Treating and Preventing Tarnish
Sterling silver contains 92.5 percent of fine silver and 7.5 percent of other metals. The other metals are usually copper or nickel. Contrary to what most people believe, it’s not the silver in sterling silver that oxidizes and tarnishes; it’s the alloy metals such as copper. Everyone has seen the patina or tarnish that copper produces over time, so they should understand how adding such a metal to silver would cause it to oxidize in the same way. Patina may be attractive on copper, but it doesn’t always look nice on certain pieces of sterling silver jewelry. There are other metals that can replace copper as an alloy. These are used with the intent to improve the properties of basic sterling alloys, which can possibly improve porosity and eliminate firescale. The term firescale refers to a reddish purple toned stain that can appear on silver alloys when they are heated in the presence of oxygen. Firescale generally appears in the form of blotchy patches following an abrasive polishing, and it is seen as a blemish, which destroys the reflectivity of a finished silver surface. Many new silver alloys have appeared on the market in recent years. They are formulated to reduce firescale or inhibit tarnish. Their arrival has sparked a heavy competition among various manufacturers who are all making bold claims to have the best formulation for sterling silver. However, no alloy has emerged to replace copper as the industry standard. It is important to mix alloys with fine silver to make it durable. If a jeweler were to attempt to fabricate fine silver into a jewelry piece without adding an alloy, it would be too soft. That is the reason that jewelers add them to fine silver; it makes the metal hard enough so that it can be fabricated. The result produces the combination of 92.5 percent silver that is seen stamped on jewelry pieces as 925. Sometimes, the word "sterling" is stamped on the jewelry; however, the meaning is the same
1. Grab a glass bowl or container large enough to fit your pieces comfortably on the bottom.
2. Line the bowl with aluminum foil, shiny side up.
3. Put your sterling pieces on top of the aluminum foil in the bowl.
4. Sprinkle a tablespoon of baking soda over your sterling pieces.
5. Slowly pour boiling water into the bow. It will bubble and make noise. It's kind of scary, but you'll get over your fear when you see what happens.
In less than a second your sterling will look brand new...no tarnish. Take them out with some tongs, rinse, and dry.
Gold filled is an actual layer of gold-pressure bonded to another metal. Gold filled is not to be confused with gold plating as filled literally has 100% more gold than gold plating. Gold filled is much more valuable and tarnish resistant. It does not flake off, rub off or turn colors. As a matter of fact, anyone who can wear gold can wear gold filled without worries of any allergic reaction to the jewelry. Gold filled jewelry is an economical alternative to solid gold!
Frequent cleaning is recommended to maintain its true beauty. Salt water, chlorine in swimming pools, soap and perspiration take their toll on all fine jewelry. Wipe your jewelry carefully with a soft cloth to keep it clean and free of these elements which oxidizes. The best way to clean in places that a polishing cloth will not reach is very simple and you probably already have what you need in your kitchen. 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 jewelry in the solution for about 1 minute and rinse with clean water and air dry. This works great on Sterling Silver too and it will not hurt any stones. 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 over night.
Stainless steel jewelry is strong, durable and rust-resistant. It typically has a silver sheen, but, unlike silver, it will not corrode and it is not susceptible to scratches, dings or dents. Stainless steel can be used to make nearly any type of jewelry, from rings, pendants and bracelets to necklaces, watches and earrings
Stainless steel jewelry is able to handle much more wear and tear than silver or gold jewelry, and it requires much less maintenance, making it functional and reliable for everyday purposes. In addition, the nickel in stainless is tightly bound, ensuring that it won't leak out. This means that it is safe for those with metal allergies. It is perfect for those who prefer the silver color but dislike the discoloration properties of silver and it is less expensive then white gold.
It is also used by many people who love silver but have allergic reactions. Not all steel jewelry is hypoallergenic though. It has to be the type made with surgical steel.