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Silver Tarnishing: Did You Know?

Jan 21, 2021

Tarnishing refers to the corrosive process that takes place when silver chemically reacts with hydrogen sulfide in the air. Much like how iron rusts when exposed to oxygen, silver becomes discolored when tarnishing takes place. Though rusting and tarnishing are both corrosive chemical reactions, only rusting compromises the strength of the metal tarnishing effects. Just the outermost layer of silver while underlying metal remains unaffected from any chemical reaction.

As silver begins to tarnish, this outer layer will react to form a slight yellowish tinge before eventually turning black. In general, tarnishing does not have an impact on the value of silver items. Silver bullion products are valued solely by the weight and purity of their silver content, not their condition, making them durable assets for portfolio diversification. In order to protect more valuable proof silver coins from tarnishing, it is best to store them in sealed containers with protection from the open air.

Additionally, it helps to avoid storing silver products in humid areas as moisture can accelerate tarnishing. Be careful when polishing tarnished proof coins as it may cause fine scratches to their mirrored finish. This may diminish the proof coin's value. Call the number on your screen or click the link below if you'd like to learn more interesting facts about silver or silver's place in your portfolio, check out the Did you Know playlist on our YouTube page to see more interesting videos about gold.

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