Are you obsessed with sterling silver jewelry? If so, I totally agree! After all, what’s not to love about this precious metal? From its brilliant shine and versatility to its impeccable durability and affordability, it’s not hard to see why it’s the metal of choice for most people. But as with anything else, sterling silver jewelry is also subject to wear and tear, and can quickly lose its magnificent luster if not taken care of properly. That's why we outlined sterling silver jewelry care tips to help you ensure that never happens.
Why Does Sterling Silver Tarnish?
Why does sterling silver jewelry lose its luster in the first place? Mainly due to its composition. Usually, the purity of any metal determines its malleability as well as how quickly it’ll tarnish. With that said, as an alloyed metal, sterling silver usually contains 92.5% pure silver and the remaining 7.5% other metals, in most cases, copper, and zinc.
While shopping sterling silver jewelry, opt for pieces with a rating of .925. They contain purer silver; hence, are more durable and won’t tarnish quickly. Anything lower than that, for instance, sterling silver jewelry with a .950 rating, is less durable and will tarnish quickly. As a note, it is not required by US law to stamp .925 on silver pieces. Many makers list their materials on the product listing or FAQ page of their webiste.
Sterling Silver Care Tips
While .925 sterling silver pieces are durable, they also require some care if they are to remain dazzling. Here are some tips to get you started:
You don’t have to sit and wait until your sterling silver wave ring tarnishes for you to start caring for it. Do the following to prevent it from losing its beautiful sparkle;
1. Avoid Exposure
Nothing speeds up sterling silver tarnishing than exposure to chemicals and contaminants such as chlorine, sulfur, ammonia, bleach, and turpentine, among many others. In light of that, avoid exposing your dazzling sterling silver engagement ring to such chemicals by ensuring you remove it before you hop in the shower, the swimming pool, a hot spring, or a hot tub. Avoid exposure to chemicals and contaminants, and try to keep it dry always.
2. Wear Regularly
Silver usually loses its sparkle due to oxidation. Wearing it regularly prevents it from tarnishing as your skin’s natural oils create a barrier that prevents quick oxidation. Also, you’ll continuously rub it against your clothes and giving it some polishing without even realizing it.
3. Store it Appropriately
Besides wearing it regularly, always store it in a humidity-free environment to prevent oxidation. For instance, put in an airtight container and don't store it in your bathroom where moisture from the shower will affect your jewelry.
4. Polish Your Sterling Silver Jewelry
The preventive tips above will help prevent your sterling silver jewelry from tarnishing. But if it eventually does, don’t fret. Silver is a soft metal, and a simple polish job using a microfiber cloth will help it regain its sparkle. Avoid using tissue or paper towels as they contain fibers that may scratch the silver.
5. Clean Your Jewelry
If polishing doesn’t work, then you should clean your sterling silver jewelry. You have several options as outlined here:
- Use soap and water
- White vinegar and baking soda
- Baking soda and water
Whichever you choose of the above options, make sure you polish your jewelry using a silver or microfiber cloth to transform it from dull to dazzling!