All About Sterling Silver

Pure silver is often too soft and malleable to be suitable for making jewelry, so copper or other metals are combined with it to add strength and durability to the silver. 925 Sterling Silver is the quality standard for jewelry in the United States and throughout world markets. Sterling Silver is a silver alloy made from 92.5% pure silver and 7.5% copper. Most pieces of sterling silver jewelry are stamped with "925" to indicate the purity of the silver.

Here at Sunlight Silver Jewelry, you will find a wide variety of sterling silver jewelry from hoops, to stacking rings, to gemstone earrings accented with sterling silver, to bracelets, and beautiful necklaces made from and embellished with sterling silver.

Sterling silver does not rust, but all sterling silver can tarnish. Tarnish is a natural process that happens when silver reacts with products that contain sulfur. This can be from compounds in the air or on the skin. When silver is exposed to sulfur, it discolors and then darkens as it reacts with the gas to form a surface layer of brown or black tarnish. Sulfur is found in the air, in beauty products (it's great for the skin) and even in some foods!

While it is difficult to completely eliminate tarnish, there are things you can do to prevent tarnish on your sterling silver jewelry to help it last for many years to come.

  • Store it in a sealed location such as the ziplock bag we ship our jewelry in, or in a jewelry box.
  • Avoid contact with beauty products such as face wash, moisturizers, perfumes, hairsprays, etc. as they can accelerate the tarnish process. If you wear your silver hoop earrings in the shower, be sure to rinsed rotate them under running water after coming in contact with any soaps. 
  • Wear your jewelry frequently. Regular wear can help because the natural oils from your skin serve as a barrier against tarnish.
  • Clean your sterling silver jewelry regularly. (See below for cleaning instructions.) Regular cleaning can remove built up dirt and oils that may contribute to tarnish.
Sterling silver pieces you use or wear daily, shouldn't require much cleaning. If it does need more polishing, a quick rub with a silver polishing cloth should do the trick. We include a soft, lint-free polishing cloth with all orders over $20. 
Silver polishing cloth Sunlight Silver Jewelry
If your silver has lots of tarnish and needs more of an intense cleaning, here are a few methods to try. These can be done on sterling silver jewelry that DOES NOT contain gemstones:
  • Baking soda and water: Create a paste by mixing baking soda and water until you have a thick consistency. Apply the paste to your jewelry with a soft cloth and rub gently. Rinse with water and dry with a clean cloth.
  • White vinegar and baking soda: Mix a ½ cup of white vinegar and 2 tablespoons of baking soda in a bowl. Drop your silver jewelry into the solution, let it sit for 2-3 hours, then rinse and dry with a soft cloth.
To clean your sterling silver jewelry that DOES include gemstones:
  • Immerse the pieces in a little warm water with a drop of dish soap. Gently rub the silver with a soft sponge or soft bristled toothbrush. Rinse and dry with a soft, lint free cloth.
NOTE: Avoid using paper towels or tissues to dry your jewelry as they can scratch the surface. Use a soft, lint-free cloth instead. 

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