How to Get a Silver Necklace Looking New Again

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Restoring luster to tarnished silver jewelry is a simple task. Clean the piece first to remove body oils and environmental grime, then deal with tarnish. Tarnish is caused by acidic sulphur compounds that exist in the air, water and in your body. Contact with rubber also causes tarnish. Keep in mind that jewelry with engraving or detailed designs should retain some darkened areas in the crevices of the design. This is considered patina; it highlights the engraving and makes the artistry more apparent.

Step 1

Swish the necklace very slowly in a small bowl of warm water and phosphate-free dishwashing soap, or immerse it in a shallow dish of a liquid silver-cleaning product. Handle it very gently. If the necklace has a heavy or ornate pendant, you may wish to remove the chain from the pendant and clean each piece individually. Rinse the necklace, lay it out on a clean, soft cotton cloth, and pat it dry. A cotton dishtowel or plain flannel cloth is best. Avoid terry cloth, as the fabric loops can catch on intricate jewelry. Most silver cleaners are formulated to remove dirt, but not to alter tarnish.

Step 2

Buff the neck chain and the pendant with a treated silver cloth by gently rubbing the cloth over the necklace. Regular use of a treated cloth can reduce the need for more involved cleaning and polishing. A silver cloth also allows a soft patina to develop in appropriate indentations of the jewelry design while restoring the shine to pronounced areas of the piece.

Step 3

Polish the silver if it still seems dull, using a silver polish product and a soft cloth, following the manufacturer’s directions. Use a cotton swab to gently remove tarnish from intricate areas of the necklace, but leave some patina in recessed areas. Rinse the polishing product as directed, and buff the necklace to a sparkling shine with a soft cotton cloth. If you removed a pendant, replace it on the chain after polishing.