Yet again here I am discussing silver and it’s nuances . I have often been asked whether the piece is genuine if it happens to be tarnished. Also very often when people ask if a piece is pure silver what they mean is if it is silver at all . Pure silver is highly reactive and a very sensitive metal . Silver gets tarnished on exposure to air and this layer of tarnish is called oxidisation. Now if a piece of jewellery is being sold as oxidised jewellery please don’t assume its silver , it could be oxidised metal too . When silver whether sterling or tribal comes into contact with air it gets tarnished which means it loses its shiny white look and lustre and acquires a darker look . This dark layer forms only on the surface and the shiny look can be restored by cleaning the piece . Natural tarnishing is very different from chemical induced oxidisation. A chemical compound called potassium sulphide is introduced to the silver and a dark patina of oxidisation is formed on the piece . This is just a surface treatment and the silver remains intact within . So once the tarnish or oxidisation process is reversed the sheen and lustre of the metal are back . Oxidisation is not proof of the piece being silver . Also if silver is exposed to perfume , water , sweat cosmetics and such it tends to lose lustre and looks tarnished . The oxidised or tarnished look is actually preferred by many because it has an antique charm .So yes silver does tarnish or get oxidised but ALL OXIDISED OR TARNISHED WHITE METAL IS NOT SILVER . How soon will the silver get tarnished depends on a lot of factors and purity is only one of them . And yes GERMAN SILVER also gets tarnished and this reaction does not qualify it to become silver.
This dark patina can be removed by several home remedies or the friendly neighbourhood jeweller would be happy to help too I’m sure !
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