We love the shine of sterling silver jewelry and we’re sure that you do too. So, we are going to do you a favor and take you through what you need to do to keep that shine. Sterling silver may be the best quality silver that you can get but even the best quality pieces need proper care. Even the most precious silver is not immune to wear and tear. Caring for silver means more than learning how to clean jewelry. Keep reading to learn what your sterling silver jewelry needs to stay fab for longer.

What Is Sterling Silver Jewelry?

Before we jump right into the care tips, let us explain what sterling silver actually is.

Genuine sterling silver is the highest quality silver that you can get. Silver jewelry pieces are usually an alloy of silver with other metals because pure silver is quite fragile. Sterling silver has a very high percentage of pure silver which makes it more valuable.

sterling silver earrings

There are two main values of sterling silver. These are 925 sterling silver and 950 sterling silver. These numbers refer to the percentage of pure silver present in the jewelry piece. This is 92.5% and 95% respectively.

.925 sterling (another annotation form) is the preferable kind of silver because that 2.5% already makes a difference in durability. Though you will need to show both types some TLC, .925 sterling is a little more resistant to wear and tear than 950 sterling silver is.

Oxidization in Silver

Depending on the jewelry designer, you might see a difference in color between two pieces of sterling silver. This can even happen when both pieces contain the same amount of silver. This is because some designers will oxidize the sterling silver jewelry piece on purpose which makes the color darker.

Silver may be a noble metal but sterling silver jewelry pieces are still vulnerable to oxidization. Oxidization occurs when the silver reacts to oxygen or sulfur. A change in the color of silver is called tarnishing. You can reverse the effect of tarnish by properly cleaning your sterling silver jewelry and storing the pieces properly.

Stay Gentle, Please

Sterling silver needs a gentle touch to keep its shine and prevent scratches and dents. Regularly clean your sterling silver jewelry by polishing it with a jewelry cloth. Follow the contours of the jewelry piece. This usually means that you need to rub in a linear motion. Rubbing in a circular motion can actually make scratches worse.

For pieces that have an intricate design, use a q-tip to reach the crevices. Or, if it is too difficult to clean by yourself, bring your silver to the jeweler. They will be able to do a professional polish of your pieces.

Be Careful with Exposing Your Sterling Silver Jewelry to Chemicals

Sterling silver is sensitive to chemicals, even the ones in your make-up products and perfume. Sulfur and other harsh chemicals can cause your sterling silver to tarnish. This is why it is better to remove your sterling silver jewelry during household tasks like cooking and cleaning but also when showering. Also, put on your jewelry after your make-up products and lotions have dried. Swimming pools and salt water are also damaging to your sterling silver.

Interestingly, wearing your silver jewelry often is only beneficial. The natural oils on our skin help to keep the silver shiny.

Store in a Cool and Dry Place

No, we haven’t suddenly switched to foodstuffs. Sterling silver needs to be kept away from moisture and high temperatures, too.

Store your sterling silver jewelry unclasped on a soft surface to avoid scratches. Also, keep the pieces separate to avoid them tangling together. Even better would be to keep each piece in its own airtight bag to prevent tarnishing.

Avoid Silver Cleaning Products

There are products on the market that are specifically made for cleaning silver. Don’t use them. These products can affect the layer of silver on your jewelry.

If your jewelry piece needs more than a gentle polish, try cleaning it with a moist cloth first. Also, avoid using any soaps, even mild ones. Thoroughly dry the jewelry piece afterward. You don’t want any remaining moisture on the piece.

If this is still not enough, bring your piece to the jeweler. They will know how to clean sterling silver properly. This is also the safest cleaning option if your jewelry piece also incorporates gemstones.

See, it’s not that hard. Sterling silver jewelry may need a little more attention but it is not a difficult job. The way you should treat sterling silver is quite similar to how you should look after other precious metals and jewelry pieces. For more on how to care for different types of jewelry, keep reading through our article collection. We know what you need to know.

Also, visit Ana Luisa online jewelry shop to discover our new collection of unique silver jewelry pieces.

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Ruxandra is a fashion blogger who teaches fashion stumped twenty to thirty somethings how to shop their jewelry boxes for polished new ensembles. Her work has been featured in Vogue, Fashionista, Nylon, and Refinery29.