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"Why is my silver tarnished?" - the magic of polishing silver jewelry

We’ve all been there. You buy a shiny piece of silver jewelry and a few months later and the piece looks… different! You think: “hey, why is my silver jewelry faded?” well, because it’s real silver! 

Silver is a metal that oxidizes when exposed to air and humidity, even reacting to certain compounds like sulfur (found in mayonnaise, hard boiled eggs, rubber bands and hot springs if you’re lucky!) 

So if you leave your silver piece hanging on a jewelry holder, or out on your vanity exposed to the elements of your home, there’s a good chance you’ll have to polish that piece at some point. It’s just nature doing its thing!

Silver jewelry can easily be reverted back to its original glory with a simple polishing cloth. That’s why with every jewelry order, I include one (the same exact kind that I use!)

Polishing your jewelry helps you pause, breathe, and act with intention - encouraging slow living and thoughtful actions. 

Before and after shot of these silver earrings: the earring on the left is still tarnished, while the earring on the right is post-polish.

why is my silver faded

Here are the earrings after they're both polished! I love keeping a little patina for the texture and dimension.

silver jewelry in arizona

Question: Should I use a silver cleaning solution?

Answer: It’s a free country, but I don’t recommend any using cleaning solutions on Rosa Kilgore jewelry. Those kind of solutions are *not* formulated for gemstones like turquoise, pearls, and lapis lazuli, which are often featured in my jewelry. Plus, I purposely add a little patina and texture to my silver pieces. Dipping the entire piece into a cleaning solution removes the southwest antique look. 

Question: What’s the best way to store jewelry to avoid tarnishing?

Answer: Plastic or cloth baggies! The more airtight, the better. It’s not the most Pinterest-friendly answer, but it works. When I’m traveling with my jewelry or setting up a pop up, I have loads of baggies within bags. 

Question: I barely wore this silver piece before it tarnished, what gives? 

Answer: The more you handle + wear a sterling silver piece, getting your oils/sweat on it, the shinier the silver will be! Weird right? 

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Sterling silver is a beautiful, ever changing compound that I LOVE working with. Polishing my pieces is a fabulous ritual that helps me get to know my jewelry better + practice gratitude for the pieces I own and love. 

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