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What exactly is sterling silver, and how do I care for it?
|HOW TO TAKE CARE OF YOUR STERLING SILVER|
|Sterling silver is an alloy that is at least 92.5 percent silver, and 7.5 percent
consists of another metal – usually copper. Silver itself is a soft metal, and
the added alloys in sterling silver will give the object strength and durability,
and with proper care the piece can last a lifetime. But, since sterling silver does
tarnish, proper care is very important. Not only should sterling silver never be
worn in the swimming pool – chlorine and other chemicals will hasten the tarnishing –
but also minerals in lakes, the ocean, and even your shower can cause sterling silver
to tarnish. In fact, sometimes even skin oils can tarnish sterling silver.|
|There are many different brands of silver cleaner on the market, but many
people find a mixture of baking soda and warm water will do the trick. Also, never
use any kind of bristles to remove tarnish from your sterling silver jewelry, as they
could cause scratching. A soft all-cotton or flannel rag is all you should use.
When it comes to storing your sterling silver jewelry, do not lay it on bare wood, for
the oils will increase the rate of tarnishing. Also, do not store your sterling silver
next to other metals, or anything rubber. A small stick of chalkboard chalk next
to your sterling silver pieces will help absorb impurities in the air, keeping your
sterling silver tarnish-free for longer periods of time.|
|It’s important to mention here that sulfur is one of the worst enemies of sterling silver.
Sulfur can be found just about anywhere, it’s an airborne pollutant, present in natural gas,
and can even be found in the oils secreted from the skin. When sulfur adheres to
the surface of sterling silver, silver sulfide is created – and that is the black substance
that is most often referred to as tarnish. Though it is nearly impossible to give a blanket
answer as to where the sulfur is coming from that is tarnishing your silver, as
mentioned above, it is best to store sterling silver in an air-tight container.||