Sterling Silver Q & A

What is the difference between Sterling Silver Plating and S925 Sterling Silver?

     - Silver plating is a very thin layer of silver deposited on to a base metal such as copper, brass, or nickel that over time will tarnish and wear. Sterling silver jewelry is made of sterling silver, which is an alloy of 92.5 percent of pure silver and 7.5 % of other metal, usually copper that is much more resistant to tarnish, wear and scratching.

What is the difference between Sterling Silver and Silver?

     - In summary, there are two major differences between silver and sterling silver: 1. Sterling silver is mainly an alloy of silver, consisting of nearly 92.5% fine silver and 7.5% other metals, like copper, which make it less expensive but more durable. Fine silver is composed of 99.9% pure silver, and it is a bit more expensive.

What is Rhodium Plating?

   - Rhodium is a precious metal, a member of the platinum family. Rhodium electroplating is used on jewelry to provide a surface that will resist scratches and tarnish, and give a white, highly reflective appearance. Rhodium plating is most often found on white gold and Sterling Silver.

How do I care for my Sterling Silver?

1. Know the Digits 

Those sterling silver digits, we mean! 

Here's a good rule of thumb. If your goods have a rating of .950, they need consistent polishing. If they have a rating of .925, the material is sturdier and doesn't need as much cleaning. All of Roma's sterling silver jewelry is .925 and should require a little less work than the silver you may have purchased elsewhere. 

If you're totally unsure or there is no label in view, check with your jeweler. This is one of the reasons we strongly advocate checking digits. It guarantees legitimate silver (and sadly, there is a lot of fake jewelry out there). 

Remember, with proper care and knowledge of your jewelry, your piece can last a lifetime and beyond. It's best to be absolutely sure you're getting REAL and REPUTABLE products.

 

2. Dry Silver is Happy Silver

Interesting fact: pure water by itself doesn't damage sterling silver, but most of the water we're exposed to in our daily lives is not purified. Chemicals and contaminants in the water can result in tarnished and dull looking silver, so it's best to know what's what when it comes to water. 

 
  • Shower. It's not a great idea to shower with your jewelry on, but once in a while isn't going to do any lasting damage. Just make sure to dry it after.
  • Swimming Pool. Take your silver off. Chlorine is a pretty harsh chemical, so if you accidentally forget to remove your silver jewelry before hopping in, make sure to rinse and clean it afterward. 
  • Hot Tub. Same idea as the swimming pool, but there's even more chlorine in the hot tub and the heat can accelerate the chemical reaction. 
  • Hot Springs. The sulfur in natural hot springs will wreak havoc on your silver. Unless you're going for that "dark oxidized" look, avoid at all costs. 
  • Bonus Tip: Chemicals in lotions and perfumes can also cause your jewelry to tarnish. Apply them first, let them dry, and then put your jewelry on. This alone can make a HUGE difference in your silver's luster. 
3. Maintain Proper Storage

If you leave a fancy car out in the rain, what happens? It gets dirty! The similar principle applies to sterling silver care. You need appropriate storage for your stunning pieces. And, you need to be diligent about maintenance. 

Air exposure can wreck havoc by tarnishing your delicate silver. Don't just leave it lying on your nightstand or in an open jewelry chest. And, don't just leave it in your purse or drawer! 

It's best to store silver in individual, air-tight bags with anti-tarnish properties. These types of bags keep air exposure out, and keep the shininess and brilliance intact.

Unclasp and unhook the jewelry to avoid potential scratching. Do NOT bunch several pieces in the same bag to save time or space. This can create tangling, scratching, tarnish, and that is exactly what we are trying to avoid here! 

For additional preventative efforts, silica gel packets provide anti-tarnish protection. Throw one in each bag for extra care. 

Finally, if you are traveling with your jewelry (because we know you want to look glamorous when in paradise), be sure to use a special case for protection! The last issue you want to deal with on vacation is scratched-up jewelry, right?


4. Know When To Take Off Your Jewelry

Yes, we know how much you love your gorgeous ring or bracelet. And, we know it can be hard to take those babies on and off again. But, it's critical, and here's why.

Strong chemicals, sulfur, sweat and perspiration, chlorine, and harsh sunlight can tarnish and corrode the brilliant shine you love in your silver.

Don't take your chances. Preventative care is significantly easier than dealing with damaged jewelry! 

It is optimal to remove jewelry during the following times: 

  • Household chores, such as dishes, laundry, and when using cleaning supplies
  • When exercising, at the gym, or playing contact sports
  • When showering or bathing 
  • Swimming, hot tubs, or saunas
  • Very hot places (such as when lying out at the beach or pool)
  • When getting ready (i.e: putting on lotion, makeup, hair products)
  • Preparing, cooking, or eating foods that contain sulfur (this includes eggs and mayonnaise). 
  • Outside chores or tasks, such as gardening 

Preventative care is ALWAYS easier than aftercare!


5. Polish It Pretty 

Silver is delicate, and, despite our best efforts, it can still get dirty. Fortunately, sterling silver care can be as easy as a fast rubdown. 

To do this, use a simple microfiber cloth or special jewelry cloth (not paper towels or toilet paper) to clean your goods. 

Focus on maintaining long up-and-down strokes to clean the jewelry. Be sure to use different parts of the cloth to avoid spreading any tarnish. Do not use circular motions here, as it can actually make the tarnish or dirt worse. Be sure to avoid polishing any part of the jewelry that is intentionally oxidized. 

For more complex or tight, detailed areas, go in with a Q-tip. It'll get into every nook and cranny you need. And, that's it! Easy, right? 


Safe DIY Cleaners for Sterling Silver

Make Your Own DIY Cleaner 

Are you storing your jewelry correctly and polishing it, but still looking for a greater shine? Needing just a bit more brilliance? Check out some of our favorite, tried-and-true cleaning methods.

Note: these are natural cleaning methods, as the harsh chemicals in professional cleaning products can be incredibly taxing on your jewelry.

Water and Baking Soda Method

You will need 2 parts water to 1 part baking soda (use a bit more water if the jewelry has delicate features). Stir into a paste. Use an old toothbrush or cleaning wand to apply this DIY cleaner in gentle motions and movements. 

Dish Liquid and Water

No fancy cleaning methods needed for this option. Simply rinse the jewelry off in the same way you would clean your own hands. 

Salt Water Method

Line a cooking pan or large dinner plate with a sheet of aluminum foil. Place each piece of jewelry directly on the foil. 

Combine 1 cup of boiling water with 1 tablespoon of salt and 1 tablespoon of baking soda together. Pour the mixture into the pan or large dinner plate. Add 1/2 cup of vinegar to the mixture. 

Bubbles will surface! Let the mixture sit for about 10 minutes (use a spoon if needed for stirring). Rinse in cool water and dry off with a microfiber cloth.

Final Thoughts 

Proper caring and maintenance is necessary for any fine jewelry. 

If you follow these recommended tips, sterling silver care is incredibly easy! These methods will help prolong the longevity and beauty of your jewellery for years to come!

Be sure to check out our beautiful and timeless collections today!