Alloy: Sterling silver is made of 92.5 percent pure silver and 7.5 percent metal alloy. Copper is a favorite metal alloy for sterling silver jewellery, although other metals are sometimes used. Sterling silver jewelleries can be decorated with pure silver, but pure silver is typically too soft for large silver jewellery pieces.
Features: Chosen for its strength and beauty, sterling silver has a lifetime of durability. Pure silver is very soft, making it a poor choice for an everyday use, such as an engagement ring or wedding band. The addition of copper makes silver strong. A piece of sterling silver jewellery is typically marked with an engraving to inform consumers that it is genuine. Sometimes the number "925" is used to specify that a metal is sterling silver.
Finishes: Sterling silver jewelleries can be polished or coated in rhodium to become tarnish-resistant. Rhodium is a member of the platinum metal family, and as a coating, it gives sterling silver jewellery a high-gloss finish.
Styles: When you are shopping for sterling silver pendants, you have many styles to choose from. Simple sterling silver rings with feminine detailing or symbolic designs and lettering are perfect for everyday wear and make good choices for romantic jewellery gifts. Sterling silver pendant with gemstones, diamonds and pearls can bring color to any outfit. Choose a meaningful gemstone pendant with your birthstone or select a gem that has a rich mythological history.
Care: Storing sterling silver jewellery in a cloth pouch or individual compartment in a jewellery box is the best way to prevent scratching. Bleach, ammonia and chlorine can damage or discolor sterling silver rings. Be sure to remove sterling silver jewellery before handling common household cleaning chemicals and before swimming in a chlorinated pool or hot tub.
Cleaning: Sterling silver jewellery will tarnish over time as it is exposed to natural elements in the air; a quick polish will restore the shine and luster of a sterling silver jewelleries. Use bleach-free or ammonia-free silver polish labeled for tarnish removal to clean sterling silver jewelleries. A nonabrasive cloth labeled for polishing should be used to prevent scratching. Microfiber cloths are great for polishing silver jewellery.
Most of our jewellery is made of a Zinc metal alloy and stainless steel. Both are lead and nickel free. Unfortunatley the jewellery will tarnish over time- this is unavoidable but you can reduce the rate at which this happens by regulartly polishing your pieces with a dry polishing cloth. Do not submerge or soak your jewellery in water or any jewellery clearners as this may cause perminant damage to your pieces. Avoid wearing your jewellery while swimming, exposure to house hold chemicals or while hand washing.
NOTE: These instructions are for our 925 Sterling Silver 12mm bases only.
Your silver will tarnish for a variety of reasons and it is unavoidable. Tarnish occurs as a result of silver reacting with Hydrogen Sulphide (H2S) and Sulphur Dioxide (SO2) in the air. In some areas depending on where you live, your silver will tarnish much quicker because of types or water or humidity. Because copper is the alloy often used it also contributes to this issue as it creates its own tarnish.
Although wearing your silver jewellery often will reduce tarnish because of the oils in your skin that actually act as a polishing agent, you should remove your jewellery when doing house hold or any cleaning tasks. Direct Sunlight should also be avoided so remember to cover your jewellery when you take it off to sun bathe or take a swim. Other exposures to avoid are:
Hair products such as dyes and hairsprays
Swimming (chlorinated and salt water)
Perspiration during exercise
Detergents containing phosphates
Cosmetics. Body lotions, perfumes, sunscreens, oils
Foods including onion, egg yolk, mustard, salt, vinegar, salad dressings and olives
Rubber, wool, latex
Cigarette and Cigar smoke
Paint thinners and, nail polish remover (containing acetone), bleach, ammonia and alcohol can cause damage to your silver beyond repair.
For general maintenance use a gentle polishing cloth to buff and rub away mild tarnish. Cloths work very well and they last a very long time. Polishing regularly keeps the tarnish from building where it will be harder to remove later. Do not use tissue or paper towels to polish your silver. They contain fibers and can scratch your jewellery. A microfiber or silver polishing cloth is the best solution to keep your jewellery from scratching.
There is several commercial cleaners for silver on the market. The truth of the matter is they can be quit harsh and sometimes even damaging to your jewellery. For example do not use commercial cleaner on your silver jewellery if it has turquoise, opal, pearl, garnet or any other precisions stones. It may damage the finish and also loosen any adhesive keeping the stones in place.
Below is a list of homemade environmentally friendly and cost effective cleaning solutions you can use to clean your jewellery.
Soap and water:
Warm water and a mild, ammonia- and phosphate-free dishwashing soap
Dip cloth in and gently wipe your jewellery
Aluminum foil and baking Soda
Crush a sheet of aluminum foil (about a foot to a foot and half in length) and place it into a sink with the shiny side up, according to The Ohio State University website.
