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What is Silver Tarnish?

This is the first post in a series of to educate you about silver tarnish, what it is, how it happens, how to prevent it, and how to clean it. There is a lot to cover, so we will break it up into multiple posts.

Picture of silver tarnish compared to an untarnished silver

The simplest description of silver tarnish is the darkened appearance of the metal that happens over time. In the picture, the charm on the left has some severe tarnish.

There are lots of factors that we will discuss later that cause silver to tarnish.  New clean silver has a bright white appearance. As it is exposed to the environment it starts to darken to a greyish or brownish color and can eventually turn almost pitch black.

What is that black substance we call tarnish? Tarnish is just a descriptive term that means the lack or loss of luster. If we want to clean and ultimately find ways to prevent silver tarnish, we need to understand what it is and how it is caused.

Silver tarnish is a type of chemical reaction, often incorrectly described as oxidation of the silver or called silver oxide, it is silver sulfide. But that's not a complete description of what silver tarnish is. Another part of silver tarnish that seems to be missed in other online descriptions is the reaction of other materials in sterling silver, the most common silver alloy. Sterling silver is 92.5% silver. The remaining 7.5% is primarily made up of copper, a material that tarnishes very easily. By itself copper seems to tarnish very easily, more so than pure silver. I will have to do some more research, but I believe that the copper is creating some copper oxide and other sulfide compounds that contribute to the tarnish.

If you put a piece of fine silver and a sterling silver side by side, the sterling silver tarnishes mush faster. Based on this empirical observation, that small amount of copper is playing a larger role in the tarnishing reactions. While many discussions online solely talk about silver sulfide as the main culprit, there are at least two metals that comprise sterling silver and can react and contribute to the tarnish you observe over time.


To be continued...


Top Baby Names

Picking a name for your new baby isn't always an easy task. There are lots of factors involved when picking a baby name. Are you going to follow tradition and use a family name or break away from the masses with a unique baby name. Regardless, the one thing you should absolutely consider is what were the past and trending top baby names.

Every year we make thousands of mommy charms and mommy necklaces for new and expecting mothers. We haven't complied a formal top 10 list of baby names for 2012 but we can talk about some trends from the past year. Traditional names are making a comeback and when mom's are designing jewelry they want the full names spelled on the charms. While there will always be variations in the spelling of names, we've seen a movement away from odd or whimsical spellings and cutsie nicknames.

Naming a baby is serious business for new parents. Whether they know the sex of the baby or not, we've seen an increase in the number of parents that are waiting till the new addition arrives to finalize on a name. More so than in previous years, proud Fathers to be will order push presents for their wives in advance and without a name selected. After the baby is born, sometimes within hours, we'll get a call from an exuberant new dad ready to finalize the customization. We complete the order, sometimes shipping that same day.

There are lots of tools available to help you understand past and trending baby names.

Here are a couple tools and websites that you can use to help you select a great baby name.

  1. Social Security's Website - popular baby names
    The Social Security web site provides data on baby names since 1879. You can search the data by lots of criteria to what names were popular for a previous year nationally or by state. The Social Security Department hasn't updated the data for 2012 but here is the top 10 list from 2011. If you look around the internet,you will see this baby name list repeated frequently.

    Rank Male name Female name
    1 Jacob Sophia
    2 Mason Isabella
    3 William Emma
    4 Jayden Olivia
    5 Noah Ava
    6 Michael Emily
    7 Ethan Abigail
    8 Alexander Madison
    9 Aiden Mia
    10 Daniel Chloe

    While the ranking of individual names is useful, the popularity of the first letter of a name could be beneficial in deciding. Using the data for the top 1000 names in a given year we can calculate the popularity of each letter. I know this is a little on the geeky side of things but here are the results I calculated from 2011.

      Male     Female
    J 11.00%   A 16.70%
    A 8.70%   M 9.80%
    C 8.10%   K 9.60%
    M 7.30%   J 8.00%
    D 7.20%   L 7.20%
    R 6.80%   C 6.60%
    B 6.70%   S 6.10%
    K 6.60%   E 5.30%
    T 4.60%   B 4.10%
    E 4.50%   R 3.90%
    L 4.40%   D 3.00%
    S 4.00%   H 3.00%
    G 3.30%   G 2.60%
    H 2.40%   N 2.60%
    N 2.00%   T 2.50%
    P 1.90%   P 2.40%
    F 1.80%   I 1.70%
    I 1.70%   V 1.20%
    Z 1.60%   Y 1.00%
    W 1.50%   Z 1.00%
    O 1.00%   F 0.90%
    V 1.00%   W 0.40%
    Q 0.60%   O 0.20%
    Y 0.60%   Q 0.10%
    U 0.40%   X 0.10%
    X 0.40%   U 0.00%
  2. Belly Ballot
    Belly Ballot helps you select your baby's name by enlisting your closest family and friends to vote on names you select. It seems like a fun way to pick a name. They track all the polls and results so they some of the most up to date top name trends on the net. Here are a few.

    Increasing in Popularity
    Girls: Audrey/Aubrey, Riley, Aria, Brooklyn
    Boys: Landon, Caleb, Jackson (Jaxton, Jaxon, or Jaxen), Ryder

    Decreasing in Popularity:
    Girls: Olivia, Makenzie, Skylar, Sophia
    Boys: Ethan, Elijah, Liam, Gage, Bentley

    Consistently Popular Baby Names:
    Girls: Savannah, Ava
    Boys: Michael, Noah, Owen

    The Belly Ballot folks also made some predictions for 2013 naming trends:

    1) Tech Inspired Names
    2) Multiple Names
    3) Old is New
    4) Surnames for First Names
    5) Crazy Spellings



At the end of the day if you pick the name that feels right and has meaning for you, then it is the right choice. Most of all enjoy your new bundle of joy!