Tips to keep your silver jewellery looking fresh
Lockdowns. Terrible bosses. And empty milk cartons in the fridge. There’s already plenty of stuff in our lives that’s really, really, annoying. But our top pet peeve at Hoskings is when we go to pop on our favourite piece of silver jewellery, only to find it’s looking really sad and tarnished. And we ought to know better! To avoid you experiencing this same crisis, we’ve put together some tips on how to clean silver jewellery, so that your special pieces are always ready to wear!
Does all silver jewellery tarnish in the same way?
Before we explain why silver tarnishes, it’s worth mentioning that when we’re talking about silver jewellery, we’re usually talking about sterling silver. Sterling silver is the numero uno choice for jewellery because it’s the perfect blend of metals (or “alloy”) to give us that glorious shine while making it durable enough for every-day wear. The blend usually includes copper or another metal like nickel or zinc. Without this blend of metals, pure silver is quite soft and prone to scratching or even bending out of shape.
Unfortunately, even though the other metals provide strength, they’re the main culprits when it comes to tarnishing! It’s also worth pointing out that if you have a piece of jewellery that says it’s ‘silver plated’, that means that the jewellery is made from another metal like nickel or copper and is then covered or “plated” in silver. So, it’s good to remember that silver plated pieces need an even more gentle cleaning approach.
Why does silver jewellery tarnish?
Sterling silver tends to dull, or tarnish, when it’s exposed to moisture. That means if your silver jewellery is worn in salty air, or remains damp after a day by the pool, it’s not going to be happy! And that goes for being worn while you’re getting all hot and sweaty in the gym too.
Silver also hates chemicals. We’re talking about chlorine, cleaning products, bleach, perfumes, hairspray and even some body lotions and fake tans. And although we don’t want to make silver out to be a huge diva, we’ve gotta tell you that silver’s also weirdly fussy about rubber bands, newspaper, wool, felt, velvet and chamois leather! That’s because these materials contain sulphides that clash with silver, making it tarnish faster.
But don’t panic just yet. Because silver really isn’t that awfully high maintenance. In fact, the very best way to keep silver looking good is simply to wear it often. Silver just wants to be your BFF and is happiest when you wear it every day. Then when you’re done hanging out for the day, just make sure you tuck it in to sleep in a dry, cosy spot. Our lovely wooden jewellery box or this stunning silver-plated Queen Anne jewel box would be just perfect. And you even can add a little sachet of desiccant to make sure your silver stays extra dry to show you really care.
How to clean silver jewellery
Even if we’ve had the best intentions and tried as hard as possible to keep our silver clean, sometimes it’s just gonna need a little tender loving care anyway. And that’s where we can help! At Hoskings we like to keep things simple and that’s why we have a collection of jewellery cleaning products that will make cleaning your silver jewellery easy-peasy.
Let’s start with our compact Connoisseurs jewellery wipes. These nifty little disposable wipes are perfect for when you’re travelling or for keeping at work. Actually, they’re so light, you can even carry them in your handbag! They’re great for a quick polish to bring the sparkle back to your silver jewellery.
For a little more luxury, our silver cleaning cloths from Connissuers are awesome. These extra large cloths will keep your silver jewellery and watches looking brand new with the least amount of effort! They’re ingrained with a specialised cleaning product on one side to thoroughly clean your silver jewellery and they have a polish cloth on the other side so you can buff your silver jewellery to a perfect finish.
Best products to clean ornate silver jewellery
Some gorgeous pieces like our range of silver filigree jewellery are tricky to clean with cloths and wipes. That’s why we stock a wonderfully effective silver solution to help you polish your jewellery with ornate detailing that can’t be reached with a cloth. Unfortunately, because it’s a liquid it can’t be sent by mail, but you can pick this silver solution up in any Hoskings store.
The silver solution is very quick and easy to use. In fact, your silver jewellery only needs to be submerged in the solution for 30 seconds! Remember not to leave your jewellery in the solution for any longer and always remember to rinse it well afterwards.
Should all silver jewellery be cleaned?
It’s worth bearing in mind, that some pieces of silver jewellery are created to look intentionally darker. These pieces are called oxidised jewellery which is a special effect that leaves jewellery with a blackened look to highlight some fine details. Take this simply stunning sterling silver ring set. The oxidised background really highlights the patten, making it pop!
There’s no way you’d want to polish away those gorgeous details. That’s why the best way to clean oxidised silver jewellery is to use a mild soap or detergent and very gently rub it with a soft toothbrush. Then rinse it off, dry it well and voila!
We advise that you don’t use silver cleaning solutions (or “dips”) on these oxidised pieces as it will remove the oxidisation and drastically change the look of your piece.
Fixing tarnished silver jewellery
If you’re in the heartbreaking position where your silver jewellery is just not polishing up as it should be, then we might need to explore other options. If you’ve Google searched “How to clean silver jewellery” and some random from the web suggests you use bicarb soda, toothpaste, or any other commercial cleaning product, please step away from the screen!
Do not, we repeat, do not, let any of these harsh products near your precious jewels. At best they’ll scratch your silver jewellery but at worst they could actually damage the surface. Your silver jewellery will not be happy Jan.
Cleaning silver jewellery with an ultrasonic cleaner
These little ultrasonic gadgets have become more popular in recent years. And they do a pretty good job for basic silver jewellery pieces, like a plain sterling silver chain. But we have to whisper a word of caution. We’d much prefer that you don’t use ultrasonic jewellery cleaners for any jewellery with precious or semi-precious stones. Ultrasonic cleaners send vibrations through the water to clean silver jewellery, which can loosen the stone settings. And loose settings mean you might end up losing the gemstone.
Plus, some gemstones are a little more porous and can be damaged by ultrasonic cleaning, so you must avoid them if your silver jewellery contains turquoise, opal or pearls.
The best way to clean silver jewellery
Like many things in life, the best approach is just to leave it to the experts. That’s why we offer professional cleaning in store. We’ll use the latest ultrasonic tech if that’s the best way to clean your silver jewellery. Or our experts will carefully clean your jewellery by hand if that’s going to get us the best finish. One thing you can be sure of, is that we’ll look after your silver jewellery like it’s our own and won’t be happy until we get it as close to its shiny best as possible.
If you’d like us to help you clean your silver jewellery, simply pop in store or call our friendly Customer Service Team on the numbers below.
Call 1800 819 796 in VIC/ NSW/ QLD & TAS. Or (08) 8981 8895 if you’re in NT/WA or SA.
Written by Niamh Hislop
Image 2: jason-jarrach-unsplash