925 Sterling Silver Jewelry has been quietly undergoing an evolution.
Necessity is the mother of invention and it is the necessity to deal with sterling silver's Achilles heel that is sparking inventions and evolutions to slow down or eradicate tarnish.
If you are from the camp that insists silver tarnishing is very tolerable and it doesn't bother you one bit, good for you.
Personally, we find it very irritating and involve work we'll rather do without. We are not alone in this.People who say:
'You can't live with them. You can't live without them', are probably talking about 925 sterling silver jewelry.
Our love-hate relationship with 925 sterling silver jewellery leads to research and awareness of different attempts to solve the problem of silver tarnish.
A revolution has materialized that may end all previous evolutions or redirect them.
A little background knowledge is helpful to understand this technological breakthrough.
Silver is the most common of the precious metals. Just like Gold, Silver in its pure form is seldom used for jewellery because it is too soft. And as with Gold, the way to harden Silver is to add in another metal or even a few metals to form an alloy.
In early years, silversmiths experimented with different metals and through trial and error discovered copper to be the best metal to alloy with silver.
By forming an alloy that is 92.5% silver and 7.5% copper, the new breed of silver provides durability and strength while preserving a high precious metal content. It also enhances the bright sheen of natural silver.
This enhanced form of silver alloy was set as a standard by the British around 1300 A.D. and its association with the sterling pound led to the term 'Sterling Silver'.
Terminology wise, Sterling Silver is the same as 925 Silver or 925 Sterling Silver. They all refer to this established standard - 92.5% of the alloy is pure Silver.
Chemically, silver is not very reactive. Silver does not tarnish or form a silver oxide in air or water easily. However, it does react with sulfur compounds in the air and our sweat to form black silver sulfide.
Copper, on the other hand, is a reactive element and tarnishes or form copper oxides easily.
When Sterling Silver tarnishes, it is mainly the copper portion that is responsible.
If the purity of the silver decreases, the problem of tarnishing worsens.
For this reason, it is recommended that silver jewellery is sterling at a minimum - the silver content should be no less than 92.5%.
Lawfully, Sterling Silver or 925 Silver requires a 92.5% silver content. The other 7.5% metal content is at the discretion of the manufacturer.
In recent years, manufacturers have been 'playing around' with the other 7.5% content of Sterling Silver. Introducing various metal combinations to alter the traditional properties of Sterling Silver - in an attempt to improve it, of course.
Copper in Sterling Silver is gradually replaced with zinc, cadmium, magnesium, germanium, boron, silicon and platinum to end firescale, lower casting porosity and improve tarnish resistance.
This development has caused the familiar 925 Sterling Silver Jewelry to become non-standard in behavior and properties. Some are better than others.
I guess it has to happen.
Look at how Science and Technology advances and accelerates in all areas of life.
How could 925 Sterling Silver Jewelery simply stay problematic and irritating?
Well, someone did it!
Someone invented Non-tarnish Sterling Silver!
In this new breed of Sterling Silver, part of the new 7.5% alloy combo forms a colourless oxide on the surface and it acts as a barrier to further oxidation. The silver stays tarnish free.
This new invention - Non-tarnish Sterling Silver exhibits many improvements over traditional Sterling Silver but what matters most to you and me is that it stays beautiful and bright for years without polishing!
All that is required is light dusting and an occasional wipe with a soft cloth.
If tarnish does occur, it takes the form of a very light yellow film and all you need to do is rinse it with mild soap under tap water. No more stinky chemical baths!
This development is new but it will definitely impact 925 Sterling Silver Jewelry like never before. It is only a matter of how quickly this happens.
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Aren't you glad to be living in this age?
925 Sterling Silver Jewelry has come good and stopped being a pain!