Have you ever wondered how to clean sterling silver naturally? Different environments affect the rate at which sterling tarnishes, but some tarnish is inevitable due to exposure to air, oils from skin, chemicals in the air, etc. You don't need expensive, chemical solutions or special cloths to keep your jewelry looking like new! While a handy cleaning cloth works with smooth surfaces, it doesn't always reach all the crevices and sometimes you want a little brighter shine.
You may notice that my jewelry stays brighter longer than other sterling. This is due to the quality of silver. All the silver I use for wire-wrapping and hammering is Argentium® sterling silver. This type of sterling is .935 fine silver (more than sterling, which is typically .925) and has germanium in it, which raises the surface and prevents oxidation and therefore, tarnish. But there are still times when you want to give your sterling pieces a clean up, and it's easy to do with this quick and natural cleaning process. I have used this on sterling as well as a number of different gemstones. I've had great success with this for many years and love that there's no need for stinky chemicals! As I can't know exactly how this works with your specific gemstones/metals etc, please use at your own risk.
1 tbsp baking soda
1 tbsp salt
hot water (just below boiling)
*disposable aluminum pan
*Note: The pan must be aluminum to create the chemical reaction. You could also use aluminum foil (with no plastic coating) to carefully line a bowl.
Place tarnished jewelry in the aluminum pan. Add equal parts baking soda and salt to the pan. Pour hot water evenly over the powder mix to distribute it. A sulfuric reaction will occur which will have a slight odor. (I don’t recommend smelling it too closely.)
Move the jewelry around a bit with a utensil. You will see the silver turn a shiny white after the bubbles calm down (after a few seconds). Carefully pour out the liquid and rinse the jewelry a few times (careful to protect it from falling out or down drain). After residue is rinsed off, spread jewelry out on a towel and pat dry. You can do this process over and over to remove old tarnish.
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