Silver is a soft metal and care should be taken when cleaning and polishing it. All sterling silver has to contain at least 92.5% pure silver. The remaining 7.5% is usually copper but can be other metal and is used to give this precious metal strength and durability. If silver contains 99.9% purity, it would simply be too soft to be practical for everyday wear and tear.
Sterling Silver may tarnish over time, if it is left unprotected and unpolished. This is a natural process and not a sign that the item is of an inferior quality alloy. Tarnish is the reaction of silver to compounds of sulphur in the air or from oils secreted from your skin which creates oxidisation and causes the silver to go grey/black. With care and regular cleaning, sterling silver can be restored to its "good as new" sparkling condition.
Semi-precious stones are some of the world’s most durable natural materials and though most are fairly hardy and resistant to every day wear and tear, they need to be treated with care to retain their natural beauty, colour & shape. Gemstones generally fall into two categories, porous & non-porous :-
Avoid abrasive cleaners that can scratch the surface, creating flaws where residues can build up, leaving them dull and lacking their original shine.
Be careful in hot, extreme environments such as the beach. Not only can sand scratch porous gemstones, but exposure to the heat and sunlight can cause the natural stone colour to fade. Do not leave gemstone jewellery for extended periods in direct sunlight or near radiators.
To clean porous gemstones, simply wipe them gently with a soft, damp cloth or sponge and then dry using a lint-free cloth.
Never use jewellery dip. Never use an ultrasonic cleaner. Never soak/immerse in water.
Examples of porous gemstones are:- Amber, Amethyst, Citrine, Coral, Garnet , Lapis Lazuli, Larimar, Moonstone, Onyx, Opal, Pearl, Peridot, Topaz and Turquoise.
Non-porous gemstones can be safely cleaned in lukewarm water and a watered down mild detergent. Use a small, soft toothbrush to gently remove any build-up around the stone, taking care not to disturb or loosen the setting. Rinse thoroughly after cleaning and dry/buff with a soft lint-free cloth.
Carefully store each piece of jewellery in a separate compartment or storage pouch, to avoid causing scratching as a result of pieces knocking together.
Examples of non-porous gemstones are:- Sapphire, Ruby, Topaz, Garnet, Cubic Zirconia and Aquamarine.