When it comes to men's jewelry, no metal can match the warm white of real silver. But it can sometimes happen that sterling silver jewelry discolor and darken over time due to environmental influences! We have therefore put together a few tips on how to avoid tarnishing silver bracelets, rings and co. In addition, you will find out everything you need to know about cleaning silver jewelry and how the dark surface can be removed by tarnishing silver jewelry.
Why is sterling silver jewelry tarnishing at all?
Silver is a precious metal that does not oxidize as quickly. But it has a weak point: sulfur. Silver reacts with sulfur to form dark silver sulfide - and that's exactly what happens when silver jewelry tarnishes. Sulfur can be found in small amounts in the air, but sometimes also in sweat. In addition, as an alloy, 925 sterling silver also contains a small proportion (5/1000) of copper, which makes the silver more robust and scratch-resistant - but can also react with air and make the piece of jewelry appear darker.
To avoid tarnishing, you should avoid wearing your 925 sterling silver jewelry when doing sports or doing sweaty work. In addition, in order to ensure a long shelf life for silver jewelry for men, it makes sense to take it off at night, not to wear it when showering or cleaning (to avoid contact with chemicals) and to store it as airtight as possible or in a closed box. But it shouldn't lie unworn in it for too long: Because the frequent wearing of silver jewelry literally removes the silver sulfide - if the jewelry is left for a long time, more silver sulfide can form undisturbed over time, and your jewelry will tarnish.
Cleaning home remedies for silver jewelry
In order to be able to remove the dark surface by tarnishing silver jewelry, small home remedies often help. For example, baking powder and toothpaste contain the finest abrasive particles, so that you can use them and a small (tooth) brush to remove the silver sulfide layer from your jewelry.
A very efficient means of removing silver sulfide is the aluminum salt method: Here you bring 500 ml of water to the boil and dissolve approx. 50-100g of salt in it. While the water is getting hot, you carefully wrap your jewelry in aluminum foil and put it in a (plastic) bowl. Then you pour the hot saline solution on it and let it work for about 2-4 minutes before you take out your jewelry, rinse it off and carefully dry it with a clean, soft cloth (we can also use the cleaning cloth that we provide free of charge). Behind this is a chemical process: the less noble metal, aluminum, gives off electrons and - reinforced by the hot, conductive salt water - absorbs the sulfur from the silver sulfide layer on the silver, which then dissolves.
Cleaning silver jewelry
You can of course also find aids for cleaning silver jewelry in specialist shops: there are also so-called silver baths, silver cleaning cloths (also available in our shop) and ultrasonic cleaning devices with which you can get your silver jewelry clean again at jewelers, goldsmiths or in online shops. Ultrasonic bath devices can mainly remove sebum and superficial impurities in order to make your jewelry shine again. Tarnished surfaces, on the other hand, can be better removed with a chemical silver bath, as this can attack and remove the silver sulfide in a targeted manner (be careful with blackened silver jewelry, see below). With sensitive gemstones (e.g. tiger's eye or coral) or pearls, however, caution is advised here - a silver bath or a cleaning agent can quickly attack the surface and make it matt. Ultrasonic cleaning that lasts for minutes can have a similarly damaging effect.
Polishing or matting silver jewelry
One way to look after your men's jewelry as beautiful as new is to simply remove the tarnished surface by having the silver jewelry polished or re-matted by a professional (in a goldsmith or a jeweler). In the case of shiny silver chains, rings or silver bracelets, polishing has the advantage that even smaller scratches that are often caused by daily wear can be removed at the same time. Your 925 sterling silver jewelry will look like new again!
With matt silver jewelry for men, you can sometimes lend a hand yourself to give it a fresh matt finish. This is best done with a piece of matting fleece from the hardware store or a rough kitchen sponge. Or of course with the "Scratch Remover" we offer. This works particularly well with chains and smooth bangles or rings. Here you can apply the fleece or the sponge straight and evenly (!) Around the rings for men or the bangle. This light sanding pulls the matting across the surface like a brush stroke. The steadier your hand and the more precise the movement, the tidier the result will be. It is a bit easier for silver jewelry with an ice-matt surface: Here you can even use coarse sandpaper (40 or 80 grit) and use circular movements to remove the tarnished layer and let it shine again as an ice-matt surface. Especially - by finishing your ring with our silver polishing cloth afterwards.
Take care when cleaning blackened silver jewelry!
There are pieces of jewelry for which the "tarnishing" is part of the design - namely with blackened silver jewelry. These are deliberately made to form silver sulfide by chemically treating the surface to create a nice contrast between white metal and dark indentations. This form of design is particularly popular with men's silver jewelry. Since the black coloring is literally superficial, you should spare it as much as possible when cleaning. Blackened bracelets, necklaces or rings for men should not be cleaned with the aluminum-salt method or put in a silver bath, but rather just wiped over with a silver cleaning cloth or carefully brush over with the matting fleece.