Often the jewels we have been darkened, and we wonder how to clean silver jewellery. However, if we take a little care, silver is a material that lasts a long time. To do this, just follow these tips that we bring you to recover the original look of the piece.
Silver jewels darken very quickly, and sometimes it is a pity to let time pass, because silver is a metal that if taken care of, can last a lifetime. Over time the silver turns black and loses its shine, but it is not always due to accumulated dirt.
Occasionally, there may be scratches or furrows formed by the use and rubbing, in which case you need a cleaning with a greater degree of depth. Fortunately, there are several methods to quickly restore silver, and have it again with its original beauty.
I hope that this article will be useful to you, and that your silver jewels shine as they deserve.
It does not hurt to remember it. Although the process of blackening of silver is almost inevitable, we can do our part so that the pieces are better protected. Remember that, apart from the blackening, another problem with these pieces are scratches, scratches and other marks. To avoid them as much as possible, and also better protect the jewels of the environment, the main thing is to keep them in a jeweller. But not piled up. The typical hodgepodge of pendants and rings mixed in a box without compartments only serves to scratch each other. It is important to have a jeweller with its compartments, and if possible with cotton or some other soft fabric that quilts the pieces.
This does not appear in any article about how silver is cleaned, and everyone is surprised when I explain it. But it is surprising the number of stains that can be removed from a piece of silver by simply applying an eraser. Do not forget to try it before launching yourself for other more expeditious methods.
We start with somewhat more elaborate methods, which seek above all a chemical reaction that eliminates that layer of silver sulphide. The first trick, one of the best known, is to use sodium bicarbonate. Create a paste with water, spread it on the silver surface you want to clean, and then rub it well with a soft cloth. That will take the sulphur ahead.
This is an even more “home-made” variant than the previous one. The components of the toothpaste react with the silver sulphide, eliminating the sulphur. So in very large pieces (for example, trays or silver teapots) you can use toothpaste. First you must clean the surface well with soap and water, and then apply the paste with a cloth. You let it act for a few minutes, and you eliminate it with another round of soap and water. And now you can use that tray as a mirror, if you want.
A somewhat more expeditious system. Personally, and given the risks and the available options, it is the one I like least to use. But it works well if done correctly. It involves mixing a part of hot water with another part of ammonia, in exactly the same proportion. This combination eliminates silver sulphide at high speed, but ammonia is a very abrasive agent: if you pass, it may end up affecting the piece. In fact, if it is a jewel in which there are gems, or especially pearls, it is better that you forget it, because it will surely affect them. Ammonia, for example, corrodes the nacre that covers the pearl and gives it that special shine.
A mixture that gives good results: a glass of hot water, a handful of coarse salt, a tablespoon of vinegar, and a stream of dishwashing liquid. It removes well (it is important that the salt dissolves in the water) and submerges the silver pieces in this solution. Leave them a quarter of an hour, rinse them under the tap and dry them with a cloth: as new.
A more elaborate method, but one that offers wonderful results to clean money. It’s about taking a container (a bucket, a large salad bowl… depends on your pieces) and lining it with aluminium foil. Then you just have to fill it with hot water and salt. When introducing the pieces of silver a curious chemical reaction occurs: the salt chlorine reacts with the aluminium, taking the silver sulphide along the way, and leaving the pure silver in its place. Give it ten minutes for the reaction to be complete, take out the silver, dry it and enjoy the results.
With the methods explained above, you already have a wide range of options to clean money and leave it as the first day. They are also methods that can be used for large pieces, tableware, etc., as well as for silver jewellery (with the precautions already mentioned). However, there are 4 more tips that I want to give you, and that will help you in cleaning your jewellery and silver pieces.
• The Brush and Chamois: In many occasions, you will have to clean engraved silver, or with shapes that make it difficult to clean the entire surface with a cloth. On these occasions, you need to use a brush, impregnated in the formula you have used. It is important that you have soft bristles (we do not want to scratch silver), and that you rub in a straight line. On the other hand, when you have finished cleaning it, it is very important to dry the piece with a soft cloth and rub it to make it shine. That gives the final touch that leaves the silver as to put it in an exhibitor.
• The Wax: A piece of usual silver is the candlestick. Many times, these are candlesticks that we use, and therefore it is normal to have wax stuck “impossible to remove”. Well, to clean the piece, you’ll have to remove it. But do not think about doing it with your fingernail, or with a toothpick, or anything like that. It is as simple as filling a bucket or a pan with very hot water and leaving the candelabra inside. The water will take the wax, and then you can clean the candelabrum in the solution you prefer.
• The Specific Products: All the solutions mentioned are home-made and ecological. But if you do not have the means or the spirit remember that in many supermarkets they sell special products to clean and repair scratches on silver.
• Outdoors and Gloves: Elements such as ammonia, or other combinations, produce toxic gases, as you well know. And at the end of the day, when cleaning, you are eliminating sulphur. Remember to always do this in a ventilated place, so that gas does not accumulate and use gloves to clean jewellery.
In general, cleaning any jewel that has gem-set stones is an added difficulty. Here, I leave a series of ideas that you should keep in mind:
• You cannot use very hot water, the gems depending on the crimping technique that is used, they are fastened with the metal that surrounds it, be it grains, claws, etc. However, for many jewellery today, adhesives are used to hold them. Be very careful because the heat of the water can weaken the properties of the adhesive and thus cause the falling of the gems.
• Rub with extreme care, important that it is a brush with very soft bristles.
• Avoid fabric cloths, as it is very easy for a thread to get caught in some edge of the setting, and that can damage the jewel or even tear the stone.
• If you wear pearls, never use ammonia because it eats the protective layer of nacre, ruining the pearl and leaving it off, rough and ugly. In general, to clean silver jewellery with pearls it is best to limit yourself to lukewarm water with neutral soap or just water, rubbing very carefully with soft bristle brush or chamois. And then let it dry in the open air for a long time, so that the thread that unites the pearls if it is a necklace also dries.
If with these tips we are not able to recover the original brightness, it is best to take the pieces to a jeweller. Silver, as a soft material that is, requires some care when handling it as it can bend or scratch easily. On the other hand, to prevent this dirt from appearing, we recommend placing the silver jewellery inside a zippered plastic bag. In this way, the pieces will not be in contact with air and humidity and will take longer to break down.