Sterling Silver - The Metal & Care Tips
The science behind why it tarnishes and how to safely clean your FGMN sterling silver pieces.
What is sterling silver anyways? Why does it tarnish?
Pure silver itself will not tarnish but it is too soft of a metal to use to make jewelry. Instead, metalworkers create an alloy, combining pure silver and a small amount of copper, to produce a metal that is stronger and more durable than silver on its own. This alloy, made with 92.5% pure silver and 7.5% other metals (typically copper), is called sterling silver. Science is cool, right?
While the addition of copper to the silver is what makes it more durable, copper is also what makes sterling silver more susceptible to tarnishing over time as it reacts to environmental factors in the air. This reaction dulls or discolors the metal, but fortunately, the corrosion doesn't harm the underlying sterling and can be cleaned by polishing. Humidity, salty air, chlorine, perspiration, and household bleach and chemicals can tarnish your sterling silver.
Ok so now that we got the science out of the way, how should we clean our sterling silver pieces?
Cleaning sterling silver jewelry is actually quite easy!
You can use either a store-bought silver cleaning solution (we use Silvo for tough jobs) or use a homemade solution of warm water, baking soda, and a few drops of mild dish soap.
Start by soaking the silver in the solution for a few minutes, then rinse it off with warm water and a soft cloth. If there are any hard-to-remove tarnish spots, use a soft brush to gently scrub them away. Once you're finished, dry it off with a soft cloth and store it in an airtight container to prevent further tarnishing.
Check out our collection of sterling silver memorial jewelry.