What effect would chlorine have on sterling silver

Thanks to everyone who replied to the thread on how chlorine can
damage 14k white gold. I found it very informative and interesting.
I was wondering if chlorine (as found in concentrations found in
pools, hot tubs and household cleaning products) would damage
sterling silver too.

I sell sterling silver jewelry and I think my customers would really
appreciate the

DanielBe Jewelry

Just an extra note to the safety procedures, specifically about
using cotton and paper to mop up concentrated acid spills. DON’T!

Concentrated nitric acid and cellulose make?..nitrocellulose -
an explosive!

Tony Konrath
Gold and Stone

Hello Dan (et al), I was just referencing the Brepohl book (“Theory
and Practice of Goldsmithing”) and I found something interesting.
On page 8, the good doctor writes, "Gold is almost completely
resistant to air, water and acids, and can be dissolved only by a
strong acid called aqua regia. It is attacked by free chlorine,
potassium and sodium cyanides, bromium and some other chemicals…"
We’ve already talked about the chlorine (perhaps incorrectly), but
no one mentioned bromium which is a popular addidtive in hot tubs
these days. It sounds as though the Bromides might be a source of
attack on the gold itself. I can find no similar statement in the
section covering silver on page 10. Tom

  I was wondering if chlorine (as found in concentrations found in
pools, hot tubs and household cleaning products) would damage
sterling silver too. 

Not in the way it does to gold. It won’t cause brittleness or
cracking. But it can, over time, cause the surface to get a somewhat
dusty/, murky,. look, rather than bright clean white. It forms a
thin layer of silver chloride on the surface, which gives it that
sorta smutty look. But silver chloride is insoluable, so once a thin
layer forms, the process stops. In effect, it just causes the polish
to deteriorate a bit, and it’s not all that fast a process. AND, you
can simply see what’s happening. Not like white golds, where the
item looks like new until the prong breaks off unexpededly.


Hi Dan, I would be interested in the effects of chlorine on sterling
also. I had an experience a few years back that surprised me until I
thought about it later. I wore my sterling jewelry in a natural hot
springs while on a trip out west. Everything turned black! I spoke
with the woman back at the camp I was staying at, she said the hot
springs made her gold jewelry sparkle. I realized afterwards that
there had been a slight sulphur or “rotten egg” smell to the water.
Live and learn. . . .

Jenny Levernier
jmml designs
Minneapolis, MN

A number of years ago we had a customer bring back a sterling ring
my husband had made. It had two layers of metal with a face pierced
out in fine lines (the thickness of a saw blade), The face had
practically disappeared and the top layer seemed to be dissolving
into the bottom layer. It mystified us until the client mentioned she
swam every day in her apartment pool and had been complaining to the
superintendent that there was too much chlorine in the pool. She went
back armed with “proof” there indeed was too much chlorine and a new

That’s the only time we’ve had that problem with chlorine and