What Is Sterling Silver?

Pure silver is relatively soft, very malleable, and easily damaged so it is commonly combined with other metals to produce a more durable product. The most popular of these alloys is sterling silver, which consists of 92.5 percent silver and 7.5 percent copper. Although any metal can make up the 7.5 percent non-silver portion of sterling, copper has proven to be its best companion, improving the metal's hardness and durability without affecting its beautiful color. The small amount of copper added to sterling has very little effect on the metal's value. Instead, the price of the silver piece is affected by the labour involved in making the item, the skill of the silversmith, and the intricacy of the design.

 

Why does your skin turn green? 

It's definitely not because your piece of sterling silver jewelry is faulty or the quality is low, it could be your body's reaction to the silver. Remember that sterling silver is 7.5 percent copper and when it comes in contact with your skin, a chemical reaction occurs that causes the green color in some people.

 

Why my sterling silver turns black?

Sterling silver jewelry darkens due to a reaction with gases in the air, it tarnishes simply by being in contact with the air. Pure silver is, like gold, impervious to tarnish, or oxidation on the surface. It is the alloy metal which attracts the tarnish.

 

How can I take care of my silver jewelry?

Jewelry is worn by millions of people every day, but few recognize how they can preserve their treasures by using some simple advanced planning and thought. Here are some basic guidelines to consider when wearing jewelry: 

    • Remove Jewelry During Tasks – When performing manual tasks, remove your jewelry to prevent physical damage or exposure to chemicals or cleaning fluids. 
    • Put Jewelry On After Applying Makeup – Cosmetics, hairspray, perfumes and lotion contain chemicals that can often damage jewelry. Putting jewelry on after applying these materials, will limit exposure to jewelry and any potential damage.
    • Contact Sports and Jewelry Don't Mix – Hard blows during sports can damage jewelry not to mention the people involved. All jewelry should be removed before play begins.
    • Don't Wear Jewelry In Swimming Pools and Spas – Chlorinated water can react with the metals found in jewelry causing color changes and even structural damage. As a result it's a good idea to remove jewelry before entering the pool or spa.

 

Cleaning Your Jewelry 

For those that wear jewelry regularly, keeping their jewelry clean and looking good requires regular effort. Here are some general guidelines that may help:

    • Remove Your Jewelry Before Bathing
      Remove all jewelry before showering or cleaning. Soap can cause a film to form, making it appear dull and dingy. By preventing the formation of this film you immediately reduce the occasions of servicing. 
    • Clean Your Jewelry With Care                          
    • Cleaning your own jewelry regularly can keep it looking good, but be careful. You can either purchase commercial cleaners from a jeweler or make a cleaning a solution yourself by adding a bit of dishwashing soap to to warm water. 
    • Use Warm Water to Clean Jewelry 
      Using warm water is the best bet when cleaning your own jewelry. How water can cause reaction with the cleaning fluids resulting in discoloration and Sterling Silver is especially susceptible to this problem. Should this occur, this problem can be remedied by buffing and the application of a tarnish remover. 
    • Avoid Cleaning Damaged Jewelry 
      Never clean any jewelry that is damaged, cracked or broken, since the additional handling is likely to exacerbate or worsen the problem. If you find that a piece of jewelry is damaged, it should be set aside for repair as soon as possible. 
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