Your jewellery is brand new - handmade for you by us in our Brisbane studio. And you want to keep it looking brand new. Here's some information on sterling & oxidized silver, and how to keep them looking their best.
Sterling silver is an alloy of 92.5% silver to 7.5% copper for strength. It's mostly the copper component that causes tarnishing. How quickly sterling tarnishes depends on multiple factors, including air quality, body chemistry and whether or not it has been exposed to chemicals in soaps, cosmetics and cleaning products.
Rhodium plating can prevent this for a while, but needs to be reapplied every few years. We don't rhodium plate our jewellery, because we aren't fond of the chemicals involved in the plating process and we think sterling silver looks beautiful as it is.
With the right care and information, though, you don't need plated jewellery. You can keep your sterling silver ring as bright and shiny as it was the day we made it.
You might find that sterling silver sometimes causes a greenish skin reaction. This is a result of the interaction between the metal & acids in your skin - sometimes hand lotions can react with the metal as well, which is why we advise taking jewellery off during application. If you have skin that's sensitive to copper and sterling, we'd suggest applying a coating of Jewelry Shield to the inside of the ring band. It comes in a little bottle similar to nail polish and includes an applicator brush. It will need to be reapplied every so often.
To help keep your your jewellery looking its best and to minimize skin reactions, we recommend taking it off before applying any skin creams or lotions, showering, or going swimming. We also recommend taking it off (or wearing rubber gloves) when using cleaning products that contain ammonia or bleach.
If your silver tarnishes, or acquires a patina, this can be removed through polishing. We supply a little polishing cloth & care card with each purchase (as pictured above). When not in use, store your jewellery in a ziplock bag to slow down the rate of tarnish. We package your unoxidized silver jewellery in a ziplock bag with an anti-tarnish tab included.
Oxidized sterling silver has been treated, usually with liver of sulfur, to achieve a dark charcoal grey to black finish. This isn't a permanent finish, as it will fade to a weathered silver look over time, depending on how much wear the jewellery gets. It can also be lightly polished for a more dappled look, as in the photo above. As with sterling silver we recommend taking it off before coming into contact with hand creams, water, and so on.
The good news is that you don't need liver of sulfur to reapply the oxidized finish - you can do it with hard boiled eggs! It's easy to do, we just recommend you don't let the gemstone or silver touch the egg directly.
WikiHow - Oxidize Silver with Egg Yolks