The second most common metal used in jewelry making is silver. The various types of silver like oxidized silver and sterling silver have dedicated markets of their own, world wide. The versatility of this metal and its ability to last like a heirloom, makes the metal an all time favorite.
This metal is known to offer a rich look to any ensemble and silver rings, chains, trinkets, bracelets, bangles and even the exquisite earrings can be worn daily, to work, at home an at parties, both formal and informal. Of the different variants of this metal, sterling silver is definitely the most sought after.
Sterling silver jewelry is the next best investment for the common man after gold. The affordability and designs make the jewelry good investment. In fact, even as the metal tarnishes and oxidizes, it takes on a new look that is very ancient and original in appearance.
The black and dull metallic appearance looks great on ethnic attire and especially the colors black, white and red. Now, with hip hop bling being the in thing for teenagers, sterling silver jewelry has found a new market niche. The metal amply satisfies the urge to sport great jewelry such as eye brow rings and belly button rings that are very popular among the young enthusiasts.
Sterling silver is basically a metal with ninety two percent of silver. The high quality and the silver rich metal is thus naturally exposed to tarnishing and hence this type of jewelry demands a lot of maintenance. Routine cleaning ensures that the jewelry is kept looking new and shining.
The cleaning process as applicable to this form of jewelry is directed towards maintaining the luster and shine associated with the metal. When buying sterling silver jewelry, which is definitely not very cheap, you should look for the stamp on the piece that specifies the purity or the word ‘sterling’ somewhere on the underside of the jewelry.
The tarnishing that this jewelry is susceptible to arises out of the fact that the essential oils from the body react with the metal. However, in the case of silver, unfortunately, all variants tarnish and so does sterling silver. This type of jewelry oxidizes i.e. it reacts with the oxygen in the air and loses the original shine.
There is a dedicated market of clientele and jewelry-designers world wide that caters to the demand for coated or protected sterling silver jewelry with rhodium that helps to prevent tarnishing. There are a number of specially created dips and polishes marketed that make the maintenance of sterling silver jewelry easier. They restore the original color to the jewelry in little or no time at all, fractions of seconds in fact!
You can look after your exquisite collection of sterling silver jewelry with a home made solution of any mild liquid soap and water and a drop of ammonia. Then, dip the pieces in the solution and wipe them dry with a clean and soft cloth. The general myth that vinegar helps in cleaning sterling silver is a farce. It does not and should be avoided.