How To Polish Silver Jewelry
Learning how to polish silver jewelry can be a daunting prospect, and many owners opt to have their pieces professionally cleaned, likely at the store where the purchased the item originally. For those who want to polish their silver jewelry at home, the first thing to consider is whether or not your silver jewelry includes gemstone or pearl sets; the methods for polishing your jewelry differs considerably if you need to avoid introducing delicate stones to potentially damaging chemicals.
Fortunately, much of men’s silver jewelry is absent stones, instead preferring the sleek look of sterling silver or other metal surfaces. If this is the case, consider the following tips for polishing your silver jewelry:
- Buffering Cloth: Available at many mass retailers, in addition to most jewelry stores and of course Internet vendors, a Buffering or Polishing cloth is a go-to staple for many silver jewelry enthusiasts. While a chemically-treated cloth is ideal, silver jewelry can be polished considerably with a soft cotton cloth to remove the golden hue caused by tarnish.
- Silver Dips: Caution should be taken to ensure that the instructions on your choice of Dip, which are readily available in jewelry departments of most department stores, states it is safe for gemstones (including diamonds and pearls); some chemical dips can be caustic to sets. Be sure to dip the piece quickly and cleanse with fresh water and a lint-proof piece of cloth to ensure optimal polish and shine.
- Tarnish Shields: This option actually delays the necessity of polishing by creating a lacquer shield residue which wears off over time. However, the lacquer will form a film which can be visible between opening and cracks, making it a poor choice for chains and filigree-style jewelry.
- Silver Cleaning Paste: A wonderful option for pieces of silver jewelry with intricate designs or engraving, silver-cleaning pastes are readily available and often include a toothbrush-style applicator to facilitate cleansing deep within the workings of your jewelry. After rinsing, polishing with a lint-free cotton cloth or Buffering Cloth will ensure a beautiful shine.
If your silver jewelry happens to have sets with gemstones, diamonds, or pearls, it might be best to visit a professional to ensure that your polishing methods and cleansing options do not damage the sets themselves or their fixtures. Also, be advised that baking soda is not recommended for use on silver jewelry despite the popularity of the myth; it is too abrasive for sterling silver.