Silver jewellery requires constant cleaning to retain its original shine alongwith correct storage to prevent scratches. Any jewellery or other item made from silver is bound to change color over a course of time due to a natural oxidation process with sulfides in the air. There are several easy methods developed over the years by jewellers that help to maintain the beauty of silver jewellery.
How to store Silver Jewellery?
While one is tempted to be around or wear a favorite piece of silver jewellery all the time, it is important to remove jewellery or keep it away before using any types of product with chemicals or abrasives such as chlorine, bleach, ammonia, alcohol, turpentine or acetone. These products are bound to create permanent damage to silver and gemstones.
Dampness, air, and light are other factors that can tarnish silver jewellery. Hence it must be kept in an airtight non-reactive container or Mylar or polyethylene bag. Each piece of jewellery must be placed in individual bag so that it does not cause friction which could potentially damage the silver jewellery.
Caution must be maintained to never place silver jewellery on wooden surfaces as it contains acids which tend to damage the finish. Cardboard and paper should also be avoided as it is known to speed up the process of tarnishing.
How to clean Silver Jewellery?
Silver jewellery must be cleaned often to avoid wear and tear and minimise tarnish.
Silver is a soft metal that can be scratched so be care must be taken to gently rub it while cleaning. Always use a clean cotton cloth or flannel cloth or sterling silver cleaning cloth or a baby’s toothbrush or a horsehair silver brush.
To remove slight dirt, finger prints or even marks of makeup, one can use a couple of drops of mild liquid detergent in warm water and rinse it well with fresh water. The silver jewellery needs to then be dried up completely and must be lightly buffed with a cotton cloth. Be careful and use only lengthwise motion while washing or even drying the silver jewellery. The circular motion must be avoided as it causes scratching.
The safest method for removing tarnish from the silver jewellery is to make use of a treated silver buffing cloth. However, there are a few silver spray polishes or even pastes that work well for in-depth cleanings if there is a large deposit of build-up. Apply the spray or paste on the cloth and work the lather with hand first.
Tarnish that is in the crevice of the jewellery or cannot be easily accessible can be left to provide an antique look. This adds definition to the jewellery. These difficult to reach surfaces can be cleaned by seeking professional assistance.
Baking soda is also suggested as a cleaning agent for silver, however jewellers advise to refrain from using it as it is abrasive. Before using baking soda on the entire jewellery, one must run a patch test by adding the cleaning agent on a small portion of the silver jewellery first to check if it leaves any noticeable marks.
If the silver jewellery is coated with a lacquer shield, the item must be cleaned only after all the lacquer had been completely worn off. This done so that the cleaning agents do not reach underneath the lacquer and leave any sort of residue.
Silver jewellery must be cleaned once per month as advised by professional jewellers. Luxury and heirloom pieces must be cleaned yearly with professional assistance. Cleaning also provides a chance to look out for loose stones or parts. If this has been spotted then one must repair the silver jewellery right away to prevent further harm. Understanding the correct and apt methods for storing and cleaning silver jewellery is essential knowledge for all aspiring jewellery designers. Enroll in the 3-year BSc. in Jewellery Design from one of the best jewellery designing colleges in Cochin.