Silver – Care and Tarnish Removal
Source: Canadian Conservation Institute (CCI) Notes 9/7
A thin layer of dark tarnish can quickly destroy the surface lustre of silver. This layer consists mainly of black silver sulphide, and is caused by sulphur containing compounds such as hydrogen sulphide in the air. Tarnish can be removed from silver mechanically with a polish, chemically with a dip, or electrochemically. This Note describes these three methods for removing tarnish from silver, and explains how to store and display silver objects.
Tarnish removal should not be done frequently on museum objects, as each polishing or chemical tarnish removal takes away a certain amount of underlying silver along with the surface layer of tarnish. Preventing tarnish by using tarnish-inhibiting products in sealed storage containers or display cases should be a priority.