Can Silver-Plated Jewelry get Wet and Tarnished? Everything You Need To Know
We all know that silver is the way to go when it comes to jewelry that you're going to wear daily. But that isn't possible for all, right? Some don't have the budget, or some simply don't like sticking to the same piece all the time!
And that’s why most people prefer silver-plated jewelry. While plated jewelry looks great on you, it might not be as durable as real silver.
What happens if you get your silver-plated jewelry wet? Will it tarnish?
Yes, silver-plated jewelry tarnishes over time, especially when exposed to water. This article explains why silver-plated jewelry tarnishes and some ways to keep it in good shape for years.
What does Silver Plating mean for Jewelry?
First, let's understand what silver-plated jewelry is.
Silver-plated jewelry are such pieces that are made of a base metal (i.e., copper or brass) and then covered with a very thin layer of silver. The layer is extremely thin, somewhere between 1 to 10 microns. And it's done by the process of electroplating.
Since the amount of silver is significantly less, these jewelry pieces are pretty cheap. But looking at the price you pay, the looks are quite good.
Can you put Silver Plated Jewelry in Water?
The shortest and most straightforward answer would be NO. But the answer will vary depending on the purity of the water.
If the water has sulfur content, it will definitely turn your silver black. The sulfur in the water reacts with the silver plating and forms a thin layer of blackish silver sulfide. In simple words, we call it tarnishing, which can be removed.
Now it's hard to find sulfur-free water since it is present even in drinking water. Water won't do much to your silver-plated jewelry if it lacks minerals and such components.
So you see, water isn't the enemy, but sulfur is!
Can you Swim or Shower with Silver Plated Jewelry on?
You better NOT shower or swim with your silver-plated jewelry on!
Other than sulfur, another chemical that reacts with silver is chlorine. In order to keep the pool water clean, chlorine and other bleaching substances are added.
If you swim in that with your silver-plated jewelry on, silver chloride will soon form on them, leaving them all black and tarnished!
On the other hand, tapwater contains sulfur, which you already know is detrimental to silver. So, in conclusion, you should neither swim nor shower with your silver-plated jewelry on if you want it to last long!
How long does Silver-Plated Jewelry last?
But for that, you have to take super good care of it. That includes keeping the jewelry away from moisture, sunlight, sweat, etc., etc. Which, to be honest, isn't a viable option.
With minimum care and avoiding direct contact with water and perfume, you can expect your silver-plated jewelry to last for around 2 to 3 years. After that, the silver layer will slowly fade off, exposing the base metal.
Tips to take Care of Silver-Plated Jewelry
Here are some tips to take good care of your silver-plated jewelry:
- Apply perfume, cream, lotions, or makeup before you put your jewelry on.
- Always try to keep them dry. So when not wearing it, please keep it in an air-tight container, wrapped in cotton or with some silica gel packs.
- Remember, silver is a soft metal, so abrasion and friction can damage the plating. So if you have a ring, take it out if you are about to do some hard labor.
- Plated jewelry isn't meant for wearing all the time. So using it too much will eventually damage the thin plating.
- Take off your jewelry before bedtime.
Silver Plated vs. Sterling Silver: Which one is more Durable?
People often get confused between silver-plated jewelry and sterling silver jewelry. So they also don't know which one is more durable.
Sterling silver is an alloy of 92.7% silver and 7.5% other metals like copper or zinc. It is also known as the 925 silver. Being an alloy, it is sturdier than pure silver (99%), which is why it is often the metal of choice for making fine silver jewelry.
On the other hand, "silver-plated" means that the jewelry has a base metal that is plated with a thin layer of silver. The amount of silver in such jewelry is extremely low. So it is obvious that the thin plating would rub off very easily.
Therefore, in terms of durability, sterling silver is better than silver-plated jewelry.
How to Clean Silver-Plated Jewelry?
If your jewelry looks lacklustre, try this method to rejuvenate the bling.
For Light Cleaning:
Take a bowl and mix some mild soap with water. Stir the solution to make it all foamy and bubbly.
Now dip the jewelry in it for a couple of minutes. After taking it out, wipe it with a soft cloth. Then take some clean lukewarm water and dip it again and pat it dry with a lint-free cloth. Make sure the piece is thoroughly dried before storing.
For Medium Cleaning:
Get a jewelry polishing cloth and wipe the jewelry light-handedly. Do not scrub it hard.
For Deep Cleaning:
Line a glass bowl with aluminum foil, keeping the shiny side up. Fill the bowl with hot water and add a tablespoon of soda and salt to it.
Keep the jewelry in this solution for at least 5 to 10 minutes, and once taken out, rub it dry with a lint-free cloth.
Silver-plated jewelry is light on the pocket and comes in a huge variety. You can make them good value for money with a bit of love and care.On that note, you can explore a massive collection of silver, gold, and rose gold plated jewelry from Bijou Limon that is classy and timeless.