Everything You Need to Know About Sterling Silver Jewellery

Our core collection of Rachel Whitehead Jewellery is made from sterling silver. Silver is a hard wearing affordable precious metal making it the perfect choice for everyday jewellery. I thought I’d give you a little more information about sterling silver and how to care for your silver jewellery.

What is the difference between sterling silver, fine silver and silver plated jewellery?

Silver plating is the process of adhering a layer of silver over the top of a base metal such as brass or copper giving it the look of solid silver with a lower cost. Over time the silver will wear away revealing the base metal below it, often these metals can react with your skin leaving necklines and ears a little green!
Fine silver is 99.9% pure silver and is too soft to be used for everyday jewellery. You’ll often find it used in art jewellery or decorative pieces as it has a really lovely bright white colour. Because of it’s softness it can bend and scratch easily so we don’t recommend it for jewellery you want to wear often.
Sterling silver is made of 925 parts per 1000 of pure silver with added alloys to aid it’s strength and durability. This is the most commonly used form of silver in jewellery as it’s hard wearing and stands up well to everyday wear and tear.

Is sterling silver a good metal choice for jewellery?

Sterling silver is a great choice for jewellery if you are looking for quality whilst still conscious of price. As silver is more abundant in the earth than other precious metals such as gold and platinum it can be sold at a much lower price point. Sterling silver is a really beautiful metal in its natural form and it can also be plated with gold to form gold vermeil jewellery.

I’m allergic to nickel, can I wear sterling silver?

Our jewellery is cast in the UK and follows the laws around the use of nickel. The UK abides by the EU nickel directive which prohibits the inclusion of nickel in any jewellery or products designed to come into direct and prolonged contact with the skin so you can wear our jewellery with confidence.

How should I store my sterling silver jewellery?

We always recommend storing your jewellery in the box it arrives in this will avoid other pieces of jewellery scratching or tangling with it and will reduce the amount of air your silver jewellery comes into contact with.

How can I minimise tarnish?

Tarnishing is a natural process which happens over time when sterling silver comes into contact with the air. This happens over weeks or months and results in a dull film over the surface of the jewellery. There’s nothing to worry about, a clean with a soft ant-tarnish jewellery cleaning cloth or a dip in some silver cleaning solution will bring your jewellery back to its shiny silver former glory.

It’s always good to try to stave off tarnish by storing your jewellery in a jewellery box or zip-lock bag away from sunlight and dampness. Silica gel sachets suck up moisture so keeping one or two in your jewellery box will keep the air inside nicely balanced.

Remember to remove your jewellery when sleeping, showering or swimming as chlorine and water can all lead to discolouration of the metal. After wearing your jewellery give it a gentle wipe with a soft jewellery cloth to remove any grease and natural oils deposited by your skin.

How should I clean my sterling silver jewellery?

Wearing your silver jewellery often will keep tarnish away, a worn piece of silver jewellery will tarnish far slower than one left alone for weeks.

If your jewellery is looking a little dull you can use a very soft toothbrush, a little dish soap and some warm water. Gently clean the jewellery with the brush and rinse well under the tap. Be particularly careful of any plated parts of the jewellery as rubbing too hard can remove the finish.

How long will my sterling silver jewellery last?

With good care and regular cleaning there’s no reason why your silver jewellery shouldn’t last a lifetime.