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Resources » Cleaning Sterling Silver

Jewellery care is essential to extend the life of your jewellery. Sterling silver jewellery will tarnish over a period of time when exposed to air. Sterling silver reacts with the oxygen in the air, to form a layer of silver oxide on the jewellery’s surface. This tarnish first appears as a golden hue, then develops a greyish coating and if left uncleaned will gradually blacken.

We use 95% silver in our jewellery as this is less likely to tarnish readily. The less silver and the more copper or in some cases other metals, the silver will tarnish more quickly. As well as oxygen in the air, chemicals in you makeup, hairspray, creams, perfume and perspiration can affect your silver as well as your gold jewellery. Clean you jewellery if it starts to look dull and you should not have a problem with tarnishing.

1. How To Clean Your Sterling Silver Jewellery

The jewellery cleaning cloth is the most recommended method as it is portable, quick, simple and effective and will not scratch your jewellery. Up and down cleaning motion is best as circular motions may loosen silver links. Used regularly, it will keep your silver jewellery shiny.

2. Storing Your Sterling Silver Jewellery

Store in a dark, dry area away from direct sunlight and wooden surfaces. Plastic Cling wrap, newspapers and rubber bands all react with silver causing damage. Jewellery protection bags are the best way to store your jewellery. Airtight protection bags or zip lock bags are inexpensive and prevent oxidation.

3. Preventing Damage To Your Jewellery

Remove jewellery before taking off jumpers or long sleeved tops as the jewellery may catch and loosen or break with the force. Avoid rough handling and knocks. Sterling & 95% silver is reasonably tough but may dent or break if you do not treat it with care. Cuff bracelets should be put on the side of your wrist which is the narrowest part and then extended over the wrist and adjusted to fit. Constant opening wide and closing will weaken the silver and cause breakage. If you take care of your jewellery you should experience no problems.
Chlorine from swimming pools and salt from the ocean can cause tarnishing. Removing your jewellery before swimming will prevent further damage.

4. Products That Damage Sterling Silver

Normal cleaning products such as bleach, ammonia, acetone (nail polish remover) and alcohol can damage Sterling Silver jewellery beyond repair. Common household products such as table salt, olives, salad dressing, eggs, vinegar and fruit juice are natural enemies of silver. A silver bracelet accidentally dipped in a fruit punch or olive oil dressing can result in severe damage.

5. Wearing Sterling Silver Jewellery

Many people say that they are unable to wear Sterling Silver as it causes a reaction on their skin or tarnishes easily. There are a few reasons for this. Firstly they may have very sensitive skin, eczema and allergies and nothing can be done about this unfortunately. Some people perspire a lot and as perspiration contains salt and also may be very acidic, it can cause more rapid tarnishing. The solution is to clean the jewellery more often. The third reason is that the jewellery comes from a mass produced source overseas where sterling is not really sterling and may contain other base metals and the silver quantity is not what it is supposed to be although it is stamped. It could be 80-20, 50-50 or even silver plated. Good silver is identifiable by its white silver quality, patina, smooth finish and weight. If it’s too heavy, it’s not silver. When you’ve seen good silver, you will learn to tell the difference.