I'd like to talk to you today about the close attention we should pay to our unique sterling silver jewelry, the knowledge we need to consistently care for it correctly, and a few interesting facts surrounding the precious metal. We'll first cover a few of the "do not (s)" we should heed. We'll go over a couple of points on keeping it clean. This covers the subject of oxidized silver and what tarnished silver has to do with it. Lastly, we'll suggest the absolute best way to store the jewelry.
When we swim or soak with our jewelry on, we must limit ourselves to the fresh water of a lake or spring-fed pool. The chlorinated water in a pool will turn this treasured metal black. The same goes for the leisure of mineral spas and hot tubs. Take off your silver when enjoying these luxuries. We should never dip our jewelry to clean it. Commercial cleaning solutions may claim that they clean silver and they will the first few times, but prolonged use passes a limit that prevails the lustrous shine from returning and it will never return. Do not trust any cleaning solution that requires dipping the jewelry, commercial or not. It can also destroy the aging effect jewelers apply by oxidizing it.
Be sure to consult your jeweler before cleaning your rhodium plated silver jewelry with anything. Although we may best care for silver by keeping it free of perspiration, which causes it to more quickly lose color and shine as the metal reacts with the oxygen, heavy designs and other silver jewelry need less polishing when worn often. Our skin oils help prevent unwanted tarnishing. When much of the surface area lasts in contact with our skin, this silver remains relatively untarnished. When the metal reacts with hydrogen sulfide in our air, it yields silver sulfide on the creation's surface, which is tarnish. But, a professional jewelry polishing cloth cleans very nicely at need, in which the fabric holds cleaning chemicals to polish the creation brilliantly every time. The design of the polisher keeps it reflecting through many applications.
When we polish our silver jewelry, we should not let this necessity drive us to clean so thoroughly as to prevent the beautiful aging effect the very slight build-up of tarnish will give the precious metal. This will occur naturally in the recesses, nooks, and crannies where the polish does not reach. Jewelers oxidize silver for this by controlled tarnishing; tarnishing is oxidation. Sterling silver 925 means that its purity is at least 92.5%. The 7.5% of other metals, usually copper, hardens the metal to a usable suitability for functional adorments. Fine silver, 99.99% pure, scratches far too easily because of its extreme softness, which creates problems handling or using for anything in its purest state.
The best way store our precious silver treasures by wrapping them in microfiber cloth and inserting anti-tarnish paper strips with them into a special type of plastic bag we may mechanically create a vacuum with in the protective space. Renold's makes a hand-held device and the bags they sell with it have an access to apply the 8 or so inch vacuum. Store the bag in a jewelry box or safe, sometimes. For large quantities of silver, wrap individual pieces in microfiber cloths with the anti-tarnish strips and American Tourister makes plastic bags with ports for a regular vacuum.