Back to Ganoksin | FAQ | Contact

Yellow tarnish on Silver


#1

I’m having a problem with this yellow tarnish that appears on newly
completed pieces. I mostly work with turquoise and silver.

My process is that once the buffing is complete I clean the piece
with a tooth brush and dish soap. Then into the ultrasonic. Then
another scrub with tooth brush and water. I then let the piece dry
out overnight then I put each piece individually into a zip lock bag.
About 1 out of 10 pieces gets this yellow tarnish on the flat back,
polished silver side. It comes of easily with a polishing cloth or a
quick touch of the buffing wheel but I’d rather prevent it as I
usually discover it the day before I’m getting ready to deliver the
pieces to a client.

Any insight?

Thanks in advance…

Rick Copeland Silver Jewelry and Lapidary Artisan
rick.copeland@Covad.net home.covad.net/~rcopeland
Colorado Springs, Colorado


#2

Hi Rick, I sometimes have the same problem. My best guess is that it
is a stain left from soap that is not totally removed from the piece
and dampness on the silver that is not totally removed. Lee


#3
  I'm having a problem with this yellow tarnish that appears on
newly completed pieces.  I mostly work with turquoise and silver.
My process is that once the buffing is complete I clean the piece
with a tooth brush and dish soap.  Then into the ultrasonic.  Then
another scrub with tooth brush and water.  I then let the piece
dry out overnight then I put each piece individually into a zip
lock bag. 

This may be a stretch but do your zip lock bags come wrapped with
rubber bands? Over time, some materials can leach into or through
plastic. The only thing I can think of is that rubber band contact
with the bags at the top and bottom of the stack over time may
contaminate the bags with small amounts of the sulfer used for
vulcanizing the rubber. As you pull several bags from the stack, the
one that has been in contact with the rubber band for any significant
time could be contaminanted thus producing a slight tarnish on the
contents. If indeed the bags are wrapped in rubber bands, I would
try removing the rubber immediately and discarding a bag or two from
both the top and the bottom of the stack.

Howard
Eagle Idaho


#4
I then let the piece dry out overnight then I put each piece
individually into a zip lock bag.  About 1 out of 10 pieces gets
this yellow tarnish on the flat back, polished silver side. 

Rick, The plastic in the bag may be contributing to your tarnish
situation. Plastic contains sulfur and sulfur is the great evil to
sterling silver. You might try switching bag types or there are small
paper patches that you can include in the bag with the pieces that
absorb the sulfur fumes more aggressively than does the silver
jewelry. You might try Rio Grande since they are in the heart of
silver country. (Albuquerque, NM). It also makes me wonder if these
pieces are assembled instead of cast. Myself and most of the folks
that I hang with out here in New Mexico heat from the back when we
are assembling a southwest piece of jewelry. During that heating
you may be getting some alloy segregation on the occasional piece
because of the human factor. The part with more exposed copper in
the grain boundary may be the one that is getting the tarnish. That
might account for the variability. Just a thought. If these are all
castings with no assembly, then forget what I just wrote.

Best Regards,
J. Tyler Teague
JETT Research


#5

Hi Rick. Are you working, or drying your silver near a source of
natural gas ? I had a wonderful pair of antique candlesticks
replated and wanted them to oxidize black in the depths of the
design before lacquering. All they would do was turn yellow and look
dreadful in my dining room. That was the sulfur coming from the gas
stove. It also keeps ferns from growing in the adjoining garden room.
Nothing else seems to mind. Good luck on finding your solution.

Pat


#6
   I'm having a problem with this yellow tarnish that appears on
newly completed pieces.  I mostly work with turquoise and silver. 

