So you're thinking about buying some sterling silver pieces? Here are some frequently asked questions to help you make an informed decision.
What is Sterling Silver?
Sterling silver is a type of metal that consists of 92.5% silver and 7.5% copper. It's often used to make jewelry because of its natural beauty and it is easy to care for.
Is Sterling Silver Real Silver?
Yes, sterling silver is a real form of silver. Sterling silver jewelry consists of 92.5% fine silver and 7.5% alloy metals (usually copper).
What is the Difference Between Sterling Silver and Fine Silver
The "sterling" term refers to the standardized purity of the metal.
The alloy metals make sterling silver pieces much harder than pure fine silver because copper has a strong resistance to corrosion and wear. This makes sterling silver less likely to corrode, tarnish or pit over time compared with fine silver.
Will Sterling Silver Tarnish?
Sterling silver items will tarnish over time, but they are easily cleaned with a polishing cloth. Be sure to avoid harsh chemicals or cleaners as they may damage the surface of the sterling silver.
Does Sterling Silver Have Nickel in it?
Typically, most of the 7.5% impurity is copper, but there is a chance for trace amounts of nickel in sterling silver items.
What are the Different Colors of Sterling Silver?
Pure sterling silver is a bright shiny white color. Other colors are achieved with sterling silver by adding different metals to the alloy. For example, adding copper will give sterling silver a rosy hue, while adding nickel will give it a silvery hue.
Are Sterling Silver Earrings Hypoallergenic?
Sterling silver jewelry pieces are hypoallergenic because they contains less than 7% nickel. Nickel allergies are very common, so plenty of people are able to wear sterling silver jewelry without having reactions.
What Happens if I'm Allergic to Sterling Silver?
If you're allergic to sterling silver jewelry, you may experience a rash, itchiness or swelling. If you notice any of these symptoms after wearing sterling silver jewelry, discontinue use and see a doctor.
Can Sterling Silver get Wet?
You can get your sterling silver wet, but it's not a good idea. It best that you avoid immersing your sterling silver jewelry in water to avoid harm to the shine of your piece caused by hard minerals in the water supply.
Can Sterling Silver Rust?
Although sterling silver jewelry pieces do not rust, it can tarnish or corrode over time. Sterling silver reacts with oxygen, resulting in discoloration, dulling, fading, and other issues. This, however, will have no effect on the chemical composition of your items and may simply be removed.
Can Tarnished Sterling Silver Be Cleaned?
To clean your sterling silver, use a mild soap and water. Be sure to rinse the soap off completely, and then dry the silver with a soft cloth. Do not use harsh chemicals or abrasives to clean your sterling silver, as they can damage the finish.
How to Protect Sterling Silver?
Here are some other care tips to prevent black tarnish buildup on your sterling silver:
- Keep it in a dark, airtight container shielded from the air & water elements.
- Avoid bringing your piece into contact with any chemical solutions, including soaps, hair products, cleaning products, or even salt water. Because many substances can cause corrosion, take off your sterling silver jewelry before handling these liquids.
- Put your jewelry on last in the morning, after you’ve already finished your makeup, sprayed perfume or hair spray, and completed your look. At night, make sure your jewelry is the first thing you take off. Doing so ensures the least exposure to the chemicals used in your daily routine.
- People's body chemistry varies, so be cautious of your own body! If one to two wears causes your silver to react, consider cleaning it aggressively or opting for a less reactive metal.
Can Sterling Silver Turn Green?
If moisture in the air or on the skin comes into contact with the copper in sterling silver jewelry, a green discoloration may result. This is a frequent complaint in hot, humid areas and can also affect those with particularly moist skin.
Solution: Use a silver cloth to polish your jewelry regularly. You may also use an absorbent powder to dust moist skin areas that come into touch with your jewelry.
How Can I Tell if My Sterling Silver Is Real?
The easiest way to tell if your sterling silver is real is to look for the stamp "925" on the metal. If the stamp is not present, there is a good chance that the silver is not real.