What’s Sterling Silver and How Can You Buy It: A Jewelry Guide
Are you trying to learn what’s sterling silver when it comes to jewelry? If yes, check out this guide on what you need to know.
Did you know that the current value of sterling silver is $16.56 per ounce?
The overall value of sterling silver jewelry is part of what makes it so alluring. Not only is this type of metal classy, but it’s also easy to maintain, and more affordable than other types of precious metals.
So, what’s sterling silver? Finding the best sterling silver jewelry can be a challenge, which is why we created a complete guide to help you understand what to shop for. Keep reading to learn more!
What’s Sterling Silver?
As you’re shopping around for a new piece of jewelry, you may notice freezes on the jewelry that refer to pure silver and 925 sterling silver.
The difference between sterling silver jewelry and pure silver is that pure silver isn’t just made up of silver. Silver can contain a mixture of other metals and contains 99.9% of silver. However, sterling silver has a 92.5% silver mixture, which is why it’s referred to as 925 Sterling silver. The other portion of material that goes into 925 Sterling silver is mostly copper.
The reason that silver has to combine with other metals is that because, by itself, it’s very soft and easy to bend. To make Sterling Silver Jewelry hard and easy to withstand against daily use, adding other metals strengthens the silver.
Importance of Buying Real 925 Sterling Silver Jewelry
Sterling silver is an investment, but it’s an investment that’s value increases over time.
That’s why you need to understand how to distinguish fake 925 sterling silver jewelry versus real 925 sterling silver jewelry.
If you aren’t sure what to look for to identify the differences between real and fake sterling silver, you should be aware that many jewelers are known to sell phony sterling silver earrings, rings, necklaces, and other types of jewelry. While sterling silver is one of the cheapest precious metals or you can purchase, there are still thousands of fake imitations that are floating around the market.
Silver-plated jewelry that’s marked as 925 Sterling silver jewelry only has a small content of silver and tends to tarnish a lot faster than real sterling silver jewelry.
Here’s how to identify real sterling silver jewelry:
- Rub the jewelry. By rubbing the piece of jewelry with a soft white cloth, you should find black marks on the fabric That identify a piece of real sterling silver. Exposure to air causes oxidization on real sterling silver, which increases the deterioration of the jewelry, which is why black marks appear on the cloth.
- Smell the jewelry. If you notice that the jewelry has a metallic scent to it, it’s a sign that it’s fake. Real sterling silver doesn’t have any smell.
- Use a magnet. A magnet doesn’t have any effect on real sterling silver. If the jewelry is attracted to the magnet you’re using, it means that the piece of jewelry you’re holding is not made of real sterling silver.
Another great tip to keep in the back of your mind is real sterling silver jewelry will have a marking of “925” or “sterling silver” on the jewelry. If you’re not able to identify either of these markings, it’s a sign that the jewelry doesn’t have real sterling silver on it.
Is Sterling Silver Valuable?
Sterling silver is mind more frequently than other types of precious metals, such as gold and platinum. However, it’s frequently used in jewelry because of its beautiful shine and durability.
Since sterling silver is more affordable than other types of precious metals, you can easily find sterling silver jewelry that’s perfect for all types of budgets and jewelry lovers.
How to Shop Around for Sterling Silver Jewelry
Whether you’ve decided to buy a piece of sterling silver jewelry in-store or online, there are several pieces of information they should keep in the back of your mind to ensure that you’re buying a piece a real silver.
The first step that you should take is to buy from a retailer that has an established reputation. This may seem like an obvious piece of advice, and it can be challenging to decide if a vendor is an established retailer. The best way to go about doing this is to check reviews about the retailer that you’re purchasing from.
You should also be able to identify the hallmark of sterling silver jewelry. If you can’t find the hallmark, you should ask the seller, as the item that you’re purchasing may be too small to have a sterling silver hallmark.
Before finalizing your purchase, you should ask the retailer about the metals in the alloy. If you have any metal allergies, there is a chance that the sterling silver pieces you are considering to purchase may have nickel in them. That’s why you need to communicate with your retailer before investing.
Why Does Sterling Silver Tarnish?
If you’ve owned a piece of sterling silver jewelry for a while, chances are you may have noticed that it loses its luster and turns black over time.
While sterling silver doesn’t tarnish quickly, long-term exposure to humidity and air can cause it to tarnish over a length of time. This is because the copper that’s commonly mixed in with sterling silver reacts with the sulfur and the moisture in the air, causing discoloration and tarnishing.
Sterling silver can turn it at a faster pace if you expose it to chemicals such as detergents and makeup.
How to Prevent Tarnishing
No matter how much you’ve invested on a piece of sterling silver jewelry, it will tarnish over time. You can’t prevent furnishing is sterling silver jewelry, but there are ways you can go out slowing the rate of punishing.
When you wash your sterling silver jewelry pieces, make sure to use warm water and soap to wash your jewelry gently. After you wash it, make sure you dry your jewelry with a soft cloth to dry off any water spots.
If you’re looking to take an extra step to ensure they slow down the process of tarnishing, you should polish your silver jewelry frequently.
One of the best ways they can go about ensuring that your sterling silver jewelry doesn’t tarnish is to find ways to reduce the air that is exposed to. You can store your silver jewelry in airtight bags.
You can also add anti-tarnish strips into the airtight bags. These anti-tarnish strips will help prevent tarnishing, even if you don’t store them in a sealed bag.
Storing the airtight bag in an air-restricted jewelry box or another type of low humidity storage will prevent moisture from tarnishing your ring.
Exposure and Chemicals
After you finished wearing your jewelry for the day, make sure you take the time to clean it before you put it into storage. The oils on your body and other chemicals buildup on the surface of your silver jewelry, which increases the rate of your joy trying to sing.
Before you shower or go swimming, you should also make sure to remove your sterling silver jewelry. Other chemicals such as wool, the acid in vegetables, and even latex gloves can cause your jewelry to tarnish faster.
What to Do If Your Jewelry Is Already Tarnished
If you’ve discovered that your sterling silver jewelry is already tarnished, There are several steps that you can take to remove the unattractive black coating on top of the old jewelry.
You can try using a silver jewelry cleaner, which will require you to put a small amount of the cleaner on a soft cloth to gently buff at the silver jewelry for a few minutes.
Using silver polishing cloth is another great method to remove the tarnishing on top of a piece of silver jewelry. Be sure to rub the silver polishing cloth back-and-forth, as rubbing in circles can accentuate any scratches or dents in the silver jewelry.
If you aren’t interested in attempting to clean your own silver jewelry, you can take it to a professional jewelry shop to have your silver cleaned by a jeweler.
Is Sterling Silver Hypoallergenic?
Yes, sterling silver is hypoallergenic. If you have an allergic reaction or irritation when wearing a piece of sterling silver jewelry, it’s a sign that your jewelry isn’t real sterling silver. There may be nickel used in the replacement of copper for your piece of jewelry.
How to Find the Best Sterling Silver Jewelry for Your Needs
So, what’s sterling silver and how can you buy it? Sterling silver is a type of precious metal that’s commonly used in affordable jewelry. It’s a hypoallergenic alternative to purchase if you’re allergic to other types of precious metals.