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How to care for sterling silver, gold fill and plated jewellery

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How to care for sterling silver, gold fill and plated jewellery

A question we get asked a lot is “how can I look after my jewellery?” so we thought it was about time we put together some top tips to help you care for your favorite jewellery – whether it’s sterling silver, 14k gold fill or plated.

How to care for sterling silver jewellery

If taken care of, semi-precious metal, sterling silver can last a long time. But before you start to treat your beloved bohemian silver necklace or bracelet, it’s important to know if your jewellery is sterling silver.

So, how can you tell the difference between sterling silver, silver plated and silver fill? Sterling silver is usually marked with the words ‘sterling’ or ‘sterling silver’ or the numbers 925 (this is because sterling silver is 92.5% silver). On Luna Tide sterling silver jewellery, we have stamps on the clasps of our necklaces and bracelets and on the ear wires of our earrings.

Sterling silver is 92.5% silver mixed with copper. Sterling silver is hypoallergenic so is suitable for those with sensitive skin. Unlike the more affordable alternative, silver plated jewellery (which sees a thin layer of silver be applied to metals such as copper, brass or nickel) or solid silver which is very delicate, sterling silver is more durable and less likely to tarnish.

To keep your sterling silver jewellery sparkling and shining, for many years to come, make sure you remove it when working out, showering or washing up – as water and chemicals can speed up the tarnishing process. Another way of reducing the likelihood of tarnishing is by keeping your sterling silver jewellery – when you’re not wearing it – in an airtight container. This prevents the elements from attacking it and causing it to age.

If your sterling silver jewelry does tarnish, shine can be restored simply with a metal polish and a dry cloth.

How to look after 14k gold fill jewellery

Before we share how best to care for 14k gold filled jewellery, we think it’s best to explain what 14k gold fill jewellery is! Gold filled jewellery provides a beautiful and cheaper alternative to gold jewelry, as it’s created by applying gorgeous 14k gold over a metal such as brass, copper or sterling silver. In order to be called gold filled, this needs to be 1/20th of the weight of the piece. This varies from gold plated, as this just sees a thin layer or two of gold applied.

14k gold fill jewellery, providing proper care is carried out, can last a lifetime. To ensure that it stays looking lovely, it’s best to keep treatment simple – by gently polishing with a cloth. It’s important to note that many chemicals marked for cleaning jewelry can be abrasive and damage 14k gold filled jewellery.

Even though your 14k gold fill jewellery won’t tarnish if you get it wet, we advise against wearing it in the shower since dirt can get trapped in between hard to reach places, which can look unsightly.

How to care for plated jewellery

Whether your preference is for silver, yellow gold or rose gold plated jewellery, it’s important that you know how to care for your jewellery, to be able to wear it for as long as possible.

As plated jewellery has a brass base (and is covered with a layer of silver, yellow or rose gold), it will eventually tarnish, however if you remove at night (to prevent rubbing) and remove when in contact with water and chemicals (as this can remove the plating), this will prolong your jewellery’s longevity. It’s also worth noting that if you don't wear the jewellery against your skin plated jewellery will last longer too, as the skin’s PH balance can tarnish jewellery if worn regularly.

Another top tip would be to store jewellery with the same type of plating together – don’t mix it with another metal. For example store all rose gold plated jewellery in one place with silver plated jewellery elsewhere. This is because different metals can sometimes encourage others to tarnish.

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