I love the patina of sterling silver. There is a gorgeous softness of color sterling possesses that when left to the elements or exposed to chemicals, even perfumes, oils, creams or make up can help to oxidize and tarnish the sterling. Oxidation changes that soft gorgeous color to a dark almost black shade. Sterling beaded jewelry designs often has oxidized beads in the jewelry design which have been blackened on purpose. These oxidized beads enhance the beauty and design of the beads and enhance the design of the piece of jewelry. Caring for the sterling sometimes presents a problem. Of course, if you wear your sterling often, the natural oils in your body seem to keep the piece in pristine condition, but if it sits unworn and exposed to air, you may find it will require cleaning on a regular basis.
There are many products out there to help with this process. Caring for your silver beaded jewelry is not difficult.
Listed below are number of suggestions.
With little or no tarnish:
* There is a 2 part cloth available – one of the cloths is impregnated with a polishing compound which takes off the excess tarnish. The second cloth polishes the sterling and cleans off the remnants of the polishing compound left on the silver from the first cloth. This is a very good solution for beaded jewelry designs that use oxidized beads as an integral part of the jewelry design, as the cloth will not remove the tarnish that is purposely placed on the beads. It is also an easy way to give your sterling a quick shine.
* The one part cloth is much the same as the above, except it cleans and polishes using only the one cloth
* Soft, cotton cloths – lint free is best- combined with a non abrasive detergent and water will help take off moderately tarnished silver. Be cautious not to remove any oxidation that was put there on purpose. Brushes of any kind are too abrasive for the soft sterling and will likely cause damage. It is best to stick with something soft. Rinse your jewelry carefully and wipe with a dry soft cloth.
For more tarnish:
* There are many silver cleaners available, most can be purchased in the grocery or drug store.
* For a quick fix there is a jar containing silver cleaning fluid where you dip the article into the fluid, remove it and rinse with water. This takes the tarnish off like magic. Again, be cautious that it does not remove more than you want it to remove.
* Also available is a paste that comes with a little sponge. With the help of some water on the sponge and the paste it gently removes the tarnish safely.
Enjoy your jewelry, wear it often, keep it clean and store it securely.
Karen Samuel is a jewelry designer/business entrepreneur with a passion for life. Interests include people, technology, music, design, good food, and fine wine.
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