Jeffrey Herman Newsletter

The Modern Butlers’ Journal, September 2018, Consulting the Silver Expert

Consulting the Silver Expert

by Jeff Herman


Materials to Avoid

Some storage materials should be avoided: Wrapping in newspaper or binding in rubber bands can cause deep discolorations that may have to be removed professionally. Never use plastic wrap, as it will bond to silver over time, requiring solvents for removal. Finally, non-archival corrugated cardboard boxes may contain acids and sulfur that tarnish silver aggressively.

Storing Tarnished Silver

If a silver piece is already tarnished, even if it be heavily blackened, it need not be polished before storing: doing so will only reveal fresh sterling or fine silver electroplate that will then be exposed to the elements.

Display Cases

To minimize the formation of tarnish inside display cases, use 3M or Intercept Anti-Tarnish Strips  and Silica Gel to keep relative humidity low. Certain paints, oils, and fabrics within the case can accelerate the formation of tarnish. Therefore, if the case or cabinet is made of wood, the interior surface should be sealed, preferably with lacquer or water-based polyurethane. If latex paint is used, allow it to dry for at least four months before storing silver in the case. See the dramatic difference when silver is not exposed to tarnish-causing particulate.

Both sides of a silver-plated luncheon knife were exposed to the open air for 14 months. The top image is the knife as it sat on a buffet, face up. The bottom image is of the side that was facing down and, therefore, not directly exposed to harmful tarnish-producing particulates. This is a clear illustration that silver will maintain its finish over a longer period when kept in a case or enclosed cabinet.


Mr. Herman continues to offer his services to our readers for any questions you may have about the care of silver. Either contact him at (800) 339-0417 (USA) or via email jeff @


The Institute is dedicated to raising service standards by broadly disseminating the mindset and superior service expertise of that time-honored, quintessential service provider, the British Butler, updated with modern people skills, and adapted to the needs of modern employers and guests in staffed homes, luxury hotels, resorts, spas, retirement communities, jets, yachts & cruise ships around the world.