silver oxidizes with time but properly maintained silver will actually improve with age, developing a lush patina. well-treated silver can last for generations.
store silver in a cool, dry place. as silver tarnishes more quickly than gold or platinum, store pieces individually in a tarnish-preventing bag or in drawers lined with tarnish-resistant strips or wrapped in a soft piece of cloth, such as felt. this also helps prevent pieces from knocking into and scratching each other. the best way to prevent tarnish is to actually wear your sterling jewelry or use your silver items often.
when cleaning silver, use a mild soap and water solution. after rinsing with warm water pat the piece dry with felt or a special silver polishing cloth. do not use tissue or paper towels as their abrasive fibers may cause scratches.
for heavily tarnished pieces or those with more stubborn dirt, use a gentle silver-specific cleanser. for matte or satin silver finishes, use dip solutions. but never use dip cleaners or electrolysis cleaners on antique silver.
never expose silver to chlorine, sulfur or strong household cleaning supplies, since the harsh chemicals are corrosive and can erode the quality and sheen of silver.
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