A FEW THINGS ABOUT STERLING SILVER
Knowing a few industry terms will help you understand the physical attributes of your jewelry and how to care for it. The purity of the metal, for instance, determines how malleable the silver is and how quickly it will tarnish .950 sterling silver will bend more easily and tarnish more quickly than .925 sterling silver because of its increased purity, so extra caution should be used to take care of .950 silver jewelry.
Plating with rhodium, also known as rhodium plating, is a process that coats a fine layer of rhodium over silver to increase their durability and shine. The main problem with silver jewelry they are getting tarnished and scratches. Rhodium plating provides protection and prevent tarnish and scratches. Currently 10x more the expensive than gold!
“Oxidized” is another term used to describe silver. For some works silversmiths intentionally allow parts of the jewelry to darken and oxidize, typically small details, to make them stand out more. This detailing can be lost, though, with excessive cleaning and polishing. So be sure to identify any purposefully oxidized jewelry you have and set them aside for separate cleaning.
A FEW THINGS ABOUT 14k GOLD
14 karat gold is made up of 58.3% gold and 41.7% alloy, or 14 out of 24 parts gold. 14K gold is the most popular gold for jewelry
Gold is a precious metal that will not oxidize or discolor. The 14k alloy gives their beautiful, subtle hue.
Taking the time to keep your jewelry clean after wearing can significantly reduce tarnish.
Perfumes: Be sure any perfume or lotions are completely absorbed into skin.
Hair Products: Apply all hair products before putting on jewelry.
Swimming: Remove all jewelry before swimming or getting into hot tubs.
No Sunlight: Store away from heat, direct sunlight, window sills and vents.
Not In Cars: Don't leave jewelry in cars.
Bedtime: Take off all jewelry before bed.
No Tissue: Never use tissue or paper towel to clean silver.
Simply polishing your jewelry with cotton towel works well when the tarnishing is not too severe. It’s also the best method for cleaning oxidized silver, as you can stay away from the intentionally tarnished areas.
You can use a special cloth to polish your items, but a lint-free flannel, microfiber, or other soft nonabrasive cloth will do as well. Do not use paper towels or tissues to polish your jewelry as they contain fibers that can scratch your jewelry..
When polishing, use long back-and-forth motion. Do not rub in circles, as this will magnify any tiny scratches. Also, change to a different section of your cloth frequently to avoid placing tarnish back on the jewelry. You can use a Q-tip to get into small, detailed areas.
Be careful with rhodium-plated items, as excessive polishing can remove the plating.