FAQ ABOUT 925 STERLING SILVER
Sterling Silver is widely used in the jewelry industry as a less expensive alternative to gold and other precious metals. In fact, most of our Ellen Kvam jewelry collections are made with 925 Sterling Silver.
You probably encounter this metal more often than you think in your everyday life. Here are the answers to the most common questions about Sterling Silver, including a guide on how to clean your tarnished silver jewelry:
What is the difference between Pure Silver and 925 Sterling Silver?
Pure silver, also known as fine silver, is made up of 99.9% silver, while 925 Sterling Silver usually has a purity of 92.5% silver.
Silver is a very soft metal, which makes pure silver unsuitable for jewelry making as it will easily scratch, dent, and change shape. In order to make the silver harder and more durable, copper and other metals are added to the pure silver.
925 Sterling Silver is one of these mixes, usually with a purity of 92.5% silver. This percentage is the reason why we call it 925 Sterling Silver or 925 Silver. The remaining 7.5% of the mixture is usually copper, although sometimes it may consist of other metals such as zinc or nickel.
What are 925 Sterling Silver quality marks?
Although jewelry with a purity lower than 92.5% is not considered Sterling Silver according to U.S. standards, this might not be true in other parts of the world. Because of these differences, its important to pay attention to the product description and quality markings on the jewelry you buy.
For instance, all of our product descriptions include a list of the materials used in the jewelry. Instead of listing the materials as Sterling Silver or Silver, two very ambiguous terms, we write 925 Sterling Silver. That way, our customers knows the purity of our jewelry and any misunderstandings are avoided. In addition, all of our silver jewelry are stamped with quality marks that say “925”, “Ag925”, or “.925”. Some of our products are also stamped with “ITALY” to indicate its origin.
These quality markings are very important and should be present on all 925 Sterling Silver jewelry.
How can you tell if the jewelry is made with authentic 925 Sterling Silver?
Here are some easy ways to check if your jewelry is made with authentic 925 Sterling Silver:
Magnets have no effect on authentic silver. If your jewelry is attracted to a magnet, it is not made of 925 Sterling Silver.
As we mentioned earlier, authentic 925 Sterling Silver jewelry will have quality marks such as “925”, “.925”, “Ag925”, “Ster”, or “Sterling Silver” hidden somewhere on the piece. Not being able to find such markings should raise a red flag.
File a small part of the item in a discreet area and apply a few drops of nitric acid on this area. If the color of the acid turns into a creamy white, the silver is pure or 925 Sterling. If the color of the acid turns green, it is probably fake or silver plated. Be careful when dealing with chemicals and remember to protect yourself using gloves and goggles.
Here is an informative video from Pawn Stars showing how to do the Acid Test:
How to keep your Sterling Silver jewelry looking good?
There is no way of avoiding it. No matter where you bought your Sterling Silver jewelry, it will tarnish over time. Although this process is inevitable, there are some steps you can take to limit the amount of tarnishing that will take place over time. Here are a few tips on how to keep your jewelry looking good:
Store your Sterling Silver jewelry properly
When you’re not wearing the jewelry, store it in a cool, dark, and dry place. If possible, place your silver jewelry in a zip lock plastic bag and squeeze the air out. This will limit the amount of contaminants the jewelry will come in contact with.
Wipe down your jewelry after wearing it
Use a dry soft cloth and quickly wipe down your jewelry after wearing it, before placing it back into its proper storage. This helps remove contaminants that the jewelry may have come in contact with.
Wear your Sterling Silver jewelry often
Instead of leaving your Sterling Silver jewelry to tarnish by itself, wear it as often as possible. As long as you wipe it down after wearing it, your jewelry should keep looking pristine until the end of times.
Avoid moisture at all costs
Its not a crisis if you accidentally jump in a pool with your sterling silver jewelry one day. However, moisture will tarnish your jewelry in no time. Therefore, its important to keep your jewelry dry and not leave it sitting in a humid place.
Clean your jewelry when it starts to tarnish
Instead of hiding away your tarnished jewelry, try wiping the tarnish away with a dry soft cloth. If this does not remove the stain, use a liquid tarnish remover. Below you can find a guide on how to clean tarnished jewelry like a pro.
How to clean your Sterling Silver Jewelry like a pro:
You don’t have to spend a lot of time and money on a professional silver cleaner to get a professional result. In this guide, we will explain how to easily remove stains from your Sterling Silver jewelry. So if you, like so many others, are guilty of hiding away your old-looking discolored silver jewelry instead of wearing it, keep on reading!
Find a liquid tarnish remover.
For the most professional result, we recommend buying a liquid tarnish remover rather than a scrub or polish, as a liquid tarnish remover can more easily remove stains from your jewelry. Unlike silver cutlery, jewelry usually has very uneven surfaces with small details, corners, and holes that may be impossible to clean using a scrub or a polish. The liquid tarnish remover will easily cover every area of your jewelry and do the work for you.
We use a liquid tarnish remover called “Empire’s Instant Tarnish Remover”. As far as we know, it is only sold in the U.S. as of now. You can buy it online here.
For our European customers, we recommend looking for liquid tarnish removers or silver dip cleaners from a jewelry store near you or from an online retailer.
For our Norwegian customers we can recommend the silver dip from Thune Jewelry & Watches. You can find it here.
Prepare your jewelry to be cleaned with a liquid tarnish remover.
If possible, remove any loose non-silver parts from the jewelry. For instance, when cleaning our Northern Lights necklaces, remove the glass pendant from the chain and frame before continuing.
Rinse your silver jewelry in luke warm water with dish soap in order to remove any dirt that may prevent the tarnish remover to clean the entire jewelry. Dry the jewelry before continuing the process.
Dip your jewelry in your liquid tarnish remover.
Follow the instructions to your liquid tarnish remover carefully.
If your tarnish remover comes with a small basket, place your jewelry in the basket and dip the entire basket in the liquid so it fully covers the jewelry.
If no basket is provided, you can wear rubber gloves and use your hands to dip the jewelry in the liquid tarnish remover.
Be careful not to leave the jewelry in the liquid tarnish remover too long, as the chemicals may start to hurt the silver. We usually let the jewelry stay in the liquid for between 10 - 30 seconds maximum. It’s better to do several shorter dips than one long dip!
Rinse the jewelry well in clean, running water.
If the jewelry is still tarnished, repeat the process from Step 3.
If not, continue on to Step 6.
Dry the jewelry completely.
For the perfect result, use a dry soft cloth and gently polish your jewelry. Viola! Your old-looking discolored jewelry is transformed back into its original pristine condition, just like a pro!