The Non-Toxic Way to Clean Your Silver Jewellery
Thursday, July 26, 2018 at 12:57PM
albertacraftcouncil in Caring for Craft, Jewellery, Milt Fischbein, Silver, Soma Mo, Tarnish, Tips, Tips

Many factors affect how fast your silver jewellery will tarnish, and unless you're wearing argentium silver (this should be another blog post), chances are you have beautiful pieces of jewellery seating in a drawer waiting to see shinier days. Today though, Melanie (our awesome Gallery Assistant in Calgary) is sharing a very effective, non-toxic way to get through this task. 

The best part about this method? You can do it right at home with very (very!) simple ingredients.

This method is specially great for: medium-heavy tarnish or items that can’t be cleaned with a polishing cloth ie. chains, heavily textured/intricate pieces, etc. This method will also save your life if you have lots of items to clean at once - So, let's begin! 

*** Important note: Do not use for pearls, opals or other porous stones. 

What you'll need:
         -Heat proof bowl (pyrex is a always a good choice)
         -Sheet of aluminum foil doubled over
         -Baking powder or salt
         -A spoon for stirring

1.    Start by boiling the water. You'll need to wait 5 minutes after it boils. 
2.    While you wait for the water to boil, line the bowl with the foil -remember to have a double layer. 
2.    Add 1 - 2 tablespoons of baking soda or salt.
3.    Add water, enough to fill the bowl. Stir to dissolve.
4.    Add jewellery - let it soak for 10 to 15 min.
 ***The science behind it: Aluminum has a stronger attraction to silver sulfide (tarnish) than silver itself. When aluminum is placed in an electrolyte solution and it comes into contact with the silver, a small electric current is produced, transferring the sulfur atoms (the tarnish) from the silver to the aluminum, leaving your silver sparkling clean! 

5.     Check your jewellery.  Is it still tarnished? Leave soaking for another 5 min.
        If tarnish remains, repeat process with fresh solution.
6.     Remove pieces. Rinse well under running water.
7.     Dry thoroughly with a soft, lint-free cloth.
8.     The best step - Wear and enjoy your tarnish free, good-as-new silver jewellery!

Melanie Archer is our Gallery Assistant at the Alberta Craft Gallery - Calgary. She is also a goldsmith and designer. She graduated with distinction from the Alberta College of Art + Design in 2015 and she currently shares her passion for fine craft with the Alberta Craft Gallery while continuing to work at ACC Professional Member Shona Rae’s Blackboard Gallery.

Jewellery: Milt Fischbein (Calgary, AB) and Soma Mo (Edmonton, AB) Photos: Corinne Cowell. 

Article originally appeared on Alberta Craft Council (
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