What Is Oxidized Silver, Also Known as Blackened Silver?

Oxidized silver is a piece of jewelry that has been introduced to sulfides in an attempt to change the color of its surface over a long period of time. The term ‘oxidizing’ is thus misleading since oxygen plays no role in the process. This process has become popular due to the antiqued, royal look it gives to items. It also gives one the chance to experiment with their jewelry by mixing and matching designs. Here’s how to take care of oxidized silver and other essential details you need to know!

What Does This Type of Jewelry Look Like?

Modern advances in technology have granted jewelers great control over determining the color of your oxidized silver piece. Oxidization is a process where the surface or the patina is voluntarily introduced to sulfur that is mixed with another chemical. While silver generally lies on a wide spectrum between black and gray, you could also get brighter colors such as blues, purples, yellows, and reds. This type of silver can be used to produce a whole range of jewelry items such as necklaces, earrings, chains, and other ornaments.

Is Oxidized Silver Real Silver?

No, it is not. Real silver is highly inert, making it very hard to oxidize the surface. Instead, sterling silver is much more suitable to be used for oxidization. Sterling silver is 92.5% pure, with the rest 7.5% consisting of impurities, such as copper, etc. The oxidization process usually takes a long time due to the high purity of sterling silver, but this problem isn’t faced when trying to work with plated silver, which contains negligible amounts of the mineral. However, if your silver plated jewelry contains rhodium, oxidization might be a problem. You can always get your ornaments re-oxidized, but plated silver isn’t the best choice for oxidizing.

Does Oxidized Silver Wear Off?

Yes, oxidized silver does wear off over time. This is a result of natural day-to-day wear and tear, which can’t really be avoided. It’s possible to fix this issue at home, but we recommend you go see a jeweler instead to avoid any errors that might damage your piece of jewelry.

How Do You Clean Oxidized Silver?

First of all, do not use the cleaning methods you use for your normal silver or other jewelry. Substances like silver polish will ruin the smoky, blackened look of your oxidized silver. Here is how you can clean your oxidized jewelry:

Step 1: Mix warm water and washing liquid in a bowl and place your oxidized silver in the solution.

Step 2: Let it sit for around 10-20 minutes in the mixture. Once the silver looks clean, scoop it out and gently wipe or just let it air dry.

Step 3: That’s it, enjoy your clean jewelry!

Most methods of cleaning will require you to oxidize the silver once again because they inevitably result in some restoration of polish. Given that oxidized silver emulates the look of a tarnished silver piece, it is generally hard to distinguish between rust and design. Depending on what type of silver you have, you probably won’t have to clean your oxidized silver very often. However, it is of utmost importance to store oxidized jewelry away from sunlight when not in use. This is because direct sunlight is known to degrade the color of silver over time. As mentioned earlier, if you really like the retro look, you can always get silver re-oxidized.