Top 9 Reasons your Silver will Tarnish

Ever wonder why your silver jewellery tarnishes much quicker than your gold, or why your silver jewellery seems to tarnish more quickly than everybody elses.  Well here is a quick rundown on what causes silver to tarnish, and what can be done to reduce, delay, or remove it.

While many of us think of sterling silver as being pure, in fact it is only 92.5% pure with the remaining 7.5% being a mixture of metals which make it harder (including copper).  It’s the copper when exposed to air which makes it tarnish.  This can be hastened by chemicals (either internal body chemistry), or external via exposure to environmental elements.

Circle of life pendant - small

Circle of life pendant – small


  • skin oils
  • perspiration
  • body acidity
  • salt (including salt water e.g pools and sea)
  • humidity
  • soaps and fragrances
  • foods high in sulfur including onions
  • non purified water and silver remaining wet
  • acidity of storage boxes and pouches.


Fingerprint charm - Pandora Compatible



While it may be appealing to store your jewellery in a fabric jewellery box, exposure to certain fabrics and humidity can result in the silver quickly tarnishing.  While nowhere near as aesthetically pleasing as a jewellery box, silver jewellery that is not being worn should be stored in a sealed plastic bag.  If you must insist on using a jewellery box, be sure to invest in some anti tarnish tabs.

sterling silver fluorite peapod pendant bracelet


Normally the tarnish will lift easily with a soft silver polishing cloth or a chemically impregnated polishing pad.   Polishing pads are often provided with Custom Keepsakes guitar picks, bookmarks and pendants.   Many jewellers will use a tumbler, or ultrasonic cleaner to gently remove tarnish.  While silver dips, silver polish (for example Silvo), and baking soda solutions can be used, these should be used with caution particularly if a patina (sulphur based solution) has been used to highlight or darken areas.

If you love to wear silver but think your body chemistry might be the issue, try looking for fine silver (99.9% pure silver), or Argentium silver, which contains another ingredient providing a protective layer slowing the onset of tarnishing.  All Custom Keepsakes fingerprint jewellery is created from fine silver, with sterling silver findings.  Alternatively use a fine layer of Renaissance Wax (which is a super fine lacquer like substance) to create a waterproof barrier between the jewellery and your skin.

Interested in exploring our range of fine silver and sterling silver  personalised keepsake jewellery?

For more information on cleaning your silver jewellery, keep an eye on my blog posts.



  1. sian May 20, 2016 at 11:05 am - Reply

    Ah!!!! That answered a lot of questions for me!

    • owner May 20, 2016 at 11:30 am - Reply

      Glad I could be of some help to you Sian

  2. Charlene May 21, 2016 at 10:07 pm - Reply

    Thanks for sharing your tips, tricks and knowledge. I absolutely LOVE your work!

    • owner May 22, 2016 at 6:29 pm - Reply

      Thanks Charlene. I’m glad you love my work.

  3. Amanda May 22, 2016 at 9:54 am - Reply

    Seems so strange to put beautiful jewelry in a plastic bag! But I guess it’ll stay beautiful then 🙂

    • owner May 22, 2016 at 6:28 pm - Reply

      yes it is strange but apart from using anti tarnish tabs its the only really effective way to protect against the environment

  4. Michelle May 25, 2016 at 7:34 am - Reply

    Awesome explanation Lois.. thanks!

  5. Jim May 27, 2016 at 2:08 pm - Reply

    I wanted to thank you for this great read!! I definitely enjoyed every little bit of it.
    I have got you saved as a favorite to check out new stuff you

    • owner May 27, 2016 at 3:50 pm - Reply

      Glad you found it useful Jim and looking forward to seeing you back.

  6. owner August 15, 2016 at 9:54 am - Reply

    thanks for the feedback

  7. September 17, 2016 at 12:55 am - Reply

    It’s actually a cool and helpful piece of info. I’m glad that you simply
    shared this useful info with us. Please keep us up to
    date like this. Thank you for sharing.

  8. Dody April 19, 2017 at 3:27 pm - Reply

    Good info! My partner loves her silvers

    • owner April 19, 2017 at 4:14 pm - Reply

      Glad it was useful for you

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