How to Care for Sterling Silver Jewelry

Posted by Liz Park on

Sterling silver is a popular choice among jewelry lovers and designers alike for good reason. Not only is it beautiful, it’s also a valuable and durable precious metal, making it great for everyday wear. In today’s post, learn all about sterling silver and how to take care of your sterling silver jewelry.


What is sterling silver?

Pure silver is 99.9% silver and much too malleable for most jewelry. That’s where sterling silver comes in. It’s composed of 92.5% pure silver, while the other 7.5% is commonly copper or other metals. This gives it the hardness pure silver lacks without sacrificing the beautiful luster and color of fine silver.


Does sterling silver tarnish?

Yes, sterling silver will tarnish over time due to its copper content, especially in humid conditions. However, the tarnish is easy to clean, and the silver underneath will be unaffected. Once the silver has been cleaned and polished, it’ll look bright and shiny again.


How do I keep my sterling silver jewelry from tarnishing quickly?

Wear it often!

Your skin’s natural oils will help keep your jewelry shiny longer. It’s a good reason to wear your favorite jewelry every day instead of letting it sit in your jewelry box.

Avoid harsh chemicals, fumes, and sulfur-rich substances

Harsh compounds found in perfume, hair spray, makeup, lotion, nail polish, hand sanitizer, household cleaners, and chlorinated water will expedite tarnish, as will sulfur-rich water and rubber. Remember to adhere to the “last on, first off” rule, and always remove your jewelry before doing housework, hitting the pool, and taking a shower.

Store away from heat and humidity

It’s best to store your sterling silver jewelry in a resealable plastic bag, like the one we provide with each Starring You Jewelry order, when not in use. Add a piece of chalk, some silica gel packets, or an anti-tarnish tab to combat humidity. Avoid moisture and perspiration by keeping your jewelry out of humid areas like the bathroom and by taking your jewelry off before bed.


How do I clean sterling silver jewelry?

Easy At-Home Methods

Soap and water: You can remove minor tarnish with a little soap and water. This is a great go-to method for most cleanings as it’s gentle on your jewelry. Use warm water and mild soap, one that’s devoid of oxygenated bleach or heavy degreasers. Rinse well and immediately pat your jewelry dry with a soft cotton cloth.

Baking soda paste: Mix 3 parts baking soda with 1 part water to form a paste. Apply a small amount onto a soft cotton cloth or toothbrush and gently rub along the silver’s grain. Don’t scrub! The abrasion could damage the surface.

Aluminum foil: Before you start, remove any pendants, such as gemstones, pearls, etc.

You’ll need: 1 cup of boiled hot water, 1 tablespoon of baking soda, and 1 piece of aluminum foil.

  1. Place the aluminum foil in a small bowl. Add baking soda and pour the hot water in.
  2. Drop the jewelry in and gently stir with a wooden spoon so that the jewelry touches the aluminum foil. Don’t use a rubber spatula as it contains sulfur.
  3. When clean, rinse your jewelry with cold water and dry completely.

Commercial Silver Cleaning Products

Silver cleaners and polishes can be purchased to clean and keep your jewelry shiny longer. Make sure to use one that is specifically for sterling silver jewelry.

Polishing cloths are also a safe option for cleaning sterling silver jewelry. The Yellow Sunshine Polishing Cloth is our favorite and is available for purchase at Starring You Jewelry.

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