Wearing sterling silver jewelry is the best way to keep it tarnish-free, as the oils in your skin polish the piece for you. If you plan to store a piece of sterling silver jewelry rather than wear it for a while, clean it first so it is ready to go when you want to wear it again. To clean it, rub the jewelry with a soft microfiber or silver-polishing cloth, using a back and forth motion rather than a circular one.

Silver Storage

Wrap each piece of silver jewelry in acid-free archival-quality tissue paper. Place each wrapped piece inside its own plastic bag along with a small piece of chalk and seal the bag tightly. The chalk absorbs some of the airborne chemicals, such as sulfur, that cause tarnish. Replace the chalk every two or three months with a new piece for best results. If you have a large amount of jewelry, lay wrapped pieces on a tray and enclose the entire tray in a large plastic trash bag with a few pieces of chalk. For long-term storage, consider purchasing commercial silver cloth, which is embedded with silver particles, to wrap the silver rather than using tissue paper. Good-quality absorption cloths can last at least 20 years.

Common Storage Mistakes

Never wrap silver in newspaper or hold wrappings in place with rubber bands. Do not wrap sterling silver in plastic wrap as it contains materials that can adhere to the silver over time and that require professional removal.