As someone who works with silver to make jewelry, I am very aware of the jewelry people wear. I am constantly amazed how tarnished and dull most of the silver is. Here are a few tips to keeping your bijoux shiny and lustrous.
The most simple and safe way I know is to use Wright's silver cream.
There is a sponge inside the container. Dampen the sponge and apply some of the cream to the silver and rub off the "crud". You'll see dark gray on the sponge from the tarnish. Rinse the silver and dry with a towel or soft cloth. Rinse the sponge and work on the next piece of silver.
A dry method of cleaning silver is to use a chemically treated cloth to polish. This is especially useful when cleaning a clasp on pearls since the silk that is used to knot the pearls should not get wet. A polishing cloth can be purchased from most fine jewelry stores.
You can use toothpaste to clean your silver. Baking soda is the active ingredient in most silver polishes so choose a toothpaste with baking soda. Look for a paste not a gel. Gel does not usually contain baking soda. Avoid tartar control or those with whitening boosters.(good luck...they all seem to contain them these days). For small pieces of jewelry such as rings and earrings, use a toothbrush to apply the toothpaste and to get into all the areas around prongs and posts or wires. Rinse and dry. For larger pieces of silver, wet the piece and apply a dab of paste with a soft cloth and rub. Wash off the darkened paste and polish with more paste if necessary. Rinse and dry with a soft cloth.
Make a paste of baking soda and water and apply to silver, rubbing to remove tarnish. Rinse and dry with a soft cloth. This is a great way to clean your silver flatware and serving ware.
- Silver is soft and will scratch easily. That said, regular use of silver will a a beautiful patina to the metal.
- Silver oxidizes or tarnishes when exposed to air. This is hastened by damp or foggy conditions. Store silver in treated plastic or cloth when not using.
- Do not allow silver to come in contact with rubber. It will corrode and etch silver.
- Salt, olive oil, eggs, salad dressing, vinegar and fruit juices will also harm silver. Serve in glass or china rather than silver.
- It is best to wash sterling or silver-plate flatware by hand rather than the dishwasher. Click here to read about washing flatware in the dishwasher.