Cleaning and maintaining your posey rings September 28 2013
It's a fact of life that sterling silver tarnishes. How fast it tarnishes depends on a number of factors, including how often you wear it, how you store it, what chemicals it comes into contact with (bleach, pool chemicals, detergents...), and even your body chemistry can make it quickly darken if you have a high acidity level! It may sound high maintenance to you, but don't fret, it's really not too bad! Here are some tips toward maintaining your silver jewelry.
The point of owning jewelry is to enjoy wearing it! So do just that! If you are wearing your silver posey ring everyday, it will encounter constant abrasion from everyday situations. For example, it rubs on your jeans when you reach in your pocket. All this constant contact will keep any tarnish from building up on the surface.
If you were to set your ring on a shelf and walk away for a few months, it will happily darken in color. In that situation nothing is preventing the sulfides in the air from building up on the surface. I highly recommend that you store your jewelry in a small plastic bag, as it is a preventative measure that slows tarnish. I ship almost every piece of jewelry in a small ziplock bag, and you can use this bag to store things if needed.
Lets say that you bought 3 rings from me (thanks!!) You wear one ring almost everyday. You set one ring on a shelf. You wear the 3rd ring to swimming practice at the YMCA. A few months go by... The first ring looks just fine. The 2'nd ring has a yellow/brownish tarnish on the surface. The 3rd ring turned black from pool chemicals. What now?
My favorite polishing cloth is Sunshine brand. It is what I sell in my shop, and often include a sample of with purchases. It's gentle, and does a great job of making things shiny again.
When you use the cloth (rubbing in on the ring's surface), it will turn black. That does not mean it is removing the patina from the lettering on your ring, in fact it just means it's cleaning. Notice in this next picture that a perfectly shiny ring still made the cloth turn black:
Lets say that you didn't have your polishing cloth on hand, so you used a liquid style jewelry 'dip' or solution. Sometimes that is fine, (and a GREAT option for removing tarnish from chains!) however some solutions are very strong and will not only etch glass and eat away stones and pearls, but they will remove the patina from the lettering in your ring! (I recommend carefully reading the label of any cleaning solution before dipping your jewelry into it.)
Now what? How do you make your lettering dark again?
The very easiest method using things you would likely have on hand involves a Sharpie marker and a polishing cloth.
You want to use the Sharpie marker to fill in the lettering on the ring. You will get marker on the surface of the ring too, but that's expected. The main thing is make sure the marker fills in the letters. After you are done you will use the polishing cloth to clean the surface of the ring. The cloth does not reach into the stamped letters, so the marker will dry and remain inside the lettering. Cleaning the Sharpie off of the surface is much easier if you work quickly and don't give it a chance to dry.
That's it! :)