The recent resurgence of sterling silver jewelry in the fashion world took me by surprise. Not long ago my aunt was showing me all of the tarnished silver candlesticks, tarnished serving ware, and even the dozens of tarnished silver necklace chains she had in her jewelry box. She had been telling me about how back in the ’80s her husband had been a rare coin and bullion salesperson for a local coin and stamp store and during the economic crisis of that decade there had been a major rush on the store from people coming in to sell their gold and silver.
He had managed to purchase a great deal of silver, gold pieces of jewelry, home furnishings and brought them home for her to enjoy. Well, it was not very long before she was not too happy with all of the silver polishing that she found herself doing! She ended up packing most of the beautiful sterling silver jewelry away because she did not know how to keep it from tarnishing, and she was just too busy to spend the time polishing it as often as she needed to polish it.
When she was telling me about that I decided to get online for a few minutes and see if I could find an easy and all natural way to clean tarnished silver and was delighted to show her that there were a lot of ways that she could clean her silver without wearing herself out. Within a few minutes we had the ingredients together in a jar and dropped in some of her beautiful jewelry and let it soak for a short while. Then we pulled the jewelry out and wiped it down and the silver was sparkling and shiny as if it were brand new!
Then we loaded her silver serving pieces into her dishwasher, making sure to not include anything with a hollow handle, and making sure that nothing that was silver touched anything that was stainless steel (did you realize that you could wash silver in the dishwasher?) and ran the dishwasher. The silver did not come out as beautiful as if it had been rubbed by hand, but most of the black tarnish was gone, so we had a head start on the hard part of the cleaning! (One note of caution: if you decided to attempt this, make SURE that you do NOT mix the silver with stainless steel – it WILL ruin the silver!)My aunt was so thrilled that she gave me her set of sterling Hershey’s Kisses earrings and necklace that she had been given by an old beau several years ago! How awesome is that?
As you may have figured it out by now, I’m always interested in finding more ways of saving money on fashion, and I’d like to encourage everyone to ask permission of your relatives to allow you to go through their old jewelry boxes full of the jewelry that they just don’t want anymore (I don’t know about you, but in my family it seems everyone has at least one “junk jewelry box” and see if you can find some old and tarnished silver jewelry that you can rescue. Ask them if they would be willing to give it to you, or sell it to you for a small fee, then take it home, clean it up and start to use it to embellish your very-own hipster recycled outfit!
Don’t be afraid to wear sterling silver – it is easier to care for than you realize! And as much as we all love gold, silver has a sparkle that just cannot be beat!
Stay gorgeous everyone!