Sterling silver is one of the most popular materials for jewelry because it’s beautiful and will last a very long time. If you’re planning to purchase a sterling silver cross necklace, you’ll want to pay special attention to its care so that you can enjoy its beauty and intrinsic value for years to come. Failure to properly care for your jewelry can cause it to tarnish, so to help avoid this, here are some tips you should follow for taking care of your sterling silver jewelry.
What Tarnishing Is
Tarnishing happens when oxygen or sulfur comes in contact with the sterling silver. This is also called oxidation. The higher the percentage of sterling silver that’s in your jewelry, the higher the chances of tarnishing are. This chemical reaction causes the jewelry to look darker or dirty. While tarnished sterling silver can be reclaimed, it’s easier to prevent tarnishing by following some tips about when to not wear the jewelry and how to clean and store it properly.
When to Remove Jewelry
Christian cross necklaces can be worn most of the time, and in fact, wearing it often is one of the best ways to combat tarnishing. The skin’s natural oils help the jewelry retain its shine, so it’s actually better to wear your necklace rather than trying to keep it safe by letting it sit unused in a jewelry box. However, there are times when it’s best to remove the jewelry to keep it in better condition and to avoid losing the necklace. Many household chores require the use of cleaners that contain chlorine or sulfur, both of which will speed up the oxidation process that will result in tarnishing. Perspiration and rubber can also speed up this process, so it’s a good idea to remove jewelry when doing chores. Activities such as exercising, swimming, or sunbathing can also be harmful to your sterling silver because sunlight can cause tarnishing as well. Make sure your jewelry is the last thing you put on when getting ready for the day. Makeup, lotion, hairspray, and perfume all contain ingredients that can speed up the tarnishing process.
Cleaning Sterling Silver
If your sterling silver hasn’t started tarnishing at all, you can wash your jewelry using just soap and water. If you need something more intense, try using baking soda and water to gently scrub the jewelry. If your jewelry has heavy tarnish on it, you’ll need to try something more effective like white vinegar and baking soda. A half-cup of vinegar with two tablespoons of baking soda creates a great soaking solution to remove tarnish, and then you can rinse and pat the jewelry dry. Once the jewelry is clean, use a soft polishing cloth and polish that’s specifically designed for sterling silver.
How you store your sterling silver jewelry also plays a big role in how quickly it tarnishes. Exposure to air and moisture speeds up the tarnishing process, so use an airtight container like a zipping plastic baggie or specialty jewelry bag. Make sure the jewelry is stored in a cool, dark place and that the pieces of jewelry are stored individually rather than as a group. You can purchase anti-tarnish strips, chalk, or silica packs to store with your jewelry. These products absorb moisture and sulfur to help prevent tarnishing. To find the best choices for sterling silver and other types of Christian jewelry online, check out Atrio Hill today.