Silver Jewelry: Details + Care

While I love the warmth of gold and rose gold jewelry, over the years I’ve made sure to incorporate a variety of silver into my jewelry collections as well. There are quite a few varieties, and you’ll find more info on the types of silver I use in my jewelry as well as how to best care for it.

Sterling Silver | .925 Silver

Sterling silver is a mix of metals consisting of 92.5% silver, and 7.5% other metal, often copper. Pure silver is a relatively soft metal and can be easily scratched and dented. The addition of copper creates a stronger and more durable metal that is more suitable for jewelry. Sterling silver jewelry is more suitable for those with allergies or metal sensitivities, and can be worn in water.

You’ll find sterling silver in my handcrafted ear wires, hoops, ear cuffs, wire wrapped gemstone drops and links, and chains.

In recent years, I’ve switched to using sterling silver wire that is made from recycled silver to craft ear wires, post earrings, hoop earrings, ear cuffs, wire wrapped gemstones, links and basic components in my studio.

How to Clean and Store Sterling Silver Jewelry

Sterling silver jewelry can be cleaned in a variety of ways. Because it is a solid metal, abrasive cleaners work well to bring a bright shine back to sterling silver items that are showing signs of tarnish. One of my favorites methods? Special clothes

Storage: A little trick I’ve learned over the years? Storing your sterling silver jewelry in the air tight plastic bag it was received in when not in use. This little step is a really worthwhile habit to adopt. This will help prevent tarnish, which means you have to clean your sterling silver jewelry less!
Zurina Ketola Designs Handmade Necklace. Slender Crescent Crochet Necklace.
Slender crescent necklace in fine silver w/ sterling clasp and details | €42

Fine Silver | 99.9%

Fine silver is a relatively soft metal, and isn’t suitable for all jewelry, however, it works well as details such as pendants, beads, and small components. I often use fine silver focal pieces with a sterling silver clasp and details.

How to Clean and Store Fine Silver Jewelry

Fine silver jewelry can be cleaned in a variety of ways. Because it is a solid metal, abrasive cleaners work well to bring a bright shine back to sterling silver items that are showing signs of tarnish.

Storage: If you’ve been following the blog series about the metals I use, you’re probably beginning to notice a trend! I store all my jewelry in air tight plastic bags, similar to the ones I ship your jewelry in and I recommend you do the same when you’re jewelry isn’t in use. This will keep your jewelry looking like new, and ensure you will need to spend less time cleaning.
Crochet silk necklace with silver plate focal bead w/ sterling clasp and details | €42

Silver Plate w/ Anti-Tarnish Finish

Silver plating is a chemical process that binds a layer of silver particles to a metal surface, in this case copper. The silver plated items I use feature a matte, bright silver appearance and includes an anti-tarnish finish to help prolong the life of the silver.

Compared to solid sterling or fine silver, silver plating is not as thick or durable of a finish and will eventually wear off. Due to this, it is not recommended for individuals with metal allergies, and not recommended for wearing in water, and is not recommended for individuals with metal allergies.

The silver plated details used in ZKD jewelry are relatively durable, and wear similarly to rhodium plated items.

How to Clean and Store Silver Plate Jewelry with Anti-Tarnish Finish

Jewelry with silver plated details should only be cleaned with specially formulated non-abrasive liquid jewelry cleaner intended for costume jewelry, and wiped dry with a clean, soft cloth.

Storage: I recommend that your silver plated jewelry with anti-tarnish finish be stored in the air tight plastic bag it was received in when not in use.

Rhodium Plate

This is a unusual because it’s not actually silver! It is the same look, and gives the appearance of silver, but rhodium is a highly valuable metal (more valuable than gold) that has a silver appearance, and is often seen in the plating of solid white gold jewelry. It is a relatively non-reactive metal, which means that allergies are not common.

Rhodium is a more valuable metal than fine silver or sterling silver and rhodium plating is a chemical process that binds a layer of rhodium particles to a metal surface, in this case brass. This gives the metal a bright silver finish. Compared to solid sterling silver, rhodium plating is not as thick or durable of a finish and will wear off over time. Due to this, it is not recommended for individuals with metal allergies, and not recommended for wearing in water.

In recent years, I’ve discovered more durable options that include thicker plating and  include anti-tarnish finishes.

You’ll find rhodium plated details in my line of leather jewelry, including my leather bangles, and chokers.

How to Clean and Store Rhodium Plate Jewelry

Rhodium plated jewelry should only be cleaned with specially formulated non-abrasive liquid jewelry cleaner and wiped dry with a clean, soft cloth.

Storage: To prolong the life of  your rhodium plated jewelry, I recommend that your rhodium plated jewelry be stored in the air tight plastic bag it was received in when not in use.

A Note to Local Berlin Customers: I Can Clean Your Jewelry!

If you’re in the Berlin area, and would like to get your ZKD jewelry cleaned, please contact me to let me know what you need cleaned and we can make an appointment at my studio and shop at Studio Hertzberg in Neukölln. This is a free service I offer all my customers. Depending on the work and my availability, I may be able to take care of the cleaning while you wait, or can get it done and have it ready for you at a later date.

Comments or Questions?

Have more questions about how to care for your Zurina Ketola Designs handmade jewelry? Just consider me your own personal jewelry designer! I’m always happy to answer questions. Contact me for more information.

I hope you enjoyed this blog series on the metals I use in my handmade jewelry! If you haven’t had a chance to see them, you can read the full post about gold jewelry and rose gold jewelry now.

These posts have inspired me a bit to share more details about all the materials I use in my jewelry designs. So much time and effort goes in to finding the highest quality materials I can to produce my work. Stay tuned to find out more info about the leathers, silks, gemstones and pearls I use in my handmade jewelry!

Until then, head over to the shop and check out the new look! I’ve made a few important changes to help make navigating the site and shopping a little easier for you. I’d love to know what you think.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *