Silver contains a compound called silver sulfide. This compound darkens the finish of the jewelry often giving the piece an antique or rustic appearance. The polished appearance of silver can be restored by using an abrasive (but gentle) jewelry polish specifically created for restoring silver and removing oxidation.
Oxidation can occur if the jewelry piece isn’t cleaned and polished regularly. The chemical process also takes place when the metal is repeatedly exposed to moisture or air containing even minuscule traces of sulfur.
Clean your jewelry regularly using a jewelry cleaner or warm soapy water and polish your jewelry as soon as you notice a film forming over the silver.
Store your jewelry in a closed compartment so that exposure to air is limited when the jewelry is not being worn.
Avoid repeated exposure to moisture and humidity. Your silver jewelry should never be worn in ocean water or chemically treated pool water.
Note: Sweat can cause silver to oxidize. Take care when wearing your jewelry outdoors in high-heat temperatures.
Note: If you notice your silver jewelry start to tarnish, clean it thoroughly using a gentle abrasive. This will remove the film and prevent build-up.
Is your copper ring turning your finger green? Here’s why!
Contrary to popular belief, the greenish-blue appearance you might experience while wearing copper is a natural reaction. It’s an oxidation process that occurs when the copper comes in contact with different oils, like those found in cosmetics and lotions, salt, which your body produces naturally, and high levels of acidity; the result of an unhealthy diet. In some cases, silver can have the same effect.
Preventing discoloration caused by copper jewelry
Wipe your copper jewelry with a soft cloth before and after wear. This is the cheapest and easiest way to prevent the oxidation process.
Clean your copper jewelry regularly to effectively remove salt and oils. Doing this will prevent a build-up, lessening the rate at which the copper oxidizes naturally.
Apply a clear sealer to your jewelry. By applying a clear sealer, you’re preventing the copper from resting against your skin, decreasing or eliminating the chances of oxidation.
Note: If your skin does turn green, the stain can be easily removed by washing the area with warm soapy water. However, in most cases, the discoloration will be absorbed into the skin naturally overnight.
What is a karat?
A karat is the measure of purity of a piece of gold. Pure gold is 24 karats. Because pure gold is too soft to be used in jewelry create for everyday wear, gold is often mixed with another metal to ensure longevity.
Understanding Gold Karats
- 24K gold is pure gold. This means that all 24 parts of the gold piece are pure.
- 22K gold is not pure. As the number implies, 22 parts (or 92%) of the gold piece are pure, while the other 2 parts are comprised of another hard metal.
- 18K is 75% pure gold with the remaining 25% comprised of another hard metal.
- 14K is 58% pure gold with the remaining 42% comprised of another hard metal.
Rose Gold, Yellow Gold, and White Gold
Rose Gold consists of pure gold and copper. The color of the copper, combined with the yellow color of pure gold, gives the gold a rose tint that elegant and sophisticated. Rose Gold is also known as Red Gold and Pink Gold. The karat weight varies but the composition of metals remains the same.
Yellow Gold closely resembles pure gold in color. Silver, copper, and zinc are often added because pure gold is malleable. The metals are added to increase the hardness of the jewelry and extend its longevity.
White Gold can consist of a combination of nickel, palladium, and silver mixed with pure gold. However, rhodium is most often used as it provides exceptional durability and a stunning silver finish. White gold can dull over time as the rhodium wears but this will not have an adverse effect on the quality of the piece.
Gold-filled jewelry is a less expensive option for those who love the appearance of pure gold. It provides a single layer of pure gold bonded to a base metal. The pure gold makes up no less than 5% of the total weight of the jewelry piece in addition to brass or copper. Gold-filled jewelry is a great, cost-effective option and provides more value than gold plated jewelry.
Vermeil is a combination of silver and gold. The base metal is always .925 sterling silver making it a great choice for those with sensitivities to various metals. The silver base metal is plated using a thick coating of gold. Like many other metals, the finish can tarnish over time. However, this can be avoided by using a soft cloth to clean the piece regularly.