silver care instructions

The Complete Guide to Caring for Sterling Silver Jewelry

Silver jewelry has become increasingly popular over the years and it’s now one of the most used metals in all styles of jewelry. It's important to know how to care for, maintain, and clean your silver jewelry so it lasts and looks as good as it did the first day you wore it, no matter how many years pass by.

Our complete guide to caring for silver jewelry shares all the best silver jewelry care practices — we’re covering everything from how to keep silver jewelry from tarnishing to how to store sterling jewelry.

In this article, we’ll cover:

The Types of Silver and Their Grades

There are several types of silver, and each has a different rating, or grade. Quality silver typically has quality markings that help distinguish specific types of silver. Knowing the different grades will help you understand both your jewelry's value, as well as how to properly care for it.

Fine .999 Silver

This is basically pure silver, without any alloys added. It’s typically not used for jewelry because it wouldn't keep its shape.

Sterling .925 Silver

This is more commonly known as just sterling silver. The remaining alloy is usually made of zinc or copper. Sterling silver is used to make all types of beautiful jewelry, and it’s the base of vermeil jewelry. Vermeil is quality silver that’s plated with a layer of gold.

Check out the Vermeil Jewelry Guide to learn more about how sterling silver is used.

Bryan Anthonys carries a variety of beautiful vermeil Demi Fine Jewelry — shop now to find our incredible selection of exquisitely made jewelry.

Coin Silver

This alloy is 90 percent silver and 10 percent copper. It used to be the most popular type of silver for making jewelry, until sterling silver replaced it.


General silver is widely used in many different types of jewelry due to its versatility and affordability. Bryan Anthonys carries a wide selection of beautiful silver finish jewelry.

Shop for silver finish rings and silver finish bracelets today.


Silver-filled jewelry contains approximately 5 to 10 percent silver that’s been bonded onto a base metal. It’s usually less expensive than sterling, but still results in a beautiful, quality material.

Silver Plated

Silver plated jewelry has a very thin layer of silver on top of another base metal. It's sometimes used for costume jewelry, but unfortunately, the silver layer can flake off over time.

Nickel Silver

This is really a nickel alloy without any silver at all, even though it looks similar to sterling silver. Nickel silver is relatively inexpensive and often used in costume jewelry.

Maintaining Your Silver Jewelry

It's important to know how to take care of silver jewelry to keep it looking its best. Whether you're learning how to care for silver plated jewelry, sterling silver, or any other type, creating a routine to maintain your silver jewelry ensures it will stay beautiful for years.

  • Avoid Wearing Silver in The Shower: Water can oxidize silver, causing it to tarnish.
  • Avoid Pools: Chlorine and other chemicals can damage most types of jewelry.
  • Avoid Hot Tubs or Springs: There are often chemicals in hot tubs. Springs usually have sulfur that can tarnish silver.

Ways to Keep Your Silver Jewelry from Tarnishing

Silver, specifically sterling silver, will tarnish from oxidation. But you can learn how to protect sterling silver from tarnishing by adhering to just a few simple rules.

  • Remove Jewelry When Doing Household Chores: Wondering how to prevent silver jewelry from tarnishing? Always remove it when you’re doing household chores. Household cleaners can be abrasive and cause damage to dainty silver pieces.
  • Take Off Jewelry When Exercising: The salt in sweat can be corrosive to silver jewelry, causing it to tarnish.
  • Avoid Wearing Silver in Hot Places: It might be smart to keep your silver jewelry out of direct sunlight, especially if it has gemstones. Sun won’t exactly damage the silver, but it might cause it to tarnish more quickly. And direct sunlight can cause pretty gemstones to fade or change in color over time. Knowing how to care for sterling silver properly sometimes means not wearing it in sunny or hot places.
  • Avoid Wearing Silver Jewelry When Doing Outside Tasks: Whether it's damage from sun or heat, or scratches from garden tools, you may want to remove your silver jewelry when doing outdoor tasks.
  • Put on Silver Jewelry Last When Getting Ready: For optimal sterling silver jewelry care, it’s a good idea to get in the habit of putting on your jewelry after you dress and put on makeup.

Cleaning Silver Jewelry

Silver care includes routine cleanings. Regular wear of jewelry will result in a buildup of oils, dust, and makeup. The following shows you how to care for silver jewelry.

  • Warm Water and Mild Dish Soap: Learning how to clean sterling silver jewelry is simple — just use mild dish soap and warm water. This is a gentle yet effective way to clean silver.
  • Try Water and Baking Soda: Some sterling silver care and cleaning tips suggest using baking soda to keep your jewelry looking its best.
  • Use Microfiber Cloths: Knowing how to take care of sterling silver, or any type of silver, includes using microfiber cloths for cleaning and polishing.

How to Store Silver Jewelry

Storing jewelry is often the last thing people think of, but it's important for understanding how to maintain silver. To know how to store silver jewelry, you just need to take the following steps:

  • Store it in a Cool and Dry Place: How to care for sterling silver jewelry begins by keeping it in individual bags, in a cool, dry compartment.
  • Try Adding Chalk to Your Storage Container: If you’re looking for creative tips on how to keep sterling silver jewelry from tarnishing, a piece of chalk can help absorb moisture.
  • Use Anti-Tarnish Strips: To prevent sterling silver rings from tarnishing, use anti-tarnish strips.
  • Try Out Silica Packs: Silver care instructions wouldn't be complete without the recommendation of silica packs. Keeping a silica pack in each bag or box containing your silver jewelry is an important part of taking care of silver jewelry.

Shop Jewelry at Bryan Anthonys

Bryan Anthonys features a gorgeous array of silver jewelry to choose from. Our beautiful selection offers everything from dainty jewelry to the classic, one-of-a-kind sterling silver pieces you won’t find anywhere else.

Find the type and style of silver jewelry you're looking for at Bryan Anthonys.

How to Maintain & Clean Silver Jewelry FAQs

Can you ruin sterling silver?

Exposure to chemicals and salt water can tarnish silver. For a quick tip on how to restore silver that’s tarnished, just soak your jewelry in vinegar, water, and baking soda. This can remove much, if not all, of the tarnish.

Can you sleep with silver on?

Your jewelry is being yanked and crushed when you sleep with it on. Part of caring for silver means talking it off before going to bed.

Can I wash dishes with sterling silver?

Since mild dish soap is often used to clean silver, it's okay to occasionally wash dishes with silver. However, make sure you don't scratch it with a scouring pad or against dishes.

Can you wash your hands with silver rings on?

Again, mild soap and water won't hurt your silver rings. Soap with harsher chemicals or perfumes might damage them, though.

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