Silver, a beautiful precious metal, is highly sought after for its allure and elegance.
This mystical metal has captivated many with its magnificence and grandeur.
However, silver in its purest form, is too soft to serve any practical purpose. That is where sterling silver comes in.
Surely, you have heard of the term “sterling silver” or “925 silver”.
But, what does this mean?
We’re going to go over everything you need to know about sterling silver and tips on how to care for your sterling silver jewelry.
1. What is Sterling Silver?
What is Sterling Silver?
Pure silver is highly malleable and since it is too soft to use in jewelry, other metals are introduced into the composition to give it strength and durability.
For jewelry, the most widely-used silver alloy is sterling silver.
Sterling silver, also referred to as 925 silver, is composed of 92.5% silver. The remaining 7.5% is made up of other trace metal alloys to give the silver its rigidity.
The small amount of non-silver material added to the sterling silver is so insignificant that it does not affect the silver’s original colour.
Sterling Silver Tarnish Prevention Strategies
Your fine silver jewelry can last a lifetime if you care for it properly.
Polish regularly with soft cloth.
Like pure gold, pure silver does not react with oxygen or water. Therefore, it does not tarnish easily.
Sterling silver on the other hand, is laced with other metal alloys, and as a result is more prone to tarnishing.
Tarnish is a natural chemical reaction that occurs gradually over time with the exposure to air and moisture. Accumulation of tarnish on the silver jewelry will cause it to lose its original brightness and shine.
Luckily, tarnish is very easy to clean. If your sterling silver jewelry is showing signs of tarnishing, simply clean with anti-tarnish liquids, or a cleaning cloth.
Sterling silver is much more practical than its malleable pure silver counterpart, and will require a little more attention to keep it in tiptop condition.
Store away from the elements
Constant exposure to air, water and moisture will cause your sterling silver jewelry to tarnish even faster.
When not in use, store your sterling silver jewelry in a dark place away from the sun and heat.
Each Wisp & Willow purchase comes with a protective box or cloth pouch. Storing your jewelry in a protective environment will prolong the life of your silver jewelry.
Store separately from other jewelry.
When in constant contact with other jewelry pieces, your sterling silver can get scratched easily.
As with other fine jewelry, your sterling silver jewelry should always be stored separately. Refrain from tossing them into your jewelry box with other jewelry.
Sterling Silver vs Silver: Silver Standards
- Fine Silver: The most pure form of silver. It consists of 99.9% silver with the remaining being impurities. In its natural state, fine silver is too soft to have any practical uses.
- Sterling Silver: A high-quality silver alloy that is made up of 92.5% silver. The residual 7.5% is a mix of other alloys, such as copper or nickel. Other materials must be introduced to increase the durability factor of the highly pliable silver in its natural state.
- Coin Silver: A silver alloy with a make up of 90% silver and 10% other trace metals.
Silver Myths Debunked
Let’s take a look at the most commonly held misconceptions around sterling silver.
Sterling silver is pure silver
FALSE: Sterling silver is made up of 92.5% of silver and remaining components are other metal alloys. There really isn’t anything that is considered 100% pure silver. Even the purest form of silver, fine silver, is 99.9% silver as the remaining is attributed to impurities.
Since sterling silver is not as malleable as pure silver, it doesn’t change shape easily
FALSE: Sterling silver is much more durable than pure silver, which makes it a perfect choice for jewelry since it can withstand being used as an everyday jewelry. However, sterling silver is still considered a soft material which can bend easily. It is a natural characteristic of this metal, so do pay care and attention when using your sterling silver jewelry.
Sterling silver will not cause allergic reactions
DEPENDS: In its pure form, silver is hypoallergenic. This means that it does not cause allergies or reactions. However, for functionality purposes, sterling silver consists trace amounts of other metal alloys to give it rigidity. If you have an allergic reaction to other metals like copper or nickel, you can still get a reaction to sterling silver.
Do You Find Yourself Allergic to Sterling Silver?
Since sterling silver is an alloy that consists of 92.5% silver and 7.5% trace metals, the reaction you are getting is most likely from the non-silver component.
Pure silver is a hypoallergenic and non-reactive material that will not cause allergies.
Find out what metals give you a reaction and be careful when choosing your jewelry.
Whether you're looking for a sterling silver pendant necklace, sterling silver drop earrings or earrings with sterling silver posts, check out our affordable minimalist jewelry collection to add a few new favourites to your collection!