Have you worn jewelry, whether a high quality piece or affordable fashion accessory, and notice that over time it turns dull, dark or black on the surface?
This is known as jewelry tarnishing, and it happens when the surface of metals comes into contact with our body oils, sweat, makeup, perfumes, lotions, and environmental elements in the air such as water vapour, sulphur dioxide and oxygen. Over time, the metals in our jewelry can react with these moistures, acids, oils and air and become oxidised, eventually wearing them down.
Even sterling silver, vermeil, 10k-18k gold plated and gold-filled jewelry are not spared from tarnishing. They are not resistant and will eventually show signs of wear and tear, but are likely to hold up better than plated jewelry.
In truth, all fashion jewelry can tarnish, and the rate of tarnishing may vary depending on the surrounding environment. How you care for them, your skin composition and the air around you determines how fast or slow tarnishing occurs. We have a few tips on how to keep your jewelry well from tarnishing!
- Always keep your jewelry clean and dry
The fastest way tarnishing occurs is with moisture and oil contact, from wearing lotions and perfumes, washing your hands, and sweating. If wet by accident, wipe and dry straight away! When in doubt always keep your jewelry clean and dry as much as possible, this is also very important for hygiene.
- Store them properly
Keep jewelry well in a dark and dry location. If possible, separate your jewelry by metal and type and store each piece individually in a box, bag or pouch. If your jewelry is out, be sure it’s not in a very humid or windy place and has a consistent temperature. Humidity and air can accelerate the rate of tarnish easily! For a quick, easy and low-cost solution, store them in Ziploc bags and remove as much air as possible before sealing it. With the air removed, it prevents and slows down metal oxidation. You can get some anti-tarnish paper for your storage to prolong the life of your jewelry, it will help absorb the compounds in the surrounding air that causes tarnishing over time.
- Invest in a jewelry protectant spray or coating
Protect your jewelry from elements that cause tarnishing by giving it a coat or spray shield. Some sprays are useful in protecting from allergies as well for hyper sensitive skin. This will help you prolong the life of your jewelry and keep any irritations at bay.
Your fashion jewelry will likely not last forever, but you can minimize signs of wear and tear and extend their life by properly caring for them. I hope this helps in understanding better what tarnishing is and how it's preventable! It's completely natural for metals to tarnish, and it's easy to avoid and take care of. If you’re looking up DIY methods to clean your tarnished jewelry, we highly recommend finding a solution that is reputable and won’t ruin your jewelry.
Hope you enjoy wearing our accessories!