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All About Silver

Phoenix Jewels is your source for silver jewelry information. From the origins of the silvery metal to stunning silver necklace, earring and bracelet styles, expand your mind and your jewelry box with our silver jewelry education section.

Silver was once considered more precious than gold but today this metal is considered the most affordable of all precious metals. Sterling silver jewelry is not only stunning - it\'s also one of the most budget-friendly categories in the fine jewelry market.

After a period of time, sterling silver jewelry often develops a unique patina, a glow that features darkened areas. This often lends an air of 'personalization' to each piece, as no patina is identical. But, a quick clean with silver polish will remove this patina and the piece will shine as brightly as the day you bought it.

Similar to gold, silver in its purest form is soft and delicate. The silver found in fine jewelry though is combined with another metal alloy, such as copper, to increase its strength. Sterling silver indicates that the metal is at least 92.5% pure silver

Sterling Silver - A Timeless and Timely Treasure

Sterling silver jewelry is popular, affordable and stylish. But what is sterling silver, exactly? Phoenix Jewels gives you all the shining facts.

We've all heard of Sterling Silver, but what exactly is it? Just a shinier version of silver? How is it different from just pure silver? And why is it used to make jewelry, in particular?

Silver is a soft metal in its pure form, too soft to hold up against the rigors of jewelry making - and wearing - so it's mixed with other metals to make it more durable. This silver mixture, called an alloy, is known as Sterling Silver.

The height of the Sterling Silver craze came during the 50-year period from 1870 to 1920. Flatware - or silverware - lines during this period sometimes included up to 100 different types of pieces. This was especially true during the Victorian time period, when etiquette dictated that nothing should be touched with one's fingers.

The US Federal Trade Commission stipulates that jewelry sold in the US cannot be marked or described as Sterling Silver unless it contains at least 92.5 percent pure silver - so look for the following regulated marks on your jewelry to make sure:

  • sterling
  • sterling silver
  • ster
  • .925

But, most of all, just have fun wearing your Sterling Silver jewels

Taking Care of Your Silver Jewelry

Phoenix Jewels has all the information you need to know how to care for your silver jewelry. From wearing with care to cleaning and protecting the precious metal, here is everything you need to know to keep your silver shining.

Silver jewelry is an affordable and fashionable way to add sparkle to your jewelry box, so it's important to make that silver shine last a lifetime. Most silver jewelry is actually pure silver alloyed with copper - or Sterling Silver - which is a much stronger metal but can tarnish if not cared for properly.

Try to to keep your sterling silver jewelry in a cool, dry place in tarnish prevention cloths or bags. The treated cloth slows down the tarnishing process and keeps the jewelry from rubbing against harder pieces that can scratch it.

Avoid exposing your silver jewelry to household chemicals when cleaning with bleach or ammonia, or when swimming in chlorinated water to avoid damage. So be sure take off those jewels before you take the plunge!

Sterling silver jewelry that is worn continually often develops a unique patina - or a kind of glow combined with darkened areas. If you like the look, more power to you, but if you prefer your silver jewels bright and shiny, you should clean them with a phosphate-free detergent, such as 3M Tarni-Shield Silver Polish.

Some people use toothpaste to clean their sterling silver pieces (think of grandma and her prized silverware), but most silver experts today caution against it because they feel it's too abrasive and leaves dulling scratches.

Finally, be on the lookout for normal wear-and-tear to your silver jewelry pieces. Often jewelry 'hardware' like claps, prongs, chain links and earring posts can become damaged over time.

And if you need a silver jewelry 'doctor', your local jeweler is the best place to go for immediate repair work that will bring your silver beauties back to their original top form.

The key is to enjoy your jewelry. Caring for it will only make wearing it a more glittering experience.

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