Questions and Answers: [Q&A’s]
What is 925 Sterling Silver?
Sterling silver is an alloy of silver containing 92.5% by weight of silver and 7.5% by weight of other metals, usually copper. The sterling silver standard has a minimum millesimal fineness of 925.
What is the difference between 925 and sterling silver?
When 92.5% of pure silver is mixed with 7.5% of other metals (often copper, nickel or zinc) the resulting alloy is called sterling silver. In other words, 925 is the same as sterling silver, meaning that if there is any other stamp on the metal, it is not sterling silver
What causes the discoloration?
With time, any sterling silver jewellery piece that is exposed to air will tarnish. Sterling silver is a mixture of metals with at least 92.5% silver and 7.5% other metals.
And it is the other metals, usually copper, that oxidise in the air resulting in the build up of a tarnished layer on sterling silver jewellery.
Silver tarnishes faster in areas with high humidity and air pollution. Additionally contact with materials like cosmetics, hairspray, perfume, deodorant, body lotion, bleach, etc., can speed up the tarnishing process. The silver in your ring may also become oxidized by reacting with acids in your skin, the moisture in perspiration, or by reacting with some other lotion or chemical on your skin. Below are some common culprits
Make-up present on the skin or clothing is the most common cause of blackening or smudging. Cosmetics often contain chemical compounds which are harder than the jewellery itself. These compounds can rub off very tiny particles of metal which appear as jet black dust.
Solution: Use a silver cloth to polish your jewellery. Remember to remove rings & jewellery while applying make-up. Using soap & water, clean the areas of your skin that will come into contact with the jewellery making sure all soap is rinsed off and your hands are dry
- Moisture & Humidity
Moisture in the air or on the skin can react with the copper present in all Sterling Silver jewellery, causing a green discoloration and tarnish to develop. This is a fairly common complaint in hot, humid climates and can also affect individuals with particularly moist skin.
Solution: Using a silver cloth, polish your jewellery frequently. You might also use an absorbent powder on those moist skin areas which come into contact with your jewellery. Keep your silver jewellery out of the bathroom and shower area. Leave your silver jewellery at home when you go to the gym or spa.
- Contact with Sulpher Compounds
Sulpher compounds can also cause Sterling Silver to tarnish. Avoid wearing your jewellery in heavily polluted environments. Also be careful when handling coal or oil, and when preparing foods containing sulphur such as eggs, onions, fish or shellfish
My skin is red & burning. Am I allergic to Sterling Silver?
Soaps, detergents and other cleaning agents can build up under a ring or bracelet causing a type of dermatitis. You should remove all jewellery before using soap or detergent.
Medications in the wearer’s system, especially certain antibiotics, can also cause jewellery to blacken or discolour.
If none of the explanations above are ringing any bells for you, you may consider the possibility that you are in fact “allergic” to sterling silver. In some rare cases, the wearer’s basic body chemistry reacts to the alloys in both gold and silver and cause tarnishing.
Prevention is better than cure!
As with most things in life it is better to prevent a problem rather than trying to fix it! Below are a few simple tips on how to help prevent tarnishing on your silver jewellery:
- Keep it clean
After wearing your sterling silver jewellery, clean it with a dry soft cloth, or polishing cloth, before storing it away.
- Keep it safe
Store your clean dry sterling silver jewellery in a dry airtight container. Small ziploc bags or Tupperware work well. It is better to store pieces individually if possible decreasing the risk pieces scratching off each other. If you will be storing a piece for a significant period of time, adding a small bag of silica gel (those you get in pill bottles or shoe boxes) with the silver jewellery in a Ziploc bag or airtight container can slow down the process even further. And of course take off your silver jewellery before getting in the shower, swimming pool or hot tub.
- Wait until your lotion or cream is dry or has been absorbed by your skin before putting on your ring, bracelet or necklace.
- Avoid getting your jewellery in contact with oil, nail polish, nail polish remover, chlorine and perfume.
- Sweat will cause tarnish. Remove your jewellery before exercise; heavy work and swimming.
- Different metals cause each other to tarnish, fade or change colours. Have different storage places for different colours of metals; such as gold and rose gold.
What is Gold and Rosegold Sterling Silver Plated Jewellery?
Where stated, gold/rosegold plated is a coat of gold over 925 Sterling Silver. It is still subject to colour loss. 925 Sterling Silver dipped into a bath of electroplating solution, with a lump of solid gold. When an electric current is applied, a thin layer of gold is deposited on the metal. Everyone's skin type is different. Some people have strong reactions to rosegold & gold plating. It's not our fault. No refunds or returns are given for this reason or the turning of your jewellery colour caused by skins oils.
Gold And Rose Plated Jewellery Care
During plating process a layer of gold is placed on the sterling silver surface to coat it. Since the jewellery is not entirely solid gold it will eventually tarnish with time; but proper care will maximize its lifespan.
Avoid perfume, deodorant and other similar chemicals while wearing your jewellery.