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How To Clean Sterling Silver Jewelry

Whilst taking photos of my pendants, I use a sterling silver necklace, to show how it looks on a chain, as it would be worn. I just went to take some pics of new items ready to list when I noticed that my sterling necklace has developed some tarnish.

Is it silver or brass?!

Few people know this, but, I used to be an electrochemist. I even got a PhD in electrochemistry, back in the days before my son became my priority.

Ah! Those were the days!

Anyway, did you know that you can clean sterling jewelry at home, really quickly, really easily? It involves an electrochemical process. When silver 'tarnishes', what's actually happening is that the surface of the silver is having a chemical reaction with the air. Here is the equation for it, because, I can't resist a 'little' bit of science.

2 Ag(s) + H2S(g) → Ag2S(s) + H2(g)

Anyway, back to the matter at hand. How do you clean it and get rid of that black coating? It involves a few very simple items, all of which you have in your home, right now, I'm betting. You will need: A piece of aluminium foil. (you'll have to excuse my British spelling, I can't bring myself to spell it the American way). Table salt. Baking soda. A tray. (perfect use for a leftover PF Chang's takeout container!) Boiling water. A tarnished piece of silver jewelry.

Lay the foil in the tray and add a shake of baking soda and a shake of salt. Not a light sprinkling, a little more, as if you were flouring a board. Add the boiling water. The baking soda and salt will 'fizz' a little.

Then, add your silver item.

Bubbles will form around the tarnished area. You might also smell 'rotten eggs' - that's the hydrogen sulphide gas coming off. Give a few minutes, then, voila! Dry your item which should be pretty and sparkling again!

Super easy, agreed? You will never need to buy expensive silver cleaners again!

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