Sterling silver is an alloy of silver containing 92.5% by weight of silver and 7.5% by weight of other metals, usually copper. The sterling silver standard has a minimum millesimal fineness of 925.
Pure silver is relatively soft, so silver is usually alloyed with copper to increase its hardness and strength.
CARING FOR YOUR STERLING SILVER JEWELLERY
Sterling silver, like other precious metal alloys, can oxidise with time. But properly maintained silver jewellery improves with age and develops a lush patina. Treat your silver well, care for it properly and it will reward you with a long life and a lustrous look.
PREVENTING TARNISH WITH THESE DAILY WEARING TIPS
Wear it often: Believe it or not, your skin’s natural oils will help keep silver jewellery shiny. One of the easiest ways to prevent tarnish is to simply wear your silver often as opposed to letting it sit in a jewellery box unworn.
Remove during household chores: Substances with additional sulphur like household cleaners, chlorinated water, perspiration, and rubber will accelerate corrosion and tarnish. It’s a good idea to remove sterling silver completely before cleaning.
Keep out of direct sunlight: Before you hit the beach or pool, be sure to remove your silver jewellery. Sunlight can cause silver to tarnish as well.
Put your jewellery on last: For generations, women have been putting their jewellery on last and that’s for good reason! Lotions, makeups, hair spray and perfumes will accelerate tarnishing.
HOW TO CLEAN YOUR STERLING SILVER JEWELLERY
There are countless at-home methods for cleaning your silver jewellery. You’ve probably found yourself faced with endless options, wondering which are the best. Well, here’s the silver cleaning methods that our jewellers suggest for your at-home cleanings:
Soap and water: This is our most recommended method because of the gentleness of soap and water. This should really be your first line of defence before trying anything else.
Baking soda and water: If you come across suggestions to use toothpaste, we highly recommend you ignore that tip and use baking soda and water instead. When toothpastes were simple non-whitening, non-gel based pastes, they could be used on your jewellery. However, they include many more ingredients now that may damage your silver. Instead make a paste from baking soda and water, apply a small amount onto a cloth or tooth brush and scrub gently.
White vinegar and baking soda: This gentle cleaning method is great for removing heavy tarnish. Soak your sterling silver in ½ cup of white vinegar and 2 tbsp of baking soda (combine these in the sink and prepare yourself for the fizzing and foam) for two to three hours. Rinse jewellery and pat dry.
Finish with a polish: After you’ve given your jewellery a good cleaning, you can finish the process by using a polishing cloth that’s specifically for sterling silver.
You can repeat this process as often as needed. Remember, the key to keeping your sterling silver clean is to keep up with regular cleanings to remove tarnish as it builds. Your job becomes much more difficult if you let a piece accumulate a lot of tarnish and then try to remove it all at once.
HOW TO PROPERLY STORE YOUR SILVER JEWELLERY
Use an air-tight container: any container can be used to store your silver, as long as its air-tight. Zip-lock bag are great, but you can also find specialty jewellery bags for a more attractive option.
Keep in a cool, dark place: Sunlight, heat and moisture accelerate tarnishing. Be sure to keep your silver in a cool, dark place.
Store pieces individually: storing your pieces separately prevents any chance of jewellery scratching or tangling with each other.
Consider anti-tarnish strips: you can throw in some anti-tarnish strips with your jewellery to help prevent tarnishing.
Do not store in paper, cardboard, or cotton-filled boxes: these boxes may contain traces of sulphur which will contribute to tarnishing.