-About Sterling Silver-
Sterling silver is composed of 92.5% silver alloyed with copper to strengthen it. Silver has one of the highest reflectivities of any metal, giving it unmatched brilliance. Silver also has extremely high electrical conductivity and thermal conductivity.
At various times in history silver was even more valued than gold and had a mystical allure to it, often being associated with the sea, moon and lunar goddesses. Hallmarking of silver places a stamped mark on the silver to identify its origin and purity and is often an important part of determining the value of a collectible piece.
The cleaning of sterling silver can be a burdensome task, which is why much of the silver jewelry manufactured today has various types of anti-tarnish finishes ranging from a flash overlay of pure silver, waxes, proprietary coatings and the currently very popluar rhodium plating. Rhodium in fact is a much more expensive raw material, but does not have quite the high brilliance of silver, however its superior anti-tarnish property outweigh its lower reflectivity value.
Clean your sterling silver jewelry with a soft 100% cotton or flannel cloth. Remember silver is a very soft metal and you can scratch it if you aren't careful so don't rub it too briskly. For more extreme tarnishing, special cleasners are available online or at your local jewelry store.
Wear your silver frquently as your body oils will help keep tarnishing down.Storing your sterling silver in the open air and humidity for extended periods of time can cause it to tarnish quickly. Tarnish first appears as a golden hue on your sterling silver then quickly turns to black. This is a normal process that is caused by oxidization and moisture from air and sunshine. To keep tarnish to a minimum it is advised that you store your jewelry pieces when not wearing them.
To reduce tarnish and keep your pieces tarnish free for months at a time, it is recommended that you keep your sterling silver jewelry in an air-tight protective bag made of tarnish proof cloth or you can use a plastic zip lock bag made of Mylar (turkey cooking bags) or polyethylene. Be warned that some plastic contains sulfur compounds which can cause your jewelry to tarnish faster or stain. Never use polyvinyl plastic bags.