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Tarnish solution?

Hello All,

I have been trying to find a way to keep my finished sterling tarnish
free til sold. Eleven+ months ago I vacuum sealed a pair of earrings
(see Pic) which is not a fast process using a kitchen food saver
sealer and left them next to my pickle pot. Still no tarnish. I think
no contact with air, no tarnish. It would be great if I could find a
container about one cu ft that would hold a vacuum for an indefinite
period of time and have at least a hand size opening for access. That
would save a lot of time and mess over the food saver vacuum method.

  1. Is my thinking correct about the oxygen? 2. If so, where could I
    find a vacuum container as described? 3. If I am correct about the
    process and there isn’t a reasonably priced product in the
    marketplace how about someone making such an item and selling it thru
    Rio Grande, etc.

Richard Langbert in Sunny Hobe Sound, Fl (with lots of sulfur in the


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Yes. Oxygen produces tarnish. Instead of removing the air; displace
it. At your local party supply place buy a tank of helium for filling
balloons. Then just displace the air in your bag with He? Not inflate
like balloon, just enough to displace the oxygen then seal the bag.


Richard- Our vacuum sealer can seal mason jars if that would work for
you. We own the “Food Saver” brand. We bought an attachment on line
that’s made to seal the top lids on jars. It comes in two sizes.
Regular and wide mouth. Works like a charm. If you are careful about
removing the lids you can reseal them.

Have fun and make lots of jewelry.
Jo Haemer

Yes. Oxygen produces tarnish. 

No, it’s sulphur gasses that produce tarnish.

Yes. Oxygen produces tarnish.

No, tarnish is silver sulfide. It comes from silver reacting with
sulfur compounds in the air not oxygen. Even though silver absorbs
lots of oxygen when molten it releases it as it cools and does not
form a stable oxide at room temperature in air. To make silver oxide
one needs to take silver nitrate and react it with an alkali
hydroxide like sodium hydroxide.


James Binnion
James Binnion Metal Arts

1. Is my thinking correct about the oxygen? 

No, the tarnish of silver is from sulfur compounds. These compounds
are in the air partly from the combustion of hydrocarbons containing
sulfur and partly from natural sources. So your process will greatly
reduce the silver tarnishing rate because it removes most of the gas
from around the work. However there is no complete vacuum and most
materials are permeable to one or more gasses so it is not
necessarily a permanent solution and of course makes it difficult to
wear the jewelry :slight_smile:

James Binnion
James Binnion Metal Arts

I’m no expert (repeat thirty times or so) However, I don’t think
helium is a great choice to replace oxygen because helium can leak or
diffuse out of containers much easier than most other gasses because
is is so light - its teeny tiny molecules can find their way out
between clunky big ol’ molecules of many substances. just an
impression I have. You could get “Silver cloth” which is impregnated
with silver. Fold and store each piece in a bit of silver cloth which
will absorb and capture any oxygen long before it has a chance to get
to your precious goods. For jewelry-size pieces it wouldn’t amount to
a big expense. You can buy the stuff by the yard - check on line.

Marty, whose vanishing silver hair cannot e saved by any kind of

Then just displace the air in your bag with He? 

Good idea, except helium (He, atomic weight about 4) is hard to keep
sealed. Nitrogen (N2, 28) would probably be better.

Al Balmer
Pine City, NY

Hello Richard,

Your finished sterling will tarnish when exposed to the atmosphere
and the rate of tarnish will vary based on the amount of sulphur in
the atmosphere. For those of us in the colder climates, during the
winter months when furnaces are burning fossil fuels, sterling
tarnishes more quickly.

Between shows, I have had good results with storing my finished
sterling pieces in silvercloth-lined Tupperware. (There are probably
other brands of plastic containers that are equally seal-able.) If
the container will not leak water when sealed, it should be pretty
air-tight as well.

