Sterling Silver 101

What is Sterling Silver?

Pure silver is soft, too soft to create durable jewelry, so it’s mixed with other metals to enhance performance. One popular silver mixture is known as sterling silver.

Sterling Silver Markings & Descriptions

The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) stipulates that jewelry sold in the United States cannot bear silver markings or be described as silver, solid silver, sterling silver, sterling, or with the abbreviation Ster.unless it contains at least 92.5 percent pure silver.

Copper in Sterling Silver

Copper is the metal most commonly used to make up the remaining 7.5 percent content of a sterling silver mix. Copper makes the silver harder, but gives it a tendency to tarnish, a darkening that occurs when sterling silver reacts with gases in the air or with other substances that it comes in contact with such as perfume, chlorine, or often times, just good old fashioned sweat.

The First Rule of Silver Care

Sterling silver tarnishes, especially when exposed to salt air and products containing sulfur, such as rubber bands and some papers. However, silver that is regularly used typically needs less care, so i declare! strongly encourages you to use or wear your silver every day. When you are not wearing it, store your sterling silver jewelry in an air tight bag, like the ones your i declare! jewelry comes in.  This keeps the air from starting to work on it. Try to to keep your sterling silver jewelry in a cool, dry place. As crazy as it sounds, tarnish can “jump”, so don’t store tarnished jewelry next to shiny new pieces, or your whole jewelry box will soon be tarnished.

Cleaning Your Sterling Silver Jewelry

Polishing cloths (you can purchase one here) are an excellent choice for cleaning your sterling silver jewelry. You might read recommendations to use toothpaste to clean sterling silver, but avoid doing that — toothpaste is abrasive and can leave scratches.

Sterling Silver Patina- Scratches

Sterling silver jewelry that is worn continually often develops a lovely patina, a kind of glow combined with darkened areas. If you like the look, leave it alone. If you prefer a bright and shiny look for your sterling silver, use a polish cloth to restore the jewelry to its shiny appearance. As a reminder, sterling silver is a soft metal, and will scratch when rubbed with other charms, pearls, gems, chains, keys, etc.  This is to be expected and cannot be prevented.

i declare! only uses sterling silver, one of the most beautiful and lustrous of all metals. With proper care, your silver will retain its beauty and character for many generations to come.


Guest Post from Mr. Sub 3 Hour Marathon


Why the marathon?

 If you ever wondered why a sane individual would choose to run 26.2 miles, allow me give you a few insights from a participant’s point of view.

 First thing you should know, we run 26.6 miles by choice.  We didn’t lose any bets and no one has ordered our participation.  For months we train, logging hundreds of miles, rising long before dawn to cram a run into a schedule that will not permit running at a sane hour, wearing out shoes and losing toenails.  As race day approaches we feel delusional excitement about the race.   We are competitors but we are also associates in a communal endeavor.  Yes, a few of us are striving to reach the top and win our age division but the vast majority of us are competing only against ourselves.  This is not a horse race where only the top three competitors win, place or show.  It is often said that in a marathon every runner who crosses the finish line wins.  Since we are competing with and not against our fellow runners, there is a camaraderie absent in most of our sports; an esprit de corps that helps every runner and is obvious to anyone watching.

 The aforementioned pre-race delusional excitement will fade somewhere around mile 20.  The last couple of miles of a marathon can produce some of the greatest agony you’ll ever feel.  Your glycogen depleted body aches, you no longer feel delusional excitement–you are just delusional, and your legs scream at you to stop that very instant. Friends and family members on the sidelines near the finish line have noted my strained gait and the pain etched deep in my face and have asked the obvious question:  “Since marathons are so demanding, painful and difficult why do you run them?”  I run them because they are demanding, painful and difficult.  My father always counseled me to do the hard things first.  The American patriot Thomas Paine noted that “the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph.”

 In a world of ever increasing ease with many needs just a click or phone call away, true physical exertion is avoidable for most of us.  Contrast that with the lives our grandparents knew.  Mine were a part of the “greatest generation” which defeated fascism and made America a leader of the free world.  Sacrifice and demanding labor were a part of their daily lives.  Before them many of our ancestors came west, building trails and laying railroad tracks.  In 2012 we have too few demanding tests, too few events that exist only to push us to our limits, to make us better, more disciplined, more daring than we are.  We have too few marathons in our lives.

 We run because if we can make it through 26.2 miles, everything else will seem easy.

~Mr. Sub 3 Hour Marathon and his slow wife