I darken the impressions of all my silverware (spoons, forks, knives, etc.) by tarnishing them! That makes them safe to use with food, and won’t fade with regular hand washing. I tarnish the hand stamped letters, and polish the rest of silverware to a lovely sheen. Items that are not intended to be used for food, like the silver keychains, plant markers & jewelry I create, are darkened with an enamel. I do not use enamel for any products that are intended to come in contact with food.
Care Tips for Your Silverware:
Silverware should be stored away from stainless steel cutlery (the harder metal can scratch your silver). Ideally in a lined chest, but a separate area in a closed drawer works too. Personally I keep my spoons on the counter in my tea station & they are still beautiful.
Store in a cool, dry area. If humidity is problem, a piece of chalk nearby can help.
After using, gently hand wash with soap & water.
It is recommended to avoid washing your silverware in the dishwasher, as other metals, certain heat settings, and some detergent ingredients can damage the silver.
Certain foods like eggs, onions and mustard can make silver tarnish faster. Wipe or rinse those foods off immediately after eating.
Avoid exposing silver to tarnish-producing materials like wool, rubber, felt and latex.
A natural process that happens anytime silver encounters sulfur-containing substances in the air is the formation of silver sulfide. In other words, tarnish. Your shiny silver piece will slowly start to look dull, and even start to darken. This is totally normal and easy to remove. When silverware I own begins to show signs of tarnish, my first step is to gently scrub with baking soda & a damp paper towel or cloth. Usually this is enough to remove mild tarnish and shine the spoon (or fork or knife) right up again. You can also use a polishing cloth. See all my care tips at the bottom of this post.
I want to note, I keep my silver teaspoons out on the counter & use them daily to stir our tea & coffee. I rinse them immediately & hand wash often. I have been using one spoon in particular for over a year now and only have had to polish it once. The below examples are extreme.
This silverware has been brought to a beautiful polish by just scrubbing gently with baking soda & a damp cloth (or paper towel).
In some environments, tarnish can happen a lot quicker or to a much more dramatic extent. This is example is extreme; silverware that had been on display for an extended period of time in a warm and very high humidity coffee shop. The humidity and other factors in the air caused it to tarnish much quicker, and more dramatically, than silverware I use at home or have on display elsewhere.
This tarnish was much more stubborn than on the above pieces. To polish these pieces, I used Weiman Silver Polish & Cleaner and a soft cloth. Rinse with water and buff with a clean cloth. This is a gel polish and in my experience, it does not remove the darkening from the impressions. Some other liquid polishes might remove the darkening - but the hand stamped impressions will always remain.