What should you pay attention to when cleaning silver jewelry? All tips and tricks

When it comes to men's jewelry, no metal can match the warm white of real silver. However, it can sometimes happen that sterling silver jewelry discolors and tarnishes over time due to environmental influences! We have therefore put together a few tips on how to avoid tarnishing of silver bracelets, rings, etc. You will also learn everything you need to know about cleaning silver jewelry and how to remove the dark surface caused by tarnishing of silver jewelry.

Why does sterling silver jewelry tarnish in the first place?

Silver is a precious metal that does not oxidize so 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 is found in small amounts in the air, but sometimes also in skin sweat. In addition, 925 sterling silver as an alloy 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.

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To avoid tarnishing, you should avoid wearing your 925 sterling silver jewelry when exercising or doing strenuous work. In addition, to ensure that silver jewelry lasts for a long time, it is a good idea for men to take it off at night, not wear it when showering or cleaning (to avoid contact with chemicals) and store it as airtight as possible or in a closed box . However, it should not be left unworn in this box for too long: because the silver sulfide is literally worn away by frequently wearing the silver jewelry - but if the jewelry is left lying around for a long time, more silver sulfide can form undisturbed over time and your jewelry will tarnish.

Home remedies for cleaning silver jewelry

Small home remedies often help to remove the dark surface caused by tarnishing on silver jewelry. For example, baking powder and toothpaste contain the finest abrasives, so that you can use them and a small (tooth) brush to specifically remove the silver sulfide layer from your jewelry.

A very effective way to remove silver sulfide is the aluminum salt method: Bring 500 ml of water to the boil and dissolve around 50-100g of salt in it. While the water is heating, carefully wrap your jewelry in aluminum foil and place it in a (plastic) bowl. Then pour the hot salt solution over it and let it work for around 2-4 minutes before taking your jewelry out, rinsing it thoroughly and carefully drying it with a clean, soft cloth (you can also use the cleaning cloth we provide free of charge). There is a chemical process behind this: 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.

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Cleaning silver jewelry

You can of course also find tools for cleaning silver jewelry in specialist shops: Jewelers, goldsmiths or online retailers also have so-called silver baths, silver cleaning cloths (also available in our shop) and ultrasonic cleaning devices with which you can clean your silver jewelry again. Ultrasonic bath devices can primarily remove sebum and superficial dirt to make your jewelry shine again. Tarnished surfaces, on the other hand, are better removed with a chemical silver bath, as this can specifically attack and remove the silver sulfide (be careful with blackened silver jewelry, see below). However, caution is advised with more sensitive signet rings or necklaces with gemstones (e.g. tiger's eye or coral) or pearls - here a silver bath or cleaning agent can quickly attack the surface and make it dull. Minutes of ultrasonic cleaning can have a similarly damaging effect.

Polish or matt silver jewelry (have it polished)

One way to care for 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 (at a goldsmith or jeweler). For shiny silver necklaces, rings or silver bangles, polishing has the advantage that even smaller scratches that often arise from daily wear can be removed at the same time. This means your 925 sterling silver jewelry will look like new again!

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If you have matt silver jewelry for men, you can sometimes do it yourself to give it a new matt finish and clean the silver jewelry. The best way to do this is 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 necklaces and smooth bangles or rings. Here you can place the fleece or sponge straight and guide it evenly (!) around the rings for men or the bangle. This light sanding causes the matting to spread across the surface like a brush stroke. The calmer your hand and more precise the movement, the neater the result will be. For silver jewelry with an ice-matte surface, it's a little easier: 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-matte surface. Especially - by then finishing your ring with our silver polishing cloth.

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Be careful when cleaning blackened silver jewelry!

There are pieces of jewelry where "tarnishing" is part of the design - namely blackened or deliberately oxidized silver jewelry . These are deliberately chemically treated to form silver sulfide to create a nice contrast between the white metal and the dark indentations. This type of design is particularly popular for men's silver jewelry. One example is our "Helix" vintage bangle . However, since the black coloring is literally superficial, you should avoid cleaning it if possible. Blackened bangles, necklaces or rings for men should therefore never be cleaned using the aluminum salt method or placed in a silver bath. Instead, just wipe them with a silver cleaning cloth or carefully brush them with the matting fleece.

5 tips for cleaning silver jewelry

  • If possible, do not wear your 925 sterling silver jewelry during sports or sweaty work to avoid tarnishing.
  • Avoid exposure to chemicals by not wearing your silver jewelry while showering or cleaning.
  • Store your silver jewelry airtight or in a sealed box to reduce the formation of silver sulfide.
  • Use home remedies such as baking soda, toothpaste, or the aluminum salt method to remove tarnish from dark surfaces.
  • Use professional cleaning methods such as silver baths, silver cleaning cloths or ultrasonic cleaning devices to make your silver jewelry shine again, but pay attention to material compatibility, especially with blackened silver jewelry.


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