What is Tarnish?

We occasionally get messages from customers concerned about black appearing on their jewellery item and questioning the quality of the item. What they don’t perhaps know is that Sterling Silver is naturally prone to tarnish which can be exacerbated by exposure to sulphur found in cleaning and personal care products – even hot spring water!

With time, any sterling silver jewellery piece that is exposed to air will tarnish. Sterling silver is a mixture of metals with at least 92.5% silver and 7.5% other metals.
And it is the other metals, usually copper, that oxidise in the air resulting in the build up of a tarnished layer on sterling silver jewellery.

The amount of tarnish that occurs can also be dependent on the skin type and care habits of the wearer.

Here are some tips to prevent your Sterling Silver jewellery from tarnishing and how to clean tarnished jewellery:

It is recommended that you store your jewellery in an airtight container or ziplock bag, ideally together with an anti-tarnish paper strip/tab.

Take your jewellery off when showering, sleeping or doing exercise to avoid exposure to possible contaminants.

Tarnishing is not a manufacturing fault, and can be cleaned using hot water, soap and a soft cloth/old toothbrush to lightly rub/scrub the surface to restore the shine. Rinse in clean hot water, and dry using a soft cloth.

There are also many commercial silver jewellery cleaning cloths and dips available to keep your special items looking their best. Please note that we do not advise using chemical cleaning cloths or chemical dips for gold plated jewellery. Best is to use a soft polishing cloth or even better drop your items off for professional cleaning and re-plating at our studio in Hout Bay.

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