Tarnish Free Silver.
Why Knock Tarnish.
There ain’t no such beast. There is not likely to be such a beast,
certainly not in the short term.
There is and has been for a long time a lot of research aimed at
finding the answer but don’t hold your breath waiting. Even fine
silver tarnishes. Sulphur is the culprit. Remove sulphur from the
atmosphere surrounding silver and you will probably remove 90% of
the possibility of tarnish on silver.
Why worry about tarnish, accept it, the reason to have a nice piece
of silver plate or hollowware is for the beauty of the piece, the
skill of the craftsman who made it and the precious metal from which
it is made. The fact that it will tarnish in time gives the owner the
opportunity to handle and admire the work of art.
There is a fundamental joy in caressing such a piece whilst removing
the tarnish with a soft cloth somewhat akin to running your hands
over a beautiful smooth form.
Instead of burning our brains with the so called problem of tarnish.
Why not sell the fact that the silver appreciator is buying a piece
that is tactilely pleasing and needs to be carefully attended to and
nurtured by rubbing with a soft cloth at certain intervals for the
good of the piece and also to feel good themselves.
If the desire is to have a piece that sits on the shelf without
tarnishing that piece can be electroplated or made in another metal
such as stainless steel.
The beauty of silver is then lost as well as the appreciation of the
handling and fondling of a beautiful creative work of art. However
Firestain or Firescale is a totally different subject, the bane of
The removal of which has been a problem for centuries. Now with the
new Silicon and Germanium containing alloys available, silversmiths
and jewellers are able to make their pieces without the problem of
having to polish and re-polish to remove the associated nasty black
Of course these new alloys, although still sterling silver, are not
the simple binary alloys comprising 92.5 Ag, 7.5 Cu that
silversmiths have used for the last several hundred years.
Consequently they do not have exactly the same properties eg.
Melting point, hardness, tensile strength etc. But they have been
carefully formulated to give as close to the same parameters as
standard sterling silver as possible in order that the silversmith/
jeweller should need to alter their working styles as little as
However it may be found some small compromises need to be made. It
will be found after a little practice working these alloys that in
spite of the small additional premium paid for them the saving in
finishing time and anguish is more than made up for. The resultant
silverware is whiter and is tarnish resistant to the degree that it
will take longer to attain the same degree of tarnish in the same
environment. In fact I go so far as to say, if you are a silver
worker, it is costing you money not to use them.
Tony Eccles. 2003