Now that you have your very set of special sterling silver jewelry, you need to ensure that it stays brighter for longer. Buy your silver with care and ensure that you purchase good quality items. Here are a few tips to help you clean your silver and keep it sparkling for longer.
Understanding what sterling silver is
In the pure form, silver is very soft and difficult to mold as jewelry. Thus silver is combined with different metals to make alloys that are strong yet have a good luster. This alloy is known as sterling silver. A common metal that is used to make sterling silver is copper. While copper lends silver the desired hardness, it tarnishes easily on exposure to air and humidity. As per the US Federal Trade Commission, jewelry sold in the US cannot be marked or described as silver, solid silver, sterling silver, sterling, or using the abbreviation Ster. unless it contains at least 92.5 percent pure silver.
Using the right detergent
The right detergent must be carefully chosen to clean jewelry. Many people use toothpaste to clean sterling silver, but experts strictly advice against it. This is because toothpaste can cause scratches on the surface of silver. A mild detergent and a low abrasive that is free of phosphate must be used for the purpose. Avoid harsh detergents that may damage the surface of silver and cause it to dull.
Using the right cleaner
Many people use scrubbers or toothbrushes to clean sterling silver. While this gives desired results, prolonged use can lead to scratches that may spoil the entire look of the silver. A soft cloth or a soft sponge can be used to clean silver. A soft cotton cloth that is nub free or flannel may also be used to buff up the silver. Today chemically treated cloths like the sunshine cloth are also available for this purpose. Sterling silver dips are also available, but must be chosen with care.
The patina look
When worn over a longer period of time, sterling silver often develops a patina, which is a kind of glow combined with dark areas. While this looks good on many jewels, many people may want the luster back. If the patina is desired do not polish the silver, if it is not clean the silver and then polish it for best results.