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The Ultimate Guide: Does Sterling Silver Tarnish?

Forming Sterling Silver with a hammer and anvil.

Does Sterling Silver Tarnish?

Sterling silver is a popular choice for jewelry, but many people wonder if it tarnishes over time. In this article, we will explore the properties of sterling silver and discuss whether or not it is prone to tarnishing. Let's dive in!

What is Sterling Silver?

Sterling silver is a type of alloy composed of 92.5% silver and 7.5% other metals, typically copper. This combination of metals enhances the durability and strength of the silver, making it suitable for various applications, including jewelry making.

Understanding Tarnish

Tarnish is a natural process that occurs when certain metals react with chemicals present in the air, moisture, or even our skin. It appears as a dark, dull, or discolored layer on the surface of the metal, altering its original appearance. While tarnish doesn't necessarily damage the silver, it does affect its aesthetic appeal.

Does Sterling Silver Tarnish?

Yes, sterling silver tarnishes over time. However, the rate at which it tarnishes can vary depending on several factors, such as environmental conditions and how the silver is stored or cared for. Exposure to air, humidity, and certain chemicals like perfumes, lotions, or cleaning agents can accelerate the tarnishing process.

Preventing Tarnish

Although sterling silver will eventually tarnish, there are steps you can take to slow down the process and keep your jewelry looking its best:

1. Proper Storage: Store your sterling silver jewelry in a cool, dry place, preferably in an airtight container or a tarnish-resistant bag. This helps minimize exposure to air and moisture, reducing the chances of tarnish formation. We include a tab of anti-tarnish paper that will help prevent tarnish.

2. Avoid Harsh Chemicals: Avoid exposing your sterling silver jewelry to harsh chemicals like chlorine, bleach, or sulfur, as they can speed up tarnish development. Remove your jewelry before swimming in pools or using cleaning products.

3. Regular Cleaning: Regularly clean your sterling silver jewelry using a mild, non-abrasive silver polishing cloth or a specially formulated silver cleaning solution. Gently rub the surface to remove any tarnish and restore its shine. Avoid using abrasive materials or excessive force, as this can scratch the silver. Each piece of jewelry you purchase from Flying Silver Studio comes with a small polishing cloth to keep your jewelry sparkling.

Hands Holding Sterling Silver Ring. Preparing to polish the tarnish.

Sterling silver does tarnish over time due to its composition and exposure to various elements. However, with proper care and maintenance, you can significantly slow down the tarnishing process and keep your sterling silver jewelry looking beautiful for years to come.


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