How to Keep Metal Jewelry From Turning

Silver rings image by Ivonne Wierink from

Protecting metal jewelry from turning, or tarnishing, is important. Tarnish can make jewelry appear dull and discolored, causing the metal to darken or look black. Tarnish is corrosion on the outer layer of the metal caused by airborne chemicals, such as oxygen and sulfur. It can occur on most types of metal jewelry, especially sterling silver. Proper care and storage of jewelry can prevent this from happening. Knowing how to protect your metal jewelry from tarnishing will keep your collection looking shiny and beautiful.

Store individual pieces of metal jewelry in plastic zip-close bags. Keep earrings on their original display card and place them inside the bag. This will keep your pieces separated and prevent them from rubbing against one another, which can cause scratches.

Purchase a yard, or more if needed, of silver tarnish cloth from a jewelry store. Cut small pieces of cloth to line your jewelry box and place scrap pieces of cloth inside the zip-close bags as well. For large jewelry displays, wrap them completely with a piece of cloth before storing to prevent tarnish.

Place no-tarnish strips inside your jewelry box, plastic bags, or any other place used to store metal jewelry. Place pieces of metal jewelry directly onto the no-tarnish strip or close to it to prevent them from tarnishing. Replace the strips every two months.

Store your jewelry with a piece of chalk. To avoid a mess inside your jewelry box, lay the chalk onto a piece of silver tarnish cloth. Chalk will absorb any airborne chemicals that can cause metal jewelry to tarnish. Replace chalk pieces every two months.

Wipe down your jewelry after each use with a polishing cloth. Polishing will remove dirt, dust, and other particles that can cause metal jewelry to tarnish.

Store earrings on acid-free card stock or paper if you do not have the original display card. Remove all tags and other paper that is stored with your metal jewelry unless it is acid-free.