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.