Silver is a precious metal and much like gold it is too fine to be made in a 100% form. To make it durable for jewelry, pure silver (999 fineness) is often alloyed with small quantities of copper (7.5%), thus comes sterling silver (92.5% or .925). Copper is added to strengthen the silver and make it durable to be use as a decorative or in fashionable jewelry.
1. To maintain the original condition of your silver jewelry, polish your pieces regularly using a non-abrasive cleaning cloth.
2. Soap and water will also help keep your silver looking good. Remember, do not dry silver off with paper towels or tissues, always use a soft cloth.
3. When you are not wearing your silver jewelry, store them in a cool, dry place. Zip-lock bag and individual cloth pouches are ideal for this and will help prevent both tarnishing and scratching by other pieces.
4. Never immerse your silver jewelry in chlorine, salt water, mineral springs, and suntan lotion. Remember, some household cleaners contain chlorine bleach; these will cause discoloration and also loosen the gemstones.
5. Avoid abrasive cleaners, detergents and commercial jewelry cleaners "dips" especially if the pieces have an oxidized finish. Using harsh polishing cleaners will alter the antique look of your jewelry.
6. Never use an ultrasonic cleaner, ammonia or any chemical solution to clean opaque gemstones, such as turquoise, malachite, onyx, or lapis. They are a porous stone and may absorb chemicals, which build up inside the stone and cause discoloration. Simply wipe them gently with a moist cloth until clean.
7. If your jewelry contains gemstones, do not immerse in water, as this can loosen some settings. Never use dips or abrasives cleaners on gemstones