Pure silver possesses a unique, lustrous white color, which has made it very desirable to use in jewelry for centuries. Pure silver is relatively soft, so around the 12th century pure silver was alloyed with copper to increase its hardness and strength. The new alloy, called sterling silver, was more durable than pure silver and suitable for use in jewelry and other applications. Sterling silver must contain a minimum of 92.5% silver, with the remaining 7.5% most frequently copper.
One of the biggest concerns with sterling silver is tarnishing, a darkening of the surface of the jewelry item. One solution was the creation of a new sterling alloy to reduce the rate of tarnish by replacing some of the copper with other metals. If you don’t have sterling silver made with the tarnish reducing alloy, other ways to slow the tarnish rate include storing the jewelry in anti-tarnish bags or periodically cleaning the piece with a tarnish-removal agent. We provide an anti-tarnish bag with any sterling silver jewelry item we sell.