Blog posts tagged with 'oxidized silver'

Why does my Silver Jewelry Oxidize?

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. 

2) Food

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. 

3) Environment

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. 

4) Products

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!



Oxidized Chains!

Oxidizing your silver may seem liks a tedious tasks. However, you can achieve some amazing looks and effects on your silver.

Pure silver is a metal found in the ground, just as gold is.  Pure silver is too soft to form into objects, so it has to be combined with other metals, such as copper to give it the ability to be molded into a shape. Fine silver is 99.9% pure, which is why it has an increased value in most items.  Sterling silver is only 92.5% pure. Unlike oxidized jewelry, sterling silver is not meant to tarnish. The copper in sterling, when it comes in contact with oxygen, tends to create the darkening effect that ruins the look of many pieces.  So it would make sense that the best way to keep sterling looking shiny is to keep it in a cloth bag or clean it with a specially treated polishing cloth.

The effect of oxidizing pieces is for a slightly tarnished or antique look.  This happens when the silver is purposely exposed to air that contains sulfur. This compound, silver sulfide, creates blacked patches, which gives the silver a dark black finish, resulting in pieces that have more of a vintage look.

To create the look of oxidized jewelry, designers will purposely treat the pieces to add more sulfides to the silver. Depending on the look that designers want to achieve, they may allow the pieces they create to be naturally exposed to air for a while, some may use a hard boiled egg – which contains sulfur or use the patina gel liver of sulfur for the darks results.

You can choose from a variety of techniques that leave you silver looking shiny, antiqued, or simply with a shimmering gunmetal look. Ideal for certain projects, absolutely. But not all! Sometimes that slightly oxidized look is perfect, especially if your paring it with stones that contrast well with the llights grey shine of a slight oxidization.

You might surprise yourself to see how well gold and the full oxidized chains pair together, an interesting look-sure, an aesthetically pleasusing style-definitely!

The oxidizing process opens up a whole new world of design possibilities. If you are design pieces for a store you can reach a portion of people who prefer oxidized chains and the style they offer. Or if you are just designing and making jewelry as a hobby, its fun to experiment and see what you can create!


Last but not least, slightly oxidizing your sterling silver jewelry protects if from fully tarnishing. If you create that sparkling grey shimmer, your silver will not turn black, keeping its strength and giving it some longevity.