Cleaning & Care

How to Care For Sterling Silver Bead Jewelry

Fine silver (99.9% pure) is generally too soft for ordinary use. This type of silver usually can’t be used to produce functional objects. In order to produce items such as silverware, bead jewelry and musical instruments, silver is typically alloyed with other metals such as copper. This process increases the hardness and durability of the metal.

Sterling Silver contains 92.5% pure silver and 7.5% copper or other metal alloy. When you see the numbers 925 stamped on sterling silver, it’s simply a designation of the silver content or purity.

Tarnish is a thin layer that forms over silver causing a dull, discolored look. Air is one of the main elements causing tarnish on silver via the process of oxidation. Body lotions, perfume, hair spray, perspiration, salt water and the chemicals in pools and hot tubs are also leading causes of tarnish. It is recommended to remove sterling silver jewelry before swimming, bathing or coming into contact with any of these other elements.

Prevention of tarnish is a key step in caring for your sterling silver bead jewelry. When not wearing your jewelry, it is best to store it in an air tight container or plastic zip lock bag. This helps to protect the finish from oxidation and tarnish. Stored properly, your jewelry can be worn often with minimal cleaning required.

How to Clean Sterling Silver Bead Jewelry

Always clean your silver bead jewelry with a sterling silver polishing cloth or a soft 100% cotton cloth or flannel cloth. Keep in mind, silver is a relatively soft metal and can be scratched if using a coarse cloth for cleaning. Also, do not use chemicals or liquid silver polish, as these may alter the appearance of your jewelry. Please note: Immersion in soap and water is not recommended for beads featuring Swarovski® crystals or CZ accents. These beads should be polished with a soft cloth only.

To clean your jewelry, use a small amount of mild liquid detergent and warm water in a non-metal bowl. Rub your jewelry gently with the soft cloth to clean. For harder to reach areas, brush gently with a soft baby’s toothbrush. After cleaning, rinse thoroughly to remove any excess detergent.

After rinsing, dry promptly with a cotton towel. For hard to reach areas, use a portable hair dryer on a low, warm setting. After drying your jewelry, polish it again with the silver polishing cloth before wearing or storing.

Remember, the two most important factors of caring for bead jewelry are the prevention of tarnish and proper cleaning. Practicing both will help you maintain jewelry you will enjoy for a lifetime!