If silver jewelry is left unused, it will darken. In this article, we will discuss how to care for silver.
Easy ways to care for your silver items at home!
I am Shindo, a craftsman.
In this article, we will show you how you can easily care for them at home without using the polishing machines at the MITUBACI factory.
MITUBACI offers silver rings, silver bangles, silver pendants, silver tie pins and workshops.
Unlike platinum, silver is a material that gradually tarnishes even with normal use.
First things first! Let's understand why silver jewelry tarnishes!
What causes discoloration of silver jewelry?
Silver (pure silver) rarely rusts and does not react with water or oxygen at room temperature.
Also, allergic reactions to "sterling silver" are very rare.
However, if silver jewelry is left exposed to air, the surface will gradually discolor.
This is a natural phenomenon unique to silver jewelry, in which a chemical reaction occurs over time with components in the air.
The cause of discoloration of silver jewelry isBecause the surface changes to silver sulfide when exposed to hydrogen sulfide.
Hydrogen sulfide may sound like a dangerous gas, but it is a compound of sulfur and hydrogen, and is a familiar substance produced by the body.
For example, sulfur is found in cosmetics, detergents, rubber products, and an amino acid called cystine, a component of proteins that make up skin, hair, and nails.
Silver used in jewelry is a binary alloy in which copper is added to the split gold to give it strength.
The two most commonly used types are
SILVER925 Silver 92.5% + Copper 7.5
SILVER 950 95% silver + 5% copper
SILVER925 is a commonly used alloy and is often referred to as "sterling silver.
Copper used for split metal also tends to combine with hydrogen sulfide, causing sulfidation and discoloration.
Note that in humid or hot spring areas, the surface of silver jewelry tends to become silver sulfide due to the high concentration of sulfurous acid gas and hydrogen sulfide, which can cause silver jewelry to darken.
The discoloration of the inside of the ring is due to the reaction of a small amount of sulfur contained in sweat and grease emitted from the body.
MITUBACI silver samples will also tarnish if left uncared for.
I clean it regularly but it discolors again.
Many people are concerned about silver discoloration, but it is also the material that changes the most over time among all jewelry materials.
It is a material that can be used with attachment for a long time by taking care of it while retaining its aged texture, although I think it is a way to enjoy silver by cleaning all your favorite silver accessories at once.
Is discoloration of silver jewelry "rust"?
We are often asked questions such as "Does silver rust?
We are concerned about the discoloration of the items that you have created in the workshop.
This is especially true if it is a precious ring or bangle made as a pair.
As explained above, silver discoloration is not "rust" but "sulfurization.
Rust is a chemical reaction (oxidation) with oxygen, which is a different phenomenon from sulfurization.
Silver sulfide does not erode as deeply as iron rust. However, if the sulfidation process continues for a long period of time, the silver sulfide layer becomes thicker and darker, making it difficult to clean up.
How to prevent silver from discoloration (sulfurization)
Silver jewelry is strangely less likely to tarnish when used daily.
This is because the surface of the silver is in contact with the skin and clothes, which has the effect of slightly polishing the silver without the wearer's knowledge.
However, since stains and scratches will inevitably become noticeable after daily use, please take care of them after use.
Of course, however, it is strictly forbidden to go to hot springs while wearing silver jewelry.
It is not a discoloration but a black color, depending on the concentration of the hot spring's ingredients.
Here is an example from a previous customer who had a silver ring made
He explained that the ring discolors in hot springs, so he had removed it, but when he took it out to put it on after visiting a place with strong sulfur fumes, he found that it had discolored considerably. (He brought it back to me and I polished it again.)
Please be very careful as they are sensitive not only to hot springs but also to sulfuric gases.
Recommended storage for silver jewelry
Silver jewelry that is left off and exposed to air will gradually tarnish.
It is tempting to keep your favorite jewelry on display so that you can wear it immediately, but be sure to wash your precious silver jewelry well with water to remove sweat and sebum, and dry it well with a soft, dry cloth.
After that, simply wipe it clean with a silver cloth and place it in a plastic bag (zipper bag) to keep it out of the air, which will slow down the discoloration process.
If you are putting the jewelry in a jewelry case, we recommend that you also put it in plastic and keep it in the case.
*Care should be taken as the rubber-based adhesives used in jewelry boxes and other cases may cause discoloration.
Let's clean silver items!
MITUBACI also offers silver jewelry workshops, and everyone has seen silver jewelry that has become dull. We often receive questions from customers about how to care for (clean) and handle the jewelry.
If items made of silver are left in contact with air for a long time, the surface will turn yellow (sulfurization).
After further time, it will darken in parts.
The bangle in the photo has turned black.
The samples you will see at MITUBACI workshops are also constantly exposed to air, so they will gradually discolor.
The overall color has turned a faint yellowish discoloration. The hammered grooves on the forester are even more brownish and discolored.
Polishing machines (buffs) are available, but if you polish a matte-finished sample, it will be polished to a mirror finish.
In such cases, baking soda is useful to clean off the sulfurized and discolored surface!
Clean silver jewelry with baking soda
The method of cleaning with baking soda is simple.
Take a little on your finger and rub the surface with water.
Take a little baking soda on your finger, moisten it with water, and polish the surface.
Patterns and the back of the engraving can be cleaned by brushing with baking soda on a toothbrush.
It may not be as shiny as polishing, but it will look very nice just by removing the sulfide discoloration.
Baking soda is available at supermarkets, so please try it.
Small scratches can be rubbed with a "silver cloth" to bring out the luster.
It is very useful to have one because it can be easily glossed.
Silver cloth will turn black but should not be washed.
Please be sure to wash both baking soda and silver cloth with water after use.
If large scratches have been made and the luster is gone, polishing is necessary, so please consult us.
If the product will not be used for a while, store it in a plastic bag (zipper bag) and remove as much air as possible to prevent discoloration.
You will become very attached to your favorite jewelry if you use it while taking care of it. I want to use it with care all the time.
*Addendum to 2021.2.22;.
MITUBACI cleaning sets, which include baking soda and brushes, are now available. We hope you will take advantage of this service as well.