Metal Tarnish in Jewellery: Understanding and Prevention

Cleaning Jewellery

Not all metals used in jewellery making rust or tarnish, but many do. The susceptibility to tarnishing or rusting depends on the type of metal and its composition.
For example:

  • Precious Metals: Metals like gold, platinum, and palladium are resistant to rust and tarnish. They may develop a patina over time, but it's usually not considered tarnish in the same way as with other metals.

  • Sterling Silver is prone to tarnishing due to its composition. It reacts with sulphur compounds in the air and forms silver sulphide, which appears as tarnish. However, proper care can minimize tarnishing.

  • Base Metals: Metals like copper, brass, and bronze are more susceptible to tarnishing. They can develop a patina or tarnish relatively quickly when exposed to air and moisture.

  • Stainless Steel: Stainless steel is resistant to rust, tarnish, and corrosion. It's often used in jewellery because of its durability and resistance to tarnishing.

  • Alloys: Many jewellery metals are alloys, which are combinations of two or more metals. The susceptibility to tarnishing or rusting can vary depending on the specific alloy and its composition.

Proper care and maintenance can help preserve the appearance of jewellery regardless of the metal used. This includes storing jewellery in a dry environment, avoiding exposure to harsh chemicals, and periodic cleaning.


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