Sterling silver turns black or tarnishes due to a chemical reaction caused by contact with sulfur or hydrogen. Some foods or everyday items containing sulfur can cause tarnishing, but even polluted air can turn sterling silver black.Know More
Pure silver does not tend to tarnish. Sterling silver, however, is more susceptible to tarnish because it is a combination of silver and other more reactive metals such as copper. The sterling silver alloy may tarnish more easily than pure silver, but has far more uses than pure silver as it is far more durable. While tarnish is unavoidable, steps can be taken to reduce the amount of tarnish and prolong the life of sterling silver.
Avoid contact with sulfur-heavy items and foods. Latex gloves, wool and elastic items contain higher levels of sulfur and tarnish sterling silver faster. In addition, eggs, salad dressings and onions also speed up the tarnishing process. Even avoiding these types of items does not entirely prevent sterling silver from tarnishing, however. Sulfur or hydrogen produced by fossil fuels and burning coal or wood eventually cause tarnishing in most industrialized areas. The best way to prevent sterling silver from turning black is to perform regular maintenance. Clean sterling silver with a silver polishing cloth and occasionally a silver polishing compound to keep the tarnish from accumulating.Learn more in Precious Metals & Gems
Rust is iron oxide. Sterling silver does not usually contain iron, so it cannot oxidize to form rust. However, sterling silver can oxidize to form silver oxide, which creates tarnish.Full Answer >
The quality mark for sterling silver is 925; 825 refers to a grade of continental silver. By law, all silver that is marked with the grade of its purity must also contain the name or registered trademark of the company that certifies this purity.Full Answer >
A silver alloy is considered sterling silver if the alloy contains at least 92.5 percent silver but less than 99.9 percent silver, which is considered fine silver. Sterling silver contains a minimal amount of other metals that increase durability while maintaining the beauty and value of silver, according to Zales.Full Answer >
To clean sterling silver, scrub it with toothpaste and a soft cloth, clean highly detailed areas with a soft toothbrush, rinse the silver with running water, dry it with a towel, and polish it with a cloth. This 20-minute procedure requires toothpaste, a soft toothbrush, water, a polishing cloth and a towel.Full Answer >