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Does Real Sterling Silver Tarnish?

Tarnished Jewelry

Did you know that real .925 sterling silver can tarnish?  It does.

Sterling silver is actually a mix of metals (also called an alloy).  Pure silver by itself is very soft.  It doesn’t tarnish for the most part, but is too soft for most everyday use.  Because of this, pure silver is alloyed with another metal to create sterling silver.  That other metal is often copper.

Copper does tarnish, and does so easily.  As a result, sterling silver tarnishes because of the copper content.  How quickly depends on the environment and how the wearer’s skin reacts to certain metals.

Some areas with more humidity may see sterling silver tarnish quickly, while it might be slower to turn black in drier climates.

Although you can wear your jewelry swimming or in the shower, the soaps and lotions can cause your jewelry to tarnish faster and lose its shine.  We recommend always removing your jewelry before swimming or showering.

The picture above is a great example of how sterling silver and gold fill look over time if not cared for.  This necklace was just thrown in a jewelry box and forgotten, and the silver tarnished badly.  The gold fill layers also have a film on them, but they’re not tarnished as much as the sterling silver layer.

The best way to prevent tarnish is to store your jewelry in a zip top bag while not wearing it.  Wipe it with a soft cloth after removing it for the day, place it in the bag, and seal it to keep the tarnish away longer.