Bleach Picture

My Sterling Silver tarnished … Why?

Tip Bits

A day doesn’t go by without learning something new, especially today’s social media platform which is filled with shares written by people from all walks of life, all living different experiences with different advice to give.

Because I love jewellery, the lasting beauty and pleasure that it brings, never mind the healing abilities of so many aspects of jewellery…. Oops let me not get side tracked!

I have spent over 25 years of my life professionally and as a hobby involved in all forms of fine jewellery. During this time I have learned many valuable (excuse the pun) tricks of the trade which I think are worth sharing and hopefully you find them as useful as I have.

Over coffee with a friend and colleague last week we discussed sterling silver jewellery. She mentioned that some of her silver turned dark and she can’t manage to return her pieces to their original rich sterling silver colour. I asked her if she wears her jewellery in her home while using cleaning products, and as with most people including myself, I like to wear my jewellery as it is an extension of myself. So yes, she prefers to keep wearing her jewellery even whilst cleaning. Finding this out – the answer to her problem is actually quite simple. Her reaction to the reason of the discoloration of her silver was complete astonishment. Her words were, “Karen, this is a blog post. You need to share this information, I wish I had known this before!”


Yes your common household bleach reacts with sterling silver, oxidizing the surface of the metal. Depending on the length of time submerged and the strength of the bleach, the reactive colour of the bleach on your sterling silver could vary from a light grey to a dark gunmetal grey/black.Bleach

In my experience, the only way to return the colour and shine of your jewellery to its original state, is to have it polished and buffed by your local jeweler.

This oxidizing property of bleach on silver is often used to enhance design on sterling silver jewellery. Once the piece has changed colour the high spots are polished and buffed bringing the surface back to its shiny natural colour. This technique adds a rustic look which adds a beauty of its own.

My friend was grateful for the information and swore never to wear her sterling silver jewellery while working with bleach again.

I hope you have enjoyed this little article and look forward to sharing more useful tip bits with you.

With love and light