So you’ve had your favorite shiny silver necklace for a while now, and one day you decide to wear it to match your outfit. To your horror, you realize it’s turning black. Unfortunately, this is one of the downsides of silver jewelry.
However, all hope isn’t lost; we’re here to help. So, don’t throw out your necklaces. In this guide, we’re sharing why silver turns black and what to do when you notice your silver necklace turning black.
Why is my silver necklace turning black?
Silver reacts with sulfur compounds such as hydrogen sulfide in the air to form a black layer of silver sulfide that coats the silver. The presence of moisture, high temperatures, and environmental pollutants accelerates this reaction. Working or living near a manufacturing, electric, or chemical plant will also accelerate the tarnishing.
Contact with hairspray, deodorant, moisturizers, make-up and perfumes can also cause tarnish as they may contain abrasive chemicals that cause corrodes silver.
Furthermore, the natural oils from your skin can also react with your silver necklace. The magnitude to which silver reacts with these substances from your skin depends on alcohol consumption, the kind of food you eat, and whether you are on any medication.
These factors influence your skin’s acidity, which can lead to a reaction. In addition, sweat will raise your skin’s acidity which could tarnish the silver.
Is it real silver if it turns black?
Yes, real silver turns black due to oxidation when exposed to air, chemicals, and moisture.
Does pure silver turn black?
Yes. When pure silver is exposed to sulfur compounds in the air, it turns black. However, pure silver isn’t very reactive and doesn’t react with oxygen and water.
Does silver turn black on my skin because I’m sick?
Your illness may not be a direct cause of silver turning black. However, your medication for that illness might contain sulphur which will affect the silver. If your medicine contains sulphur, you might want to store your jewelry safely until you’re off treatment.
Changes in body chemistry may cause silver to turn black. Some amino acids in sweat contain sulfur or sulfides, which can accelerate the tarnish on your silver jewelry. Chemotherapy and hormonal changes in adolescents and menopausal women are known to alter the body’s chemistry.
How do you keep a silver necklace from turning black?
Now that we understand what causes silver to turn black, let’s discuss how to prevent your silver necklace from turning black.
Keep your necklace clean and dry
When you take off your silver necklace at the end of the day, clean it immediately. You can wipe it with a clean cloth, use a silver jewelry cleanser, polishing cloth, or polishing pens. You could also use a microfiber rag or any soft and non-scratchy material. Avoid using paper towels or toilet paper, as they can scratch your silver.
Store your necklace properly
Store your sterling silver necklace safe from air and moisture. Use a dry, air-tight container or bag, a jewelry box lined with velvet to absorb excess moisture or a Ziploc bag. For extra safety, add small packs of silica gel to your storage container to absorb any moisture.
Put on your necklace last
When getting dressed, always put on your silver necklace last to avoid contact with chemicals from lotions, fragrances, makeup, and hair oils. These chemicals can speed up the tarnishing process. Even though silver can withstand harsh conditions, exposure to these chemicals for a long time will easily damage it. In addition, wearing clothes after putting on jewelry might cause scratching on your sterling silver jewelry.
💡 Take Note: After handling cosmetics and other chemicals, wash your hands with soap and water before putting on your jewelry.
Avoid exposure to household chemicals and direct sunlight
Contact with household cleaning chemicals containing chlorine will cause a tarnish. Also, foods with sulfur, like onions, will blacken your silver. So, remove your silver jewelry before cooking, washing dishes, and swimming. Also, silver tarnishes when exposed to direct sunlight, so you should remove your silver jewelry before sunbathing.
Avoid wearing silver while sleeping
When you’re under your bedding, it gets warm, and the neck gets warmer and sweatier than many body parts. Some people sweat more than others, causing the silver jewelry to oxidize faster and turn black.
Can you restore necklaces that have turned black?
Yes, you can. Cleaning your silver necklace will restore its shine.
How to clean a silver necklace that turned black
You can clean your silver necklace to make it look as good as new. Here are three ways to do it.
Method 1: Baking soda and water
Follow these steps to clean your jewelry with baking soda and water:
- Baking soda
- Microfibre cloth
- Mix one part water and two parts baking soda to form a paste.
- Apply the paste to the silver necklace and leave it on for two to three minutes.
- Rub gently with a soft cloth. You can use a soft-bristled toothbrush to reach the crevices.
- Rinse your necklace with cold water.
- Dry it off using a microfibre cloth. Buff the necklace in circular motions to polish it.
Method 2: Vinegar and baking soda
Here’s how to clean your necklace with vinegar and baking soda:
- Baking soda
- Soft cloth
- Place the silver necklace in a bowl.
- Add a cup of vinegar and 4 tablespoons of baking soda.
- Leave the silver in the mixture for two to three hours.
- Rinse with clean water.
- Dry the silver necklace with a soft cloth.
Method 3: Aluminum foil and baking soda
Follow these steps to clean your silver necklace with aluminum foil and baking soda:
- Aluminum foil
- A quarter cup of baking soda
- 2 teaspoons of kosher salt
- A pan of boiling water
- Large bowl
- Soft cloth
- Line the entire surface of the bowl with aluminum foil.
- Add boiling water to the bowl
- Add ¼ cup of baking soda
- Add two teaspoons of kosher salt to the water and stir. Bubbles will form.
- Place the silver necklace in the solution and mix gently.
- Let it soak for five minutes.
- Remove the necklace from the mixture and dry it with a soft cloth.
Restore your silver necklace’s shine.
Although it’s a precious metal with a gorgeous appeal, its major shortcoming is that it turns black over time. However, this shouldn’t discourage you from buying silver jewelry as you can prevent it. And if you notice your silver necklace turning black, you can clean it to restore its shine.
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