Does Sterling Silver Tarnish if Worn Daily?

Sterling silver jewellery is stunning, comfortable and light — and a lot of the time we grow an emotional connection to these pieces we’ve worn for weeks, months and even years. After all, silver rings and silver bracelets complement any outfit or occasion, so it’s easy to wear them day in and day out! But does sterling silver tarnish if worn daily? Read on to find out the answer!


So, Does Sterling Silver Tarnish If Worn Daily?

It might surprise you, but the answer to the question “does sterling silver tarnish if worn daily” is “no!” Daily wear can actually reduce the chance of your glamourous sterling silver losing its shine and colour. Amazingly, your skin's natural oils will clean and polish your silver jewellery as you wear it, and slow down the processes that cause the sterling silver to tarnish.

While the oils in your skin will make your silver shine longer, the effects of sunlight, water and heat can still eventually lead to tarnishing. We can’t completely stop silver from tarnishing, but daily wear can really help.

How Long Does It Take Sterling Silver To Tarnish?

It’s hard to give a definite answer. It could take months or years for tarnish to form on your jewellery, or it could happen over one day. It really depends on where you wear your sterling silver and what you do to prevent tarnish.

If your sterling silver is tarnishing really fast, then it could be because of high humidity or even pollution in the air where you live. A quick tarnishing effect could also occur if you are leaving silver in a place where it’s exposed to sulphur or if it’s constantly around moisture. Learn more: Can Tarnished Silver Be Restored?

How Long Does Sterling Silver Last For?

Sterling silver is an alloy of 92.5% pure silver and 7.5% of other metals, usually copper. The addition of copper gives the metal greater strength and durability while keeping its bright white appearance. If cared for properly, sterling silver can last a long time – even 20 or 30 years. Learn more: Is There A Difference Between Silver And Sterling Silver?

If you do wear your silver daily, it can be scratched and worn over time. This is an unfortunate part of wearing jewellery. Thankfully, the addition of copper or other stronger metals does make it more difficult to bend or break your sterling silver. You can also make your silver jewellery last longer by taking it off in situations where it can get damaged.

When Should You Not Wear Sterling Silver?

You can get away with wearing your sterling silver jewellery daily without having to clean and polish it too often if you avoid certain places. This includes:

  • Beaches: Constant exposure to sunlight and salty water at the beach might leave your silver darkened or discoloured. The sand can also buff your jewellery and cause minuscule scratches. 
  • Swimming pools: Chlorinated pools aren’t a great place to wear sterling silver either. The chemicals in most pools can cause some heavy tarnishing on your sterling silver pieces. 
  • Bathrooms: The hot steam of a shower will leave a lot of moisture on the surface of your silver, even if you take it off before you step in (which can cause tarnishing). Read more: Can You Wear Sterling Silver in The Shower?

  • Gyms and sports activities: Working out and playing sports can tarnish silver. The moisture and sweat from your skin can even corrode your pieces slightly - so it’s good to avoid this too. 

When you wear silver out casually or to a formal event, your silver will be perfectly fine. And really, all these suggestions are just precautions. If you can avoid the beach, pools and exercising when wearing silver you won’t have to just spend that extra time cleaning your silver after.

How To Prevent Sterling Silver From Tarnishing

Store it properly

The best way to prevent tarnishing is to store your silver bangles, pendants and earrings properly – this means protecting it from sunlight and moisture. Choose a cool and shady place to put your silver jewellery as this will help to block any contact with heat and sunlight that can speed up the tarnishing process. To avoid moisture, make sure you dry your jewellery before you put it away (particularly if you’ve just washed it) and place your pieces in an air-tight box.

Learn more: How To Store Silver Jewellery: Complete Guide

Make sure your sterling silver isn’t stored with chemically treated surfaces either! Wood, for example, can have veneer containing sulphur and chemicals that will damage your silver and blacken it. 

Consider rhodium-plated sterling silver

One of the best ways to prevent tarnishing is by buying rhodium-plated sterling silver. The practice of coating silver jewellery with a layer of rhodium will prevent tarnish and maintain that beautiful silver colour. This is a popular method of keeping your sterling silver looking fresh, and all you have to do is purchase the right piece.

A lot of sterling silver jewellery on the market today is treated with rhodium, which is very helpful for the daily wearers. Just be aware that this surface can wear off if it’s badly scratched so it pays to be aware of when and where you bring your sterling silver. 

So now you know the answer to “does sterling silver tarnish if worn daily?” it’s time to get shopping! At Silver Chic, we have a wide range of stunning jewellery. Browse our silver diamond earrings, mens silver necklaces and more! Get free shipping over $69. 

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