Care of Sterling Silver Jewellery
Like Gold and Platinum, Silver is considered a precious metal. They are malleable metals and therefore subject to wear and tear. When buying sterling silver jewellery, it is important to be aware of the recommended instructions for the care of sterling silver jewellery to ensure that they maintain their shine and remain looking beautiful.
Pure silver is too soft for making jewellery and tarnishes quickly when exposed to hydrogen sulphide in the air. Hence, silver is usually infused with copper or other metals such as geranium, platinum or zinc. The alloy gives it strength and makes it more resistant to scratching and damage while preserving the appearance of the precious metal.
What Does 925 Sterling Silver Mean?
Sterling silver is an alloy of silver containing 92.5% by weight of silver and 7.5% by weight of other metals, usually copper.
“925” or “SS” representing certified “sterling silver” is stamped on the jewellery to demonstrate the high quality of the product.
This stamp indicates that the piece of jewellery consists of 92.5% genuine silver. The other 7.5% constitutes other metals in the alloy to help prevent tarnishing. Infusing silver with other metals does not lower it’s quality and is industry standard.
Tarnishing of sterling silver jewellery is NOT a manufacturing fault but a natural result of wear and tear.
Sterling Silver (925) in particular will naturally tarnish over time depending on its care, use, environment and storage. The tarnishing process will progress much faster if the silver comes in contact with agents such as perfume, salty air, sweat, sulphur, skin creams, hairspray, chlorine, medicine secreted through the skin, acidic skin pH levels and cleaning agents. The amount of tarnishing (oxidation) that occurs is dependent on the skin and skin-care routine of the wearer.
When silver jewellery is worn regularly it slows down and sometimes prevents tarnishing altogether.
“Oxidized silver” is darker than other types of silver and has little or no lustre. It is created through a process of controlled oxidation where silver is exposed to environmental factors that cause tarnishing. It requires less maintenance that other silver as further tarnish simply makes the item more beautiful.
Electroplated Sterling Silver
Georgette’s Jewellery are all Sterling Silver (925) electroplated in Yellow or White gold (Rhodium plating) to have the real 18k yellow or white gold appearance.
Although electroplating slows down tarnishing it does not guarantee that the item will not be vulnerable to tarnishing or oxidation. The base electroplated Sterling Silver (925) will still fade or tarnishe through time depending on care as well. Factors such as a person’s perspiration (natural acidity), lotion, perfume and other skincare products may affect lustre and appearance of jewellery.
You can always bring back the jewellery to any jewellery store for re-plating in Yellow or Rhodium (white) to bring back its lustre or to make it look like 18k Yellow or White gold.
Cleaning of Sterling Silver Jewellery
Regular cleaning will keep your silver jewellery looking beautiful and prolongs the life of your jewellery by removing grit from between the links and grooves which could erode the metal and weaken the links.
To retain lustre and shine, clean with commercially available silver polish or jewelry cloth to shine a dull surface and help freshen up the appearance of your jewellery.
Lukewarm water and a drop of mild detergent or dishwashing liquid with a soft toothbrush may be used to clean sterling silver. If a piece of jewellery is very dirty, let it soak for 10 minutes before cleaning.
A toothbrush is an excellent cleaning tool for jewellery with patterns, which may otherwise be difficult to clean, particularly gemstones that appear dull due to surface grime.
Storage of Sterling Silver Jewellery
Storage in a sealed plastic bag is recommended to prevent moisture and air contact especially in tropical countries which tend to have humid weather all year round.
Delicate jewellery should be removed before performing rigorous activities such as sport, recreation, cleaning or gardening.
Sleeping with your jewellery on is also not advised as kinks and breakage may occur.
If you have any comments or questions about care of sterling silver jewellery, please leave them below.