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925 Sterling Silver Information and Jewellery Care

Silver has been used in the crafting of jewellery for thousands of years. Silver is used for jewellery production as it is a soft, malleable element with a fantastic quality that can be polished to a high shine or embossed with patterns and embedded with stones. It has been used through out the centuries as a monetarily system with many silver Roman coins being discovered by archaeologists. Silver jewellery and artefacts have also been found in the Egyptian Pyramids where it was considered to be of value to the Emperors in their next life showing that they were wealthy and respected members of their community. The western hemisphere has managed to commercially mine silver since the discovery of the precious metal by explorers in the late eighteenth century. More silver has been mined since this time than in any of the prior centuries combined. Recently the value of silver has increased dramatically showing a strong commodity footing. The fashions of the late twentieth century have been for silver items and for platinum enhanced jewellery at more affordable prices than white gold or platinum.
Pure Silver is a very soft metal in its true pure form, it is very malleable so easier than other metals to craft into an item but due to this softness it will become scratched and mark easily. Pure silver is considered to be too soft to be used for jewellery and other manufactured or crafted items, so it's mixed with other metals to make it more durable, and harder wearing. The most popular silver mixture is a silver alloy known as sterling silver. The Assay office in the United Kingdom stipulates that all jewellery sold in the United Kingdom can not be marked or described as sterling silver unless it contains at least 92.25% pure silver, but most quality silver jewellery is made with what’s known as “925 Silver” which is at least 92.5% pure silver.

925 Silver is generally marked for resale with the stamp “925” or “.925” or “ster”, most commonly you will find the mark “925” on anything in the UK made from sterling silver. The minimum silver content can also be stated as 925 parts per thousand of pure silver, so you might see the figures 925 or 92.5 used to mark silver content. Copper is the most common metal used as the 7.5 percent alloy balance in sterling silver. It adds hardness to pure silver, but brings with it a tendency to "tarnish", a darkening that occurs when sterling silver reacts or oxidises with gases in the air or with other substances that it comes in contact with. When silver oxidises it first turns a yellow golden colour and darkens with time to be dark graphite grey or nearly black. Some aspects of silver jewellery are treated in this manner when being created to give the sterling silver two different depths of colour which are often used in the design.
Rhodium is often used to plate sterling silver jewellery, which helps to reduce the tarnishing of silver. Rhodium is from the platinum family of precious metals and is one of the rarest elements on earth. Rhodium is bright white in colour and extremely hard making it ideal for jewellery plating as its very scratch resistant. Rhodium has been used for the last few years to plate silver jewellery as it is very resistant to corrosion, so will protect your silver from tarnishing and a sterling silver item that has been rhodium plated is known as “platinum enhanced sterling silver”. Generally a silver item that is rhodium plated will be 6 to 10 times more tarnish resistant than an untreated 925 sterling silver item. The rhodium plating on a jewellery piece will last about a year approximately with average use and a slight dulling of the high rhodium shine will be noticed when this happens. Most of our beautiful jewellery is plated with rhodium to keep your item free from scratches and tarnish.
To look after your sterling silver jewellery we recommend that you store the goods in the original packaging. All our items are supplied in poly grip bags or sealed cellophane to discourage the air getting to the item. This also means that you items are less likely to get scratched and damaged when being stored. We strongly recommend that you keep these in dry, cool conditions and where possible away from direct sunlight and artificial light.

If an item does need cleaning please use a soft polishing cloth and preferably one that is anti tarnish impregnated to help prevent the silver or rhodium getting scratched. Be very careful when cleaning the stones and avoid rubbing the claws too much. If you have to use a cleaner please use a phosphate free detergent. A low abrasive cleaner, such as anti tarnish silver cleaners, is a good choice for removing light tarnish. Some people use toothpaste to clean their sterling silver, but most silver experts caution against this because toothpaste is abrasive and leaves dulling scratches. Under NO circumstance should you use ‘silver dips’ these are very harsh and damage the expensive platinum plating.

Please give the following instructions to your customers for the care of their jewellery. Correct instructions on how to look after their new purchase can often help prevent any un- warranted claims of damage. Please look at our packaging and supplies section where we often have cleaning cloths suitable for our jewellery for sale these are treated with an anti tarnish formula to keep our items looking bright, shiny and new looking.

To maintain your new item of silver jewellery please store the item in its original packaging when you are not wearing it. Store in a cool, dry place; away from any sunlight or artificial light. Always remove your jewellery when doing house hold chores that involve chemicals and remember to remove jewellery when applying perfume or hair products to your body. Clean regularly with a soft silver cloth and use a good silver polish if there are any signs of tarnish present.
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