Your 925 silver jewellery is meant to be treasured for years. However, as time passes, you may notice the colour of your silver fading or turning black. Does this mean you do away with your favourite pieces of jewellery? Here’s some great news: You can revive your tarnished pieces of silver jewellery. And better yet—with some precautions, you can take to keep them shining for longer too. So let’s take a closer look and understand the reasons behind the tarnish of your 925 silver jewellery, tips to care for your favourite pieces, and ways to breathe life back into your sterling silver.
Why is your 925 silver turning black or fading?
Before we delve into the problem of tarnish, it is important to understand what goes into making sterling silver or 925 silver.
Pure silver, while bright and lustrous, isn’t ideal for jewellery-making owing to its brittle nature. To strengthen the precious metal, other less-valuable but strong elements are added to the mix—copper, zinc and nickel being popular choices. The less-precious elements comprise 7.5% of the alloy and silver, 92.5%, giving this now-strengthened alloy the name “925 silver”.
While 925 silver has several advantages and is considered the most ideal silver alloy for jewellery, it comes with a slight disadvantage compared to its 100% pure counterpart: sterling silver’s shine inevitably fades and sometimes even turns black.
There are several reasons why your sterling silver jewellery may be losing its lustre:
Exposure to air: The most common—and inevitable—cause for the fading of your silver is due to oxidisation, i.e., a chemical reaction when the silver jewellery reacts with the atmosphere. Oxidisation is also common in other precious metals like gold.
Reaction to hydrogen sulphide: In highly-polluted environments, hydrogen sulphide and silver may react to cause your 925 silver to turn black.
Contact with everyday chemicals: If you’re someone who wears your sterling silver jewellery while performing day-to-day activities, your jewellery is prone to fading. This is due to exposure to several chemicals in items like lotions, perfumes, and cleaning products.
Exposure to water: Contact with water, be it in a humid atmosphere or storage in a damp place, can cause your 925 silver jewellery’s shine to dull.
Tips to care for your 925 silver jewellery
A little care can go a long way in maintaining your sterling silver’s shine. So here are a few tips that you can use to give your silver a long-lasting lustre. Following the below precautions can prevent tarnish in your sterling jewellery pieces:
Store carefully: It is important to be mindful of how you store your silver at home. When you are not wearing your sterling silver jewellery, store it well. For starters, keep them in an airtight container away from moisture.
Clean using a soft cloth: Polishing your silver with a soft cloth is a simple but effective way to keep your jewellery shining for years.
Take off your jewellery: Wearing your 925 silver jewellery regularly may expose it to several chemicals found in cosmetics, cleaning products, and more. So ensure you remove your jewellery immediately after using them.
Keep away from other metals: There are chances that your sterling silver jewellery may react to other metals and lose their shine. When storing your silver at home, also ensure that you store them away from other metals.
Reviving your tarnished silver jewellery
If you find yourself with a tarnished piece of jewellery, don’t panic. Bringing it back to its former shiny glory is easy! Here are some ways that you can breathe life back into your tarnished silver jewellery pieces:
Mild soap: Dip a soft cloth in mild soap and rub the now-damp cloth against your silver jewellery’s surface.
Silver cleaning solutions: There are several silver cleaning solutions that specialise in combating tarnish. However, we recommend that you thoroughly research these products to ensure that they do not damage your jewellery further.
Repolishing services: When your 925 silver’s colour fades or turns black, it’s best to let the experts fix them. So visit your local jeweller and get your jewellery repolished.