I get a lot of the same question about how to take care of jewelry over and over again and I thought this might be a good way to help people out. The most asked question I get is will my silver turn black? The answer is YES. It is sterling silver and all sterling silver will turn if it is not polished. You can learn more about why on my Blog here.
Now that we have gotten that out of the way, what can you do?
Well, first of all you can wear your jewelry. When we wear jewelry it is constantly moving and rubbing against our skin. This is essentially polishing the jewelry. This is why you can buy two of the same ring, put one in the cabinet in your bathroom and wear the other. The one in the cabinet will turn but the one on your finger still has its silver shine. (So wear that statement piece to run errands- you bought it to wear anyway)
You can take it to your local jeweler. They will usually be willing to help out, sometimes for a small fee.
You can purchase polish cream online or even at the grocery store sometimes but these are pretty harsh chemicals and you might not like that so I went on a hunt for the best way to do this without the chemical mess.
The most popular “green” way that I found was to put aluminum foil in a pot, add baking soda, and boil. Make sure to add your silver. (WAIT-I only recommend this if your jewelry does NOT have any stones in it. The heat can hurt the stones) I suggest covering the pot. The combination of boiling water, hot metal, and baking soda turned into a bit of a mess. If you have a glass lid that might be best so you can see what is going on. Keep an eye on things and you will see that the tarnish has transferred to the foil and your pieces and pretty again. Use tongs to take silver out, dry, and let cool. When I did this I did it with a variety of stuff. I found that the larger silverware pieces did the best but I was disappointed with the smaller pieces of wire.
The next test I did (still no gem stones) was with lemon juice and baking soda. I was disappointed so I added hot water. Still not a huge difference but I was able to wipe some tarnish off.
At this point my husband walked in and told me that I was doing it wrong and that I should combine the lemon juice with vinegar. He told me this was his technique for cleaning up old coins as a kid. A new brew was made and I put some pieces (without stones) in there and went out. Hours later I came back to no change. I asked him about it and he said, well, you have to scrub it a bit too. We tried. Nothing. Back in the bowl again over night. Still no change. Maybe I did it wrong...
There might be more concoctions out there that I do not know about. Maybe I did some of these wrong or didn’t wait long enough. Either way I can’t say I found a new technique that works better than the little sponges I use when I am not in the studio. These little guys are great. They are disposable. There is no mess. And because they are made of a spongy material I am able to turn them on their side to get into little crevasses. They are also safe to use if there are stones in the jewelry. I love them so much that I put them in my shop for you to snag up.
I really hope this helps and I look forward to hearing from you if you would like to give any input.
P.S. DO NOT use toothpaste. Toothpaste is very course. That is like using sandpaper to polish your jewelry.