Sterling silver is a highly collectible precious metal. You want to keep your antiques pristine for your collection. Therefore, it’s wise to ask, “What are the common reasons why silver tarnishes?” When you know the answer, you can protect your possessions well.

Chemicals React to Silver

Your silver will tarnish because of several chemicals that react when they come in contact with the silver. Sulfur is the most common culprit known to tarnish silver. You’ll find sulfur dioxide and hydrogen sulfide in the air particles floating around us. Hydrogen sulfide has a distinct rotting egg scent and will form silver sulfide when it reacts with silver. This substance is what creates tarnish.

You can discover sulfur in many day-to-day products, including foods, cleansers, shampoos, and perfumes. Therefore, if you consume or use any products that contain sulfur and then touch your silver, you’ll slowly tarnish it.

Moisture Is in the Air

Silver won’t tarnish in dry air. The moisture in the air will react with silver and cause an accelerated tarnishing process. Therefore, the higher the humidity, the quicker the rate of tarnishing. If you live in a highly humid climate, it’s best to store your silver with silica gel packets or pieces of chalk to help absorb the moisture and keep the air around your silver dry.

Copper Reacts to Oxygen

If your antiques are sterling silver, you must know that copper reacts with oxygen. Sterling silver is 92.5 percent pure silver and 7.5 percent copper. Copper is what reacts with oxygen to create red copper oxide. This reaction could also cause your sterling silver to tarnish.

Various Acids Affect Silver

Another common reason why silver tarnishes is that various acids affect it. People have reported that their sterling silver antiques will quickly blacken if they wrap them in tissue paper. This problem arises because tissue contains different acids.

You must be aware of the acidity levels in your skin as well. Different pH levels in a person’s skin will result in different rates of tarnishing.

It’s essential to handle your sterling silver with gloves and care consistently. This way, you can protect your silver from tarnish. You want to keep it pristine until it’s time to sell it, after all. Nelson and Nelson is the perfect place to visit when you’re ready to sell antique silver in NYC.