Silver is a very versatile metal. Ancient civilizations used it to make coins. Because silver is ductile and malleable, it is used for many purposes, including manufacture of utensils, knives, plates and dishes. As well as being easy to work with, silver is a strong and durable metal.
Because pure silver is very soft, it has to be combined with another metal so that it can be crafted into jewelry and other objects. Silver that is mixed with 7.5 percent another metal, such as zinc or copper, is called sterling silver.
Throughout the ages, silver has been favored for the fashioning of jewelry. It has worked well for rings, earrings, necklaces, wrist and ankle bracelets.
The most important element of silver in the manufacture of jewelry is its sheer beauty. It is difficult to describe this beauty. Silver has a luster that is hard to imagine in any other metal. This does not diminish with time. On the contrary, the use of sterling silver only enhances this luster.
Jewelry designers are happy to use silver to craft into beautiful articles that are limited only by the imagination. Silver can be given several finishes, such as smooth, shiny, textured, rough matte, black oxidized and antique.
Once you own some beautiful sterling jewelry, wear it often. This is one of the easiest ways to keep it clean. The contact of skin oils with silver keeps it shiny longer. It also develops a lovely patina over time. This only adds to the original beauty of the piece.
You also have the option of using specially formulated silver polish to keep the piece or pieces shiny. Be sure to follow the directions carefully for best results.
Polishing cloths that are specially treated to shine silver jewelry without scratching are useful. These cloths contain special chemicals that resist the tarnishing process.
Silver jewelry benefits from periodic cleaning. The best way to do this is to use a mild dishwashing soap and follow a definite procedure. Wash gently in warm water, using a dish towel to line a glass dish before adding the jewelry. This will protect each piece from scratching another. Be sure to dry thoroughly before storing. Be especially careful if you have pieces that are carved ornately and be sure that all facets are dry.
Store jewelry in a cool, dry place. A jewelry bag or a separate compartment in a jewelry box are a good idea so that scratching can be avoided. If you are planning on long term storage, a zip lock or other air tight bag will help to prevent tarnish.
There are a few things that you should avoid in the care of silver jewelry. Do not expose to harsh chemicals. It is better to use any makeup, perfume or hair sprays before putting on jewelry.
Take care of your sterling silver jewelry and enjoy wearing it often.