Pure silver is a soft metal, far too soft to be made into silver jewellery that could withstand daily wear and tear. Therefore, most silver jewellery comprises Sterling Silver – an alloy of silver, strengthened by other metals. The standard Sterling Silver (925) alloy is a reference to it’s composition – 925 parts per thousand silver, 75 parts per thousand other metals (usually copper) to give strength.
Silver, like all precious metals will tarnish with time. Tarnish is a natural dulling caused by silver reacting with sulphur or hydrogen sulphide in the air leaving black or brown-coloured dull areas.
Here are a few suggestions for minimising and removing silver tarnish and for keeping your pearls looking gorgeous
- Household cleaning products, air-refreshers, hairsprays, cosmetics, perfumes and chlorinated or salt water can all damage silver and accelerate tarnishing. As with pearl jewellery, try to minimise the contact of your silver jewellery with these products.
- Storage of silver jewellery in humid rooms can also promote tarnishing. Use of air-tight sealed bags containing anti-tarnish squares is recommended for the long term storage of silver jewellery.
- Silver tarnish can easily be removed with an appropriate silver polish cloth. These are NOT recommended for contact with pearls so we suggest you remove pendants from chains before cleaning them. Also care should be taken if delicate gemstones are featured. Please note; silver plated finish can be worn away by over-zealous polishing!
- Freshwater pearls are delicate items which can be harmed unless looked after correctly. The products that harm pearls the most are the perfumes, hair sprays, cosmetics and make up that we wear everyday. Along with other household chemicals, if sprayed near pearls these products can build up on the pearl and damage the surface of the pearl. The surface can become marked, dull, pitted and lose that luminous lustre that defines a freshwater pearls.
- Put your pearls on after you have applied make-up, perfume and hair sprays.
- Don’t spray perfume on the neck area where the pearls will actually sit.
- Avoid touching your pearls when you have just applied hand cream and remove your pearls before applying cleansers or night creams.
- Put them back in their original container, or a velvet lined box. Never store them in plastic.
- Do not put your pearls anywhere hot as the heat will discolour them. Do not steam clean them for the same reason.
- Do not clean pearls using any of the jewellery cleaners made for gold or silver jewellery. Also do not use the ultrasonic cleaning sets as the vibrations can cause the pearls to rub against each other.
- If the pearls are old, and the surface is looking dull, wipe them with a soft damp cloth that has been dipped in a very gentle natural soap solution, and then wipe them with a detergent free damp cloth and allow them to dry FLAT on kitchen paper. Once the pearls have dried, a cloth with a fine smear of olive oil wiped over them will help restore some shine to the surface.
Bish Bosh Becca encloses a small cleaning cloth impregnated with silver cleaner and anti tarnish agent and a jewellery care card with all orders.