Metals – Sterling Silver

Hi Everyone!

This is our new blog series about metals. We decided that this would be an interesting topic for all you jewelry fanatics, so if you are interested in learning more about the metals we use for our jewelry, then you should definitely keep reading!

Today we will be talking about sterling silver, which is our most used metal, and a favorite of many. Sterling silver is an alloy containing 92.5% pure silver and 7.5% other metals, mainly copper. The 7.5% can be any metal depending on preference, but time has proven copper to be the best addition to the pure silver. Why do we add “cheaper” metals to the pure silver? Simply because it makes the silver more resistant. Also – and this isn’t so great – makes the silver more prone to tarnish.

Sterling silver has been used for centuries for many different things. It is an obvious choice for jewelry, but has also been used for decorations and even tools such as forks, knives and buckets. Especially in the Victorian times, when eating with your fingers was a big no-no, cutlery was very important. Even today people still use silver cutlery for important occasions, however it is much less common and many people rather melt down the silver to create a piece of jewelry from it.

Sterling silver is a metal we use very frequently for our jewelry. Silver looks good on every skin tone and goes with all colors of clothing, making it a very versatile metal. When it comes to engagement rings, we tend to stay away from sterling silver as it is much softer than gold. This means it is more prone to scratches and dents and doesn’t usually hold stones as well as gold would.

Since sterling silver does contain some copper it will tarnish over time. The best way to prevent this as much as possible is by storing your silver jewelry in a dark and dry place. We always recommend storing your jewelry in a little plastic baggie, because that will prevent it from tarnishing as well as getting scratches or dents from other jewelry. Also in order to preserve your jewelry, don’t wear sterling silver in chlorinated water or when working with household chemicals, as these will damage the jewelry.

No matter how well you store it, after some time your sterling silver jewelry will tarnish. To clean sterling silver jewelry we recommend using a polishing cloth or a mild soap and water solution. For stubborn spots simply apply a little bit of silver cleaner with a cotton swab, and follow by brushing your jewelry with a baking soda and soap paste.

Make sure to NEVER clean your sterling silver jewelry with tissue paper or paper towels because those can cause scratches because of the fibers in these products. Also, be careful with sterling silver dips, as those can damage gemstones by taking off their color and polish.

Mohs Scale of Hardness

This blog post is dedicated to Mohs scale of hardness. We use it frequently with our stone of the month series so we wanted to take this opportunity to dedicate an entire post to explain it. It is important to know the Mohs hardness in order to better care for different gemstones.

The Mohs scale is a way of measuring a stone’s scratch resistance against a harder material. It was invented in 1812 by the German geologist and mineralogist Friedrich Mohs and ever since has been used to test and describe the hardness of minerals. While Mohs was the first one to invent an actual scale, testing the hardness of minerals by scratching them against each other was nothing new to people at that point. As a matter of fact, people had been doing it for hundreds of years prior.

The scale goes from 1 being the softest to 10 the hardest. If you have been following our birthstone blog series, then you know that diamonds are the hardest of all minerals, measuring a 10 on the Mohs scale of hardness. The turquoise on the other hand only measures a 5-7 on the Mohs scale of hardness, which makes this stone soft and prone to scratches.

To give you a better idea of how hard a diamond actually is let’s compare it to common objects. For example a fingernail is a 2.5 on the scale, while a copper penny is not much higher with a 3 on the Mohs scale of hardness. Glass on the other hand is already about a 7 on the Mohs scale of hardness, making it about as hard as quartz.

I hope this helped you understand what we are talking about when we get a little bit carried away with all of our jewelry and gemstone talk!

Resetting customer’s stones

I love making custom pieces… the individuality and the meaning of each piece is what makes me love my job so much! Lately I have been working on resetting a lot of client’s stones… it’s a great way to transform old jewelry pieces into something new and fresh!

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A current project I am working on is my own version of diamonds by the yard. A client of mine came in and had lots of smaller, beautiful diamonds which she wanted to reuse to create a special piece for her daughter. Her daughter has always been fascinated with the “diamonds by the yard” design, and so the client and her son-in-law came by the studio to create a new version of the design. The design includes diamonds in the baguettes and brilliant cut, and will look like stars floating around the daughters neck.

Stay tuned for pictures!