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The Shiner

Worth its weight in… Silver

For the longest of times, gold has reigned supreme in the precious metal kingdom. Gold has an incredibly long, rich history and is often considered the height of luxury. But is gold really deserving of its number one title? Yes, it’s stunning. Sure, it’s opulent. Yet there is an equally badass bullion that doesn’t seem to get as much time in the spotlight, and that is silver.

Silver is one the most divine previous metals available. It is beautiful and alluring; durable and forgiving. Sterling silver is a favourite amongst jewellers for its elegance and versatility. There is also the added bonus that silver tends to sit at a much more “wallet friendly” price point. So why is silver always taking second place?

Firstly, we need a small clarification. Silver v. Sterling Silver; what is the difference? Silver refers to pure or natural silver, which is the metal in its purest from. Natural silver is a very soft metal, so to make it more durable it is combines with a second, harder metal like zinc or copper to create sterling silver. You might be familiar with the classic 925 hallmark that accompanies your silver jewellery, but have you ever wondered what it means? 925 is used to mark sterling silver and the fact that its composition is 92.5% pure silver and 7.5% hard metal. I know… Mind blown. It is the combination of the two metals that causes oxidisation. 

Oxidisation truly is a double edged sword. It can be viewed as both a blessing and as a curse. A clever jeweller uses this process to their advantage. Intentionally oxidising a piece of sterling silver jewellery will produce a dark patina that adds exquisite detail and depth to any piece. It can create contrast and highlight intricacies that may have otherwise been missed. 

But of course, over time, your beautiful silver bling will be exposed to the harsh elements. They will inevitably get wet and dirty. They will sit in a dark jewellery box or accidentally get sprayed with Bal d'Afrique. That is when oxidisations evil step sister rears her ugly head. Her name, is tarnish.

Tarnish is a naturally occurring oxidisation process when sterling silver is exposed to air, light, water, etc. This surface corrosion is what causes your jewellery to dull and discolour. If you have owned sterling silver in the past, you will no doubt be familiar with this dirty devil. The fantastic news is that a light tarnish, or even silver that is looking a little sad, is incredibly easy to fix. Simply buff the surface using a silver polishing cloth, which is specially designed to include an anti-tarnish agent, and your jewellery will be sparkling new. For a more stubborn tarnish, you can wet one side of the polishing cloth to buff first, and then dry with the other side second. But beware of any intentional oxidisation; polishing this area too frequently or vigorously with your cloth will rub the effect away.

In general, it is good practice to lightly polish your sterling silver once every few weeks to keep it in great condition. You water your plants and feed your cat, so why not take a little time to show your favourite jewellery some love? It will breath new life into even the most looked after pieces with few quick rubs. With your trusty polishing cloth by your side you will never have to look at sad, dull silver ever again. I guess that’s what they call a silver lining. 

Heart of Bone polishing cloths available for purchase here

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