Storing sterling silver components

I am pretty new to jewelry making. Up until now I have been storing
my sterling silver bead caps in different compartments in a plastic
jewelry components container. I haven’t actually experienced any
oxidisation of the bead caps, but I’m just wondering if this is an
acceptable and safe storage method, or if I should rather store most
of them in plastic zip lock bags.

It’s just handy to have them out in the compartments of the box that
I can easily bring around with me. I must also admit that I just
like having them there. It looks nice and tidy. However, protecting
them from oxidisation is, of course, a priority.

I would also like to know if I should advise my customers to keep
their rosaries (which is what I am making at the moment) in plastic
bags in addition to (i.e. outside) the wee velvet pouches that I
send out with the rosaries. I am thinking of advising them to do so
if they are carrying their rosaries around in bags etc that are not
waterproof, and to warn them that oxidisation to the silver bead
caps is more likely to occur if they get wet. However, would velvet
pouches be sufficient protection in dry conditions?

Thank you all in advance for your help. I was very happy the last
time I asked a question that people took the time to give me feedback
and suggestions.

I found this article a few months ago;

Avoiding Tarnish on Silver Jewelry Supplies

in the article they mention (among many other things) using silicone
packets- a free source is from shoe boxes, there always seem to be
silicone packets in shoe boxes! additionally, the article warns
about using certain types of plastic bags.

can’t wait to hear more from others…

I don’t think silver oxidation is really a concern - it’s reaction
with sulphur compounds that you need to worry about. That’s what
turns silver black when you apply “oxidising” solutions like

You should keep the items airtight and dry. Putting them in sealed
plastic bags is probably a bad idea, as the customer will leave
sweat and fats all over the items, particularly if they are rosary

After several years in the window, there are a few items that get a
slight yellow tarnish, but I’ve never had a problem with our silver
findings box, which is up in the workshop. If presume this is
because the findings get handled less than window stock.

I think you mean silica, not silicone. Silica is a drying again that
keeps moisture levels down. Anti-tarnish paper is available from a
number of places including Firemountain Gems and Beads.

Best regards

can't wait to hear more from others.... 

The websites author clearly is lacking in technical understanding of
the tarnish process. First it is certain sulfur compounds not
sulfate compounds that cause most but not all tarnish reactions. A
sulfate is a salt of sulfuric acid and will not tarnish silver in
fact sodium bi-sulfate (Sparax, pH Down) is routinely used as a
pickle to remove fire scale on jewelry items. Second you are not
looking for silicone packets but silica gel packets that are
commonly found in shoe boxes or other areas where one wants to
absorb moisture. Most of the advise on the page is reasonable but
when the underlying technical is so flawed it is hard to
take the article seriously.

James Binnion
James Binnion Metal Arts

You can also get the silicone packets from the vitamin and
medication bottles. Some are in packets and some are little tubes.

If you want to PAY for something, get those little anti-tarnish
squares. They are good for like 6 months.

I use the silicone packets in my storage containers but put the
squares in customers’ boxes.


I haven’t read all of this thread so at the risk of being redundant I
will put in my two cents. Most, if not all, of the jewelry supply
houses (Gesswein, Stuller, etc.) sell anti-tarnish paper. I usually
just add a piece of this paper in a zip lock bag or else wrap each
individual piece. You can also line storage drawers or jewelry boxes
and get great anti tarnish results. I wrap all my sales in this
paper and tell the client to use it to line their jewelry box to keep
things looking new… my two.

Frank Goss

You could try Harry Sarber ‘Senior’ in Vancouver at 604.301.1502. He
has been in the jewellery business for over 50 years and has been
stamping shapes in silver for engravers for decades.

you are not looking for silicone packets but silica gel packets
that are commonly found in shoe boxes or other areas where one
wants to absorb moisture. 

oh yea, i meant silica- der!

additionally, i can’t believe i missed the obvious sulfate/sulfur
misnomer, yikes! (of course, i use liver of sulfur to oxidize all the
time). thanks for setting us all straight! i must NOT have had my cup
of coffee that morning.

If you’re in North America, you may have heard of a machine called
the Food Saver. It’s a vacuum sealer that uses its own bags. The
item is put in a bag and the machine sucks out the air, creating a
not-perfect vacuum. It does work very well, however, and the result
is that you can put food in your freezer and not have freezer burn
ruin it.

The Food Saver manufacturers also claim you can keep silver from
tarnishing in one of the bags. I’ve never tried putting silver in one
of their bags, but it does a fabulous job of preserving food.

I don’t work for them, just a satisfied customer.

Hi Kirsten,

I store my sterling components in a clear, compartmentalized plastic
case as well. Some of the components have been there for years with
very little oxidization. The cover is always closed unless I’m using
them. Realistically, once the piece leaves your studio, it will be
subject to your customer’s conditions so some oxidation is
inevitable. It’s sterling, after all :slight_smile:

I provide a little anti-tarnish baggie (available at Rio Grande ) with my
wire-sculpted pendants but I know they will never be as shiny as when
I first took them out of the tumbler. So be it. A bit of patina can
be lovely. You can also provide a jewelry care card (I never
recommend those instant dips btw) with tips on keeping the piece
clean and shiny for longer. And if the oxidation really bothers you,
consider switching to a metal like Argentium which resists tarnish
for a lot longer than sterling. Hope that helps.

ArtSea Jewellery