Cleaning silver jewelry
Silver is eventually going to change color when exposed to tarnishing elements.
It is advisable to clean silver jewelry after each use in order to keep its original luster and color. There are several methods and products that can be used and work well but are to be used with care when your silver is combined with gemstones. Certain stones are especially delicate to abrasion or chemical elements contained in silver cleaning products (in particular you should pay attention to pearls and softer quartz-based stones).
Store-bought special silver cleaning liquid solutions usually require soaking and gentle brushing of jewelry pieces (and is usually not recommended with gemstones), but by far the most popular product is the silver care cloth – a soft cloth treated with cleaning and polishing agents and tarnish inhibitors. It works well but needs to be replaced often. Also, if your jewelry comes with etched matte surface then keep in mind that cleaning it often with cleaning cloth will eventually make the surface shiny.
In addition to ready-made anti tarnish solutions and special cleaning cloth there are several home-methods that can work very well and require products you most likely already have at home.
Baking Soda and Aluminum Foil
Add boiling water and baking soda to a bowl layered with aluminum foil, dip in your jewelry and remove after a few minutes, and then rinse under water and dry. The chemical reaction will remove tarnish from the silver.
Lemon and Salt Bath
Squeeze a lemon into a bowl with 3 tablespoons of salt and hot water and place in the tarnished jewelry for 5 minutes. Remove and rub with soft cloth.
Laundry detergent or Dish washing liquid
Dissolve the detergent in hot water and use an old tooth-brush or any other soft brush or dish-washing sponge (be careful not to scratch the surface if your jewelry is polished, this is only recommendable for etched items). Rinse in warm water.
Sour Tamarind Juice or Ketchup
Pour thick unsweetened tamarind juice or ketchup into a bowl with your jewelry. Make sure that it covers jewelry completely. Leave it in a room temperature for 30 minutes or until you can see that silver is getting brighter. Use the steel pot scrubber to rub off the residual then rinse under water..
Coca-Cola, Beer or Vinegar
Pour the liquid into a bowl and soak the jewelry in it for 10 minutes then remove, rinse under water and rub with a cloth.
Take a pea sized amount of toothpaste on a dish and rub into the silver using an old soft tooth-brush. Rinse in warm water.
All these methods will work differently according to the level of tarnish and the mixture of silver. The purer the silver, the easier it usually is to remove the black residue. In addition, always remember to store your pieces in a closed container and regularly clean your jewelry – this protects it from discoloration. Also, remember not to swim in chlorinated pools, hot springs or clean using bleach or ammonia containing products, while wearing your silver jewelry.