How to clean blackened silver

Everyone has to deal with blackened silver in their jewellery sooner or later. How to do it, what are the best procedures and methods for cleaning silver?

Has your silver jewellery turned black?

First of all, it is important to say that blackening of silver is not a defect of the jewellery, it is a characteristic of the silver jewellery. If your jewelry is made of sterling silver 925/1000 purity with no surface treatment (rhodium plating, platinum plating, or other) blackening is bound to occur. 

Blackening is caused by oxidation of silver that is in contact with air. The oxidation process can be slowed down by better storage, preferably dry, dark and in a bag or box. Special bags and cloths impregnated with various solutions are also sold to slow the oxidation of silver. However, it should be added that silver will still oxidize (albeit much more slowly). And sooner or later it will be necessary to clean the blackened silver jewellery.

There are many methods of cleaning silver. From brushing and toothpaste to various chemical and physical reactions (we describe one below). However, we recommend using more commonly available products for cleaning silver. If you have stones or pearls glued to your jewellery, tend to avoid liquid products, the liquid could dissolve the glue and you could easily lose the stone or pearl. Try cleaning with cleaning cloths, cloths, or cotton balls designed for cleaning silver first. For heavier soiling of the jewelry, use solutions or cleaning foams. If this doesn't help, we recommend contacting any good jewellers.

If you maintain your silver jewellery regularly, it will never tarnish so much that you can't simply clean it back to its original form.

Cleaning silver using an electrochemical reaction is simple and effective.

Be careful with glued jewellery. We do not recommend using this cleaning method for jewellery where glue has been used to attach the pearl or stone. Glue is often used on pearl jewellery (earrings, rings, pendants). Warm water could loosen the glue! 
  1. Prepare a pot, aluminium (aluminium foil will do), salt and hot water.
  2. Line the pot with aluminum foil, or put a piece of aluminum in it if you have it. The tin foil is proven, everyone has it at home and it works great. You don't have to save the aluminium, more is better than less. 
  3. Place the silver jewellery in the lined pot, add salt and cover with hot water. The electrochemical reaction will clean the silver very quickly.

The blackness of the silver disappears literally before your eyes. Then just rinse the jewellery with fresh water and wipe with a cloth. 

If the jewellery remains a little dull, just re-polish it with a cloth.

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