Shine on: how to clean silver jewellery

Nothing upgrades an outfit more than a few well-placed pieces of shining silver jewellery, and with a little bit of TLC you'll be able to keep your jewellery dazzling. Lianna Sheppard, OB’s Buyer for Silver, Gemstone and Gold-Plated Jewellery, talks about the composition of our silver jewellery pieces and how to look after them.

‘Because pure silver is so soft, it is combined with other metals to make it more durable,’ explains Lianna. ‘Sterling silver or silver 925 is a high-quality metal made of 92.5% pure silver mixed with 7.5% other metals – usually copper or zinc. The number 925 is stamped discreetly on the jewellery to identify the percentage of pure silver.’ As it’s almost pure silver, it doesn’t rust and will last a long time if cared for well.

Many of our silver jewellery pieces use silver 925, including our earrings, studs and fine chain necklaces, because it has a bright and shiny finish. But as silver jewellery oxidises naturally in contact with moisture or oxygen, it will darken and tarnish in time. But there are some easy ways to prevent your jewellery from losing its shine.

Lianna has pulled together their top tips for how to clean and take care of your silver and silver-plated jewellery pieces to help keep them at their best.

How to prevent silver jewellery from tarnishing

If worn every day, silver jewellery will gradually start to show wear, particularly on highly-used areas such as the chain or back of a pendant or the backs of your earrings. This is a natural process. Find out more in our guide to preventing tarnishing.

How to keep your silver jewellery sparkling

The best way to remove dulless from your silver jewellery pieces is to give them a regular buff using a soft, non-abrasive lint-free cloth to polish the metal without scratching the surface. We don’t recommend using chemicals or cleaning agents, but you can carefully clean pieces you wear often, such as earrings and rings, with a soft toothbrush and warm soapy water every three to six months.

Silver earrings need to be handled with care when cleaning, especially around the posts and backs, as these areas can be softer and can mishapen more easily,’ advises Lianna. If using soapy water on earrings, chains, charms or pendants, make sure you pat dry with a soft cloth afterwards and leave detailed pieces and chains to air-dry before storing away, as moisture can get caught between the links and small design details.

‘Cleaning silver-plated jewellery requires a softer touch, as the plating can wear away more easily,’ she says. ‘A gentle polish with a lint-free cloth should be all it needs.’

If your jewellery contains gemstones, you’ll need to take more care when cleaning it. For more advice, including tips on how to clean gold jewellery, have a look at our jewellery care guide.

Store in style

Keeping your silver jewellery in its best condition starts with storage. Store your jewellery in a clean, dry place, such as in a jewellery box, after every wear, to avoid it getting scratched by other jewellery. ‘All Oliver Bonas jewellery pieces come in a soft pouch that can be handy when travelling,’ says Lianna, ‘or if you take several pieces away with you, keep them safe in one of our travel jewellery boxes. If you have long chains, Jewellery stands are great for preventing knots and tangles.