Pure silver, like pure gold, is not functional as a jewelry metal. To make it stronger and, in some ways, more appealing, pure silver is mixed with another metal usually copper in a proportion of 92.5% silver and 7.5% copper to make sterling silver – the most preferred jewelry alloy of silver. The quality of sterling silver is phenomenally high owing to the exceptionally high percentage of pure silver.
Taking care of jewelry made from sterling silver, however, is not an easy task. Depending on the nature of metals and materials, different procedures need to be employed in proper care and maintenance.
Alison C. shares some of the most helpful jewelry care tips for sterling silver
Since ancient times the natural beauty of silver has made it a desirable material. Even brighter than rhodium and platinum, it has beautiful shine and is the whitest of all metals. The highly reflective nature of silver explains the use of it in the making of mirrors.
Although there are many uses of silver, jewelry is one of the most popular. Jewelry designers lovingly craft silver into beautiful designs limited only by the imagination. Both affordable and beautiful silver jewelry can be found at retailers and on the internet. Make sure you do your research to make sure you are getting the best price possible as you will find a broad range of pricing.
Pure silver is extremely soft and malleable. It is mixed with other metals to create jewelry that is not only beautiful but durable enough for everyday wear. The most common of these mixtures is an alloy known as sterling silver. Copper is added to the metal to provide durability without affecting the beauty of it. The only trouble with copper is that it tarnishes. Some maintenance is required to keep your jewelry looking its best but luckily it is a simple and straightforward process. Once you understand a few simple dos and don’ts it will be easy for you to properly care for your silver jewelry.
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Following are some suggestions of what to do to in order to keep your sterling.925 jewelry at its finest.
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Do wear your jewelry often. Surprisingly wearing your silver jewelry is one of the easiest ways to keep it clean. It sounds strange but the more you wear it the less often you will need to clean it. Our skin produces oils naturally that help to prevent our jewelry from tarnishing. When the silver comes in contact with our skin the oils transfer to the surface of the silver keeping it shining longer. If worn continually sterling silver jewelry develops a lovely look called a patina over time. This glowing quality with some darker areas is preferred by many jewelry wearers. Many consider the patina developed by silver to add to the character or personality of the piece.
Do use specially formulated polish if you do not prefer the look of silver patina and desire a bright shining look to your silver jewelry. These polishes are created without abrasives that would scratch your pieces. Remember silver has a soft quality to it and can scratch easily. There are many polishes that can be found on the market today. They are easy to afford and easy to use. Simply follow the manufacturer’s directions to achieve the best results.
Do use polishing cloths. These cloths are specially treated to shine your silver jewelry without scratching and contain special chemicals that slow down the tarnishing process. These cloths can be found in jewelry shops and online retailers and may even be found in discount stores near their jewelry departments.
Do periodically clean your silver jewelry with mild, phosphate-free soap such as dish soap. Gently wash your silver jewelry in warm water. Taking the time to line a glass baking dish with a dishtowel or other soft cotton cloth before adding your jewelry will help you to keep from accidentally scratching your precious pieces. Dry thoroughly with a cotton cloth before storing. If your jewelry is ornately carved or has many facets or angles, be sure to dry any hidden or hard to reach areas with extra care.
Do store your silver in a cool, dry place. Use a jewelry storage bag or a separate compartment in your jewelry box to avoid any contact with other jewelry as it can scratch the surface of the silver. If you will be storing your silver jewelry for the long term, use a sealable plastic zip-lock type bag or another air-tight container. Keeping air away from your silver jewelry will slow the tarnishing process.
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Now for what NOT to do:
Don’t use toothpaste to clean your jewelry. There is some controversy about this however, experts agree that toothpaste is too abrasive to be used on silver and may scratch the surface diminishing the beauty and value. Using toothpaste to clean silver is common advice but it is always better to be safe than sorry.
Don’t expose your silver jewelry to harsh chemicals. Chemicals such as chlorine, bleach and ammonia are obvious substances to avoid. Sneakier shine destroyers are chemicals found in perfume, hair spray and cosmetics. It is better to cover your jewelry or to adorn yourself with it after your hair and makeup are applied.
Don’t let your sterling silver jewelry lie directly on wood surfaces as wood usually contains acid that can damage the silver’s surface. We are all guilty of setting our jewelry on our dressers or jewelry boxes at night time. Hopefully that is a thing of the past as we now know what it does to our silver jewelry.
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With proper care your sterling silver jewelry will last a lifetime. Now that you know how to care for your jewelry you can shop with confidence. Try some new looks with silver earrings, necklaces, bracelets and more.
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Are you looking for casual, daily wear items, or highly fashionable designs in sterling silver jewelry? Look no further than Sachs Jewelers – one of the most trusted jewelers in Shrewsbury, Massachusetts.