Do I have to polish this? Customers ask me this question all the time about their spoon rings, fork bracelets and other Lost & Forged creations.
The simple answer is 'no'. You don't need to polish your jewelry. You don't really have to do anything except for die and pay taxes.
Although most silver pieces will tarnish (darken) over time without polishing, tarnish isn't necessarily a problem. It doesn't pose any health threat, nor will it damage your silver jewelry pieces.
In fact, some people prefer a tarnished, antique-style 'patina' for their silverware jewelry. I charge more to apply a patina instead of a standard polished finish!
If you want to keep your silver looking shiny, though, you'll have to take some proactive steps. Read on to learn more. But first....
What is tarnish? It's a discoloration due to natural chemical reactions. Tarnishing may occur more or less quickly depending on air quality, exposure to water and sweat, and numerous environmental factors.
Details of the metal composition also impact the rate of tarnish. Silverplate pieces can differ greatly one from the other in terms of the base metal and method of manufacture, and can tarnish differently. Even sterling silver pieces are not all the same. They all contain 92.5% silver, but the other 7.5% of the alloy varies in content. Thus two sterling pieces can react differently from one another, to tarnish relatively faster or slower.
How can you keep silver looking shiny? The best way is to rub it with a polish cloth. Any soft cloth can do the trick, but some jewelry polish cloths are treated with helpful polishing compounds and other chemicals formulated to remove tarnish.
You can also try this trick, using white vinegar and baking soda: Soak the tarnished silver piece in a solution of 1/2 cup white vinegar and 2 tbsp. baking soda (get ready for the fizzing!) for two to three hours, then rinse and dry.
Want to keep it shiny without any polishing? Consider applying a protective coating like spray-on acrylic. Krylon makes one popular clear acrylic product. You can find it in the spray paint deparments of home improvement stores and hobby shops.
Questions about how to care for Lost & Forged silverware jewelry creations? Get in touch.