Arrange small pieces of silver or cutlery in the bottom of the sink. Make sure the pieces do not touch each other. If you have large pieces, such a silver teapot or silver serving tray, you may need to do the items one at a time.
Pour boiling water over the items in the sink.
Add 2 tbsp of baking soda for every quart of water you used. You can find baking soda in your grocery store on the same aisle as the flour, cornmeal and other baking goods.
Allow the silver items to sit in the sink for five minutes and then remove and dry them with a soft cloth. Do not use this method on silver items that are glued together, as the boiling water will loosen the glue.
Storing Your Silver
Store silver in an area free from dust and dirt.
Add silica gel to the cabinet or drawer to keep humidity levels low.
Place a small dish of activated charcoal in your storage area to absorb air born gases that cause tarnish.
Keep silver stored on wood that has been treated with polyurethane or lacquer. This will also keep tarnish down.
Limit the amount of exposure to air by storing silver pieces in bags pretreated with anti-tarnish material. You can also wrap silver in plastic kitchen wrap.
Put a piece of white chalk in your storage drawer or area to prevent tarnish.
Polish silver thoroughly before storage with a polish designed to stop or slow tarnish.
Use a cotton or flannel cloth to wipe your jewellery clean. A special jewellery polishing cloth would be perfect (a popular choice is Sunshine Polishing Cloth). Using straight, back and forth strokes, polish your jewellery and remove any surface dirt and dust. Do not rub in a circular motion as that can scratch the surface of your jewellery. Then use a cleaning solution to remove grime and dirt.
Just like a diamond, a cubic zirconia can be cleaned with warm water and mild soap. Use a soft, cosmetic applicator to reach crevices. However, if you wish, you can use a trusted jewellery cleaner to remove any dirt and dust from your zirconium.
Steam your CZ jewellery. Using a teakettle or any other method that produces steam, hold your jewellery directly over the steam stream to loosen dirt. You should wear gloves and use tongs or needle-nose pliers to avoid burns. Once steamed, use your polishing cloth to dry your jewellery.
Clean your jewellery with an ultrasonic cleaner. These units are inexpensive and nice to have if you own a lot of CZ jewellery. Store your jewellery in an airtight, sealable plastic bag. If this is not possible, store your jewellery in a lined jewellery box, away from the outside air.
Pearls are very soft and need special care and attention. You should never store your pearls in a jewellery box next to other jewellery as the box and other pieces of jewellery can damage the pearls by scratching and nicking. Instead keep your pearl in a fabric lined box or fabric pouch.
Skin produces acids that can harm your pearls, so if worn regularly pearls should be wiped down with a soft cloth after every wearing. A pearl necklace will gradually absorb acid from the skin that will eat into the pearl causing it to lose its luster. Wiping pearls off with either a wet or dry soft cloth will prevent dirt from accumulating and keep perspiration, which is slightly acidic, from eating away at the nacre. You can also use a drop of olive oil on your cleansing cloth to help maintain your pearls’ luster.
Along with being soft and easily scratched, pearls can be damaged by chemicals and heat. Only use jewellery cleaners that are clearly marked safe for pearls. Never use ultrasonic cleansers, dish or wash detergents, bleaches, baking soda or ammonia based cleansers. Never use toothbrushes, or any other abrasive materials to clean your pearls. Always take off your pearls before using any cosmetics, hair spray, or perfume and avoid heat and dry air because both can cause pearls to turn brown, dry out, and crack.
Clean rhodium plated silver with warm water and a mild liquid soap (like ivory dishwashing soap). Rinse and dry with a soft polishing cloth immediately to avoid mineral residue from the water.
Never use any chemicals on your rhodium items. Never use toothpaste and never brush with a toothbrush. Don't use polishing cloths that are intended for use on uncoated silver or for gold jewellery. Don't place in an ultrasonic cleaner. Never use abrasives of any kind. Never use silver dips. Never use ammonia-based products. If you have an antique or heirloom, don't clean it without consulting an expert on your item.
Gold doesn’t tarnish, but it can be dirtied or dulled by the oils in your skin, body lotion, makeup or other substances. There are lots of products out there that promise to clean gold, but you can do it easily with mild detergent and a soft cloth.
Mix a squeeze of mild dish detergent with warm water in a bowl. Put the gold item into the soap mixture and let sit for a few minutes. Use a soft toothbrush to gently scrub the jewellery. Remove item from soapy water, rinse it and dry thoroughly with a soft polishing cloth.
