Wednesday, August 18, 2010

How To Rejuvenate Old Silver Jewelry

Last week, when my own sister brought me a bunch of "old" jewelry that she was going to "throw away" it really made me realize how the proper care for jewelry is relatively unknown to most folks. She gave me a handful of perfectly good jewelry which had been tarnished. The tarnishing happened so slowly, I think she was uncertain as to why the items didn't hold the same beauty as they once did. She determined that the necklaces and bracelets were just no good anymore. How Sad! I was floored that she didn't know that the tarnish was removable, and the jewelry could sparkle like brand new!

Silver tarnishes slowly over time. Tarnish is a layer that builds on the surface of silver when the air reacts with the metal. The good news is that there are many ways to remove the tarnish! I find it easiest to purchase Tarn-X which sells for 6.99 at Walgreen's. You can put some in a container and dip your silver jewelry in it. The chemical strips the tarnish right off silver! You may need to dip the jewelry a few times to get the full effect. After that, rinse thoroughly and pat dry with a towel.

Do NOT dip pearls, amber, coral, or treated gemstones (like mystic topaz or titanium druzy) in Tarn-x! That is the only restriction. These materials may be damaged by the strong chemical. Most other gems will not be effected by the chemical.

After your jewelry is looking sparkling and new from the Tarn-x, you can brush it with a soft toothbrush and tepid, soapy water. Rinse thoroughly again. Lay the jewelry on a towel, and pat dry with another towel. Air dry the jewelry overnight to insure that it is not stored with moisture in the crevices. Moisture accelerates tarnishing on silver. Do not keep your silver jewelry in the bathroom when you are taking a shower! This also accelerates tarnish.

If you will not be wearing the jewelry frequently, it should be stored in a plastic zip-lock bag to inhibit tarnish. Items that you wear regularly remain relatively tarnish-free because the metal is somewhat polished (actually burnished) by rubbing against your clothes and skin.

So now you know! Jewelry does not have a shelf life! Your old jewelry that doesn't look the same anymore is just in need of some TLC. Check out the following link for info on removing tarnish from flatware and other silver housewares:

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