Ultimate Guide to Sterling Silver Jewelry
The brightest of all them all, this precious metal emits a radiant shine, and because of this, many prefers to wear sterling silver over gold. Silver’s popularity and its price have been rising steadily along with gold recently, and it continues to increase steadily. We often pair sterling silver jewelry with white gold jewelry as there is no minimal difference in appearance between them. However, though, sterling silver do need extra care and need to be cleaned more often than gold. With the proper care, your sterling silver jewelry can last for generations to come.
Often called as 925 sterling silver or just 925 silver, this is because sterling silver contains 92.5 percent of silver and 7.5 percent of other metals. Fine silver itself is not very reactive. As the purity of the silver decreases, the problem of corrosion or tarnishing increases because of other metals in the alloy, usually copper. However, it is essential to mix fine silver with alloys to make it durable; else fine silver will be just too soft. 925 sterling silver is a combination of alloys to form metal hard enough so that it can be fabricated.
- Value: It is the whitest, most brilliant precious metal, but yet is more affordable than gold or platinum.
- Durability: Sterling silver is a sturdy metal, and yet it can be easily sized, filed and polished to repair any surface damage. Cost for these is affordable too!
- Designs: Due to it being affordable, we jewelers can afford to design more pieces of jewelry in silver than other precious metal such as gold. With more designs are being made constantly, you can enjoy wearing different types of designs daily without making a hole in your pocket.
Compatibility: Sterling silver can be pair up with your white gold and platinum jewelry. Sterling silver allows you to have a wide variety of designs that can easily worn together.
- The fantastic thing about sterling silver is, you can avoid tarnish by wearing it more often. The oils in your skin will help to keep the silver clean and shiny.
- Chemicals from lotions, cosmetics, hair spray and hair products, and perfumes will accelerate tarnishing.
- Always remove your silver jewelry when doing household, contact with household chemicals, perspiration, rubber, chlorinated water will cause corrosion and tarnish.
- Moisture and sunlight both promote silver tarnish, the best place for your silver is out of direct sunlight and away from too much humidity. So do take off your silver jewelry before you go swimming and sun tanning.
- For additional protection, storing silver in airtight plastic bags with anti-tarnish strips is a great way. Silver is a soft metal, don’t store multiple pieces in the same bag so that the individual pieces can’t scratch each other. Placing a piece of chalk, a packet of activated charcoal or a container of silica gel in the storage area can also minimize tarnish.
Polishing silver works excellently for jewelry that has light tarnishing. Polish your jewelry with specialized chemically treated silver cleaning clothes. Polishing once a week will keep your silver jewelry shining radiantly.
For some silver jewelry, they are purposely oxidized on certain parts to give it a dark and artistic effect, we don’t advise you to polish that jewelry, and it can change the whole outlook of your jewelry. You have to be careful with silver plated jewelry too, too much of polishing can remove the plating, and it will become worse.
When polishing, do not polish in circles as this will make any tiny scratches becomes worse and more significant. Use a long back and forth motion instead following the grain of the silver. After rubbing for some time, you can see there might be black spots on the cloth, change to a different area of your cloth to avoid tarnishing your silver jewelry back.
Commercial & Homemade Silver Cleaner
For a piece of jewelry that isn’t cleaned for quite some time, using a silver cleaning paste or liquid is highly recommended. You are able to make silver cleaners by using ingredients from your kitchen, but these are never as effective as specialized silver cleaning pastes or liquids.
Though these cleaners can give a beautiful shine, you can have to be careful of those cleaners which are too strong and may remove the anti-tarnish coating and patina of your silver jewelry. As a result, your silver jewelry will tarnish faster and need to be cleaned more often.
Using cleaners is not for all type of silver jewelry, for example, silver jewelry with gemstones like turquoise, opal and onyx and pearls. Sterling silver cleaners can cause severe damage to these stones, clean it with a damp cloth if it these stones and pearls get too dirty.
Always remember after using any cleaner, rinse your jewelry with a damp cloth. You won’t want the polish to stick and harden. After that, wipe it with a microfibre cloth to make sure that there are no water spots stains on your jewelry.
Storing Silver Jewelry
Creating a dryer environment will minimize tarnishing on sterling silver jewelry while it is being stored. Here are some storage tips:
- Store each jewelry individually.
- Store each jewelry in an airtight bag.
- Store each jewelry with an anti-tarnishing strip.
- Store in an area with low humidity.
- Store each jewelry with the clasps unhooked.
- Place a packet of silica or piece of chalk in the storage bag.