry boxes contain this type of fabric to preserve jewelry, mostly silver, from tarnishing.
4. Place a anti-tarnish strip or tab in the place where you keep your jewelry, this will act just like the anti-tarnish fabric in jewelry boxes (we now add 2 of these strips in with all our jewelry shipments and they last for about a year). I hope this helps!
Here are some great ways to remove tarnish once it has taken hold:
1. Polishing Cloth. Rub silver areas that show tarnish with a jewelry polishing cloth (we include one with almost every piece of jewelry we sell for free). These cloths are impregnated with polishing compounds and anti-tarnish agents to quickly remove light tarnish and protect against future tarnishing.
2. Chemical Dip. A chemical dip is a great way to remove more substantial tarnish, and can be purchased at stores like Wal-Mart, Walgreen's, and Target. Simply dip silver jewelry in this solution and tarnish gets removed within seconds and your silver is bright and clean once more. BE CAREFUL to not get solution on other jewelry parts, especially pearls, as this dip will remove the natural lustre of pearls and dull them.
3. Buffing Wheel. This process, usually performed by a jeweler, can quickly remove tarnish on larger or smoother items quickly and will add anti-tarnish agents to the silver to help them stay clean a little longer. This process takes off a little more silver than the other two fixes, and therefore is not recommended for antique items or thinner pieces. Also, it is very hard to buff a chain or delicate pieces of jewelry as the buffing wheel spins at a very high speed.