For my first post I thought it would be appropriate to talk a bit about sterling silver. I mainly work with sterling as gold is pretty expensive. More about gold later.
Sterling silver is 92.5% silver and the other 7.5% is an alloy, usually copper. The copper is a dirty metal and the culprit that causes your silver jewellery to tarnish.
So what can you do about tarnish? First of all keep your silver jewellery in an air tight container. A zip lock bag works fine. It's not pretty but it works.( Check out the jewellery pouches for sale on the site as a more attractive alternative.)
Just don't leave your jewellery lying around exposed to air and humidity. Usually if you wear your jewellery a lot it will tarnish less. Unless unfortunately, the chemical make up of your skin reacts with the silver and tarnishes it more quickly! You probably know if this is your problem.
So how do we keep silver clean? I like Goddard's or Hagerty silver polish foam. Comes in a little jar and you use a sponge and water to clean your piece of jewellery. Just make sure to dry it really thoroughly. As water and silver don't mix so well either! A blow dryer works well for hollow pieces. Goddard's Silver Dip is more toxic but I find that it is really the best thing for chains.
Also a more ecological solution is to put baking soda on tinfoil in a bowl, add jewellery and pour boiling water over top. Rinse well with water and dry. This works really well and is great for mat and textured pieces that are hard to polish.
I of course can use my polishing machine! But the polishing compounds are really hard on your fingernails. I can forget manicures if I'm doing a lot of work!