Antique Tiffany items have become common in many households today. Apart from sterling silver jewelry, silver-plated household items can add elegance to our day-to-day lives.
With many people opting to buy antique sterling items, silver sales have seen a boost in recent years. Recent research shows that about 13% of the U.S’s resale industry revenue comes from antique stores.
So with all the beauty that comes with silver, how will you care for it to last longer? Read on to get more insights.
How to Store Your Silver to Prevent Tarnish
Some people avoid buying and using antique Tiffany items because they fear rust. What they don’t realize is that you can avoid tarnishing with minimal efforts.
What causes tarnish on silver? Humidity, right? Experts say that 45% to 50% is the ideal level of moisture recommended to store silver. As much as we can't control humidity levels, it is best that you avoid storing your jewelry in damp areas.
If you are storing that antique sterling trophy in a display cabinet, be sure to add camphor blocks to keep away rust. The blocks should, however, not be in contact with the silver pieces.
You can also use anti-tarnish cloths and papers that have activated silver/carbon salts.
Store your jewelry and other silver pieces in anti-tarnish bags, although they are not ideal for long-term storage. Additionally, make an effort of polishing your items once you take them out for use to maintain their shine.
How to Clean Antique Silver
Wondering how you can clean that pure silver tea set without spoiling its elegance? Or afraid that your silver bracelet will tarnish after a single wash? Worry not because you can clean your silver with the following simple steps.
- Dusting: Use a clean piece of cotton cloth or soft brush to dust your piece. Most people forget this important step. If dust is present when cleaning, it turns into an abrasive which scratches the finish of your items. For a candlestick, remove the wax by pouring hot water over the wax to melt it. Do not try to scratch off the wax with a sharp object.
- Washing: Wash the item in warm water that contains a mild detergent. Use your hand to clear any dirt or food on the item. Rinse with pure water and dry with a soft lintless cloth. Hidden places can be dried using a hairdryer.
- Polishing: Wear plastic or cotton gloves on your hands before polishing to avoid leaving your fingerprints on your antique Tiffany items. Using a non-abrasive silver polish and a soft cloth, gently apply the polish in a circular motion. Use an earbud to apply the polish in intricate areas. When through, ensure all the polish is removed from the surface.
- Final wash: Wash the items once more as in step two above. For things that don’t get into contact with food, make an effort of waxing with a thin layer of microcrystalline wax to add more protection against tarnishing.
How to safely display silver
If you prefer displaying silver to storing it, be sure to go for a glass-enclosed cabinet. Glass cabinets make the best choice compared to wood shelves which might sometimes emit vapors that would cause tarnish.
Your glass shelves should be strong enough to withstand even heavy silver wares. You can buy anti-tarnish bags, papers or clothes from jewelers selling silver to help you keep tarnish at bay.
Avoid cotton felt, velvet or wool near your antique Tiffany items. The mentioned fabrics have sulfides that cause rust. Furthermore, direct sunlight will accelerate tarnish, so store or display your antique Tiffany silver far from sunny windows.
Sterling silver items are costly and therefore need to be handled with great care. With appropriate care, your intricately decorated silverware will last for years serving you well in baby showers, gatherings, and other occasions where you need to impress your guests. You will also look your best and feel more confident when you flaunt your beautiful antique silver.