Hopefully you were one of the lucky people to receive a fine quality piece of Charming Chick sterling silver jewelry over the holiday. If you were - or you already own, love and enjoy this gorgeous metal - we have some tips on how to keep it looking it's best. There are just a few things you need to know about silver before we talk about how to care for it.
Sterling Silver consists of 92.5% silver and 7.5% of another metal, which is usually copper or some other alloy. You can tell if a piece of jewelry is Sterling silver because it is commonly stamped with -- 925 or sterling. Silver is much more abundant than gold and platinum, so the price of the piece is largely determined by the craftsmanship and labor involved in its creation.
As some of you may know, over time sterling silver reacts with the sulfur or hydrogen sulfide in the air and the metal can become tarnished. Tarnish (which appears as black patches) occurs when the compound silver sulfide if formed. It is important to note that silver can react poorly when it comes in contact with other things like; rubber gloves, cleaning products, chlorinated water, perfumes, hairsprays, etc.
How to Reduce Tarnishing:
To reduce tarnishing, we recommend keeping your sterling silver jewelry in an air-tight protective bag made of tarnish proof cloth or a plastic zip lock bag made of Mylar or polyethylene. Charming Chick stores and ships our jewelry in small zip-lock style bags for this reason. You can continue to store your jewelry in this bag if you wish, or purchase another larger bag for storing your sterling silver collection. If you properly store your sterling silver charms, bracelets, necklaces, anklets, rings, brooches, etc., they will require minimal cleaning to keep that beautiful shine. We also recommend storing it away from other articles that might rub against it and causes scratches. Sometimes wood finishes can contain chemicals that are not good for sterling silver, so avoid storing on wood surfaces.
Cleaning Sterling Silver Jewelry:
Often you can simply rub your sterling silver jewelry gently with a 100% cotton cloth to remove excess dirt and restore shine. Be sure not to rub too hard, because sterling silver is a soft metal that can be bent and scratched. Also, make sure that the cloth is very clean. Rub in a lengthwise motion, not circular since this can scratch the surfaces. You can use a very soft toothbrush to remove debris in hard to reach crevasses.
If you would prefer to soak your jewelry to remove dirt that seems to be stuck to the surfaces, add a small amount of very mild detergent to warm water. Do not use a detergent with bleach. You can also use a silver paste cleaner, silver dip polishers or silver polishing spray. Often these cleaners can damage gemstones and crystals (especially Swarovski crystal), so we do not recommend using these methods if your jewelry item is not entirely composed of sterling silver.
1. Always remove your jewelry before using abrasive chemicals such as bleach, alcohol, etc.
2. Clean your jewelry before storing it
3. Prevent tarnishing by cleaning before the silver becomes tarnished
4. Lotions can wear away at the finish on your sterling silver, so avoid wearing them on surfaces that come in contact with your jewelry
5. Remove your sterling silver jewelry when doing household chores
Following these tips will elp to ensure that you will be able to love and enjoy your sterling silver jewelry for many years to come@