Does Sterling Silver Tarnish?

Over time, sterling silver exposed to air will tarnish. Is sterling silver 100% pure silver? No, steling silver refers 92.5% silver and 7.5% other metals. It is the other metals that make sterling silver to tarnish. Copper is mostly used for making sterling silver. And copper reacts to moisture and sulfur in the air, thus making the sterling silver tarnish.

gold tarnish

You might be confused about pure silver and steling silver. Pure silver which refers to fine silver, has actual silver content of 99.9%. Pure silver is so soft that it can rarely make jewelry. So jewelers also mix pure silver with other metals, such as copper, zinc, nickels or other mixtures to make it harder. Sterling silver is an alloy with copper added to pure silver. International standard for sterling silver is 92.5% silver with 7.5% alloy.

Since 100% pure silver does not exist, we call 99.9% silver pure gold. It will tarnish in air because there are 0.1% other metals in it. Sterling silver is more durable that pure silver, but it has more additional metals in the alloy, thus making it more prone to tarnishing. Sterling silver tarnishes because the other mixtures in it reacts with oxygen, sulfur and other elements in the air. So you see, sterling silver tarnishes actually means the other alloy metals tarnishes.

gold rustHow to avoid tarshing?
Actually, the purer the silver, the less tarnishing. When buying sterling silver jewelry, you can choose to buy 990 plain silver and 999 plain silver. 990 pure silver and 999 pure silver are mostly used for bangles and cuffs which are thick and high polishing. Becuase they are too soft, the 990 pure silver and 999 pure silver can not be made into jewelry items with stones or earrings, necklaces, bracelets or rings.


Theoretically, sterling silver does not tarnish in vaccum,but we do not live in a vaccum world. So keep your sterling silver less exposed to air and sulfur is the best way to keep it shimmering as new.

How to clean sterling silver?
clean gold jewelryThe most effective way to clean sterling silver jewelry is to use the anti-tarnish cloth. You can get a free anti-tarnish cloth or buy one from a jeweler, rub and clean your silver jewelry frequently with the cloth will make sure the jewelry always new and shine.

Personalized Silver Jewelry

How about the personalized silver items at GetPersonalizedJewelry? Will these items tarnish too? Yes, our sterling silver monogram necklaces, silver name necklaces, silver infinity necklaces and other silver jewelry items tarnish after some time wear. We will give a anti-tarnish cloth for free on each order. You can clean the jewelry frequently with the cloth.

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