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During the holidays is when many hosts and hostesses take out the family heirloom silverware for entertaining guests.  Real silverware is a luxury item long prized for its brilliant shine – so why does it look so dirty when you remove it from storage?

These grey or black stains on silverware coming out of storage is called “tarnish” and it’s a normal part of owning real silver items.  Silver dishes, cups, forks, knives and other flatware that is put away can come in contact with moisture and start showing ugly tarnish within days.  What is a silverware owner to do?!  Good thing you came across this article because whether you are packing for moving or packing for storage, we have some tips for packing silverware heirlooms just like yours!

Tips for Packing Silverware

Silver flatware has its quirks and details that can add a little more complication to the process so try these easy steps from our movers to assure your valuables are protected.

The dining room includes your most fragile china and crystal stemware. When using Clancy you can trust our skilled professionals to carefully wrap each item in paper then place them in boxes separate from other items. On the other hand, there is often more times than not that heirloom silverware gets neglected. Silverware care is more in depth than you might think. Many people simply throw their silverware in a box and hope for the best until it is called for use again. The ones that are a little more careful, still don’t go far enough to prevent scratches and tarnishing during moves.

Silver molecules combine with other elements for which have an affinity to create a corrosion product which we call tarnish. A special set of flatware must be handled with special care. When packing silver flatware there ways to protect it from those elements that can tarnish your heirloom silver.

Engraved decorations can become faint due to loss of the surface.  Protect the details by following the details.  These silverware packing tips can help prevent this as much as possible by avoiding this gradual, slower loss of silver.  Air-borne sulfurs and chlorides are the strongest tarnishing agents.  Never pack bleaching agents on or near silverware!

Because air causes silver to tarnish, all silver pieces should be enclosed completely in clean tissue paper or plastic wrap with a small piece of chalk in each bag. Loose flatware may be wrapped either individually or in sets in tissue.

Chests for storing silver flatware are generally lined with a fabric which is impregnated with tiny silver particles which sacrificially absorb sulfurs. Adding an inch of chalk saves your silver in a similar way.  Using the easy and inexpensive chalk trick can assure your silver is maintains its condition during travel. It will absorb moisture and slow tarnishing.

Preserving Silverware in 3 Easy Steps

  1. Wash
    This may seem obvious to some, but it’s a simple mistake that is often over looked while getting everything else ready to move or put items into storage. Whether it’s that people are just pressed for time, the water gets shut off or for some other reason, some of us movers actually end up packing dirty silverware.
  2. Polish
    Before putting away your silverware, polish each utensil.  This along with our other preventative measures will help to keep it from tarnishing during transportation.
  3. Chalk
    Silver pieces should be enclosed completely in clean tissue paper  (not newsprint) with a inch size piece of chalk in each bag. Keep one or two pieces of chalk in the drawer with your good silver. It will absorb moisture and slow tarnishing. Put some chalk in your jewelry box to delay tarnishing there too!

When Moving Local or Long Distance – make sure that you speak with your mover to list your silverware and any other items of high-value.  Our professional, licensed movers will be happy to add these to your “High Inventory Form” so that they receive the proper valuation coverage.  “High-value” is considered any item at a value of $100 per pound or more.