Back to Ganoksin | FAQ | Contact

Does Silver Plate tarnish more than silver?

Hi all.

Having probs with tarnishing, and I’m wondering if its because I’m
using silver plate?

It seems to tarnish really badly.

I should really keep it in an air tight container, and recommend
that my customers do the same.

But is there a real plus to changing to solid silver components?? I
have found the plate really strong, and any silver I have used seems
really soft.

I know the only metal that does not tarnish is Platinum, and that I
should expect tarnish with silver and plate.

I’m talking about head pins, eye pins and jumps here… I would
appreciate your advice.

All the best, and “Thanks” in advance

Tina
Dublin, Ireland

Having probs with tarnishing, and I'm wondering if its because I'm
using silver plate?
It seems to tarnish really badly.

The tarnish rate depends on the Sulfur compounds in then local
atmosphere … Silver plate, Sterling and raw materials etc in my
home tarnish very slowly - which is a surprise… At my daughter’s
house about 10 miles away and further in the country silver seems to
tarnish while you wait. Her house is newer and immaculate ( I can’t
say that for mine) we both have gas cooking stoves., ?? I use a gas
clothes drier she has electric. I have an expressway 1/4 mile away
she is more rural.

You can get special silver storage bags and vapour phase
inhibitors in the US that will help slow tarnish down. It maybe the
quality of your silver plate but I doubt it.

jesse

Hi Tina,

I think that silver plate will usually tarnish less than sterling,
because it is pure silver. The copper in sterling causes it to darken
up sooner. But you never know. Sometimes plating has problems if the
process is not controlled just right. I store silver in zip plastic
bags with a little piece of tarnish strip paper from 3M in them.
There are also treated cloth bags that will protect from the
chemicals in the environment that cause tarnishing that are more
elegant.

Stephen Walker

I know the only metal that does not tarnish is Platinum, and that I
should expect tarnish with silver and plate. 

Hello Tina,

Have you seen our Orchid discussions about Argentium? It is a
Sterling Silver that is both highly tarnish resistant and can easily
be heat treated to achieve a good degree of hardness. If you’re
fabricating your own stuff it might be a good option for you. However
I don’t think there are any suppliers of Argentium findings … yet.

If you’d like to have a look at some Argentium I could send you a
small piece to play with (contact me offline and we can work out the
details).

If you like it you’ll find Kultakeskus in Finland,
www.kultakeskus.fi/ , a good European supplier of raw plate. I buy
5mm plate and roll out my own stock from that.

If you’d like to read some more about Argentium there’s
ArgentiumSilver.com which is the official site. Or you could check
out my “Working with Argentium” blog (follow the “blog” link at
www.touchmetal.com). I talk about all kinds of things related to
Argentium such as hardening, tarnish resistance, etc. I’d be happy to
answer any questions you might have on the subject, if I can.

Cheers,
Trevor F. in The City of Light
www.touchmetal.com

Are there any marshes or swamps, or even lakes near your daughter’s
house? Is she near the ocean? I ask because bacteria living in wet
sediments can be significant sources of H2S in the air, and H2S is a
potent tarnishing agent for silver. These bacteria live in places
where there is no free oxygen, and use sulfate (SO4) in water as a
source of oxygen to metabolize organic matter, excreting H2S as a
normal metabolic byproduct. Seawater has lots of sulfate in it, so
salt marshes and other coastal wetlands/sediments can be sources of
very large amounts of H2S. Many fresh waters contain lots of sulfate,
too, so their sediments can also be sources of H2S that enters the
atmosphere… Several industrial processes produce H2S too,
(refineries, some paper mills, etc.) as do feedlots and sometimes
dairies.

H2S smells like rotten eggs, but even if there isn’t enough in the
atmosphere to detect its odor, there could be plenty to tarnish
silver. Actually, eggs don’t have to be rotten to produce detectable
H2S. You get a whiff of it when you open a plastic container that has
egg salad in it–even when the salad is fresh and delicious.

Hope this helps track down the tarnish sources.

Dian Deevey

The tarnish rate  depends on the Sulfur compounds in then local
atmosphere .. Silver plate, Sterling  and raw materials etc in my
home tarnish very slowly  - which is a surprise.. At my daughter's
house about 10 miles away and further in the country silver seems
to tarnish while you wait.  Her house is newer and immaculate ( I
can't say that for mine)  we both have gas cooking stoves., ??  I
use a gas clothes drier she has electric. I have an expressway 1/4
mile away she is more rural. 

The atmosphere in your house doesn’t depend so much on where you
live but on what the house is made of and what you have in it. For
example, if your daughter has rubber backed carpet or a rubber based
carpet underlay, each footstep will give a little puff of
sulphur-bearing air from it - maybe you have a more traditional
felt-backed carpet or polished floorboards which would cause the
difference. There are any number of other similar instances where
furnishings and living practices affect the amount of sulphur or
other contaminants in the atmosphere. One major source of ‘fumes’ in
new houses which is often overlooked is adhesives - a laminate floor
laid with a ‘contact adhesive’ can load the atmosphere with all
sorts of chemical gases for years. Also, of course, the land upon
which the house is built can affect the atmosphere inside and houses
built on landfill sites or on boggy ground are likely to contain
more sulphurous fumes than those built in rocky or sandy areas. I
spent a large proportion of my working life trying to identify the
causes of ‘sick building syndrome’ in offices (both before and after
it became popular!) which can often be traced to pollution of the
internal atmosphere as well as boring working conditions.

Best Wishes
Ian
Ian W. Wright
Sheffield UK

I live in Texarkana, Arkansas / Texas .

To the south is the Sulfur River, to the north is a large paper mill.
To the west is another large paper mill, and East of Texarkana are
natural gas wells which produce enough Hydrogen Sulfide to make them
a local health hazard.

Liver of Sulfur is not needed often here.

I am looking at Argentium Silver with a new eye.

I came back here from Dallas Texas, where the air polution index
often kept people inside.

Home Sweet Home.
Robb