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Caring for Silver Jewelry

Silver has been used to make jewelry since ancient times, but the exploration of continents in the western hemisphere uncovered productive silver mines that greatly increased the supply of this precious metal. The result -- more silver has been mined and used since the late 1700's than in all prior centuries combined.

  • What is Sterling Silver?
    Pure silver is soft, too soft to create durable jewelry, so it's mixed with other metals to enhance performance. The most popular silver mixture (an alloy) is known as sterling silver.
  • Sterling Silver Markings & Descriptions
    The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) stipulates that jewelry sold in the United States cannot bear silver markings or be described as silver, solid silver or sterling silver unless it contains at least 92.5 percent pure silver. Jewelry pieces that meet this standard and contain 92.5 percent pure silver should be discretley stamped or marked with the numbers "925", usually on the back or on the clasp.
    Copper is the metal most commonly used to make up the remaining 7.5 percent content of a sterling silver mix. Copper makes the silver harder, but gives it a tendency to tarnish, a darkening that occurs when sterling silver reacts with gases in the air or with other substances that it comes in contact with. Tarnish is normal and can easily be cleaned away and the silver patina restored to a beautiful finish.
  • Caring for Sterling Silver Jewelry
    Try to to keep your sterling silver jewelry in a cool, dry place. Tarnish prevention cloths or bags are the optimal storage method. The treated cloth slows down the tarnishing process and keeps the jewelry from rubbing against harder jewelry that might scratch it. At The Silver Sun we always package your purchase in an airtight reclosable plastic bag. While this storage bag does not provide a tarnish preventative treatment, it will keep your jewelry dry and will help to prevent tarnish.
    Try to avoid direct contact with perfumes and lotions because it may leave residue on the jewelry. Never wear jewelry in a pool or hot tub, chlorine will damage most jewelry. Also remove your jewelry before bathing or showering.
  • Cleaning Your Sterling Silver Jewelry
    Our Sunshine polishing cloths are an excellent choice for cleaning your sterling silver jewelry. For harder to clean jewelry pieces with intricate details, our Hagerty silver cleaners offer simple solutions for a deeper clean.
    You might read recommendations to use toothpaste to clean sterling silver, but avoid doing that -- toothpaste is abrasive and can leave scratches.
  • Rhodium Coated Sterling Silver
    Rhodium, which is a member of the platinum family, is a metal that is durable and hard. When plated on other metals it produces a bright, shiny and long lasting silver-colored finish. This coating helps protect the silver from tarnishing, scratching, and corrosion without diminishing the beauty or quality of sterling silver.
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