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Is Summer Ruining your Silver Jewelry?

When most of us think of summer, we think of a weekend at the lake or the beach, picnics in the park, summer vacations…  Some of us think of the number that the humidity is going to do on our hair, but we’ve got ways of managing that.  Sort of.  But did you know that summer humidity can actually do a number on your silver jewelry, too?  Well, that and a few other common, largely unpreventable elements.  Silver jewelry is susceptible to tarnish.  That’s just how it is.  But there are a few circumstances you should be aware of that can cause your silver jewelry to tarnish at an accelerated rate.  The good news is that with a little knowledge and regular jewelry cleaning, there’s really nothing to worry about.  You can keep your silver jewelry gleaming and bright if you just take good care of it.

Sterling Silver Ring with Black Spinel Gemstones
Sterling Silver Ring with Black Spinel Gemstones

What Causes Tarnish?
So what causes the dreaded – yet inevitable – tarnishing of silver?  Silver is a reactive metal, meaning that it can have a chemical reaction when exposed to certain non-metal elements.  You know, like… air.  Now, while it’s true that the simple exposure to our atmosphere will cause silver to tarnish eventually, air alone is not the real enemy here.  High humidity can actually accelerate the silver tarnishing process, which is why your silver jewelry can be slightly more vulnerable in the summer months or in tropical climates.  Does that mean you shouldn’t wear it?  Oh, Heaven’s no!  The stranger thing is that the more frequently silver jewelry is worn, the less it tarnishes when compared to silver that just sits in a jewelry armoire.  There are a couple dozen other elements that cause silver to react this way; sulfur-containing elements, for instance, and even some foods, but the good news is that all it takes is a little proper cleaning and maintenance to keep your silver jewelry looking just as stunning as the day you bought it.
Silver Cleaning Tips
Silver tarnish in its early stages is often no more than a dull discoloration.  If not corrected, though, silver tarnish can appear black and become much more difficult to remove.  So the best thing to do is to address the issue early on.  Slight sliver tarnish can be removed with simple silver polish or jewelry cleaning cloth.  More advanced stages of tarnish may require a chemical dip.  In either case, follow product directions, and follow up with professional jewelry cleaning at least once a year to ensure thorough cleaning and the best preservation of your silver jewelry, regardless of what the elements have to say on the matter.

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