Why silverware blackens
Each owner of silver jewelry probably noticed that over time, the accessory becomes darker. If a raid does not appear immediately after the purchase, then this is a natural process. This happens even if the accessory is not worn too often, and even more so when worn actively. The material tends to oxidize over time. But sometimes plaque appears on silver jewelry too quickly, and the accessory does not just darken, but turns black. What makes silver black? The people have one answer to this question, and science has a different one. Let’s try to figure it out!
Silver turned black: signs and superstitions
Why silver is getting dark, our ancestors were still interested. They thought it was a bad sign. There is a sign that says silver accessories are coated with a coating when a strong damage was sent to a person. According to superstitions, by what specific product has changed color, you can understand what kind of trouble to wait. If blackens:
X – a strong curse is imposed on the owner;
earrings or a chain – a person is jinxed;
ring – the owner received a crown of celibacy;
dishes – evil spirits settled in the house.
Seeing that silver turned black, in ancient times they performed a special ritual that protected the owner from evil intentions. The essence of the ritual was as follows: the owner of the blackened product went to the temple, confessed there and invited the priest to the house to consecrate it. After that it was necessary to put three candles in three different churches. Be sure to buy a consecrated silver cross in the last church. The decoration, which was covered with a black coating, was thrown into the river. It was believed that it would take with itself all the troubles.
There is another belief that explains why silver darkens on the body. Since ancient times, this metal has been attributed properties to protect the owner from evil forces. If a product that a person wears has turned black sharply, then it has fulfilled its function: it has saved from black magic, dark forces. They especially believed in the protective functions of the cross: when it was black, they said that the accessory prevented a serious disaster that should have happened to the owner.
Scientific Explanation of the Darkening of Silver
Science has long explained why silver darkens. Argentum itself is soft, therefore, in the manufacture of products, other metals are added to it. There is always copper in the alloy. It reacts to sulfur compounds. The reaction with hydrogen sulfide occurs under the influence of oxygen. The product oxidizes and becomes dark.
You can understand why silver on the body blackens if you know that sulfates are present in the sweat. These are sulfuric acid salts that react with argentum. When the jewelry is worn, sweat gets on it, due to which a chemical reaction occurs, which leads to darkening of the accessory.
The appearance of a dark coating on a silver product is a natural process from the point of view of science. But it also happens that a person did not have time to vilify the jewelry, as it had already turned black. This is because there are factors that accelerate and enhance the oxidation of argentum. What makes silver on the body dark? The following actions, conditions and factors can influence the process.
Stress. Experiences accelerate the work of sweat glands. If sweating is increased, then the concentration of sulfates increases. So – the silver jewelry darkens quickly. If you notice that your favorite accessory was covered with a coating literally in a day, then most likely you were under stress all day.
Doing sports. Physical activity leads to increased sweating. If you forgot to remove jewelry before classes in the gym, then be prepared that they will be covered with plaque. Chains and pendants change color especially quickly: the largest amount of perspiration gets on them.
High humidity. Silver blackens and from environmental influences. If the air humidity is increased, then the sparkling accessory may become covered in a day. High humidity slows down the evaporation of sweat, as a result – a large amount of sulfur salts on the skin (and we already know that they trigger the oxidation reaction). Silver accessories can darken dramatically if you come to an area with a humid climate. Chains and crosses can be covered with a coating, even if the owner did not move anywhere, but simply flaunted the jewelry in rainy weather. Since accessories do not like moisture, they must be removed when going to the sauna, bathing in a pond, pool, and simply in the shower. Otherwise, the products will quickly lose their charm and instead of exquisite shine will become gray-black.
Contact with chemicals. Silver is coated with plaque when in contact with household chemicals, cosmetics. Does silver darken when interacting with products? Yes! Onions are especially dangerous for him. That is why, doing housework (cleaning, washing, cooking), you should remove the silver accessories. So that your favorite products do not darken as long as possible, wear them after applying cosmetics.
If you wear silver accessories correctly, excluding factors that enhance the oxidation of the metal, but they will retain their presentable appearance for a long time.