If you want your fine quality silver to last a lifetime you must take proper care. To minimize scratches and other damage, store your silver jewelry either in a cloth pouch or in a separate compartment in your jewelry box. Avoid exposure to household chemicals such as bleach or ammonia, or when swimming in chlorinated water, as these chemicals can damage silver.
Clean your silver regularly. Care should also be taken to prevent silver tarnish build-up, a dulling that naturally occurs when silver reacts with sulfur or hydrogen sulfide ambient in the air. For this purpose, use polishes formulated specifically to remove tarnish. You can find fine silver polishes, solutions, or cloths appropriate to remove tarnish at any hardware stores or specialty craft stores. Tarnish is most easily removed when it first becomes visible.
Of course, the best way to prevent tarnish from building up is to wear your silver jewelry often. Regular cleanings of all your silver items will prevent tarnish and keep your silver bright and sparkling. The beauty of sterling silver jewelry and gifts is part of this metal's ageless appeal. Proper caring for your silver collection is a sure way to keep sterling looking its shining best and always sparkling.
As with any fine jewelry or gift item, each piece of sterling silver should be stored individually, if you toss your jewelry into a dresser drawer and allow pieces to rub against each other, scratches will result.
Always keep your silver in a cool, dry place. Sterling silver, like other precious metals, can oxidize with time. It is a good idea to store silver in a tarnish-proof cloth or in drawers lined with tarnish-resistant strips. If sterling does become tarnished, it is easily restored to its original gleam by using a paste, liquid polish, or a treated polishing cloth intended for use on silver.
Another simple idea is to simply wash the jewelry or silver object with warm water, rubbing in a little soap or toothpaste, rinsing and then patting dry with a fine soft cloth. Avoid using tissue paper or paper towels as they can scratch silver. Many a time the professional jewelers themselves provide silver-cleaning materials as well as directions for their proper use.
Treat your silver well and it will actually develop a lush patina and will keep shining with a lustrous look. It will be a treasure to last a lifetime and even to pass onto the next generation.