About Sterling Silver
Because silver in its purist form it is too soft to use in jewellery. For this reason other metals have to be added to it such as copper to make it into sterling silver.
What does that tiny number 925 inscribed into my Sterling Silver mean?
That 925 numbers inscribed on your sterling silver jewellery is the international standard for sterling silver. It means that your sterling silver pieces contain 92.5% pure silver and 7.5% of other metals, usually copper.
Why does Sterling Silver Tarnish?
There is nothing like the look of brand new shiny sterling silver. However, if not maintained your sterling silver jewellery can tarnish.
It tarnishes because of the added copper. The copper tends to react to the moisture and sulphur in the air and if the tarnish is not cleaned off, it will become brown and will eventually turn to a darker colour. To avoid it becoming a darker coloured it is best to remove the tarnish in its early stages with frequent cleanings. It’s also important to note that Sterling Silver tarnishes faster in places that have more pollutants and humidity in the air.
How to wash Sterling Silver
Sterling silver can easily scratch therefore you need to be gentle when cleaning it.
There are articles online describing how to use toothpaste and baking soda to clean sterling silver jewellery, however toothpaste and baking soda aren’t gentle enough to use. Instead, for really tarnished sterling silver, use a quality sterling silver cleaning agent.
Mild tarnishes can simply be removed by washing the sterling silver jewellery with warm water containing a few drops of mild dishwashing liquid making sure to dry it immediately after washing to avoid ugly spotting marks appearing.
If your sterling silver Jewellery includes pearls, gemstones or any type of precious stones do not immerse it for long periods of time in warm water. Instead use a cotton swab with the diluted dishwashing liquid in warm water solution to carefully wipe the silver. Don’t forget to dry it immediately after washing to avoid any spotting marks.
Once your sterling silver jewellery is dry and you feel it’s still looking dull, bring it back to life with a quick polish using a non-abrasive jewellery polishing cloth.
How to store your Sterling Silver Jewellery
To store it simply wrap the cleaned and polished silver jewellery in anti-tarnish tissue, silver cloth or a sealed plastic bag which will help prevent it from tarnishing. Moisture speeds up the tarnishing process so it’s important to make sure your silver jewellery is thoroughly dry before storing it.
Try avoiding wrapping too many pieces together as you do not want them rubbing against each other and get scratched.
We realise that this may seem over kill for your less expensive sterling silver pieces, but if you want them to wear well and looking polished you can follow the above steps.
Additional tips about sterling silver jewellery include:
– Don’t wear sterling silver jewellery in a swimming pool or when using ammonia or cleaning bleach at home. Bleach, including chlorine, will attack and dissolve the metal so that the more delicate parts will come undone.
– Don’t wear sterling silver jewellery in the shower. Soap residue builds up causing a dull finish on the silver that’s difficult to remove.
– Don’t use rubber bands to wrap your jewellery bags together. As rubber bands age they release sulphur so don’t keep any rubber bands near your jewellery or in your jewellery box.
Click here to read our post about cleaning gold jewellery.