Vermeil simply means gold plating over sterling silver. Sterling silver beads can be gold plated. It is a good way to incorporate the look of gold at a fraction of the cost, especially for beads. You can clean gold vermeil by washing the jewellery in warm soapy water. Use lukewarm water (not hot as it can crack some stones) and a couple drops of non-film leaving dish soap (not antibacterial). Use a soft toothbrush to get into tight places. Rinse and dry with a soft polishing cloth immediately to avoid mineral residue from the water.
Keep gold-plated jewellery away from hard surfaces. Bumps and scratches will cause the gold layer to wear away faster. Store your gold-plated jewellery in a velvet lined jewellery box, or wrap it in a soft material that will prevent scratches. Lightly wipe your gold-plated jewellery with a damp cotton cloth. This will help to eliminate any dirt or dust from accumulating on the surface and wearing away the gold layer. Use a non-abrasive jewellery polishing cloth and gently rub the gold-plated jewellery to restore shine. You can also take the gold-plated jewellery to a local jeweler where they can replace the gold layer. This may be necessary if the gold-plating has already started to wear off. Check with your local jeweler to see what they charge for this service
Wipe your jewellery carefully with a soft cloth to keep it clean. The best way to clean in places that a polishing cloth will not reach to take a small bowl that will hold about a quart of water and line it with aluminum foil. Add hot water and a tablespoon of Tide washing powder (not liquid or with bleach) and stir. Place your jewellery in the solution for about 1 minute and rinse with clean water and air dry. If you have a build-up of dirt in hard to reach places, just put a little dish washing liquid in a bowl of water and soak overnight.
Gemstones are quite literally hard as rock, buy they can be damaged from careless handling and negligence. Here are some tips for keeping your gems and jewellery looking fabulous for years to come.
Remember, even the hardest gemstone variety can be vulnerable to breakage if it has inclusions that weaken the crystal structure. Exercise common sense: if you have a ring set with a softer gem variety or an included stone, take it off before strenuous exercise. Even the hardest gem of them all, the diamond, can shatter in two with a single well-placed blow.
Never remove rings by pulling on the stone: that habit may result in a loose, then lost, gem. Most importantly, store each piece of gemstone jewellery separately so that harder stones don’t scratch softer ones. Almost every gemstone is much harder than the metal it is set in. Gems can scratch the finish on your gold, silver or platinum if you throw your jewellery in a heap in a drawer or jewellery box.
Rings in particular tend to collect dust and soap behind the gem, especially if worn often. You need to clean them regularly to let the light in so your gems can shine. To clean transparent crystalline gemstones, simply soak them in water with a touch of gentle dish soap. Use a bowl of water rather than the sink to eliminate the risk of anything going down the drain. If necessary, use a soft toothbrush to scrub behind the stone. Rinse the soap off and pat dry with a lint-free cloth (you want to make sure threads won't catch on the prongs).
Think twice before putting gems in an ultrasonic cleaner. Diamonds, rubies and sapphires will be fine but many other gems many not be, in particular emerald, opal, pearls, peridot: when in doubt, leave it out.
Organic gems like pearls, coral, and amber should only be wiped clean with moist cloth. Due to their organic nature, these gems are both soft and porous. Be careful about chemicals in hairspray, cosmetics, or perfume: they can, over time, damage pearls in particular. Opals also require special care. Never use an ultrasonic, never use ammonia, and avoid heat and strong light. Opaque gemstones like lapis lazuli, turquoise, malachite, require special care because they are rocks, not crystals of a single mineral like transparent gems. These gem materials should just be wiped clean gently with a moist cloth. These gemstones can be porous and may absorb chemicals, even soap, and they may build up inside the stone and discolor it. Never use and ultrasonic cleaner and never use ammonia or any chemical solution.
Hand lotions, hair styling products and everyday grime all leave enough of a film on your diamond ring to keep it from looking its best. And if you wait too long between cleanings, those materials can accumulate into a thick layer of gunk on the back of your diamond, blocking light and making the diamond appear dull and lifeless.
Diamonds are the hardest substance known, but that doesn't mean we can bring them back to life with any old cleanser. Coatings and other materials used to enhance diamonds can sometimes be removed by harsh chemicals or vigorous scrubbing, so take care when it's time to make your diamond jewellery sparkle.
Soak your diamonds in a warm solution of mild liquid detergent and water. Ivory dishwashing liquid is a good choice, but any other mild detergent is fine. Using a soft brush, if necessary, to remove dirt. Soft is the key — don't use a brush with bristles that are stiff enough to scratch the ring's metal setting. Swish the diamond piece around in the solution, and then rinse it thoroughly in warm water. Close the drain first, or put the piece in a strainer to keep from losing it! Dry the diamond with a lint-free cloth. If the diamond and setting needs extra help, use a dental Water Pik to flush away small bits of grime. You can also use a wooden toothpick to very carefully push dirt away from the diamond and setting.