Why Does Jewellery Tarnish?

Why Does Jewellery Tarnish?

Tarnishing is a natural process that occurs when certain metals come into contact with air and moisture. It is caused by a chemical reaction between the metal and the environment, resulting in a layer of oxide or sulphide on the surface of the metal. This layer of oxidation or sulphide causes the metal to appear discoloured and unattractive.

The most common metals that tarnish are silver, brass, copper and bronze. These metals are all relatively soft and reactive, which makes them more susceptible to tarnishing. However, even gold and platinum, which are considered to be relatively stable and resistant to tarnishing, can still tarnish over time.

How to Avoid Tarnishing

There are several ways to prevent jewellery from tarnishing, including:

  1. Storage: Store your jewellery in a dry and cool place. Avoid storing it in humid areas such as the bathroom, as moisture can cause tarnishing.

  2. Cleaning: Regularly clean your jewellery using a soft cloth and mild soap or cleaning solution. Avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasive materials as they can damage the surface of the metal.

  3. Protective Coating: Apply a protective coating to your jewellery to help prevent tarnishing. This can be done using a clear nail polish or a specialised jewellery coating.

  4. Anti-Tarnish Strips: Use anti-tarnish strips or pouches when storing your jewellery. These strips contain chemicals that absorb moisture and prevent tarnishing.

  5. Wear and Care: Avoid wearing your jewellery when swimming or showering, as exposure to water can accelerate tarnishing. Also, avoid wearing your jewellery when applying cosmetics, as some chemicals can cause tarnishing.


In conclusion, tarnishing is a natural process that occurs when certain metals come into contact with air and moisture. However, by following the above tips, you can prevent your jewellery from tarnishing and ensure that it looks beautiful for years to come. 

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