Common misconceptions about sterling silver

Common misconceptions about sterling silver

Hey there! I wanted to answer some common FAQ about silver people ask me! So let's dive right into it!

Misconception #1: Real silver doesn’t tarnish.

False! Traditional sterling silver, also known as .925 silver, which is what I use, is made of 92.5% pure silver and 7.5% copper. Silver becomes black because of hydrogen sulfide (sulfur), a substance that occurs in the air. When silver comes into contact with it, a chemical reaction takes place and a black layer is formed. Silver oxidises faster in places with a lot of light and high humidity, such as near the ocean. Also contact with products like cosmetics, hair spray, perfume, deodorant, body lotion, bleach, high amounts of chlorine, etc., can speed up the oxidising process.

Besides that, the natural oils that your skin produces can also react to your silver jewellery. The extent to which the silver reacts with these substances from your skin is highly dependent on the type of food you eat, alcohol consumption and whether you are taking medication. These things influence the acidity of your skin, which can cause a reaction. Also sweat (which ammonia occurs in) raises the acidity of the skin and could tarnish the silver. So if you’re someone who sweats alot, this will happen to you. In cases like this, I recommend stainless steel.

That silver jewellery that turns black would be made of a less silver content or even be no silver, is incorrect and a myth. The oxidation of silver jewellery is a sign that it is really sterling silver.


Misconception #2: Real silver doesn’t leave staining on your skin

 Not always true.

 Many people, like myself, can wear sterling silver 24/7 without issue. Some people are extra sensitive to the copper used in the alloying to make sterling silver. In the case of silver, visible effects of these reactions are such as itchy skin or black discoloration. Unfortunately, the chemical composition of some individuals is acidic to the point of causing a reaction with highly reactive elements like copper.

 Some people are actually allergic to it. Those people reactions can be break outs in terms of a rash, itch, or skin discoloration which could be either green or black in appearance. I have a friend who can’t wear anything less than 14k yellow gold because she’s allergic to anything else.

 Here are a few tips that maybe could help you get a handle this kind of situation.

  • Make a habit of wiping down your jewellery when you remove it at the end of a long day. using a jeweller’s polishing cloth, a soft cotton or fleece cloth, gently rubbing over your silver chain regularly will help keep the shiny sheen on.
  • Store your silver jewellery appropriately in an air-tight padded container or box in a dark room. Making every effort to keep your chain away from dust and atmospheric temperatures (don’t leave it on the bathroom counter!) will keep it looking new for longer.
  • Be sure to store jewellery separately even if they are all of a similar colour shade. Investing in zip lock bags in which to store them will see you enjoy them for a longer time than most.
  • Soak your silver jewellery for 15-30 seconds in liquid silver dip cleaner, easily found at any pharmacy. This should help reduce some staining, but don’t do it for too long or the polish will strip off.
  • Jewellers Skin Guard is a protective clear liquid that can be applied over the silver jewellery to create a protective barrier between your skin and the reactive metals. The cheaper, more do-it-yourself alternative to this is to apply clear nail polish on your jewellery to serve the same purpose.
  • Keep your skin dry when you wear jewellery. If you have your silver jewellery close to a humid place on your body, try dabbing on some powder to keep the moisture down.


Misconception #3: real jewellery stays shiny and perfect forever

Not true at all! Like anything you wear on a regular basis, the state of your jewellery depends on how you wear it. If you're like me, and never take i off, you'll need to clean and polish it now and then!

I hope that help to answer a few questions you have! If you have more, feel free to comment below!

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