What causes sterling silver to tarnish?

There’s nothing worse than delving into your jewellery box to search for a beloved, yet rarely worn, silver jewellery, only to find it tarnished and in need of a good clean, despite have been kept safely nestled in your jewellery box.

Sterling silver is an alloy composed of 92.5 percent silver and 7.5 percent of another metal, most likely copper. It is the copper in the sterling silver, or silverplate, that causes it to become tarnished.

Although pure silver is actually naturally resistant to tarnishing, pure silver is far too soft to be used in it’s pure form for jewellery, which is why it is often mixed with other metals. 

What is tarnish?

Tarnish is a thin layer of corrosion that forms on metals and appears as a dull grey or black coating. Surprisingly, tarnish actually protects the inner layers of the metal, only reacting with the outer layers.

Why does silver tarnish?

Tarnish is a product of chemical reaction that is caused by the other metals that are mixed with silver reacting to moisture and sulfur in the air. Sterling Silver will generally tarnish quicker in high humidity climates and places with high levels of air pollution. Things like perfume, hairspray, deodorant and moisturisers can all contribute to further tarnishing of your silver due to the chemicals reacting with the silver.

How to fix tarnishing?

If your piece of jewellery has developed tarnishing due to not being worn or used, simply return it to us for a complimentary clean and polish, which will completely remove tarnish and return your piece back to normal.

How to prevent tarnishing in the future?

If you aren't wearing your jewellery frequently, it will be more susceptible to tarnishing. Simply follow the care instruction enclosed in your delivery and ensure that you polish your jewellery with the polishing cloth enclosed in our packaging from time to time to prevent this natural process.