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Ask Your Goldsmith:
Oxidization on Silver

"Dear Hartmut,

I was looking for an answer to my problem on sterling silver ring when I happen to enter into your web site and I hope you could help me with this one.

I had bought a sterling silver ring a month ago and it was so beautiful without any flaws but recently I discovered that it has black spots inside the ring. I tried using a silver polish but after a while the black spots reappear. The spots are so visible that i wonder what cause it. What will I do to erase the spots? Your answer will be of big help to me!

Thank you very much!

Eden Lou

Hi Eden!

Thank you for you inquiry!

If your Sterling Ring has these black spots "only on the inside", then there could be problem with a chemical reaction from you touching the ring. Or if the spots are small and circular, it could be impurities in the silver itself that are near surface and cause the oxidization. Sterling Silver is almost fine silver and has a 92.5 % fine silver content. The other 7.5 % is usually pure copper to give the silver a little bit more hardness. If the alloy did not mix well with the pure silver before casting, it can appear near surface or at least in small pinhole type spots. That's where the dark circles will appear, around the microscopic copper pinhole, caused by surfacing molecule of the copper".

We use an alloy from the United States (it's patented), and has absolutely no copper in it! Therefore no "firescale reaction", as copper comes to the surface after it is been heated up, for instance during ring sizing or other soldering on the item!

Hope to have helped you, to explain various reasons for the dark oxidization spots. Could also be some hand cream, or oven cleaner, swimming pool chemicals, deep woods bug spray... but that would effect the whole ring and not just the inside of it! ;-)

For more information, please read my other articles about Buying and Selling Jewellery, About Old Gold and Taking Care of Your Jewellery.

Have a Question? Get the Answer! info@westyorkjewellers.com


Hartmut Reinsch
West York Jewellers
September 2005