Sterling silver with 92.5% silver and 7.5% copper can darken under the influence of an aggressive environment. Copper is added to the alloy with silver to give it the necessary strength. It is exactly copper that is responsible for tarnishing. Pure silver is not used in jewelry due to its softness.
The Reasons Why Silver Jewelry Turns Black
Silver alloys easily react with hydrogen sulfide, especially in a humid environment, which results in the occurrence of a black oxide film on the surface. Since hydrogen sulfide is one of the components of the air and the human body, silver inevitably tarnishes with time. Therefore, silver items require periodic cleaning.
If silver jewelry turns black very quickly, for example overnight, then your body has negative sulfur compounds that oxidize the alloy. It is believed that silver is sort of human health indicator. The longer it does not tarnish, the healthier a person is. However, silver darkens even if it is not worn. Tarnishing is quite a natural effect and it depends on the presence of hydrogen sulfide in the air.
If your favorite silver biker jewelry has lost its attractive look, here is a simple yet effective way of how to return brilliance and beauty.
How to Clean Silver Jewelry
A particular cleaning method depends on the depth of oxidation:
1) Light tarnish when a product lost its luster.
In this case, it suffices to wash an item in soapy hot water. You can use either laundry soap or a liquid detergent. After washing, simply wipe a product dry with a soft cotton cloth.
2) A considerable tarnishing when an item looks gray.
To clean such jewelry, you need to make a slurry with hot water, laundry soap, and baking soda. Apply it to the surface of a product and rub it with a toothbrush. If there is no laundry soap, you can use a liquid detergent. When it’s done, wipe an ornament with a dry soft cotton cloth.
If you need to clean a thin chain and you are afraid to tear it, just wrap it around the index finger for a more convenient application of the cleaning slurry. Also, you can pour some baking soda with soap in your palm, put a chain there and rub palms against each other. Thus the links will polish one another from within. Please note that you can’t do it with Cuban weaving chains because links may bend.
3) Strong tarnishing when a whole product is covered with a black oxide film.
- First of all, you need to degrease a product in gasoline, alcohol or other available solvents.
- Rinse an item in a solution of hot water with laundry soap and baking soda.
- After this, take a small enamel or stainless bowl and fill it half with water. Add a spoon of food citric acid and boil the solution. Put a product into the boiling solution for 10-15 minutes.
- To give an item its original shine, you can additionally apply a slurry of hot water, baking soda, and laundry soap with a toothbrush and rub it. After this, simply wipe it dry with a soft cotton cloth.
We hope that these simple tips will help you to maintain your silver biker jewelry as attractive and shiny as the day you bought it!