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How to Care for Sterling Silver Jewelry

We love the shine of sterling silver jewelry and we’re sure that you do too. Our goal is to help you keep your silver jewelry as sparkling as ever. Sterling silver may be the best quality silver that you can get but even the best quality pieces need proper care. Even the most precious silver is not immune to wear and tear. Caring for silver means more than learning how to clean jewelry. Keep reading to learn what your sterling silver jewelry needs to stay fab for longer.


What Is Sterling Silver Jewelry?

Before we jump right into the care tips, let us explain what sterling silver actually is. Genuine sterling silver is the highest quality silver that you can get. Silver jewelry pieces are usually an alloy of silver with other metals because pure silver is quite fragile. Sterling silver has a very high percentage of pure silver which makes it more valuable. There are two main values of sterling silver: 925 sterling silver and 950 sterling silver. The numbers refer to the percentage of pure silver present in the jewelry piece, so 92.5% and 95%, respectively. .925 sterling (another annotation form) is the preferable kind of silver because it is 2.5% more durable. Though you will need to show both types some TLC, .925 sterling is a little more resistant to wear and tear than .950 sterling silver.


Oxidization in Silver

Depending on the jewelry designer, you might see a difference in color between two pieces of sterling silver. This can even happen when both pieces contain the same amount of silver. This is because some designers will oxidize the sterling silver jewelry piece on purpose which makes the color darker.

Silver may be a noble metal but sterling silver jewelry pieces are still vulnerable to oxidization. Oxidization occurs when the silver reacts to oxygen or sulfur. A change in the color of silver is called tarnishing. You can reverse the effect of tarnish by properly cleaning your sterling silver jewelry and storing the pieces properly.

sterling silver huggie hoop earrings with cubic zirconia

Stay Gentle, Please

Sterling silver needs a gentle touch to keep its shine and prevent scratches and dents. Regularly clean your sterling silver jewelry by polishing it with a jewelry cloth. Follow the contours of the jewelry piece. This usually means that you need to rub in a linear motion. Rubbing in a circular motion can actually make scratches worse.

For pieces that have an intricate design, use a q-tip to reach the crevices. Or, if it is too difficult to clean by yourself, bring your silver to the jeweler. They will be able to do a professional polish of your pieces.


Keep Away from Chemicals

Sterling silver is sensitive to chemicals, including the ones in makeup products and perfume. We recommend removing your sterling silver jewelry when cooking, cleaning, or showering. The chemicals found in certain products can damage or tarnish your pieces. Another tip is to put your jewelry on after your makeup products and lotions have dried. Swimming pools and salt water can also be damaging to your sterling silver.


Store in a Cool and Dry Place

Sterling silver needs to be kept away from moisture and high temperatures, too. Store your sterling silver jewelry unclasped on a soft surface to avoid scratches. We recommend our Ana Luisa pouch, made to protect your jewelry from scratches and nicks. Also, keep the pieces separate to avoid them tangling together. If you feel like going the extra mile, keep each piece in its own airtight bag to prevent tarnishing.


Avoid Silver Cleaning Products

There are products on the market that are specifically made for cleaning silver. However, many can actually damage the layer of silver on your jewelry. 

If your jewelry piece needs more than a gentle polish, try cleaning it with a moist cloth first. Also, avoid using any soaps, even mild ones. Thoroughly dry the jewelry piece afterward. You want to clean off any remaining moisture.

If your jewelry is still showing signs of wear and tear, bring your piece to a jeweler. This is also the safest cleaning option if your jewelry piece also contains gemstones.


Sterling silver jewelry for the win

See, it’s simple! Sterling silver jewelry may need a little more care but it is not a difficult job. The way you should treat sterling silver is quite similar to how you should look after other precious metals and jewelry pieces.


Check out our vast collection of simple and unique jewelry to find the next piece of your sterling silver dreams.