Cleaning Silver Jewelry

Many of my clients hand over their old tarnished, once treasured family heirlooms for me to work my magic upon. After only moments, their eyes grow wide at the finished product as if it were brand new. I giggle and say “your welcome” and allow them to think that I’m a miracle worker. If only they knew how easy it is be to begin cleaning silver jewelry by themselves!!

Cleaning Silver Jewelry

I personally like a little tarnish on a loved piece of jewelry, it adds character, definition, and makes detail pop.

Tarnish can eventually overtake a piece entirely depending on the acidity of your skin and can eventually turn your skin black where the metal is in contact.

To minimize the tarnish and begin cleaning silver jewelry, first you need to identify whether or not your jewelry is INDEED sterling silver. There are many marks that can identify this alloy, the most common stamps will read .925, or written clearly “sterling silver”. If it isn’t marked it is difficult to tell whether or not it is in fact sterling silver without knowing the metals characteristics. you may take this to a professional jeweler and they should be able to tell you in a heartbeat.

How To Begin Cleaning Silver Jewelry

Access the toll time has taken on your sterling silver piece.  If its only tarnish you have to fear, no worries! A very simple polish cloth will do the trick for you.  I highly recommend “Sunshine Cloths” which can be ordered through Rio-grande or other professional jewelry suppliers. They are like magic and i couldn’t imagine a life as a jeweler without them!!! The soft yellow cloths are impregnated with a fine polishing compound that will bring your sterling silver piece back to its original high polish in minutes.

If you don’t have a polishing cloth or don’t feel like going out and ordering one, you can also make your own jewelry cleaner! Just add a little drop of dish detergent and a teaspoon or so of baking soda into a warm damp cloth and scrub the piece lightly in a figure eight pattern until tarnish is dissolved. Et voila!

There area wide variety of chemical tarnish removers out there that seem to “magically” remove the tarnish after submersing your piece in the liquid. These work wonderful if you want to remove the tarnish entirely.

Cleaning Silver Jewelry

If your piece of jewelry has dirt and “gunk” in the crevices and behind stones making them dull and dark; dirt that you are unable to remove with a polishing cloth, a toothbrush with the same baking soda mixture as i mentioned above should do the trick. If you are still having trouble cleaning your sterling silver jewelry,  most jewelers or jewelry stores are more than happy to drop your jewelry into an ultrasonic cleaner and have the ultrasonic vibrations wiggle the dirt lose for you. This should take less than 5 minutes! and maybe if you bat your eyelashes they might even take your piece to their buffing wheel for you for some extra added shine! Some Jewelers may charge you a little bit but it shouldn’t be any skin off anyone’s back.