G’day; Yellow or brown tarnish on silver is almost invariably due
to the presence of a tiny amount of hydrogen sulphide in the
immediate environment. I suggest that the black marks and tracery in
some turquoise are copper sulphide and could therefore combine with
atmospheric moisture to produce traces of hydrogen sulphide gas,
which in turn, would produce a very fine film of silver sulphide on
the silver surface. Your best trick will be to experiment to discover
where the sulphur is coming from; either the turquoise or the bag.
Perhaps a small piece of freshly ‘burnt’ lime (not limestone or
chalk) would help absorb the trace of sulphide gas in preference to
the silver. – Cheers for now, John Burgess; @John_Burgess2 of
Mapua, Nelson NZ


#7

I slso have this problem but on my pure silver wire! any ideas about
what might be causing this? A couple minutes in the pickel takes
care of the tarnish but I would still like to know why. Any
suggestions Ron


#8

Thanks for all the great advice both offline and online. With all
the ideas I think I’ll try a little experiment, although it won’t be
scientific. The cripple creek turquoise I work with comes in both
blue and green with the blue having more copper and the green having
more iron. I’ll polish 3 pieces of flat sterling. In three
separate bags I’ll place a piece of silver and in two of the bags a
piece of turquoise. One green; one blue. I’ll place them in the same
drawer as I keep all my finished pieces.

If I don’t get the yellow tarnish in one of 3 the bags I’ll heat and
pickle the silver and polish again. I’ll use the southwestern
screen method of heating from underneath. Then see if I get any
results.

Of course the best solution would be to use paper job envelopes. The
situation is one of my clients prefers the pieces in individual bags
with my wholesale price on them. That way when we do our transaction
she can see the price of each piece and not have to trace it back to
the invoice. It also makes in easier for her to price them as we do
most of our transactions at shows and she is greeting and waiting on
customers at the same time.

I’ll post my results when and if I get them and will also check out
the antitarnish paper recommended to me.

Rick Copeland
Silver Jewelry and Lapidary Artisan
rick.copeland@Covad.net
home.covad.net/~rcopeland
Colorado Springs, Colorado


#9

It is possible that any oils from your skin might be reacting with
the polish on the metal. After polishing and rinsing, I would
suggest drying them in ground corn cob instead of a towel. It’s a
great drying agent.

-karen


#10

Rick, coming in a bit late on this I see lots of folk have laid the
blame on sulphur, from various possible locations. Now, I’m not
going to argue with any of that, but I’d like to throw another idea
into the ring. You say:

      My process is that once the buffing is complete I clean the
piece with a tooth brush and dish soap.  Then into the ultrasonic. 
Then another scrub with tooth brush and water.  I then let the
piece dry out overnight then I put each piece individually into a
zip lock bag. 

Now, if your water is tap-water it probably has some chlorine in it,
and if your piece isn’t fully dry when it goes into the bag then it
could react with the silver to form silver chloride. Actually the
"could" refers just to the uncertainty of whether or not chlorine is
there, if it is then it’ll certainly react. Silver chlorise is
actually white, but quickly changes in light, eventually becoming
black (the basis of photography in fact).

Kevin (NW England, UK)


#11
 About 1 out of 10 pieces gets this yellow tarnish on the flat
back, polished silver side. 

Rick, Perhaps there is some chemical in whatever you are setting the
pieces on (like perfumed laundry soap on a dish towel). I had the
same problem when I left pieces on a newly painted table.


#12

I’ve been reading all the postings with interest but none seem to
answer the problem for me. My chains have also turned yellow and
they have not been in a plastic bag or polished by me. I brought
them home from Tucson, put them in my display case and they are now
yellowing. The same thing happened in a display case in a different
location. The same thing happened several years ago with stock from
a different supplier and displayed in a different location. Any
further suggestions as to the reason? Thanks for the help.


#13

Hello “Otthaus” and all!

Has anybody mentioned pollution in this thread? Sulfur is present in
different quantities in the air and is more concentrated in urban
regions than in rural ones. If you live in or near big cities, you
can expect to see you silver pieces tarnish…

Benoit Hamel


#14

Some times I get a yellow film on items that are warmed by the sun
or the lamps in a case after using Rio Grande’s sunshine cloth.
There is no problem if the article is cleaned with a soft clean
cloth after using the sunshine cloth. Lee E