What is Sterling Silver?
Sterling silver is a metal containing at least 92.5% silver. This is the legal standard of purity set by the assay offices in Britain and used for most silver jewellery throughout the world. It means that the metal used is of a specific quality. Pure silver is never used, as it is too soft to be practical.
Caring for your Silver Jewellery
Sterling silver will tarnish with time and wear. To take care of your sterling silver jewellery, polish it frequently with a soft dry cloth to avoid tarnish (do not use silver dip). Ideally, use the specially impregnated silver polishing cloth available from the checkout here at Silver by Mail to ensure that your jewellery continues to retain its original lustre and shine.
We recommend you protect your silver jewellery by wrapping it in the Silver by Mail fabric pouch you received with your jewellery and storing it in a cool, dry place, keeping individual pieces separate to avoid scratching.
To bring back sparkle from faceted gemstones use warm water, washing up liquid and a soft toothbrush. Soak and brush inside the back of the setting and rinse.
Avoid contact with chemicals, perfume, hairspray and deodorant.
Our products are guaranteed against manufacturing faults, but not misuse. To maintain the condition of your jewellery remove when showering, swimming or when undertaking manual or domestic work.
Has your Sterling Silver ring become tarnished? Is the tarnished ring leaving a black or green mark on your finger? Here are some possible explanations –
What causes discoloration?
With time, any sterling silver jewellery piece that is exposed to air will tarnish. Sterling silver is a mixture of metals with at least 92.5% silver and 7.5% other metals.
And it is the other metals, usually copper, that oxidised in the air resulting in the build-up of a tarnished layer on sterling silver jewellery.
Silver tarnishes faster in areas with high humidity and air pollution. Additionally, contact with materials like cosmetics, hairspray, perfume, deodorant, body lotion, bleach, etc, can speed up the tarnishing process. The silver in your ring may also become oxidized by reacting with acids in your skin, the moisture in perspiration, or by reacting with some other lotion or chemical on your skin.
Make-up present on the skin or clothing is the most common cause of blackening or smudging. Cosmetics often contain chemical compounds which are harder than the jewellery itself. These compounds can rub off very tiny particles of metal which appear as jet black dust.
A solution is to use a silver cloth to polish your jewellery. Remember to remove rings and jewellery while applying make-up. Using soap and water, clean the areas of your skin that will come into contact with the jewellery making sure all soap is rinsed off and your hands are dry.
Pour vinegar into a glass or plastic bowl and submerge your copper jewellery in the vinegar. Add some salt for a deeper clean and leave the copper to soak for 15 to 20 minutes. When you take it out, your copper should be sparkling! Give it a good rinse to wash off all the vinegar and then dry it with a soft cloth.