In other articles at UKBullion.com we’ve highlighted one of the factors that makes Gold one of the most sought after precious metals which is its tarnish resistance. This property is useful for a wide range of applications ranging from jewellery, through currency and even in technological applications. We have created a guide on how to clean your silver coins.
Unfortunately whilst Silver does share many of the same properties as Gold, tarnish resistance is not one of them. Silver tarnishes in a process most simply compared to rusting. In reality a totally different chemical process is occurring however the end result of damage to the surface of a Silver product and to its aesthetic appearance is the same.
Obviously the best option as we have highlighted before is to protect your Silver coins by storing them appropriately. We stock a number of cases and containers that will slow down the tarnishing process but ultimately, short of a protective wax covering there is little that can be done to prevent tarnishing from occurring.
With that in mind you are probably now wondering how you can clean your old Silver coins to restore the appearance without doing further damage. Naturally you can pay a jeweller or similar establishment to clean it for you. This approach is obviously the simplest but also likely to be the most expensive so what options are available to for you to do it yourself?
The tarnish that builds up is a result of the reaction of humidity in the air with the copper and other impurities present in the silver compound that makes up the coins or bars. The sooner you clean off any tarnishing the easier the task will be.
Silver coins can be washed in warm soapy water and rubbed gently by hand or with a polishing cloth. If your silver has gemstones set in however do not submerge these in water and instead use a cotton wool bud to clean only the silver tarnish.
If your coins are particularly badly tarnished it is possible to purchase a silver cleaning solution that will
break down the tarnish and make it easy to remove, again avoid this approach on jewellery which may feature deliberate tarnishing to enhance the design.
After washing your items in soapy water or cleaning solution be sure to thoroughly dry them before putting them back into storage as a damp coin provides the ideal conditions for further tarnishing.
You may have seen advice elsewhere on the internet indicating the use of toothpaste or other abrasive materials to clean Silver but this should be avoided as they work by abrasion, scratching the dirt from the coin and will leave slight scratch marks on the surface of your silver that might affect resale values.