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How often is too often to polish sterling silver?

sweet_pea

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Jul 20, 2011
Messages
250
I have a Tiffany sterling silver bangle (925 silver) and it just seems to tarnish sooo fast! I like to keep it shiny and new looking, but I don't want to polish it too much and mess it up. I've had it for about 7 months, and I've had to polish it multiple times. I find that actual silver polish works best rather than those cloths. I do wear it quite often and keep it in the anti tarnish tiffany bag that they gave me. Why does it tarnish faster than my other, not as nice, jewelry? My other items are mostly just silver plate I think but this bangle is pure.
 

JewelFreak

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Sep 3, 2009
Messages
7,768
You can polish it as often as it needs it. It won't hurt it -- sterling is silver (with an alloy) through & through -- that's what the 925 means, 92.5% silver, 7.5% alloy (generally copper), by mass. Unlike plate, there are no layers to come off.

Try keeping it in a sealed plastic baggy (& out of the light) when you're not wearing it. That's what I do w/my silver jewelry as well as dishes, plates & tchochkes & they hardly ever tarnish.
 

jewelerman

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Sep 30, 2007
Messages
3,101
Also remember that if you allow your sterling to come in contact with chlorine, citrus juice, lotions,perfumes,hairsprays and cosmetics then it can turn your sterling dark.If you drink alot of coffee,orange juice, tomato juice or take certain medications then there can be a reaction with the copper in the alloys.
 

Black Jade

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Aug 21, 2008
Messages
1,242
I have silver bangles I inherited and they are still fine. I polish them whenever they get even a little black as I like them shiny. Polishing does not hurt them.
Just don't ever do that thing I see recommended every once in a while, where you put them in aluminum foil and put baking soda and pour hot water on them, and don't use toothpaste to scrub them either. those methods are abrasive and destructive. Just use the silver paste when needed and I keep mine int he box with my sterling flatware when not wearing.
 

VRBeauty

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Apr 2, 2006
Messages
10,294
Technically polishing tarnished silver does damage it. The "tarnish" is actually oxidized silver - silver that has reacted with gases - so polishing it removes minute amounts of the silver. The key of course is "minute." I have a lot of vintage silverplate flatware that's been used and abused for decades, and generally the silver plate has worn through to the base metal in only the very oldest of stuff. But... when you polish your silver and notice black residue on the cloth, remember that's actually silver you're seeing on the polishing cloth. (That might also explain why ancient gold coins etc. are more prevalent than ancient silver coins, but I'm not sure about that.)

IMHO the best way to protect your silver is to surround it with good anti-tarnish cloth. You can get it by the yard at Joann's or any major fabric store, or on-line. Sew up little bags, or wrap the jewelry in a piece of the anti-tarnish cloth before storing it. The cloth absorbs the gasses that might interact with the silver and cause oxidation. It won't be as pretty as the Tiffany's bag, but it will do the job!
 

movie zombie

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jan 20, 2005
Messages
11,879
best way to remove tarnish is to not allow it to form in the first place. i wear a solid silver sanddollar 24/7 and have no issues with tarnish....a lovely patina but not tarnish and i get positive comments on the pendant all the time.

if this is not a piece you want to wear a lot, use a jewelers' cloth on it after each use and put it into a plastic bag or an anti-tarnish jewelry box.
 
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