Keep Your Sil­ver Well

Consumer Voice - - Feature -

Aside from the fact that it is soft, and there­fore scratches eas­ily, sil­ver is durable, and the only prob­lem gen­er­ally as­so­ci­ated with it is tar­nish. In the days when wealthy fam­i­lies could em­ploy a pla­toon of help, the daily up­keep of sil­ver was not a draw­back. Nowa­days, it is more com­mon for sil­ver to go a long time be­tween clean­ings, and the build-up of tar­nish can be quite ex­treme, mak­ing the clean­ing process more in­ten­sive. Sil­ver mol­e­cules will com­bine with cer­tain other el­e­ments for which it has an affin­ity to cre­ate a cor­ro­sion prod­uct which we call tar­nish. It fol­lows then that re­mov­ing tar­nish (usu­ally by means of an abra­sive pol­ish) means re­mov­ing some of the sil­ver it­self. There­fore, tar­nish for­ma­tion should be pre­vented as much as pos­si­ble to avoid this grad­ual loss of sil­ver. Sul­phurs are the strong­est tar­nish­ing agents, as any­one who has eaten an egg with a sil­ver spoon or fork will know. But sul­phurs are also present as pol­lu­tants in the air from the burning of fos­sil fu­els, and even gen­er­ated in our homes from such prod­ucts as foam rub­bers, car­pet pad­ding, paints, wool or felt. Chlo­rides in the air and high hu­mid­ity also pro­mote tar­nish­ing. Even nor­mal han­dling of sil­ver leaves oily salts from our fin­gers which then de­velop into dis­tinct cor­ro­sion pat­terns. Sil­ver kept in a cabi­net or cup­board that closes se­curely enough to pre­vent air ex­change is at least some­what pro­tected from air-borne sul­phurs and chlo­rides. If the cabi­net is made of wood, the in­te­rior sur­faces should be well sealed. Other ob­jects stored with the sil­ver should be com­pat­i­ble – plas­tics and fab­rics may gen­er­ate tar­nish­ing agents, while china and glass are un­doubt­edly safe.

Avoid touch­ing clean sil­ver with your hands; use a dish cloth or tis­sue as a buf­fer. In mu­se­ums, cot­ton or la­tex gloves are al­ways worn by staff han­dling sil­ver and other met­als to pre­vent the trans­fer of body oils and salts.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from India

© PressReader. All rights reserved.