For many jewelry collectors, finding appropriate storage solutions for silver can present a problem. Because of silver's tendency to tarnish while in storage, you may have to spend some time cleaning pieces up before you can put them on. In this expert interview with LoveToKnow Jewelry, Marc Rothenberg, president of Intercept Jewelry Care and Tarnish Tamer, shares tips for keeping silver jewelry in wearable condition by storing it the right way and by using an anti-tarnish products.
Expert Advice for Storing Silver Jewelry
How you store your silver jewelry can significantly affect the amount of tarnish on your pieces.
LoveToKnow (LTK): Environment can have a major impact on tarnishing. Are there places jewelry collectors should not store their silver jewelry?
Marc Rothenberg (MR): Since chlorine and sulfur are two of the main causes of tarnish, it is important to keep silver away from these gas sources. Sulfur is often present near furnaces and chlorine near water, so it is important to store your silver items away from these areas.
LTK: Are there storage products owners of silver jewelry should avoid?
MR: There are many boxes, pouches, and other jewelry storage products that are manufactured with adhesives that contain sulfur, so it is important to not place silver in containers that appear to be glued together.
LTK: What about habits? Is there anything people should do to take care of their silver jewelry before they store it?
MR: It is a good idea to wipe your silver with a soft, non-abrasive, chemical- and polish-free cloth to rid the silver of any make-up, skin oils, dirt, etc. Additionally, the more often silver is polished, the faster it tarnishes, so the less you polish silver, the less it will tarnish.
Cause and Prevention of Tarnishing
Tarnish appears on silver jewelry as a black, grey, or tan coating on the surface of the metal. Typically, removing the tarnish requires special jewelry cleaning products and can be time consuming. Some silver cleaning products can be damaging to soft gems or antique pieces, so it's important to try to minimize tarnishing using good storage practices.
LTK: What causes silver jewelry to become tarnished?
MR: Silver and silver jewelry tarnish can be caused by many factors but generally, it is the gases in the air that are the main cause. Sulfur (SO2) is one of the biggest culprits of tarnish, as well as Hydrogen Sulfide (H2S) and Chlorine (CI).
LTK: One way to prevent tarnishing when storing silver jewelry is to use an anti-tarnish product. What is Tarnish Tamer?
MR: Tarnish Tamer is a line of tarnish prevention storage products for consumer use that utilizes a patented formula which prevents tarnish before it starts, thereby eliminating the need for constant polishing. Tarnish Tamer works by absorbing tarnish caused by gases in the air. Tarnish Tamer is such a strong magnet for those gases that instead of being attracted to the silver, the gases are attracted to the Tarnish Tamer product which then neutralizes those gases, rendering them harmless to silver.
Anti-Tarnish Products and Delicate Jewelry
There are many products on the market for polishing silver jewelry, and some of these can be harmful to precious gems. Additionally, some antique jewelry features designs that are brought to life by some amount of tarnish. Before selecting any jewelry storage or silver cleaning product, it's important to ask some questions to make sure it's safe for your jewelry.
LTK: Since soft gems are often porous, they can be damaged by cleansers. Is Tarnish Tamer safe for gems like opal or turquoise? Does Tarnish Tamer remove the patina on antique items?
MR: Tarnish Tamer is safe for all metals and gemstones, including very soft gemstones such as opals, pearls, turquoise, emeralds, amber, etc. because it is non-abrasive, and it does not coat or plate the items it protects with any chemicals or oils. Tarnish Tamer prevents tarnish; it does not remove it, so it will not affect the appearance of antique items.
More Information About Jewelry Storage and Tarnish Tamer
If you'd like to learn more about Tarnish Tamer and storing silver jewelry, visit the Tarnish Tamer website. There, you'll find a selection of jewelry storage products, as well as information about how this material works to prevent tarnish.