Jewelry of any type needs to be cared for if it is to last longer while maintaining the luster it had when you first bought it. When it comes to sterling silver jewelry, it is important to ensure that you give it the proper care and attention so that you can continue using it to accessorize without it losing its original luster. This article will discuss some maintenance tips to help you achieve exactly that.
Sterling silver is an alloy made up of 92.5% pure silver and other metals such as copper make up 7.5%. Of all precious metals, it is the most reflective one. When exposed to air and other chemicals, sterling silver is prone to oxidization and tarnishing. The main reason why pure silver is rarely used for making jewelry is because it is malleable and over time, it will lose its shape. The alloy helps to harden the silver thus making it ideal for making jewelry.
How To Maintain This Jewelry?
The most important thing to observe when caring for sterling silver is to maintain it properly so that there is reduced need to care for it later.
1. Store the jewelry in a zip lock baggie to keep the exposure to air as minimal a level as possible.
2. When you are wearing the jewelry, you should try to avoid contact with chemicals. Even such harmless looking products such as hand lotion or hair spray can speed up the tarnishing.
3. Do not wear the jewelry until you have finished all grooming to avoid unnecessary contact with the chemicals.
4. When you go swimming in Chlorinated water, ensure that you remove all jewelry. Chlorine is one of the worst chemicals for tarnishing silver.
5. You can try painting the jewelry with clear finger nail polish to provide a protective coating. This works well but you need to reapply constantly since it keeps wearing off.
6. If you store your jewelry improperly, you can experience problems of scratching of the silver. If you do not store the jewelry in a zip lock bag, at least try to keep it away from other metals that can cause scratches.
As previously discussed, sterling silver oxidizes when exposed to air or other corrosive chemicals. Jewelry makers discovered that this undesirable trait could be a blessing in disguise since it helps the etched designs stand out much better.
Finally, they figured out how to oxidize the jewelry artificially. It is important to understand this especially when using certain jewelry cleaners that might remove oxidization that was meant to be there. If the jewelry cleaner is designed for cleaning silver then it will just clean off the oxidization and will not hurt it.
Sterling silver jewelry is of two types, one with just the designs and no artificially induced oxidation and the other with chemically induced oxidization to help the designs stand out.
Some additional tips for caring:
1. Avoid using jewelry cleaner not approved for sterling silver.
2. Refer to the instructions on the label of the jewelry cleaner when you have it inlaid with precious or semi-precious stones or when it is mixed with other metals.
3. Avoid using toothpaste as an abrasive since it leaves light scratches on the jewelry.
4. Clean the jewelry using a soft non-abrasive cloth since this is the safest way to do so.
In conclusion, if you follow the maintenance tips discussed in this article, you can be sure that your silver sterling jewelry will remain looking as bright as the day when you bought it.