Jewelry involves decorative items that denote a status symbol within various communities across the globe. Depending on which element the community in question values the most, your status depends on the kind of jewelry that you wear. Silver, diamond, gold and other precious gemstones often receive the most attention and in this case, silver is the ultimate prize. Unlike gold and diamond jewelry, silver is not only expensive but also indicates class and authenticity owing to the high maintenance of these pieces of jewelry. They often come as earrings, nose rings, necklaces and bracelets as well as rings and cufflinks. People who wear silver jewelry mostly inherit it from their parents or grandparents while those who go out to look for and buy these items have an eye for uniqueness. Regardless of how you come across your precious pieces of silver jewelry, knowing how to take care of them is a pivotal factor and it will require you to have a better understanding of silver.
Types of silver jewellery
Depending on where you buy your silver jewelry, there are various types in terms of the composition. In its pure form, silver is rather difficult to manipulate in the making of exquisite jewelry pieces. This fact encouraged historical silversmiths to mix the element with other complimentary elements including copper, germanium and rhodium as well as gold to make it more adaptable. There are thus three major types of silver jewelry namely;
Sterling silver jewellery is the most common type of silver jewelry and they comprise of up to 92% pure silver. The rest of the jewelry is copper in this case. The thing about the sterling silver is that it has a high percentage of silver and can thus pass as pure silver. In addition, it is harder and therefore more enduring than the pure silver. This kind of silver jewellery often has a fine silver coating for a glossy finish achieved through a in a process known as ‘flashing’.
The argentium sterling on the other hand comprises of Britannia silver and an addition of germanium. The Britannia silver boasts of up to 95.8% purity and geranium makes it even more resilient especially in the face of fire. This type of silver is rather rare and the jewelry made of this material is often hard to come by. Those that exist however are far more expensive than the average silver jewelry.
With the present day obsession with gold and diamond, the silver gilt is the most common type of silver jewelry. Such jewelry contains some amount of silver and/or copper for strength and durability. Pure silver is also another type, but it is not as common today.
Methods of treatment
Silver, like most other metallic elements, corrodes if exposed to humidity and sulfur gases among other things. This means that even in the most ideal of situations, silver jewelry will need treatment and restoration after some time in storage. Even with the best storage procedure, humidity and environmental factors will most likely cause the metal to tarnish and thus lose its sheen and appeal.
Currently, there are many possible ways of treating and restoring silver jewelery. They include;
-Polishing with a cotton ball dipped in a mixture of calcium carbonate, ethyl alcohol and de-ionized water. The idea here is to ensure that the silver jewelry is not exposed to water, as this may increase its chances of tarnishing. This method is popular for those pieces of jewelry that are very sensitive to water.
-You could also make a wadding cleaning instrument by infusing a piece of cloth into an organic solvent and using it to polish the jewelry. After the polishing, you will have to use a soft brush or linen cloth to smoothen it out to perfection.
-Toothpaste also works as a treatment for silver jewellery. The challenge however is that after rinsing the piece of jewelry the remaining water may speed up tarnishing the jewelry in future. You could also boil in an aluminum pot with some baking soda and water, or seek professional treatment using lasers or plasma.
No matter the choice you make on how to treat your silver jewellery, it is important to remember the value of the pieces because most of them have come down a bit over the years, while others still cost a fortune.