925 Sterling Silver Information and Jewellery Care
Silver has been used in the crafting of jewellery for thousands of years. Silver is used for jewellery production as it is a soft, malleable element with a fantastic quality that can be polished to a high shine or embossed with patterns and embedded with stones. It has been used through out the centuries as a monetarily system with many silver Roman coins being discovered by archaeologists. Silver jewellery and artefacts have also been found in the Egyptian Pyramids where it was considered to be of value to the Emperors in their next life showing that they were wealthy and respected members of their community. The western hemisphere has managed to commercially mine silver since the discovery of the precious metal by explorers in the late eighteenth century. More silver has been mined since this time than in any of the prior centuries combined. Recently the value of silver has increased dramatically showing a strong commodity footing. The fashions of the late twentieth century have been for silver items and for platinum enhanced jewellery at more affordable prices than white gold or platinum.
Pure Silver is a very soft metal in its true pure form, it is very malleable so easier than other metals to craft into an item but due to this softness it will become scratched and mark easily. To make silver durable enough for use in jewelry, pure silver, which has a .999 fineness (99.9%), is often alloyed with small quantities of copper (7.5%). The copper is added to strengthen the silver and the resulting product is .925 sterling silver (92.5%). Acceptable quality marks for sterling silver include: sterling, sterling silver, ster, and .925.
Rhodium is often used to plate sterling silver jewellery, which helps to reduce the tarnishing of silver. Rhodium is from the platinum family of precious metals and is one of the rarest elements on earth. Rhodium is bright white in colour and extremely hard making it ideal for jewellery plating as its very scratch resistant. Rhodium has been used for the last few years to plate silver jewellery as it is very resistant to corrosion, so will protect your silver from tarnishing and a sterling silver item that has been rhodium plated is known as “platinum enhanced sterling silver”. Generally a silver item that is rhodium plated will be 6 to 10 times more tarnish resistant than an untreated 925 sterling silver item. The rhodium plating on a jewellery piece will last about a year approximately with average use and a slight dulling of the high rhodium shine will be noticed when this happens. Most of our beautiful jewellery is plated with rhodium to keep your item free from scratches and tarnish.
To look after your sterling silver jewellery we recommend that you store the goods in the original packaging. All our items are supplied in poly grip bags or sealed cellophane to discourage the air getting to the item. This also means that you items are less likely to get scratched and damaged when being stored. We strongly recommend that you keep these in dry, cool conditions and where possible away from direct sunlight and artificial light.
If an item does need cleaning please use a soft polishing cloth and preferably one that is anti tarnish impregnated to help prevent the silver or rhodium getting scratched. Be very careful when cleaning the stones and avoid rubbing the claws too much. If you have to use a cleaner please use a phosphate free detergent. A low abrasive cleaner, such as anti tarnish silver cleaners, is a good choice for removing light tarnish. Some people use toothpaste to clean their sterling silver, but most silver experts caution against this because toothpaste is abrasive and leaves dulling scratches. Under NO circumstance should you use ‘silver dips’ these are very harsh and damage the expensive platinum plating.
To maintain your new item of silver jewellery please store the item in its original packaging when you are not wearing it. Store in a cool, dry place; away from any sunlight or artificial light. Always remove your jewellery when doing house hold chores that involve chemicals and remember to remove jewellery when applying perfume or hair products to your body. Clean regularly with a soft silver cloth and use a good silver polish if there are any signs of tarnish present.