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Name: Elaine  H.
Status: N/A
Age: N/A
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: 2/15/2004

Is there anything I can put in a velvet-lined drawer to prevent the silver I store there from tarnishing?

While the question is "chemical" a more authoritative answer would probably be found out from a jeweler, or manufacturer of Sterling silver.

Vince Calder

Hi Elaine!

Usually what is called tarnish in silver objects is due to reactions between the silver metal with several gases present at the atmosphere and water ( humidity) including even the oxygen and also some polluting sulphide gases. The Oxygen and the Sulphide gases readily combine with Silver and Copper (many times present also) to form Oxides and Sulphides, that have a black or dark grey colour. So the main thing is to prevent the contact between silver objects and the air (and humidity of course!) Try not to use polythene bags for storage, especially the 'gripper' type as they trap gases inside and create a greenhouse type environment, which is particularly good at creating tarnish. So try to keep your silver objects as dry as possible and the cabinet where you keep them as far as possible free from air. You can use absorbers as active charcoal and/or silica gel or some commercial products directed to prevent tarnish.

There are also some commercial lacquers or sprays that cover the metal surface preventing contact with the air but unhappily these sometimes make them to look dull. Apart from that the best way to keep silver (or silver plated objects) clean and bright would be clean them periodically with some product that will remove the ugly oxidation deposits. Sorry!

Thanks for asking NEWTON!

(Dr. Mabel Rodrigues)

I do not know if the velvet has chemicals in it to prevent or encourage tarnish. You can buy anti-tarnish strips to place on the velvet. I have used these. I have also wrapped silver in plastic and sealed out air as much as possible--this has done wonders to cut tarnish, although I do not really know if the plastic itself will do long-term damage. I have often wondered if I should try to find acid-free archival quality plastic. It is not as pretty, but I have kept pieces wrapped for a couple of years with little tarnish to clean.

Pat Rowe

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