Sterling, at over 92% silver, is quite pure.  Perhaps this metal's most remarkable attribute is the way it ages.  Silver patinas so beautifully that designers often exaggerate the quality, incorporating recesses protected from the natural polishing of everyday wear and even pre-oxidizing the surface.


Tarnishing of Sterling Silver Jewelry

Sterling silver is a copper-silver alloy and is somewhat softer than most gold alloys.  Therfore, it is more likely to be abraded to black dust by movement between the jewelry and the skin or clothing.

Sterling silver jewelry has a pronounced tendency to tarnish. The tarnish may turn the jewelry black and may be rubbed off on the skin or clothing. A few people, especially with moist skin, may find that the sterling silver stains their skin green due to the copper component of the silver alloy.  When this occurs they should polish their jewelry frequently and use an absorbent, non-abrasive powder on moist skin areas that exposed to the jewelry.

Other Problems with Sterling Silver and Solutions

Soaps, detergent, wax, polish and cosmetic creams may build up under a ring causing a type of dermatitis. To prevent this, they should remove all rings before using soap or detergent, and clean the rings frequently.

Silver jewelry should be removed before working with photographic chemicals.