Silver is perhaps the most common metal that is used for making jewelry. Its popularity lies in the fact that it can be easily molded to form exquisite designs. It is also more affordable and can be bought by almost all segments of people.
Like gold, pure silver is not used for making jewelry since it is very soft and can bend easily. Most jewelers mix copper with silver to make silver jewelry from an alloy named as Sterling Silver. According to jewelry standards laid down by Federal Trade Commission in the US, 92.5% silver should be present in the silver alloy that is used to make silver jewelry; the rest can be copper.
Tarnishing is a major drawback in silver jewelry. The tarnishing is caused due to the reaction between copper and the atmospheric gases. This leads to a loss of sheen and luster of the jewelry. You can prevent this by storing silver jewelry in tarnish resistant bags or pouches. These bags are available in most stores today. You can also remove the tarnish by cleaning it gently with the 3M Tarni-Shield Silver Polish. It is a low abrasive cleaner that gently removes the accumulated salts and dirt from the silver and adds sheen to it. Toothpaste is a common home remedy that is used for cleaning silver articles and jewelry by most women world over. It is advisable to use it sparingly since most experts believe that brushing with toothpaste can leave mild undesirable scratches over the soft metal.
Today experiments are on to use platinum instead of copper to harden silver. The biggest advantage of using platinum is the fact that it is a stable metal and does not react with atmospheric gases. As a result tarnishing is not a problem any longer. However, platinum is more expensive, and can take silver jewelry out of the reach of common man.