Horn, Bone, Feather

I am experimenting in combining organic elements with sterling
silver. I have used carved horn in the past and hadn’t noticed any
problems, but recently discovered that a particular horn bead seems
to tarnish any silver wire, chain or cast piece it is attached to,
and much faster than any of my other sterling pieces normally
tarnish. I have read on a conservation website that the keratin in
horn breaks down and releases sulphur which tarnishes silver, but
horn and silver are being combined everywhere I look on the web and
more bead suppliers than ever seem to be selling horn beads. Am I
missing something here? I wonder if what I have now is a bead molded
using powdered horn and a kind of adhesive which may add to the
problem, or if combining horn and sterling is a bad idea overall. I
am especially concerned now that I think that a piece of jewellery
may be fine in the studio, but that once it gets into someone’s
store under the hot lights of a sealed jewellery case that it will
be the first piece of their jewellery that will turn brown. I would
greatly appreciate any thoughts on this matter.


I don’t know why its doing this, but have you considered trying it
with Argentium, which is extremely tarnish resistant?