The Sterling Silver Collection: A Guide
Sterling silver, also known as .925 silver, is one of my favorite metals for jewelry making. It is bright, attractive, and durable, making it perfect for formal occasions but strong enough for everyday wear. For these reasons, I’ve used this unique material to create our Sterling Silver Collection, which offers an homage to the most striking elements of nature’s beauty. Let’s take a closer look at this special metal alloy and the design of our Sterling Silver Collection.
Sterling Silver: The Basics
Sterling silver is a metal alloy that has been used for centuries in both jewelry and household decor. Its composition includes 92.5% pure silver and 7.5% of an alternative metal alloy, which acts as a strengthener. Pure silver is soft and challenging to manipulate, so blending it with another material like copper improves its composition. Sterling silver is beloved by many jewelry aficionados for its variety of impressive characteristics:
Sterling silver is more resistant than other precious metals to damage and scratching. Many wearers seek out rings and earrings made of sterling silver since they can resist the pressure of everyday wear. In fact, several of my favorite rings are made from this delightful material!
Anyone with skin allergies knows how challenging it is to find jewelry that doesn’t cause flare ups. Wearers with sensitive skin often opt for sterling silver, as most skin allergies are related to nickel and brass. In fact, sterling silver is one of a select few metals that are marketed as truly hypoallergenic.
Sterling silver jewelry offers a naturally bright finish, which is both elegant and eye-catching. Although this material tarnishes easily, sterling silver jewelry can simply be polished to revive its original beauty.
Designing the Sterling Silver Collection
As I sketched out my original designs for our Sterling Silver Collection, I knew I wanted this particular set of keepsakes to be light and elegant, reflecting the most refined and natural elements of the outdoors. Some of the recurring themes in this unique collection include:
Any walk through the woods would be incomplete without the lively presence of birds, squirrels, and other creatures foraging and chattering away. Images of birds flitting in and out of the brush, a family of ducks traversing a pond, bees buzzing through my garden, and a pair of squirrels chasing each other through the treetops are just a few examples of inspiration for these playful designs.
There is an unmistakable magic present in nature. Anytime I stroll through my garden, I am certain I will spy a secret fairy party, with little sprites dancing in and out of the leaves and blooms. Toadstools and little piles of sticks and brush look like the perfect places for magical creatures to hide. Several of my more whimsical sterling silver pieces echo the enchanted side of nature’s beauty.
Plants & Trees
One thing I’ve always loved about nature is how beauty is conveyed in such a range of different ways – for example, the way the intricate delicacy of the smallest flower is counterbalanced by the bold, towering excellence of the stately pine. To honor the variety of ways in which nature has inspired me, I’ve created a number of pieces that echo these remarkable concepts.
How to Identify Sterling Silver
Because sterling silver jewelry is so popular, it’s often a common target for counterfeiting. It’s important to be able to protect yourself from jewelers who pedal fake silver, so here are a few ways to know if your jewelry piece is really sterling quality:
Find the Hallmark
In the United States, jewelers using true sterling silver are legally required to label pieces with a hallmark stamp that indicates its quality. Most sterling silver pieces will bear a hallmark such as ster, sterling silver, .925, or 92.5 to declare the piece’s purity.
Use a Magnet
If you hold a magnet up to a piece of jewelry made purely from .925 silver, the piece of jewelry should not react – silver is not magnetic. Keep in mind that if your jewelry is only sterling silver-plated, your piece may react to the magnet due to the internal metal alloy of your design.
Go to a Professional
If you want to know definitively whether or not your jewelry piece is made of sterling silver, find a professional jeweler. They will be able to use their expertise to determine its composition.
Storage, Cleaning & Care
Sterling silver is a beautiful, bright metal, but constant exposure to air and other agents can cause it to tarnish. Luckily, tarnish is easy to both prevent and remove. To keep your sterling silver looking its best, incorporate the following tips into your jewelry care and cleaning routines:
The first step to keeping tarnish off of your sterling silver jewelry is to store your silver pieces away from the air. Use an anti-tarnish bag or airtight container to prevent constant exposure to humidity and air, which will preserve the finish of your favorite sterling silver jewelry.
There are many harsh products and chemicals marketed for cleaning sterling silver, but I actually recommend a far more basic and gentle method of cleaning (and so do many of my jewelry-making peers!). To clean your silver, use a mild soap and rinse it gently in warm water. Use a microfiber or flannel cloth (something soft and non-abrasive) to gently pat the jewelry dry. Before you store your silver, ensure that each piece is completely dry. For polishing, stay away from dipping solutions, as they can damage the natural finish of your silver. Try a basic polishing cloth instead!
If you wear sterling silver on a daily basis, there are also several steps you can take to protect the finish of your favorite pieces. For example, I always remove my jewelry before doing housework, gardening, handling food, or doing the dishes – so many of our regular household chores include water, chemicals, oils, and other elements that can damage our jewelry. I recommend taking jewelry off before showering, swimming, and getting ready, as water, lotions, hair spray, and perfumes can have a lasting effect on sterling silver.
Find Your Shine!
If you would like to add some sterling silver to your jewelry collection or you know a friend who deserves to sparkle, my nature-inspired Sterling Silver Collection is stocked with both elegant and playful designs. Browse the shop today!