Will Tibetan Silver Turn Green?

Tibetan silver jewelry is growing in popularity for its unique look and quality craftsmanship. Many people wonder if this type of silver is prone to tarnishing and taking on a greenish patina over time like other forms of sterling silver jewelry.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll provide a detailed answer on whether or not Tibetan silver tarnishes.

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer: Tibetan silver contains very little copper content, meaning it’s far less likely to oxidize and turn green than regular 925 sterling silver over time.

What is Tibetan Silver?

Tibetan silver, also known as Tibetan alloy, is a type of metal commonly used in jewelry making. Despite its name, Tibetan silver does not actually contain any silver. Instead, it is an alloy made from a combination of copper, zinc, and sometimes nickel.

The exact composition of Tibetan silver can vary depending on the specific manufacturer or artisan.

Basic Properties and Alloy Composition

Tibetan silver typically consists of 30-40% silver-colored metals, such as nickel or tin, and 60-70% copper. This unique blend of metals gives Tibetan silver its distinctive appearance, resembling antique silver or pewter.

The alloy composition of Tibetan silver makes it more affordable than sterling silver while still maintaining a similar aesthetic appeal. Its affordability has made it a popular choice for jewelry designers and buyers who want the look of silver without the higher price tag.

Oxidation Resistance Properties

One common concern with Tibetan silver is its tendency to tarnish or turn green over time. This is due to the copper content in the alloy reacting with moisture and air. However, many Tibetan silver jewelry pieces are coated with a protective layer to prevent oxidation and slow down the tarnishing process.

It is important to note that the protective coating on Tibetan silver jewelry may wear off over time, especially with regular wear and exposure to moisture. When this happens, the copper in the alloy may come into contact with the skin, causing it to turn green temporarily.

This reaction is harmless and can easily be washed off.

To maintain the appearance of your Tibetan silver jewelry, it is recommended to store it in a dry place and avoid contact with water or harsh chemicals. Regular cleaning with a soft cloth or a specifically formulated silver polishing cloth can also help remove any tarnish and restore its shine.

What Causes Sterling Silver to Tarnish?

Sterling silver is a popular choice for jewelry and other decorative items due to its beautiful shine and durability. However, over time, sterling silver can tarnish, leaving it looking dull and discolored.

There are two main factors that contribute to the tarnishing of sterling silver: the copper content and exposure to sulfides.

The Role of Copper Content

Sterling silver is composed of 92.5% pure silver and 7.5% other metals, usually copper. While silver itself is resistant to tarnish, copper is not. When sterling silver comes into contact with air and moisture, a chemical reaction occurs between the copper and sulfur in the air, forming copper sulfide.

This copper sulfide is what causes the tarnish on the surface of the silver.

The higher the copper content in the sterling silver, the more prone it is to tarnishing. This is why some silver jewelry pieces may tarnish more quickly than others. However, it’s important to note that tarnish is a natural process and does not indicate a flaw in the silver itself.

Exposure to Sulfides

In addition to the copper content, exposure to sulfides can also accelerate the tarnishing process. Sulfides can be found in various everyday items, such as certain foods, beauty products, and even in the air in some environments.

When sterling silver comes into contact with sulfides, it reacts with the copper to form tarnish more rapidly.

To minimize tarnishing, it’s recommended to store sterling silver jewelry in airtight containers or bags when not in use, as this will limit its exposure to air and moisture. Additionally, regularly cleaning and polishing sterling silver can help remove tarnish and restore its shine.

For more information on how to care for sterling silver and prevent tarnishing, you can visit websites such as JewelryNotes.com or TheSpruceCrafts.com.

Tibetan Silver Tarnish Resistance

One common concern among those who own Tibetan silver jewelry or decorative items is whether or not they will tarnish over time. Tarnish is a natural process that occurs when certain metals react with the air and moisture, resulting in a dull and discolored appearance.

However, Tibetan silver has some unique properties that make it more resistant to tarnish compared to other types of silver.

Minimal Copper Content

Tibetan silver is not actually pure silver, but rather a metal alloy composed of silver and other metals, typically copper. Copper is known to tarnish easily, which is why some people worry that Tibetan silver may also be prone to tarnish.

However, the copper content in Tibetan silver is generally minimal, which helps to reduce the likelihood of tarnishing. The small amount of copper in Tibetan silver is not enough to significantly impact its resistance to tarnish, making it a more durable and long-lasting option.

Specialized Anti-Tarnish Coatings

In addition to its low copper content, Tibetan silver often undergoes specialized anti-tarnish coatings that further enhance its tarnish resistance. These coatings create a protective barrier on the surface of the metal, preventing it from coming into direct contact with air and moisture.

As a result, Tibetan silver items with anti-tarnish coatings are less likely to tarnish and require less maintenance to keep them looking their best.

It’s important to note that while Tibetan silver is generally more resistant to tarnish compared to other silver alloys, it is not completely immune to tarnishing. Factors such as exposure to air, moisture, and certain chemicals can still cause tarnish to develop over time.

However, with proper care and occasional cleaning, Tibetan silver items can maintain their beautiful appearance for years to come.

Proper Care and Maintenance

Storage and Cleaning Best Practices

Proper care and maintenance are crucial to keep your Tibetan silver jewelry looking its best and prevent it from turning green. Here are some storage and cleaning best practices to follow:

  • Store in a dry place: Moisture can accelerate the oxidation process of Tibetan silver, leading to a greenish tint. To prevent this, store your jewelry in a cool and dry place, away from humidity.
  • Avoid exposure to chemicals: Chemicals present in household cleaners, perfumes, and hairsprays can react with the silver and cause discoloration. It’s important to remove your Tibetan silver jewelry before using any chemicals.
  • Gently clean with a soft cloth: Regularly clean your Tibetan silver jewelry with a soft, lint-free cloth to remove dirt and oils. Avoid using abrasive materials or harsh chemicals, as they can damage the delicate surface.
  • Keep away from direct sunlight: Prolonged exposure to sunlight can cause Tibetan silver to tarnish more quickly. When not wearing your jewelry, store it in a jewelry box or a cloth pouch to protect it from sunlight.

Re-Applying Protective Coatings

If your Tibetan silver jewelry has already turned green, don’t worry! You can re-apply a protective coating to prevent further oxidation. Here’s how:

  1. Clean the jewelry: Before applying any coating, make sure to clean your jewelry thoroughly to remove any dirt or oils. Use a mild soap and water solution and gently scrub the surface with a soft brush.
  2. Choose a protective coating: There are several options available for protecting Tibetan silver jewelry, such as clear nail polish or jewelry sealants specifically designed for silver. Choose a coating that is safe for use on metals.
  3. Apply the coating: Using a small brush or a cotton swab, carefully apply the protective coating to the surface of your jewelry. Make sure to cover all exposed areas evenly.
  4. Allow it to dry: Let the coating dry completely before wearing or storing your jewelry. This will create a barrier between the metal and the environment, preventing oxidation and discoloration.

Remember, proper care and maintenance are essential for preserving the beauty of your Tibetan silver jewelry. By following these best practices and re-applying protective coatings when needed, you can enjoy your jewelry for years to come.


In summary, Tibetan silver is highly resistant to tarnishing and oxidization due to its minimal copper content and use of specialized anti-tarnish coatings. With proper ongoing care and maintenance, Tibetan silver jewelry can maintain its bright, untarnished look for many years compared to standard sterling silver alloys.

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