What is Sterling Silver? Your Guide to Silver
Sterling silver is a favorite material for consumers and used in all types of jewelry. But what is sterling silver? Here are some facts you should know.
Keyword(s): what is sterling silver
You're ready to invest in some high-quality jewelry -- but you have no idea where you should start shopping.
Settings, metals, cuts, stones, colors....it's all so confusing. The best place to start?
With sterling silver jewelry.
But what is sterling silver -- and why does it belong in your jewelry collection?
Read on to find out.
In this post, we'll answer the most common questions about sterling silver jewelry.
From how to care for it to understanding which pieces are right for your wardrobe, by the end of it, you'll be a sterling silver expert.
What is Sterling Silver?
Before we get into how you should style your sterling silver pieces, or how to care for them, we first need to answer one simple question.
What is sterling silver, exactly? And how is it different from pure silver?
While the latter is certainly beautiful and valuable, pure silver isn't exactly known for its durability.
It's incredibly soft, which means that it often isn't the right material for creating more intricate pieces. Pure silver can be easily damaged and scratched and can lose its shape quickly.
In short, a solution was needed: and sterling silver was the answer that the jewelers of the past were looking for.
Sterling silver is actually an alloy, which is a fancy way of saying that it's a type of metal that's combined with pure silver. These alloys make pure silver much stronger and more durable, extending the life of your pieces.
Sterling silver is usually anywhere from 80-90% pure silver. The remaining amount consists of other metals. In most cases, these metals will be things like zinc, copper, and nickel.
Now, let's move onto talking about how you can determine the overall silver content of the jewelry you're thinking of buying.
This way, you'll always get authentic and durable pieces that you'll be able to have for years to come.
Sterling Silver Quality
So, how can you determine the overall sterling silver quality?
You'll need to look for a stamped quality or fineness imprint on the pieces you're considering buying. These stamps will be small, and certainly won't be visible when you're wearing them.
They're most often found on the clasps of the sterling silver pieces, or behind a charm. The mark will let you know the overall precious metal content of the piece you're wearing. Sometimes, it will also contain the trademark of the silver's maker.
You'll know that you're wearing fine silver if you see the mark "999" somewhere on your piece.
Sterling silver, on the other hand, is designated by a "925" mark. You may also notice that sterling silver has been marked with "STER," "STG," or simply "STERLING."
Be aware that, if you buy your sterling pieces from a European jewelry company, the markings may be somewhat different. When in doubt, always ask about the overall percentage of silver included in your sterling silver pieces.
Is Sterling Silver Good?
When you're ready to invest in a piece of jewelry, we know that you don't want to settle for anything less than the best.
With so many precious and semi-precious metals on the market today, it can be tough to know which materials are actually worth their salt.
It can also be difficult to figure out which setting works the best for the stone or charm you're looking to adorn.
There are countless reasons why so many people are buying sterling silver today.
In addition to its glamorous look and overall affordability, sterling silver jewelry is timeless, easy to care for, and incredibly durable.
This means that you can easily wear your sterling silver pieces every day in a variety of environments and activities.
After all, we know that you want to look your best no matter where you are or what you're doing!
Also, sterling silver jewelry is hypoallergenic. So, if you have especially sensitive skin, this is the perfect material for you. It won't leave an unsightly green ring around your neck or wrist, and it won't cause you to itch or break out, either.
It's a wonderful alternative to nickel for those who are prone to breakouts.
Plus, it's much easier on your wallet than materials like platinum, 24-karat gold, and more.
Caring for Sterling Silver
Now that you understand a bit more about what sterling silver is, let's move on to talking about how you can keep it looking its best.
The good news?
If you want to prevent your sterling silver pieces from getting tarnished, often all you need to do is wear them frequently. Your skin actually produces natural oils that prevent rust and tarnish, so your sterling silver jewelry will look as great as the day you first bought it.
Also, since things like sunscreens, perfume, and lotions can cause your sterling silver to tarnish? We suggest putting on your jewelry after you've applied your makeup and done your hair.
Make sure that you don't clean it using any sort of household chemicals, especially if they contain chlorine or sulfur. This means you certainly shouldn't wear it in the pool, and that you should take it off before you clean your home.
So, is sterling silver waterproof?
In some cases, too much exposure to water can cause your sterling silver pieces to oxidize.
Though wearing it in the shower is usually fine, depending on the soap you use, you could risk damaging the jewelry.
You should also avoid wearing your sterling silver pieces in the ocean, as the salt can leave residue on your jewelry. If you can't take it off on the beach, then clean it as soon as possible after leaving the water.
