Why Does a Silver Chain Turn Black?

Why Does a Silver Chain Turn Black?
••• tincupdesigns.blogspot.com

Air

Rust is called oxidation, because oxygen in the air starts to chemically react with the iron's outer layers. Silver doesn't oxidize, though; it tarnishes, which is the same as saying that it forms a patina. Tarnish is formed when sulfur or sulfur compounds come into contact with silver. Sulfur is present as a free gas in our atmosphere, but it is becoming more prevalent in sulfur dioxide in air pollution from the burning of coal and gasoline.

Other Sources

Some soaps contain sulfur compounds, so if you wear your chain while you wash your hands or your dishes, you may speed the tarnishing process. Some groundwater can have considerable concentrations of magnesium sulfate (epsom salt), and in some areas the magnesium sulfate reacts to become hydrogen sulfide, which can rise as a gas through the soil.

Removing Tarnish

Many silver polishes contain an abrasive that merely dislodges the tarnish to expose new, untarnished silver underneath. Using these substances will eventually make your silver chain thinner and thinner. In the Resources section, you will find a procedure that allows you to convert the tarnish back into silver by transferring the sulfur to some aluminum foil. Although it is more work, it allows you to keep your chain both shiny and strong for a much longer time. Tarnish will start as a yellowing that gets darker. The longer you leave your chain tarnished, the harder it will be to restore.

Related Articles

What Causes Copper to Tarnish?
Science Projects on Cleaning a Penny
How to Change the Color of Metal Surfaces
Experiments on Cleaning Pennies
How do I Make Electricity Using Small Candles?
What Is Sulfate?
How to Make Aluminum Powder
How to Prepare Silver Oxide From Silver Nitrate
Is Recycling Copper Good for the Environment?
How to Find Rubies
Why Does Citric Acid Clean Pennies?
How to Make Wood Alcohol Through Distillation
How to Use Vinegar & Salt to Make a Penny Disappear
How to Identify a Metal
Does Lemon Juice Clean Pennies Better Than Vinegar?
How to Clean Crucibles
The Difference Between Polyethylene & PVC
Neoprene Vs. Natural Rubber
How to Make Fenton's Reagent
How to Remove Copper from Silver