Tuesday, 24 November 2015

How To Brighten Silver And Remove Tarnish

I must admit, I do like a bit of bling. Not tacky jewellery mind, but I like my accessories (especially ethnic-style jewellery) and I have some statement pieces.

Image credit: starbright
Unfortunately, due to constant moving, sometimes I’ll forget about some of my jewellery pieces, or I’ll go through phases where I just don’t feel like wearing too much jewellery and some pieces lie forgotten.

As a result, some of my beloved jewellery pieces have gone from being bright sterling silver, to a dark, dull and tarnished colour.

I thought these pieces had perhaps reached their sell-by date so were beyond repair... that the change in colour was inevitable for cheap-ish jewellery that’s prone to rusting or something.

About to chuck it in a carrier bag to give to charity (even if charity shops can’t resell your stuff they usually do some sort of textile recycling, so they know exactly what to do with unwanted materials) I thought actually, I bet there’s a solution online from lifestyle gurus.

And apparently there is.

I mean, you could just buy a silver-cleaning product or something... or you could make one yourself using everyday household items. I’ve seen different methods, some incorporating the use of toothpaste, others white vinegar or lemon juice etc.

I tried the following method, with great results.

Things you will need:

- Bicarbonate of Soda
- Aluminium foil
- Boiling water (suddenly feels like an episode of Breaking Bad)

Basically, line a bowl with tin foil (SHINY side up – this is important!). Add boiling water and a tablespoon of bicarbonate of soda. Then chuck in your tarnished silver, and move it around a little bit.

There’s basically some sort of reaction where the dirt and tarnish lifts from the silver and sticks to the foil instead.

I let the jewellery pieces sit for a few minutes and then took them out. They were noticeably brighter. I then gave them a quick polish with some wipes, just to get into the nooks and crannies which lifted any residual dirt.

Voila! Good as new!
As you can see, the pieces are much cleaner and brighter in the right image.

Now that I know these particular sterling silver pieces are susceptible to tarnishing (which makes sense - since they’re not pure silver, the other metal components are prone to reacting with everyday elements), I’ll probably store them in a little pot, instead of just having them laid-out on my dressing table, collecting dust.

So if you own a piece of silver jewellery that you love, but you suspect it may have had its day and you're ready to throw it out, why not try this brightening method instead? I’m so quick to get rid of things because I hate clutter but sometimes things can be patched up and revived.

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