Sterling silver (.925)
If we associate gold with the sun, silver is the moon. A noble metal, like gold, it has played an important role in history. More abundant than gold ore, silver is a highly accessible precious metal. On the other hand, like pure gold, it too is a little too soft to be used as it is. For centuries it has been combined with other metals to make a perfect alloy and the combination chosen is that with a small 7.5% copper.
This gives .925 silver: composed of 925/100 pure silver and 75/1000 copper.
Sterling, Sterling Silver, STER., .925 or 925 Silver are all equivalent.Will the silver tarnish?
Sterling silver, or .925, can tarnish over time. This is perfectly normal, silver reacts this way when exposed to air. Oxidation forms on the surface over time, so as long as they are worn, silver jewelry does not tarnish on the surface.
At MCDécarie, we love oxidation. Most of our jewels are oxidized in advance, it adds a contrast and an artisanal style to the jewel. If the jewels are already oxidized, they are then very easy to maintain, because the places inaccessible to cleaning are already blackened.
Don't like the oxidized style? Choose your jewelry with rhodium plating! Your jewel will have a more chic style, tone on tone and will not oxidize for a few years. If necessary, the rhodium can be redone.
When not worn, store your jewelry away from light and air. For example, in a small airtight bag placed in a pouch or box. If they are not worn and left in the air, in a few weeks the jewelry can oxidize on the surface. Intensity will vary depending on conditions; for example a jewel placed on the edge of the window in the bathroom could tarnish very quickly.
When worn, avoid contact with strong cleaning products, such as bleach, and chlorine; pool, spa, etc. A shower of mildly sulphurous water or a trip south can cause your jewelry to tarnish.
I offer two cleaning options to remove the oxidation.Baking soda
Sodum bicarbonate, or baking soda, it is certain that you have some somewhere in the house. Otherwise it is to add to your grocery list; it is a versatile and inexpensive product.
Mix 3 parts baking soda with 1 part water. No need to measure exactly, the idea is to have a kind of dough. Then use a cloth, washcloth or just your fingers to rub the surface of the jewelry. It is necessary to rub a little hard, then rinse with hot water and dry with a clean cloth.You can use a toothbrush to get into the small gaps. For a chain, hold it by one of the ends and pinch the cloth full of baking soda with the other hand, then gently slide down several times.
Polishing cloths contain a very fine abrasive powder that polishes your jewellery. They should be used dry and should never be washed. When they are completely black, their useful life is over. There are different kinds. About 5 years ago, I discovered the small polishing squares that work real miracles!
Thus, the jewel can be cleaned with sodium bicarbonate and then polished with the small polishing cloth. Both options can be used alone, or combined for better results.
When you buy an MCDécarie polished jewel, you receive a square of polishing cloth. To use them, rub the small square quite hard on the oxidized surface. For a chain, hold the end of the chain and then gently rub the double-folded cloth downward several times.
For jewelry with a satin or dark brushed finish, I usually give a small green square. It's just a piece of scouring pad, you can use them to remove unwanted oxidation on your jewelry. If necessary, rinse the jewel with hot water afterwards. It is possible to combine with a cleaning with sodium bicarbonate.
It really is a personal choice. I would recommend keeping a polishing cloth where you store your jewelry. Once in a while, a little rubbing to the laundry before wearing it takes a few seconds and restores an instant shine. For cleaning with baking soda, say a few times a year should suffice. It really depends on how badly your jewelry oxidizes and your level of tolerance to further oxidation. There is no risk in doing it too often or not often enough.Can I use a special silver product?
There are several products to soak your jewelry and instantly remove oxidation. If you want to keep the oxidation in the hollows, I really don't recommend it. Moreover, in the long term or soaked too long they damage the silver, because they are slightly corrosive. On the other hand, if you have white jewelry that is not oxidized and difficult to clean that has tarnished, for example a chain, you could use it. I always advise trying sodium bicarbonate first.And the toothpaste? The lemon ? Ketchup? etc.
There are hundreds of grandma's tips for cleaning silver, as well as specialty products. I have not tested them all, I imagine that some may have good results.
I still highly recommend baking soda instead as it is economical, environmentally friendly, effective, non-abrasive, non-corrosive, non-toxic, and safe for stones or pearls.
What's more, with the rest of the box, you can wash the kitchen, scour stains, freshen up the smell of your fridge, fight allergens, cook... And so on!