Tiffany & Co is one of the oldest jewelry companies in the world. From its establishment in 1837, Tiffany & Co has maintained its legacy of creating jewelry masterpieces. The jewelry designs are nothing short of exquisite and the elegance of each of their pieces, like their Tiffany Blue color, is unmistakable.
Tiffany is the holy grail of elegance; whether you’re looking for Art Deco-inspired designs or modern designs, this brand has it all. And so, even today, the brand remains that top American luxury jeweler and jewelry brand.
Having worked hard to bring about some of the best and the most elegant jewelry designs, you may be quick to think that brand is perfect. But is it, really?
In this article, we take a deep dive at one aspect of Tiffany’s jewelry, specifically, their durability and how well they hold up during normal use. Will the jewelry tarnish, or does it hold up well despite use in what would be considered unfriendly conditions?
Does Tiffany jewelry tarnish?
Unfortunately, Tiffany jewelry will tarnish.
Now, to understand why this happens, we need to look at how the pieces of jewelry are made and what they are made of. This is an important consideration because, at the end of the day, tarnishing occurs when particulate metals or metallic components of the jewelry react with air or sulfur, or any other ingredients that cause chemical reactions. Tarnishing is the product of these reactions.
One of the metals or metal alloys that is used in jewelry making and also known to tarnish is sterling silver, which is the choice of metal used for jewelry making by Tiffany. Pretty much all pieces of jewelry sold by Tiffany are made of 925 sterling silver. This became the standard after Tiffany (the company’s founder) set in place the American Standard for sterling silver in 1851. Tiffany and his team of experts pioneered the creation of sterling silver by mixing 92.5% of pure silver with 7.5% of copper. This is a strategy that they found to work well because while pure silver is an elegant precious metal, it is too soft to be crafted into durable jewelry. And it was found out that alloying it with a metal like copper, at only 7.5%, would result in a stronger and more durable version of silver that was still malleable enough and efficient in the creation of jewelry. The 92.5% pure silver is what led to the creation of 925 sterling silver, and it remains that industry standard to date.
Although sterling silver is a perfect option for making jewelry, it gets tarnished over time. You can notice that tarnish when you wipe or rub the sterling silver jewelry using a clean, soft white cloth. This also means that the Tiffany jewelry will tarnish, and it is something you should be aware of and prepared for.
The good news is that there are measures you could take to slow down the rate of tarnishing for the jewelry.
Why does some Tiffany jewelry tarnish?
As mentioned above, some of the Tiffany & Co jewelry will tarnish. If your Tiffany bracelet tarnishes after some months, you shouldn’t assume that the tarnishing is as a result of the jewelry being fakes or counterfeits – well, this could be one way to look at it, but generally, tarnishing is because of the materials that are used to make the jewelry.
Essentially, tarnishing results in a chemical reaction between the silver and sulfur in the air (hydrogen sulfide) and oxygen. The presence of water or constant contact of that piece of jewelry with water will also increase the speed of tarnishing.
But water is not the only culprit, especially not just bathing water or getting the ring or bracelet wet when you wash your hand, you increase the risk of the jewelry getting tarnished too soon or too fast when you expose it to chlorinated water in the swimming pool or salty ocean water. Household chores and exposure of the jewelry to harsh chemicals, for example, will also speed up tarnishing.
On top of this, body lotion and other hair and skin care products would make your jewelry tarnish too soon.
What metals or materials are used in Tiffany jewelry?
To ensure the best quality jewelry, Tiffany makes use of the best materials. These materials include:
- 18K gold that comes with the 750 stamps on the respective jewelry – Note that this is the best quality solid gold jewelry on the market that is wearable. It is made of 75% pure gold, and the remaining portion, 25%, could be made of copper, silver, or a mixture of copper, silver, and other metals. The metals that make up the 25% determine the kind of 18k gold you end up with – 18k yellow gold has 25% silver added to the pure gold, 18k rose gold contains about 25% of copper (and maybe other colored metals) added in, while 18k white gold is made of 75% pure gold and 25% is often made of white metals like platinum, silver, and/or nickel.
- 925 sterling silver is also used for most Tiffany & Co. jewelry. These pieces of jewelry will have 925 hallmarks on them.
- 950 Platinum is also used by Tiffany to make their jewelry. Although it is not the most common option that people choose, it is a stunning white metal that wouldn’t tarnish. Well, it might have a slight patina that makes it more desirable and vintage, but this is not an undesirable feature for most people. The platinum used is 95% pure platinum – platinum is a precious metal, meaning that the platinum jewelry is still premium-quality.
- Diamonds– Besides Sterling Silver, Tiffany is well-known for its vast range of diamonds incorporated into its jewelry. Their diamonds are double-certified. The diamonds used to meet the highest standards for the diamonds, and they have been graded by GIA, as well as Tiffany & Co.’s indoor grading and certification teams. So, any diamond jewelry bought from Tiffany will have the GIA certificate and also a diamond certificate from Tiffany, with the assigned report number showing when the diamond was produced. It may also have a laser inscription that allows for easy matching of the reports.
Tips for cleaning your tarnished Tiffany jewelry
Most of the diamond Tiffany rings, for example, can be cleaned in the ultrasonic cleaner. However, we recommend giving the jewelry this ‘aggressive’ treatment only when it’s extremely dirty, and home cleaning remedies might not work too well.
Otherwise, treat your sterling silver jewelry gently. You can follow these steps to clean it:
- Apply just a small amount of the Tiffany silver cleaner that the jewelry comes with on a small soft cloth, then use the cloth to rub on the jewelry a number of times. When satisfied, rinse it with warm water thoroughly, then blot it dry using mitts or a polishing cloth to get rid of any tarnish and restore its shine.
- You could also opt to clean it using warm water with a few drops of gentle detergent. You’ll need a soft-bristled toothbrush to clean it well and get rid of any gunk. Rinse it using clean cold water when satisfied, then pat or blot it dry using a clean cloth. You don’t have to polish it every time.
How to store your Tiffany jewelry from tarnishing
- Store the jewelry in Tiffany’s tarnish-resistant pouch or jewelry box, and make sure it’s air right. You could store it anywhere else, as long as it’s air-tight and soft.
- Store the jewelry separately.
- Keep them away from direct sunlight or water
Tiger is a fashion&jewelry lover. He is also a fashion jewelry manufacturer that help thousands of small business to grow and also do business with some big fashion jewelry brands. He is a truly metal expert and he will share some information you are looking for.