Sterling silver beads for jewelry making are a popular choice among jewelry crafters and customers. Though durable and beautiful, however, shimmering sterling silver items will tarnish over time. The darkening that occurs is a form of corrosion from reactions to everyday substances like oxygen, water, and sulfur-containing foods. But unlike rust, it does not break down the metal beneath. Fortunately, tarnish can be removed and prevented with the right jewelry care techniques.
Wear Sterling Silver Jewelry Regularly
Wearing sterling silver can actually prevent discoloration. The oils from your skin can protect sterling silver beads, helping them maintain their shine.
Avoid Contact with Substances that Cause Tarnishing
Don’t wear sterling silver Bali beads or other sterling silver jewelry when bathing or swimming. Remove bracelets and rings that could come into contact with cleaning products or foods. Also avoid contact with sulfur-containing products such as wool, latex, eggs, mustard, mayonnaise, and onions, which can accelerate tarnishing. Wait until after applying makeup and perfume to put on sterling silver jewelry, making it your finishing touch.
Store Sterling Silver Jewelry Carefully
Limit exposure to air and humidity, which accelerate tarnishing, by storing sterling silver items in sealed bags, such as zippered plastic bags that close tightly. Insert humidity absorbing chalk, activated charcoal packets, or silica gel packs in the storage container for added protection. Be sure to store each item separately to prevent scratching and tangling.
Clean Sterling Silver Regularly
Regularly polish your sterling silver alphabet beads and jewelry at the first sign of darkening and after wearing it to remove skin substances that cause discoloration. Do not use abrasive towels or tissues – only soft nonabrasive flannel and microfiber materials. Polish back and forth. Do not use a circular motion as this can magnify scratches.
Ways to Clean Sterling Silver Jewelry
Cleaning sterling silver beads isn’t hard. There many safe options for cleaning and removing tarnish, including:
- Silver polishing cloth
- Tarnish-removing polishing cream
- Easy Silver Cleaning Bath – The “Electrolyte Cleaning Method”
This at-home method is easy and safe. Start by lining a glass bowl or container with foil. Add 1-2 tablespoons of salt and baking soda. Place your sterling silver jewelry in the bath and let it soak for 5 minutes. (You may notice a rotten egg smell – this is normal.) After the tarnish disappears, rinse thoroughly with cool water and dry with a soft, lint-free cloth.
Note: For heavily tarnished jewelry, you may need to repeat the cleaning process a few times. But your persistence will pay off – cleaning can make even the oldest sterling silver jewelry shine like new again.
When to Enlist Professional Assistance
If your silver jewelry has significant discoloration or is fragile, old, or valuable, it may be best to have it professionally cleaned.
Sterling silver beads can provide many years of enjoyment. Create designs that remain bright and beautiful. Shop jewelry making supplies wholesale at Crystal Findings today.