Many people don't want silver jewelry because it oxidizes and is a maintenance hassle. I understand. In fact, as a child, I recall watching my mother polish her silver flatware often and it struck me as a lot of work for something that was only used a few times a year!
Here are a few simple tips that make cleaning sterling silver jewelry less daunting and how you store it, when not wearing it, can prolong the time in between cleanings. After all the methods I've tried, I now rely on two simple methods: toothpaste and/or baking soda. After either of these methods, you might still want to buff the jewelry with a jewelry cloth. You can Google either of these approaches but I'll just say a few things about them.
When using toothpaste, it must be just a basic gel or paste without any abrasives in it. Use a soft bristled brush (again, so it isn't abrasive) and gently brush the silver. Rinse and dry with soft cotton cloth.
The idea behind the second method is that the warm water, baking soda and foil create a reaction. The solution is stirred with the jewelry in it so the jewelry comes in contact with the foil. But some soft stones or glued stones might not react well to this. Instead, you can simply make a baking soda/warm water paste, use a soft brush, and only brush those pieces of the jewelry that are silver. Then rinse and dry with soft cotton cloth.
Next comes the storage part and, to me, this has greatly reduced the number of times in a year that I have to clean my silver jewelry. Air and humidity are unfriendly with silver so I prefer a practical approach. My method for storing jewelry involves silvercloth, zip lock plastic bags, and drawers.
I bought brown silver cloth online from a fabric store, which supposedly reduces the amount of oxidation with silver. I cut a piece of the cloth big enough to gently fold around my jewelry, without bending or crimping it. I also bought plastic zip-type bags that have the white label on them so that I can write what is inside.
Then I have this basic wooden chest with drawers where I store the baggies with jewelry in them. I can easily identify which one to grab based on what I wrote on the bag.
The jewelry is no longer exposed to the air or humidity when I'm not wearing it. I use this storage method for all of my jewelry and I generally only have to clean the silver once or twice a year (a lot less work than my mother's flatware, for something that gets used a lot more). For those who live in more humid climates than Colorado, you may also want to include anti-tarnish strips before folding it in the silvercloth.
Of course, if you wear the same item every day, you'll have to clean more often but perhaps storing it in this manner at night would slow down the oxidation process for you as well. It takes a few extra moments to put it away but, I trust, it saves much more than a few moments by cleaning less.
Thanks for tuning in to our 'occasional blog.'