Ever wonder why sterling silver tarnishes? It's because of the copper alloy, which when exposed to the elements, such as moisture and skin acids, will affect the copper turning it greenish. Look at the Statue of Liberty...
Which then begs, we've all had something sterling which begins to tarnish over time. Have you tried those liquid cleaners only to have your sterling turn a dull, chalky gray?
I have a few pointers that should really help!
If you're going to use a liquid cleaner, only use Tarn-X in the black bottle. And be sure that what you're dipping in the solution is only sterling silver and not silver toned. Toned means that there is a base metal underneath a silver electroplated coating and dipping the piece won't work...in fact, it may ruin it. Look for the sterling silver .925 stamp on your piece to be sure. While most manufacturers will electroplate over sterling silver to keep it from tarnishing, some folks, like me, who enjoy the qualities of sterling in it's natural state, will need these tips to keep it bright.
I also recommend a simple and effective method of taking an old toothbrush, moisten it with water, then dip it in baking soda, so it forms a paste. Gently scrub the sterling jewelry with this mixture and rinse under warm water. Then pat dry with a lint free cloth. You should notice an immediate improvement!
***Just be sure to avoid all stones with this mixture as the baking soda acts as a mild abrasive!!***
You can also use the baking soda in it's dry state and rub it between your fingers and the jewelry, too.
Finally, a two sided rouge/tripoli polishing cloth will do wonders and you can pick one of these up at any higher end jewelry store. I recommend the two-sided ones as you can polish the jewelry, then luster shine it with the rouge side of the cloth.
When not wearing your sterling jewelry, be sure to keep it in a ziplock or airtight baggie as this will prevent moisture from oxidizing it. Gradually, all sterling silver will tarnish over time. But with these preventative measures, you can keep it at bay for much longer! And if all else is lost, then take it to your local jeweler...he/she can polish the piece and bring it new life again.
Thanks and I hope this helps!
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Camias Jewelry Designs