Silver jewellery turns gloomy because of sulphide or oxidation reactions, where silver reacts chemically and changes colour when it comes into contact with oxygen, sulphur and acid.
Sulphide: When silver comes into contact with sulphur, silver sulphide is produced, and over time a black film of silver sulphide forms. Daily exposure to sulphur includes air, rain, hot springs, etc.
Oxidation: When silver comes into contact with oxygen in the air, it will oxidise and form silver oxide, causing the surface of the silver jewellery to turn grey or black.
Acidic Substances: Oxidation will also occur when silver comes into contact with acidic substances, causing it to change colour. Daily exposure to acidic substances includes perfume, bleach and sweat.
To prevent silver jewellery from turning black and yellow, care must be taken when wearing and storing it.
The best way to maintain your silver jewellery is to wear it regularly. The oils on your skin will cling to the surface of the jewellery to block the effects of sulphur or acid in the environment, keeping it in its original lustre.
Avoid contact with sulphur or acidic substances such as near or in hot springs, rain, baths, sweat and bleach. Avoid wearing perfume when wearing silver jewellery, spray with perfume and wait for it to dry before wearing silver jewellery. When wearing silver jewellery, it is important to avoid contact with other precious metal jewellery or hard objects that may scratch it.
Keep your silver jewellery as dry as possible, dry it when not wearing it and store it in a sealed bag or box. Each piece of silver jewellery should be stored separately to avoid contact with other precious metal jewellery or hard objects that could scratch it.
If you find your silver jewellery starting to tarnish or lose its shine, you can use a soft-bristled or old toothbrush, a paper towel or a small rag, moistened with non-particulate toothpaste and a little water to gently brush the surface and crevices of your silver jewellery. Avoid using hard-bristled toothbrushes that may scratch the surface of the piece.
If the silver is visibly darkened, you can use a silver wipe to gently rub the silver in the same direction, the chemical on the wipe will clean the oxides from the surface of the silver. Be careful to use the wipe gently and in the same direction to avoid rubbing the surface of the silver. Silver wipes contain chemicals and should never be washed in water.