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Caring for your silver jewellery

Sterling silver is an alloy of silver and a base metal such as copper. When it is left exposed for some time it tarnishes and looks like the silver spoon to the left. This happens because the copper reacts with sulphur containing gases in the air and forms a layer of copper sulphide. Fine silver (99.9%) will also tarnish over time but to a lesser extent than sterling silver.

The colour of the tarnish changes as it develops due to the thickness of the copper sulphide. The more there is, the darker the tarnish. Initially the silver will turn yellow before turning to a red - brown then to blue before eventually turning black - the true colour of copper sulphide.

We do sometimes use this knowledge to our benefit as jewellery makers and can expose the silver to a solution called 'Liver of Sulphur" to make the piece look black and then we polish areas off to the bring out details. Humidity and oils and sweat from our fingers will also speed up the process of tarnishing. Sterling silver will tarnish, that is inevitable but there are steps that you can take to reduce the speed at which this occurs.


When you aren't wearing your jewellery store it in a dry, dark place away from direct sunlight. You know those dry silica packets you get in some items? Keep them and store them with your silver, or use a couple of pieces of chalk. This helps to absorb some moisture from the surrounding atmosphere.

Use special tarnish reducing storage bags or jewellery pouches to protect your silver. Some people like to store their silver pieces in small sealable bags but with the environment being such a huge consideration now people may not want to buy plastic bags. Avoid wrapping your silver in newspaper as this will speed up the tarnishing process and avoid using bubble wrap as this traps moisture.

Remove your jewellery when swimming or bathing, doing housework, gardening, DIY or relaxing on the beach.

Avoid use of perfume, hairspray, body lotion and makeup around your jewellery. It is best to put these things on, let them dry / absorb and then put your jewellery on. A good motto is to put your jewellery on last when getting dressed.

Avoid frequent cleaning of your jewellery. If you do need to clean it then use the small silver cleaning cloth I supplied with your jewellery. Avoid using harsh abrasives and cloths / tissues not intended for jewellery cleaning.

It is interesting to note that despite all your best efforts your jewellery is likely to tarnish if not worn for some time. This is likely to have a slightly protective effect on the silver so unless you are planning to wear it, leaving the tarnish alone may be beneficial.

I hope these little hints are helpful and by making sure that you adhere to them and protect your silver you will have gorgeous jewellery to wear for a long time to come.

Please contact me if you have any worries or questions - I definitely want you to have gorgeous jewellery for ever ❤️

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