Silver jewelry has had world-round popularity for generations. This popularity is mostly due to the price of silver compared to other noble metals like gold and platinum. The great diversity in silver jewelry necessitates that you have certain knowledge if you are to make a successful choice in what jewels to buy and how to care for them. Here are the most frequently asked questions about this kind of jewelry.
How should I clean my silver ornaments?
It depends. Often it is enough to clean them with a jewelry wipe, which can be found in every jewelry shop. Do not use abrasive cleaners or rough surfaces (not even a paper napkin) because that way you risk scratching and ruining the ornament. Clean your jewelry only with a soft towel and do not use your nails to remove debris.
There are special solutions for cleaning silver which you can find at the jewelry shops. Soak your ornaments in the solution for about 30 seconds and rinse with water. If your jewel is a combination of metals and only one of them is silver, or if it is plated with another metal, don’t use this solution, because it may damage the other metals.
How do I preserve my silver jewelry?
If you want your silver jewelry to retain its shine you have to care for it in the right way. The ideal environment for silver ornaments is in a cool place and away from direct light. Heat and light facilitate the darkening of silver. Even the artificial light of a light bulb can harm your jewels. If you will not be wearing your silver necklaces, pendants, bracelets or earrings for some time, it is advisable to store them in zipper bags to prevent oxidation. This will prolong the life of your silver.
What types of protective coverings are there for silver jewelry?
Unlike gold or platinum, silver is much quicker to oxidize. This is why often it is overlaid with another metal in order to preserve its color. There are two elements used for plating silver– rhodium and nickel. The latter is paler, while the former is somewhat darker. Rhodium can also be used with gold and platinum and is considerably more expensive than nickel. Some silver jewels require no protective coverage. For example some jewels are artificially oxidized to give them a vintage look, so no other metal is used.
How to discover the purity of the silver in my jewels?
The typical purity of silver used in jewelry is 92.5% silver and 7.5% additives. To confirm this percentage you have to take your silver accessories to a jeweler who can perform a simple test. The stamp of 925 is usually a statement of purity, but this is not always a guarantee, since the stamp can be forged.
Engraving and adjusting
Engraving and adjusting silver jewelry is easier than the same procedures performed on other noble metals, because silver has more elasticity and a lower melting point. Regardless of this fact, make sure that your jeweler has the instruments required to do the job. Some jewelers do not have the equipment to plate your silver with rhodium after adjusting it. Some rings with precious stones are not adjustable in length.
When buying jewelry, consult the jeweler whether it is possible for this particular ornament to undergo any corrections and readjustments, especially if you are buying it as a gift for someone else.