The following information is to be used for reference purposes only and does not constitute advice.
What is 925 Sterling Silver and what is a ‘Hallmark’?
Silver is an extremely soft precious metal and as such it is very difficult to use when it is pure. Fine Silver is defined as being 99.9% pure, but it is unfortunately too soft for producing functional objects, such as jewellery.
Sterling silver is therefore an alloy of silver which contains 92.5% pure silver, mixed with 7.5% other metals, the most common of which is copper. This base metal serves to reinforce the silver and allow it to be formed in to objects which maintain their shape and durability.
In order to indicate the high quality of 925 sterling silver, it is normally hallmarked. This means that it is stamped with the numbers 925. While the shape of the stamp varies in different countries, the numbers indicate the same thing; that the particular piece is made of quality silver which is 92.5% pure.
What Makes Silver Tarnish?
925 Sterling Silver is unfortunately a precious metal which is at risk of tarnishing. Tarnish occurs when silver comes in to contact with pollutants, such as oxygen, oils and chemicals. These substances are commonly found in sweat, natural oils in the skin, moisturising creams, make-up and perfume, just to name a few.
When Silver is exposed to these pollutants, oxidisation occurs and this results in ‘tarnish’. Tarnish is a discolouration of the silver, often causing it to turn grey or even green. Sometimes this colour can rub off on the skin, causing the skin itself to turn grey or green. This can occur more readily with moisture, heat and in people who have a naturally high level of acidity in the skin.
Tarnishing does not indicate that there is any fault with the silver quality or its manufacture; it is simply an unfortunate but natural by-product of a chemical reaction.
How to Care for Your Silver
Silver requires more maintenance than other metals. It is a very soft metal which can easily be scratched.
Particular substances should be avoided, for example, salt is extremely corrosive to silver. Therefore, it is essential to remove silver jewellery before swimming in the ocean.
To clean your silver: Always make sure you use a soft 100% cotton lint free cloth, flannel cloth or soft bristle brush (such as a babies toothbrush or horsehair silver brush). Gently rub your silver, in one direction. Do not rub it too briskly or with a rough or dirty cloth. Paper, polyester and coarse fabrics often contain wood fibers or synthetics that can cause tiny scratches to the surface of your jewellery. Dirt in cloths can also cause scratching. Avoid using toothpaste as it can also scratch silver.
To clean off tarnish: It is best to use either a Silver Cloth or a liquid silver rinse. Silver Cloths are especially designed for cleaning silver and are usually impregnated with a gentle silver cleanser, making them particularly effective in gently cleaning away tarnish and encouraging silver to shine. Liquid silver rinses/cleaners are also a good option, as they are also specifically designed for cleaning silver gently but effectively. Both of these products are widely available online and from silver stores.
We are currently in the process of sourcing these products
To clean silver with gemstones: It is important to be aware that the some chemicals used in silver polishes or cleaners could affect gemstones. In general, it is best to use soapy water and a clean cloth for general cleaning, or a silver cloth for tarnish, to limit exposure to harsh chemicals. Always read the label or consult with a professional if in doubt.
What is Rhodium Plating?
Rhodium plating is the process of plating silver jewellery with very fine layer of rhodium. Rhodium is a precious metal which is a member of the platinum family. Rhodium electroplating is used to provide protection from scratching and tarnishing by making the surface more durable. This is also what gives some sterling silver jewellery its white, reflective appearance.
There is a great deal of information available on the internet regarding silver, tarnish and it’s care.
For further information regarding our products or for specific concerns regarding silver and tarnish, please feel free to contact us directly.
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