Tarnishing means that the top layer of a metal has corroded. Different factors (such as exposure to oxygen, hydrogen sulfide or other chemicals) cause metals to dull or change color. The effect only changes the surface layer of the metal and the inner layers are preserved. Tarnishing is basically what has happened to The Statue of Liberty. The statue is made of copper and should be brown, but due to the exposure of air and sea water, the copper has corroded and the chemical reaction has turned the copper the color green.
Tarnish can be prevented and can also be removed. In jewelry, sterling silver is the most common metal to succumb to tarnishing.
- Store your jewelry in a place that is as air tight as possible
- Regularly clean jewelry with a polishing cloth, especially after the jewelry has been exposed to lotions, make up or other chemicals
Some jewelry brands, such as Origami Owl, use a process called Ion Plating to help prevent tarnishing. This process adds a protective layer to the jewelry to help resist metal corrosion.
- Jewelry can be dipped in special solutions that are available on the market (look at usage instructions on the packaging)
- In an aluminum pan, place the jewelry in the pan, cover with baking soda then pour hot water over the jewelry (may require repeating the process multiple times and do not use this method if the jewelry has any stones)
- Using a polishing cloth, rub the tarnish off the jewelry
If you are unsure about the metals that your jewelry is made from, contact the business where you purchased your item and they should be able to tell you more about the jewelry or at least give you some options on how to replace your jewelry. You can also contact a local jeweler, who may be able to give you more information.
If you are one of my Origami Owl customers, please contact me first before taking any steps to remove tarnish on your own. I can check to see if your item is still under warranty and assist you with any issues. Don’t hesitate to reach out to me! It is my job to help you however I can!
Want to hang out and talk some more about this topic? Come join me over at The Cher Circle!