Sterling Silver is an alloy of silver containing 92.5% pure silver and 7.5% other metals, usually copper. Fine silver (99.9% pure) is generally too soft for producing large functional objects; therefore, the silver is usually alloyed with other metals to give it strength, while at the same time preserving the durability and beauty of the precious metal.
Sterling silver is the most popular silver alloy in the world used for jewelry. All our silver items at Csymbol.com are .925 sterling silver.
Sterling silver is susceptible to tarnish, which is a natural reaction of the metal with chemicals in the air. Chemically, silver is not very reactive — it does not react with oxygen or water at ordinary temperatures, so does not easily form a silver oxide.
Preventative maintenance can help keep your sterling silver jewelry looking great for years to come. Frequent light polishing with a Silver Polishing Cloth designed for sterling silver will help minimize tarnish.
You can also wash your jewelry periodically with mild dish soap and warm water — be sure to rinse well and dry completely before putting your jewelry away. Don't apply undiluted dishwashing liquid directly to sterling silver. Detergents containing phosphate can turn sterling silver brown. Also don't wash sterling silver and stainless together. If they touch, a chemical reaction may occur, resulting in black spots on the sterling silver.
Covering the jewelry in your cases with Pacific Jeweler’s Cloth (available at most fabric stores) will also help minimize tarnish. When storing silver jewelry items, keeping them in sealed polyethylene bags will help reduce tarnish as well. Make sure you use a good quality polyethylene sealable food bag in conjunction with a silver cloth or acid free paper.
Tarnish can be easily removed when first noticed. However, if left untreated, the color of the tarnish will darken and will become more difficult to remove, requiring professional cleaning.
It is also important to avoid exposing sterling silver jewelry to harsh chemicals like chlorine, cosmetics, hair spray, and perfume, and to avoid extended exposure to direct sunlight.