Friday, August 31, 2007

Caring for Silver Jewelry

I learn something new every day. Just the other day I discovered that you're not actually supposed to wear silver jewelry in the pool! Really? Well, I don't have that many opportunities to go swimming in pools or hot tubs. But even if I had those opportunities, I would've probably worn my silver jewelry. Apparently that's a no no. The chemicals can react with the metal and turn it an icky ugly dark black that is difficult, if not impossible, to remove.

While I didn't know that...I do know a few other things about silver jewelry. So I thought I'd share.

Did you know that there's a big difference between Sterling Silver and Fine Silver? Well, if you consider 7.5% a big difference. Sterling is 92.5% silver and 7.5% 'other' metal. That metal can be just about anything from nickel to copper to other base metals. It is these metals that tarnish and depending on which base metals are used the tarnishing rate will vary.

Fine silver, however, is pure silver...well, 99.9% pure. Therefore it is softer and isn't used as often by many jewelers. I LOVE fine silver and use it almost exclusively to create my pieces. I can "fuse" it instead of soldering (which I don't enjoy nearly as much) and I can play with PMC (Precious Metal Clay) which becomes fine silver after firing. Fine silver can discolor - becoming a sort of yellow-ish hew - if not cared for properly.

So how do you care for your silver jewelry?

Keep all silver jewelry in a jewelry box or even a zip lock bag. Making sure your jewelry doesn't come in contact with air will help reduce tarnishing.

Do not wear your silver jewelry in the pool, hot tub, or shower. I didn't know. But now I do!

Remove silver jewelry when sleeping. If you're a "mover" when you sleep, your movements can damage your jewelry.

A great way to clean your jewelry? I snuck this tidbit from my jewelry friend Misty from Silver Mist Studios.

A great way to clean your jewelry is to get an aluminum pan, like the disposable ones. Add really hot water, not boiling, but very hot. Add 2 teaspoons of baking soda and 1 tsp. of salt. Stir a bit. Add jewelry and let soak for 10min. Rinse and dry thoroughly. Viola’ just like new. This will remove tarnish, and also is safe for all jewelry components including swarovski’s and pearls.Proper sterling silver jewelry care ensures you will enjoy your jewelry for years to come.

I haven't tried it, and I honestly don't know about using it with pearls (especially dyed pearls) but for silver jewelry it seems like a great, easy, and efficient way to do it yourself! Thanks, Misty!


jenifer said...

Yes of course silver jewelry requires lot of care. I have recently purchased silver earrings from CouponAlbum site and I take good care of them.

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