You bought your new sterling silver jewellery with admiration and you used it with pleasure... One day, you see that it slowly loses its brightness and even starts to get dark. Actually, you are witnessing a process that is very suitable for the nature of that beautiful matter. So, how long does sterling silver last? Before learning the answer of this question, let's examine the circumstances in which silver tarnishes.
Silver is a precious metal that has been used as jewellery, ornaments and home accessories for thousands of years. Jewellery products made of silver with the noble and elegant image acquired after being processed in the hands of artisans are at the top of almost every lady's choice list. But silver jewellery that dazzles with its sparkle loses its brightness after a while. However, if you take care of your jewellery with the right methods, you will keep it’s beautiful appearance for many years. Well, then let's take a look at the points that tarnish the silver.
Why Does Silver Jewellery Tarnish?
Why does silver tarnishes is an issue that has been discussed for a long time. Although the reason is quite clear and simple, scientists are constantly trying to create new solutions for silver by adding different materials. Therefore, differences can occur in many areas according to these processes. When we look at the structure of the metal, we see that these products shine and reflect light very clearly. Silver, which has a more intense reflection than gold and copper, is a precious metal. The chemistry of silver, which reacts quickly by hydrogen and sulfur, is almost similar to copper, but it oxidizes later than copper and earlier than gold. For this reason, silver, which requires special protection due to its chemistry, tarnishes early. What we need to do is an effective maintenance and polishing process.
What are the Causes of Sterling Silver Jewellery Tarnishing?
It is not possible to continue to use sterling silver jewellery as it was on the first day unless you are careful. Uncareful use will inevitably lead to tarnishing over time.
So, why does silver jewellery go dark? And what can be done for a long time use?
Many chemical-containing products are responsible for the tarnishing of silver. Personal care and cleaning products such as deodorants, creams, soaps and perfumes are the most common causes of tarnishing in jewellery.
The greater the process and frequency of exposure to such chemicals, the faster and more intense the tarnishing will occur.
Elements in the Air
Some elements that exist in the air react with silver and cause it to get dark. Hydrogen and sulfur are among these elements. In other words, leaving silver jewellery uncovered will cause it to tarnish after a while.
Acidic substances also tarnish silver. When it comes to jewellery, one of the most acidic substances that silver is exposed to is sweat formed on the skin. Especially for silver necklaces, sweat is the main reason for the tarnishing in summer.
Exposure to Moisture
You should also protect your silver jewellery from water because water also causes tarnishing. Do not allow the sterling silver jewellery to stay for long periods in damp or wet environments.
Although there are many factors that cause silver jewellery to tarnish, you can use them much longer with the right care. So how long does sterling silver last? and how to prolong the life of silver jewellery?
How Long Does Sterling Silver Last?
How long does sterling silver last? If silver jewellery is made and crafted well, it can last long enough to pass from generation to generation. For example, as silver jewellery, the average lifetime and durability of a silver ring is about 20 years. But silver jewellery like bracelets can last about 30 years. And also they can last forever if you be careful while you are wearing them and properly store them!
When you buy a ring or gift a ring, you are actually receiving or giving a symbol. A symbol that represents your feelings for that special person in your life so they always know how important they are to you. Therefore, you want this symbol to last as long as possible.
Sterling silver is stronger and more durable than both pure silver and gold. For these reasons and due to a large number of traditional and modern artisans working with silver, this type of jewellery is some of the most popular. But how long will it take the silver jewellery to tarnish?
If you have experienced the situations we talked about above, your silver jewellery can tarnish in 2 weeks. But if you are careful about your belongings, it can take years.
Wearing your jewellery often can be one of the best ways to keep it looking beautiful and reduce blemish. After wearing, wash your jewellery with warm water and dry thoroughly with a soft cotton cloth. This will help remove accumulated dirt, skin oil, makeup, and sweat. Once it dries thoroughly, you can use a silver polishing cloth to quickly polish it before storing it.
Do not allow your jewellery to come into contact with sulfur-containing substances. Examples could be latex gloves, rubber bands, wool and articles containing elastic. Also, some foods can cause the silver to darken faster, a few examples could be things like eggs, onions, olives, salad dressings, salt and juices. Be sure to wash your hands carefully after doing something with these items.
Store your sterling silver jewellery in a dark place away from moisture. To reduce scratching and smudging, we recommend that you store your individual items in small zippered plastic bags. Do not store your jewellery in paper, cardboard or cotton boxes as these may contain sulfur residues that can cause tarnishing. If you are wondering how long does sterling silver last, it is up to you and the way you keep your jewellery under good maintenance.
Is it ok to take a shower with silver?
If you want your silver jewellery to last a long time, you should avoid taking a shower while you are wearing it. Although showering with sterling silver jewellery does not damage the metal, it is likely to cause dullness. Chlorine, salt, or harsh chemicals that water contains will affect the appearance of your sterling silver. Take care to take off your silver jewellery before going into the shower whenever possible.
How To Preserve Silver For A Longer Life?
If you want to use your silver jewellery for years, you should be careful while storing them. When not in use, keep your silver jewellery in a dry and clean environment. Due to the effect of the air, small boxes that can be closed airtight are ideal storage environments for jewellery.
Always dry your wet jewellery thoroughly before taking it off. Before applying the cream to your hands, take off your silver rings and do not wear them again before the cream is completely absorbed by the skin.
Silver oxidizes and darkens quickly. If your silver has already darkened, you can polish them with materials you can find at home and make them return to their first day. So the answer of ‘’How long does sterling silver last?’’ depends on you.
How to Make Your Silver Jewellery Last Longer?
The effects of the humidity level in the air of the area you live in, the acid caused by the sweating of the body, the frequency of use and cosmetic products such as perfume, deodorant, cream, soap cause your jewellery to darken. In addition, reasons such as the silver being exposed to high-voltage lighting and acidic beverages being spilt on it should also be considered. The simplest precaution to protect your silver jewellery from darkening is to take off your jewellery in some places. It is useful to take off your silver jewellery while doing housework, gardening, doing sports, taking a shower, swimming in the pool or sea, and using a chemical cleaner. Also, do not spray your perfume or deodorant directly on your jewellery. The contact of substances such as chlorine, acetone or bleach can cause your jewellery to change colour.
Another way to use your silver jewellery for a long time is to not leave them exposed when not wearing them. You can wrap it in a soft cloth and store it in a dry place, and away from daylight. While doing this, if you wrap and spread your jewellery one by one and store them properly, you can prevent possible scratches and tangles from rubbing against each other.
Of course, the tarnishing of your sterling silver jewellery does not mean that it will always look black. You can easily clean your oxidized jewellery. The best method is to leave it in professional hands. There are jewellery repair shops in the central parts of almost every province. When you take your tarnished, dull or non-glowing jewellery to these workshops; Your jewellery is washed in ultrasonic washing machines, polished in polishing machines and finally covered with white lapping, gold or rose gold depending on your colour request. If you insist on cleaning your jewellery yourself, you can try. Cleaning with silver cleansing creams, polished silver wipes, lemon and toothpaste can be various solutions. If you clean your jewellery yourself, be sure to rinse them in water and dry them thoroughly.