Whether you make, sell or collect jewelry, tarnish is a major problem. This is especially true on silver jewelry but affects other metals as well. Many companies attempt to provide a solution with a wide array of anti tarnish products, but not all are created equal. So what should you look for? Here are our tips:
Nontoxic and safe. Most anti tarnish products are essentially chemical treatments in one form or another that combats the tarnishing process. As with any other chemical-based process, the fact that a product works does not always mean it is safe to use. There are certainly safe products out there, but not every company offers them. In some cases even the fumes from an anti tarnish product are unsafe. These products should be avoided and only 100% nontoxic anti tarnish substances should be used.
- Non caustic/abrasive. Too many anti tarnish products tend to harm not only the jewelry but the people handling it. When an anti tarnish product includes caustic or abrasive substances, the product can end up stripping the finished plating or coating off, or scratching, the jewelry it’s meant to protect. The result looks awful—and the products in some cases are worse than the tarnish itself. After all, tarnish can be polished off but a stripped finish is a much bigger problem.
- Does not leave residue. You’d think this would go without saying but surprisingly many companies just don’t get it. Why would anyone want an anti tarnish substance that leaves a chemical residue? This is especially bad when the residue could come off on someone while they wear their new jewelry, or leaving an uneven and discolored finish in some areas and not in others, resulting in a spotty finish that needs to be redone.
- Strip form. Many companies produce anti tarnish products that come in the form of a polish or cream. Almost by definition these products leave a residue as described above. They also require more time and labor to apply properly. The best products are anti tarnish strips that are simply placed into a box, bag, or pouch with the jewelry, and are non-toxic, non-abrasive, and do not leave deposits on items they protect.