jewelry care

preventing and cleaning tarnish on highly polished sterling silver

preventing tarnish

  • Tarnish is a naturally occurring process, and there is nothing you can do to totally prevent it from happening, especially if you do not wear a piece for extended periods.

  • Some pieces I design are intentionally oxidized, to appear "aged" or "rustic" and only darken over time. 

  • One of the major contributing factors to tarnishing is moisture.

  • Always store clean, dry sterling silver in a dry airtight ziplock bag

  • Place anti-tarnishing strips in the ziplock bag to minimize tarnish - I include these with every purchase

  • After wearing highly polished silver, clean with a soft cloth before returning it to the ziplock bag.  I recommend a Sunshine cloth and include one with every purchase of a highly polished piece of jewelry

  • Never leave sterling silver in the bathroom - humidity accelerates the tarnishing process

  • Hairspray, perfumes and lotion can all contribute heavily to tarnishing

  • Remove jewelry before washing your skin or using cleaning products on other surfaces, else a film can develop and attract dust and contaminants

  • Do not wear in a chlorinated swimming pool or hot tub

cleaning tarnish

  • Do not polish designs in which the silver is intentionally oxidized, as it will remove the "aged" or "rustic" look

  • Never use tissues or paper towels - it scratches the metal

  • Always us a soft silver polishing cloth - I recommend a Sunshine cloth and include one with every purchase of a highly polished piece of jewelry

  • Some of my designs involve oxidizing before polishing, creating darkened details which bring out the depth and beauty of the piece. Be careful not to remove these design elements. 

  • Avoid harsh commercial cleaners, toothpaste, or baking soda.  These can damage surfaces of the metal or stones of fine jewelry.

  • If the polishing cloth isn't working, wash silver jewelry (only those without stones) in warm water containing a few drops of mild dishwashing liquid.  Immerse the sterling silver in the water and gently hand wash. Use a cotton swab for tight corners. A soft baby toothbrush can be used for more abrasive cleaning when needed. Thoroughly rinse, making sure no soap residue remains, then dry completely before storing in the air-tight ziplock bag.  

  • If your jewelry contains gemstones or pearls, do not submerge the entire piece in water.  Instead, use a cotton swab with one tiny drop of mild dishwashing liquid to wash only the silver.  Thoroughly rinse and completely dry the sterling silver before storing.

  • If these steps do not remove the tarnish, it may require a visit to a jeweler in your area who can clean the sterling silver.