About Sterling Silver
Sterling silver is the brightest of all the precious metals. It reflects a mirror shine that produces a sparkling effect, and many people prefer to wear sterling silver over their gold jewelry. Jewelry lovers have the added advantage of being able to wear their sterling silver jewelry along with their white gold jewelry. There is no noticeable difference in the appearance between the two metals. With the right care, sterling silver will last a lifetime.
Sterling silver contains 92.5 percent of fine silver and 7.5 percent of other metals. The other metals are usually copper or nickel. Contrary to what most people believe, it’s not the silver in sterling silver that oxidizes and tarnishes; it’s the alloy metals such as copper.
As a natural material, silver reacts with its environment, especially the chemicals in the air and, over time, silver does become tarnished. This doesn’t mean that your fabulous new piece of jewelry is defective, far from it, this just proves that your beautiful accessory is good quality silver.
Preventing Tarnishing, Care & Storage
How can I slow down the rate of tarnishing?
Silver should be kept dry so remove all silver jewellery before showering or washing. Avoid chlorine as it can permanently damage or discolour your silver jewellery. Avoid wearing silver jewellery while using chlorine bleach or while in a pool or hot tub. Also avoid food (eggs, onions, mayonnaise), rubber bands, latex gloves, Silver will tarnish much more quickly in humid environments so keep as cool and dry as you can.
Care & Storage
There are many anti-tarnishing papers and bags on the market that can be used to discourage the tarnishing of sterling silver jewelry. These are excellent for storage. If Sterling silver is being stored in a large area silica gel bags help by absorbing moisture. Creating a dryer environment will ensure that there will be less tarnish on sterling silver jewelry while it is being stored. Grip seal bags are the cheapest and easiest way to protect your silver from tarnishing.
Cleaning Sterling Silver Jewelry
There are many cleaning cloths on the market that are chemically treated with agents that will clean and polish silver. These can be used for light tarnishing; however, the advantage of having these cloths handy is that they are excellent for light, regular cleanings of silver pieces.
You can clean your mildly tarnished silver at home with Sterling Silver dips - but you do need to be careful! The dips, while very effective at removing tarnish, are equally as effective at removing the colour and polish off gemstones. It’s a good rule not to dip any jewellery with stones, but gemstones that are particularly affected are pearls, sodalite, malachite, lapis lazuli, white opals, turquoise or any soft or porous stones.
Also remember not to leave your jewelry in the dip too long (seconds not minutes) rinse it off with luke warm water until you can’t feel the dip residue (slippy feeling) otherwise you could find your jewellery gets a white residue which can be as hard to remove as the tarnish. To make sure your jewellery stays perfect, always read the manufacturer’s instructions.
Aside from buying a polishing machine and learning the skills needed to polish jewellery. It will be necessary to take sterling silver jewelry to a reputable jewellery shop or manufactures to have it polished. Just like all other precious metals, the surface can become scratched, and it will be necessary to get scratches filed and polished out of the metal so that the original luster of the pieces can be retained.
Sterling silver is a beautiful, bright metal that jewelry lovers worldwide have selected as their favorite metal. Although it is beautiful, sterling silver must be cleaned and stored properly to retain its original shine and luster. Caution should be taken before cleaning and storing sterling silver jewelry pieces. Not every chemical is compatible with this fine metal, and before it is cleaned, it will be necessary to use the right cleaning agent. Keeping sterling silver free of tarnish will ensure that it will retain its beauty and last for many years.