What Is Sterling Silver?
Silver is a precious metal and, much like gold, is too fine to be utilized in a 100% pure form. To make it durable enough for use in jewelry, pure silver, which has a .999 fineness (99.9%), is often alloyed with small quantities of copper (7.5%). The copper is added to strengthen the silver and the resulting product is .925 sterling silver (92.5%). This alloy is strong enough to be used in jewelry.
Because of the fragile nature of the jewelry’s silver-colored coated, it cannot be cleansed using an ultra-sonic cleaner, silver polish or a chemical jewelry cleaner. Avoid rubbing or scrapping as this can remove the silver coat. Use a soft cloth, warm water and gentle soap if necessary.
What is Silvertone Jewelry?
Silvertone jewelry, often confused with sterling silver or silver plate, is a costume jewelry meant to give the illusion of silver without the cost. Extremely popular, silvertone can be seen on products from off brand earrings to designer and celebrity jewelry lines. Because it is not actually silver, it requires different methods of cleaning and care.
Silvertone jewelry has the look of silver but contains no actual silver metal. Compared to sterling silver silvertone jewelry is less expensive and less long -lasting. It is made by dipping a piece of jewelry in a silver-looking substance that coats and hardens as a top layer. silver plate, another silver look used in jewelry, can contain as little as 5% actual silver in a coating used over another metal.
“Sterling Silver. To improve silver’s functionality , pure silver is mixed with other metals (usually copper). Sterling Silver contains 92.5% silver and 7.5% copper or other alloy. Metals containing less than 92.5% silver are not sterling.”
Because of the amount of copper and other metals used in the base of silvertone jewelry, it has a tendency to turn the wearer’s skin green. This can be avoided by applying clear nail polish or a skin protectant to whatever part of the piece touches the skin.