As many metals do, sterling silver tarnishes over time. The purer the silver the more it will tarnish. Sterling Silver is made up of 92.5% silver and 7.5% other metals, mainly copper. Thus Sterling Silver is referred to as 925 Sterling Silver or 925 Silver. Most 925 Silver will be stamped with a S925 or 925 mark, however not all pieces, especially fine jewelry pieces allow for this.
Using pure silver to make jewelry can be quite difficult because of the hardness, so sterling silver is preferred allowing jewelers to create intricate and complex pieces.
There are various reasons why silver will tarnish at an excelled rate than just over time. Here, they have been broken up into categories to help isolate a specific reason if this is an issue for you.
The first chain is sterling silver, the middle chain is a slightly tarmished sterling silver and the last chain has been oxidized with liver of sulfur
1) The Body
Silver, as a metal is an element that reacts to the body in various ways. As everybody’s body is different, the individual will react dissimilar to different elements. Different factors need to be considered when exploring your body's reaction to silver. First, sulfur is a major mineral that is active in the body, particularly in keratin which is strongly present in hair, nails and skin. Jewelry is directly in contact with these parts of the body while being worn, if you have a high level of sulfur within you ph scale you may find that your jewelry tarnishes while you wear it. This is rare, but it does happen.
Metabolism plays a role in how sulfur is processed within the body. If your body has experienced metabolic changes and your silver only now tarnishes but never used to, it can be due to these types of changes.
Lastly, within the body, consider medication. Sulfur can be found in some medications, meaning your body is processing an excess amount of sulfur that could cause this problem.
Sulfur can be found in many foods such as meats, fish, poultry, eggs, milk, legumes, onions, garlic, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, turnips, nuts have some, as do kale, lettuce, kelp and other seaweed, and raspberries. Frequently having sulfuric foods in your diet may contribute to an excess amount of sulfur in the body.
Take not regarding your surrounding environment. Humidity is one of the fastest ways to excel tarnish with silver. If you live in a warm and humid place this can be the culprit to your fast paced tarnish.
Note your surroundings as well, sulfur can be found in many fertilizers. If you live or work in an area where there is a lot of fertilizer than exposure to the air in these area's will cause that excelled tarnish rate.
Many of the products you use such as hair and body cleansing product, face creams, lotions, acne treatment washes, powered laundry detergent, dandruff control products, cosmetics, home cleaning products and matches. Wool and felt are also known to have heightened levels of sulfur. Be mindful about wearing your silver jewelry while showering, cleaning with household products and wearing jewelry after applying lotion.
Once your silver has begun to tarnish, you can bring the sterling shine back.
Use a polish cloth with an anti tarnish agent
Apply a liquid Jewelry Shield that will coat and protect the silver
Consider rhodium plated silver for a forever silver shine (it will never tarnish)
Scrub sterling silver with a light soap (hand or dish soap) mixed with baking soda. Create a paste like consistency and rub the silver, rinse with lukewarm water and dry immediately.
You can also purchase jewelry cleaners, however if you are consistent in taking care of your silver, using house hold products should be fine.
Thanks for reading!