Caring for your Silver Jewellery
Although silver will not oxidize in the same way as iron or other metals i.e. rust, it will over the years begin to tarnish if left unprotected and unpolished. For this purpose we suggest a good polish cloth. If its really bad then the item may need to be professionally cleaned on a silver polishing rotor such as the one shown in the image. Another method of removing tarnish is wrapping the item of silver in Aluminium foil and placing it in a warm pot of a solution of water and baking powder. The tarnish will transfer to the Aluminium foil however for antique or very detailed items of silver we do not recommend this because although this method returns silver particles to the silver item it does not always return them to the exact spot. This can sometimes result in pitting that can be seen under a magnifying lens. Finally if the tarnish is really bad then as a last option the item may need to be treated in a pickling solution.
What is Tarnish?
Tarnish is basically the reaction of silver to compounds of sulphur in the air. This reaction creates silver sulphide and is characterized by a dark grey to black colour. If left for many years it can only be removed by professional cleaning agents such as a high powered cleaning wheel. To avoid this tarnish we recommend that the silver is polished at regular intervals. For this purpose a silver polish cloth is ideal because it has the right balance of anti-sulphide agents impregnated in the cloth and such a polish cloth is available from this site.
How to Remove Scratches from Silver
For deep scratches we fear the only real method is one of various professional methods some of which may include rebuilding the affected area with a new layer of molten silver. Fine or surface scratches on the other hand to not need such drastic action. Instead you can buy a wax known as "jewellers rouge" which contains various chemical agents that also polish the silver at the same time. Professional jewellers will sometimes rub down the surface with very fine emery paper and then apply the surface to a polishing motor to restore the shine. Aside from keeping it clean and tarnish free another aspect of caring for silver jewellery is to ensure the item does not get scratched by keeping it in a safe and secure box or sealed in a protective pouch.