Has your sterling silver ring tarnished? Is it leaving a green or black mark on your ring finger? Why is my silver ring turning black, brown or grey?

Well, these are some of the significant complaints jewelers receive. Often people tend to think there is something mysterious about the jewelry when this happens, but the fact is, tarnish a natural response of how silver metal reacts with the oxygen we are breathing. Let us look further into some credible explanations as to why your sterling silver ring would turn black.

The Cause of Discoloration

What’s certain, every piece of silver jewelry which is exposed to air will eventually tarnish. Sterling silver is made up of metals containing about 92.5 percent silver and 7.5 percent of other metals to harden the silver piece. It is, therefore, the other; usually, copper, that oxidizes when exposed to air and as a result builds up a tarnished layer on your sterling silver jewelry more than hill tribe silver which is 98-99 percent pure. Hence, hill tribe silver usually retains beautiful longer than sterling silver.

Silver discoloration is quicker in high humidity areas and places where the air is highly polluted. Also, any contact with materials such as hairspray, cosmetics, deodorant, perfume, bleach, body lotion, etc., can hasten the process of tarnishing. The silver in your jewelry might get oxidized when it reacts with acids in the skin, the moisture from sweating. Also, working or living in a chemical, manufacturing or electric firm can cause discoloration fast and easily. Nevertheless, there is no specific duration over which the jewelry will stay before it tarnishes; some start tarnishing after only a few days, while others silver take up to weeks and even months before it fades away or tarnishes.

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These are some common culprits that cause discoloration:

Physical Contact with Sulfur Compounds

Sulpher compounds are also responsible for Silver tarnishing. Do not wear your silver jewelry in environments which are highly polluted. Also take care when handling oil or coal as well as when preparing food which contains sulfur like onions, eggs, fish or shellfish.

Humidity & Moisture

Copper which is contained in the sterling silver jewelry reacts with moisture on the skin or in the air, hence leading to green discoloration and tarnishing. This is common in hot and humid climates and also affects people with moist skin.

Cosmetics or Make-up

Make-up on the skin or stained on the cloth is a common cause of smudging or blackening. There are chemical compounds present in cosmetics which are comparatively harder than the silver jewelry itself. These compounds rub off the tiniest particles of metal which come out as jet black dust.

Just as any other item you own and love, it is better to prevent a problem before it worsens instead of trying to fix it with no success. The most straightforward tip to master that will help in preventing tarnishing on the sterling silver jewelry is keeping it keeping the jewelry clean and storing it appropriately.