Six facts you should know about Sterling Silver Jewelry

Silver Jewelry goes back thousands of years and never lost its popularity. When taking a closer look, you will find that most Silver Jewelry is Sterling Silver instead of pure silver. Is it the real deal? And why is it used so much?

What is Sterling Silver

925 Silver - or Sterling Silver- is the most commonly used alloy for Silver Jewelry. The number 925 means, at least 92.5% of the metal is silver, the other 7.5% of the weight is another metal. Often this is copper, but also other metals are used like zinc or palladium. 925 Sterling Silver is an excellent high-quality metal that looks elegant and won’t rust. 

Silver itself is a very soft metal. Mixing it with other metals makes it more durable and strong. That is why Silver Jewelry is usually made from 925 Sterling Silver instead. Even simple things opening one of those stubborn jam jars can deform soft materials easily. Therefore, especially with silver rings, it makes sense to choose Sterling Silver over pure silver.  

Is Sterling Silver hypoallergenic?

The most common reason for a contact allergy is the addition of nickel to the metal. With fashion jewelry, this is still a rule rather than an exception. Even though it is estimated that more than 15% of the Northern American population is suffering from allergic reactions to nickel. 

Fine jewelry made from precious metals usually should not contain nickel. But there’s no regulation saying that the 7.5% of other metals used in 925 Silver can’t contain nickel. That means Sterling Silver is not necessarily always hypoallergenic. But in most cases it is, and you don’t have to worry about your skin reacting to it.

At Goldmariie we want to make sure you are 100% happy with the jewelry you purchase. It should leave you with nothing but happiness. That’s why we’re taking great care that all our pieces are nickel-free and hypoallergenic.

How to clean silver jewelry

The downside of Sterling Silver is that mixing it with other metals makes it more likely to react with oxygen. Therefore it tarnishes more easily than pure silver. But with the right care, it will still last a lifetime.

Wear your Silver Jewelry as often as you can is the best way to prevent tarnishing. If you take it off, store it in a dry cloth or pouch, away from other items. Avoid getting it in contact with household chemicals. Also, wearing it in a swimming pool with chlorinated water is not recommendable. Washing your hands using soap while wearing a Sterling Silver ring is fine, though. 

If you should find your favorite piece of Silver Jewelry turned black, even if you took good care, don’t worry. It is super easy to clean at home. 

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To clean Silver Jewelry you can use a soft cloth to rub off the tarnish. If the tarnished spots are more persistent, you can make a paste from 2 parts baking soda and one part water. Then use your cloth to gently rub the jewelry clean. If you’re not the DIY-type, it’s worth buying a special silver polish or a Silver Jewelry cleaning cloth. All you have to do is give the tarnished item a good rub, and it is all shiny again. 

Please note: this does only work for silver items without any sort of gold plating. If you have gold vermeil items, there are other ways to make sure you don’t rub off the gold coating. 

How to find out if my jewelry really is 925 sterling silver?

The first thing you should look for is the stamp. You can find it on the inside of silver rings, on the clasp of necklaces and chains, or at the back of pendants, so it won’t be visible when wearing them. It usually says “925” or sometimes also “.925” or “92.5” for Sterling Silver and indicates the minimum percentage of fine silver contained. Sometimes you can also see “SS” instead. Fine silver in turn would have a stamp saying 999 or “FS” - this means 99.9% is silver. There is never a guarantee that there won’t be an ever so tiny bit of other metals included. That is why you do not come across silver stamped with “1000”.

If you have a piece of jewelry that is supposed to be silver but has no stamp, you can test the authenticity with acid. Silver does not react with acid as other metals do. Take a tiny shaving of your item, put it in acid, and check if the liquid changes color. If it does not, you can be very sure you have at least Sterling Silver - if not fine silver- in front of you. There are testing kits to do this at home, but depending on how delicate the piece is, it might be better to hand it over to a jeweler for inspection. That way, you do not risk damaging something while trying to get that tiny shaving.

Goldmariie silver rings have a small “925” stamp on the inside of the ring bands. 

Are there different shades of Sterling Silver?

Yes, that is possible. If you possess different pieces of Sterling Silver Jewelry, it could well be that they vary slightly in color, they still all can be genuine. Silver itself actually has a slight touch of yellow. Often Silver Jewelry has a rhodium coating. Rhodium is a chrome-colored metal used to refine silver and white gold jewelry. It balances out the yellow and gives Sterling Silver an extra white shine. 

Goldmariie silver jewelry is covered with a rhodium layer. It creates this classy and elegant white-silver color and provides better protection from tarnishing. 

Fun fact

There have been periods in our history when silver was considered more valuable than gold. And this might happen again someday in the future. The earth's gold supplies are growing each year since gold is mostly kept locked away in state banks and other financial institutions. Silver, in turn, is used up and so the amount of silver available declines each year. Therefore, one day your Goldmariie Silver Jewelry might become even more valuable to you. 

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