Silver products offered by the ‘Golden Flamingo’ online jewelry store are known for its outstanding quality and assay. In order to preserve the lasting beauty of precious metals, it is important to treat them with utmost care. In this article, we provide you with a few general rules for silverware and silver jewelry care.
Silver (Argentum in Latin) is a precious metal of white color that is flexible and easy to polish. It has a melting point of 1763.2°F, an atomic mass of 107.868 and a density of up to 10.49g/cm3.
Since ancient times, silver has been well known to mankind. This is mainly due to the fact that silver can be found in nature in its virgin form and its production does not require any advanced metallurgical knowledge. Furthermore, large silver nuggets are often found in abundance. In 1477, a sterling silver nugget was found in the Ore Mountains (between Germany and the Czech Republic) that weighed in excess of 19 tons. This gargantuan boulder was ultimately used as a dining table for a celebratory feast before it was cleaved and weighed. Closer to home, a 1350lb slab of silver that was mined in Ontario is currently residing inside Canada’s Parliament Building. A similar slab, found nearby to the first, was given the name “silver pavement” due to its immense size: it measured 98.5ft in length and contained 20 tons of silver.
Since the middle of the 13th century, silver has become an increasingly popular metal, not only in the minting of coins, but also in the manufacturing of jewelry and tableware. Its use in tableware is, in fact, not without its scientific advantages. Despite its beauty, silver possesses a unique anti-bacterial feature that helps to destroy the fermented systems of various harmful microorganisms. In fact, dating back to ancient times, a silver coin applied to a wound was known to accelerate the healing process. Additionally, water kept in a silver pitcher was thought to stay fresh and free of mold.
Its unique properties aside, silver is a very malleable and chemically active metal. For this reason, all items made of silver are prone to discoloration and the loss of their original luster. This chemical/physical process is absolutely normal and does not indicate the presence of some defect or lack of quality.
The Causes of Silver Tarnishing
Silver tarnishing is merely sulfurous silver that has turned in color from pale yellow to black. Tarnishing may be caused by any of the following events:
1. The silver item came into contact with hydrogen sulfide or other sulfurous compounds. Sulfur is present in the following environments:
a. Foodstuffs (including onion, garlic, horseradish, asparagus, mustard, beans, egg yolks)
b. The atmosphere of industrialized cities (especially those located near petroleum refineries)
c. Various types of make-up (especially skin ointments)
d. Chemical agents used in the development of photographic film
e. Therapeutic (or medicinal) mud
f. Packaging materials (including cardboard, rubber and viscose silk)
2. The silver was exposed to an atmosphere enriched with ozone.
3. The silver came into contact with acidic foodstuffs (including some fruit juices and salad dressings.
4. The silver came into contact with iodine or compounds that contain iodine.
5. The silver came into contact with acetone, automobile fuel or lubrication oils.
6. The silver was stored in a humid or poorly ventilated environment.