Cleaning your Sterling Silver Jewelry
Many people also want answers to the ever-popular question, "Does sterling silver rust?"
In short, yes -- but it usually takes quite a long time (and poor care) for it to do so.
Your sterling pieces will rust when they're exposed to excess moisture, which means that they'll turn a darker shade and lose their luster.
You can clean your sterling pieces from rust with undiluted white vinegar. Simply let it soak in the vinegar for a minimum of one hour. Then, rinse it under cold water.
If you want to get rid of tarnish, which can happen when your jewelry has been exposed to sulfur?
You'll need to make a paste of about 1/4 a cup of baking soda and three tablespoons of water.
Use a new sponge to apply the mixture to your jewelry, and polish it as you would a silver cup or utensil. Once you've removed the tarnish, rinse your jewelry under cool water.
It should look as good as new!
Storing your Sterling Silver Jewelry
Another thing that can cause your sterling silver jewelry to tarnish?
Excessive exposure to sunlight and air.
The best way to store your sterling silver jewelry is often in small plastic baggies that seal completely. For best results, store only one piece inside of each bag. This is because the pieces can quickly scratch one another.
When you place them in the bags, make sure that you've unclasped any necklaces or bracelets to prevent tarnishing or scratching.
For best results, place your pieces inside a cool drawer, in a room with limited exposure to humidity. This means that the bathroom isn't the best place, as moisture from the shower can damage the jewelry.
Try your closet or even invest in a glamorous freestanding jewelry armoire for an extra air of elegance.
Some of our Best Sterling Silver Pieces
One of the things that we love the most about sterling silver jewelry?
It's right for any occasion and will go with pretty much any outfit in your closet. We absolutely love Italian-made 925 sterling silver chains. Sterling silver is just as perfect for a day at the office as it is for a night on the town.
It makes for the perfect gift -- whether you're treating yourself or someone else.
Of course, we think that some sterling silver pieces we've created are especially spectacular.
If you're looking to upgrade your jewelry wardrobe, then we urge you to consider a few of these pieces.
The Blue Mystic Quartz Necklace
Are you looking for a true statement piece? Do you need something to wear with an elegant cocktail dress or evening gown -- but don't want to have to buy diamonds?
If so, then this sterling silver necklace is the ideal option for you.
It's made from solid sterling silver and rhodium, which means that it will be much less likely to tarnish. The blue shades of the stones in the necklace are crowned with stunning topaz, which gives the piece a seriously stunning color.
It perfectly mimics the look of real diamonds, and will elegantly accent your collarbone. The oval shape of the stones is out of the ordinary and will catch even the most discerning buyer by surprise.
You can also pair it with the matching oval sterling silver bracelet for an extra wow factor.
The Roman Glass and Sterling Ring
Looking for the right way to say "I love you?"
Just on the hunt for the right ring to add to your own collection?
If so, then we think there are few more magical pieces than this show-stopping roman glass and sterling ring.
The blue roman glass will add a unique look and feel to your hand, while the intricately carved designs of the setting will help it to stand out even more.
Since no two pieces featuring roman glass are exactly alike, this is the best way to show someone special that they truly are one in a million. Roman glass also contains shards of glass that are over 2,000 years old.
So, no matter where you go, you'll take a little piece of history with you whenever you wear a piece like this.
The Classic Sterling Silver Hoops
Are you looking for a piece that you can wear every day?
Need something to accent your simpler outfits, like jeans and a tank top?
If so, then we think you can't go wrong with this elegant yet understated pair of sterling silver hoop earrings.
What keeps them from looking like all the other hoops in your jewelry closet?
If you look closely, you'll notice that these hoops contain a special, textured type of sterling silver.
This means that your earrings will sparkle and shine from several feet away. They'll also look much more dimensional than standard hoops.
Plus, the durable clasp means that you'll never have to worry about them accidentally slipping off of your ears.
We love that these hoops are just the right size. After all, you don't want it to look like you're wearing a circus ring on your earlobes. If you want to upgrade some of the pieces that you wear the most, then you just have to add this pair of earrings to your collection.
What is Sterling Silver? Now, you Know!
From helping you to answer the all-important question, "What is sterling silver?" to introducing you to styles you'll love, we hope that you've found this post helpful.
Remember to store your sterling silver pieces in a cool, dry place. Avoid taking them for a dip anywhere with sulfur, salt, or chlorine in order to prevent rust and tarnish.
Make sure that you also keep your eye out for quality marks and stamps.
Looking for more advice about how to style your sterling silver jewelry? Want to upgrade your everyday pieces?
We can help you with that.
Be sure to check out our awesome pieces to get more bling in your life, and read our blog to pin down the perfect look.