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WHAT IS STERLING SILVER?
The official designation of “Sterling” to a piece of Silver indicates that it contains at least 92.5% of pure Silver. The remaining 7.5% comprises of other metal alloys, most commonly copper. Although it may seem that “pure” Silver would be most desirable, that’s not actually the case. Metal alloys with a Silver content of more than 92.5% are too pliable to be used without suffering from dents and damage. The second alloy is required to ensure the metal’s stability and resilience. If the piece is Rose Gold, the above principal applies to the core of the product and is finished with a 1 micron e-coat.
WHY DOES STERLING SILVER TARNISH?
Sterling Silver will tarnish. This is not a defect but the result of a natural chemical process that occurs when Sterling Silver is exposed to materials containing sulphur and acids (such as those found in sweat and skin oils).
Anything from medication, perfume or the ph balance of a person’s skin can affect the extent of tarnishing to a piece of jewellery. Humid environments will also accelerate tarnishing. It is important to clean and care for your jewellery regularly to prevent any tarnish or discolouration from occurring.
CLEANING YOUR JEWELLERY
There are several ways you can clean and maintain your Sterling Silver items. We have available and recommend the WKM Semi-Chamois. This fantastic proven polishing cloth specially formulated with Anti-Tarnish Protection for both Sterling Silver and other precious metals is highly effective in removing tarnish and surface dirt from your jewellery, bringing it back to life.
Please note: different types of jewellery should be cleaned using different methods. Please follow the specific instructions for best results using WKM products or contact any of our friendly staff for further advice.
OTHER STERLING SILVER TIPS
When it comes to Sterling Silver jewellery it is always best to avoid wearing it in water, in particular swimming pools and spas as chlorine can damage your jewellery in a very short time. This is most important with regards to stone sets and in particular crystal set jewellery. All of our crystal pieces are set in specialised glue that does not react well with water or everyday “chemicals” such as shampoos or perfume. It is important that these specialised pieces are best for occasional wear and will need to be treated with care to ensure their lustre and longevity.
OTHER ROSE GOLD PLATED TIPS
One of the most frequently asked questions about plated jewellery is how long the plating will last. The answer to this question depends on the jewellery, the type of plating and how it’s worn.
Why? In a nutshell, “plating” is shorthand for electroplating. This means that rose gold plated jewellery is covered by a microscopically thin layer of metal using a special process that combines chemistry and electricity. By dipping the jewellery in a chemical solution which contains rose gold and applying electricity, a thin layer of the metal grows on the jewellery piece.
This way, it’s possible to produce many different kinds of finishes on an underlying metal piece. In fact, even some real gold jewellery is also gold plated, because the plating process produces a bright and clean finish on the underlying gold.
What Determines How Long Plating Will Last?
It’s hard to provide a simple number when a customer asks “How long does rose gold plating last?” The reason is because there are three different factors which determine how long any given plating will hold up.
First, the thickness of the plating. Thicker plating layers last longer. We use high-quality 1 micron plating.
Second, the amount of contact the jewellery has with the world. Plating on a ring will normally wear off much faster than plating on a pendant, because a ring constantly rubs against fingers and objects throughout the day.
Third, the underlying metal. Gold, rose gold, or rhodium plating adheres better to some metals (like silver or gold) and not as well to others.
How to Take Care of Gold Plated Jewellery
Since mechanical wear is the main factor leading to plating deterioration, taking care of plated jewellery is simple. Keep it protected from mechanical wear and in a soft container, where there’s nothing to rub against it and damage the plated coating.
In the event the plating does wear, re-plating is fast and inexpensive — many jewellers offer it as a service. It’s not uncommon even for people with solid gold or silver jewellery to ask for plating. Rhodium plating on silver, for example, is a very desirable way to add “sparkle” and prevent tarnish of existing silver pieces, and owners of solid gold jewellery often ask for plating in order to change the color of the piece or improve the finish.
If you take good care of gold, rose gold, or rhodium plated jewellery, it can last a long time. But there’s no need to worry. If something does happen, re-plating is probably offered by your local jeweller.
At imperial we value the importance of caring for and maintaining your jewellery pieces. All of our stock is covered by our manufacturing warranty and we firmly believe that with some customer education and awareness, that all of our jewellery items can be cherished and enjoyed for many years.