Tiffany & Co. Silver Jewelry Cleaning and Polishing Tips
Even as popular lore will seek to inform you that silver reacts with the elements around it, a closer look at its chemical properties as indicated on the periodic table indicates that this is not the case! Instead, it is the metal that accompanies the silver – for the sake of jewelry and tableware manufacture this is usually copper – which is known to react with elements found in the atmosphere, most notably oxygen and sulphur. The result of this chemical reaction is a grey tarnish which speaks of the corrosion and change in atomic oxidation number.
Cleaning and polishing tips for Tiffany & Co. silver jewelry and other products are mentioned on the company’s website, and by and large the main suggestion is the purchase of a non-abrasive silver polish which should then be applied according to the manufacturer’s recommendations. While this is a great solution when company is a scant half hour away and I want to get the Tiffany & Co.’s silver jewelry looking great now, in the long run there are other methods which yield better results.
Removing silver tarnish with the transfer method
Find a cooking pot large enough to contain the silver item you wish to polish. Place heavy duty aluminum foil inside the pot so that it fits like a second skin over the inside of the pot. Mix a gallon of lukewarm water with a third cup of baking soda and a third cup of liquid dish soap.
Place the pot on the stove and put the silver item into the aluminum foil padded pot, gently pour in the liquid and turn on the heat. Simmer – do not boil! – the mix for a third of an hour (20 minutes, but using 1/3 makes it easier to remember all the figures involved). At the end of that time remove the silver item and wash it. The aluminum foil will have taken on the tarnish and may now be discarded.
The advantage of this method rests in the fact that no harsh chemicals may adversely affect the finish of the sterling silver while at the same time no scratches are being made on the material.
Proper storage for Tiffany & Co. silver jewelry and decorative items
Tarnish resistant cloths and storage boxes are now being sold by jewelers and online. The goal of such storage is to minimize the silver item’s exposure to the atmosphere and thus slow any tarnishing that takes place from the reaction of the contained copper with the atmosphere’s compounds. Keep in mind that this is not 100% effective but instead will lessen the visible tarnish that requires removal prior to using the item the next time.
In addition to the foregoing, always use a jeweler’s cloth to polish the item prior to storing it. Touching your Tiffany & Co. silver jewelry and other items will transfer the salts on your skin that are associated with your sweat onto the metal. Salt is a known corrosive and will increase the rate of tarnishing even if the item is locked away in a tarnish safe box. Removing the salts with the pre-storage quick polish is a great way to keep your silver looking better, longer.
A word of caution for jewelry containing gems
Even as Tiffany & Co. silver jewelry should be taken to the jeweler once a year for a professional cleaning, many consumers forget to follow that little bit of advice. Yet if your jewelry features gems of any kind, this is a crucial aspect of keeping it looking great for decades to come! Many commercially available silver polishes will do a good job at cleaning the silver but they are known to damage some gems, or more specifically their sheen.
Professional polishing in these cases is the only method acknowledged safe and efficient.