I do outdoor craft shows and love working with beads. I purchased small gift boxes with clear lids about 2 x 3 inches. They look good with one pair of silver plated dangle earrings in each box. They tarnish very quickly and it takes 3 times longer to clean a pair than to make a new pair.
What neutralizes silver oxide (the tarnish on my silver)? I am tired of trying to clean in all the tiny, tiny nooks between the beads. Help please. Thanks.
By Carol from Waynesboro, GA
I sell silver jewelry. I use a silver polishing cloth & sometimes silver polish.
I also make jewelry. I usually store sterling silver in a zip-bag with a 3M anti-tarnish strip. When I present jewelry in a box, I place the small zip bag with an anti-tarnish strip underneath the "cotton." I make sure I tell the recipient about storing the jewelry long-term in the bag with the strip. The strips don't last forever, and when they feel like it needs to be replaced, they can place a plain piece of chalk in the bag.
I've gotten my anti-tarnish strips at artbeads.com, but I see that they're out at the moment. Riogrande.com sells them in larger quantities, but you need to set up an account to use them (might be worthwhile if you have a sales tax license). Right now they have 1000 1-inch strips for about $40. There are also anti-tarnish zip-bags, and anti-tarnish tissue paper.
Another great idea is to keep some Tarnex handy. It's literally dip and drip, then dry.
Check out the archives. There are several good recipes for homemade cleaners and lots of recommendations for commercial ones. I have used the baking soda/foil/hot water method, and it is quite satisfactory.
Create an "anti tarnish/ tarnish resistant" storage environment for silver:
Follow the guidelines above and use 1 or 2 of the ideas below for storage. All are inexpensive, easily available on the Internet, from a local jeweler, hobby shop and even free. Also all are safe and do not emit fumes, gases or vapors.
1. Tarnish absorbing cloths
Pacific Silver Cloth(Pacific Cloth) or a Silver Tarnish Inhibiting Cloths are great to wrap jewelry in before storing or lay the cloths inside box with jewelry on top or next to the cloth. These cloths have minute particles of silver to attract the sulfur to the cloth. It will become saturated with the sulfur so you will need to change them but, some versions last up to 40 years depending on the amount of silver in the cloth. (Google it) Price average $15/yd.
2. Anti-tarnish strips
Hagerty Silver Strips or 3M Anti-Tarnish Strips absorb the sulfuric gases that cause tarnish. These are Anti Tranish Silver Stripssafe economical way to stay tarnish free. They are paper strips that contain activated charcoal that absorbs the gases. You can just lay them within a drawer or cut them up for compartments or smaller drawers. Jewelry does not need to be laid on them just placed in the drawer. These strips last at least 6 months and you can label/date them so you know when to replace them. You can find them online, at jewelry stores and even hardware stores. A box is roughly $8 - $12 for a pk. of 8. Not bad, huh?
3. Silica Gel granules.
Do not throw away those little packs of that come in your jewelry box,new purse,shoes or medicine bottles! These absorb moisture in the air and retard tarnish. Add one to each drawer to help keep the jewelry box interior dry. Lack of air movement can cause a moist environment. This is why the gel packs are in leather products and more when you purchase them. Since we all throw them away and they come with most everything, you're sure to have quite a few around to save. Store them sealed in a plastic bag and keep them in a dark cool place for future use. This will keep them from absorbing moisture before you need them. Change them every few months. A must in humid climates.
Even standard blackboard or sidewalk chalk can be used in a jewelry box. It has amazing absorption qualities and a little piece will work for months to control moisture/humidity.
Follow these simple ideas and guidelines and you'll enjoy your silver with little maintenance for years and still have the jewelry box of your choice.
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