Even easier is to use a silver chest such is sold with silver
flatware. I keep my eyes open when in thrift stores and always
purchase these chests when I find them. They seem to be priced around
US$5. You can remove the interior forms that “corral” the flatware…
or not. It depends on how much space you need. Just be sure the
silvercloth lining is in place and that the lid fits closely.

Judy in Kansas, where spring seems in full-swing and it’s only April

Hello all,

I don’t understand the whole search for “new” way’s of keeping
silver tarnisch free for storage.

There are anti tarnisching strips, bags, fabrics, dipping solutions
and more to serve you.

There are tarnisch free (silver) alloy’s of all kinds made for this
purpose. Why looking for more complicated way’s which cost you more
then what’s already available on the market?

The wheel is already invented and hot water aswell.

I know that 3M strips will keep your silver nice and shinning for
more then six months! Costs, $10 US for 16 strips.

By fact I know that rio grande sell’s 1000 (!) strips for something
like $40 US. If one believes that this is to expensive then figure out
howmuch time it costs to clean your silver items and you still need
to buy the polisching cloth.

By all means, any silversmith should know that sulphur causes silver
to tarnisch. It’s like dust on furniture and yes you need to clean
your furniture after a while. More dust, more work, no way around it.
This topic is uncountless times mentioned in the ganoksin forum
about tarnisching questions. In matter of fact, it’s basic knowledge.
Sulphur is all over the place and even in human sweat.

I’m not blaming anybody knowing that I’m a straight forward person.
Ganoksin is -as far as I know- the biggest open library of the world
concerning jewelry making with very highly respected craftsmen
covering a huge amount of wisdome and tricks based on practice.
Entering the question in the archive gives you more answers as you
can deal with. Use this tool and become smarter as you already are.

Have fun and enjoy

Between shows, I have had good results with storing my finished
sterling pieces in silvercloth-lined Tupperware. 

Does silvercloth like this have a shelf-life or stop working withing
a specific period after exposure to atmosphere?

The silver clothing is dipt in a wet solution When the cloth is
completly saturated with the solution it will be removed and dryed.
The solution itself evaporates and becomes crystalized powder. That
powder stays in suspension in the silvercloth. By using it, more and
more powder will be removed untill all of it is gone. The ones that
I have keep up for years using them every day! Some of them even have
holes buth still do their job. Unpacked, they have a very long shelf
life! I bought a whole bunch of them years ago for a minimum price (
$5 US for 10 cloths) as a stack on a sale. These cloths are over 10
years old now. Nicly packed and kept sealed in a dry place they last
forever I guess.

To my opinion, atmosphere has nothing to do with the crystalized
powder. Consider it as very fine pumice powder which stays in good
condition if kept dry. Be aware that the crystalized powder used in
silvercloth is not the same as pumice powder.

It might be that other formulas are used for different types of
silvercloth where chemicals are used instead of powder and that’s
another story.

Have fun and enjoy

Hello Jamie,

Does silvercloth like this have a shelf-life or stop working
withing a specific period after exposure to atmosphere? 

Good question. Now I’m curious.

I did a brief web search for manufacturing and found
that the Pacific Silver Cloth is made with embedded fine silver
particles, which scavenge the atmospheric sulpher and trap it before
it reaches the object which is covered by the cloth. This indicates
to me that there is a finite useful life for the silver cloth. My
personal experience is that the cloth I’ve used has not quit
functioning after… oh, about 15 years. Of course, since the cloth
itself is somewhat protected by being sealed inside the container, it
should retain tarnish-prevention qualities longer than if it was
constantly exposed.

The oldest silver chests I personally have are from the 1940s. The
silver flatware inside are still untarnished. There you have it. I
suspect that if the silver chests are not tightly constructed, the
silver cloth liner will more quickly lose effectiveness in preventing
tarnish. IOW, your mileage will vary.

Judy in Kansas, where the prairies are undergoing the annual burn.
Everything has that smoky smell.

Jamie - I have had my silverware in the same silvercloth wraps in the
dining room for some 40 years. The tips of the knives and forks have
a little tarnish but not much. Maybe new cloth wraps would help.