Buying Silver Jewellery – Everything You Need to Know

We cherish our silver Jewellery – rings, earrings, bracelets, and necklaces. Silver is bright, beautiful, and eye-catching. It’s the perfect metal to set off the sparkle of a diamond or contrast with a colorful ruby. But how can we keep it from getting tarnished? What should we look for when buying it? What’s the deal with plated Jewellery? And what is sterling silver, anyway?

If you’ve ever wondered about how to buy and care for silver Jewellery, here are a few things you need to know.

What is sterling silver? There are several grades of silver. Fine silver is 99.9% pure silver; it is generally too soft to use for everyday function. All silver used in Jewellery is in fact an alloy: a mix of silver and another metal. Sterling silver is 92.5% silver and 7.5% another metal. It is sometimes referred to as “925 silver.” Most sterling silver contains copper as the second metal.

What is “silver-plated”? Silver plating evolved in the nineteenth century as a way to make otherwise expensive silver items available to the masses. Silver plating involves fusing a very thin layer of silver over a layer of another metal. If a piece of Jewellery is silver plated, it will not have a sterling mark.

Silver plated Jewellery is less expensive than sterling silver. However, since silver is so soft, it can wear off over time with polishing or simple wear and tear. In general, it’s better to buy sterling silver than silver plated Jewellery.

What should I look for when buying silver? Look for the stamp. Most sterling silver Jewellery will have a small stamp that certifies it is sterling. Sterling silver is marked in a variety of ways; the mark might be “.925,” “ster,” “sterling,” or “sterling silver.” This will tell you that the metal is solid sterling silver and not plated. No matter what country you’re in when you’re shopping, look for a mark that indicates the piece is sterling.

Why does silver tarnish? Most Sterling silver is combined with copper. Since copper tarnishes over time, so does sterling silver. Silver Jewellery eventually acquires a light gold cast; then it may bronze or turn black. This definitely dulls the look of your Jewellery, and it can also stain your hands.

Is there any way to buy silver Jewellery that won’t tarnish? Some silver Jewellery is finished with rhodium. Rhodium is a metal found in the platinum family. It is also used to finish white gold, and it does not tarnish. If you buy a rhodium-finished piece, however, it will have a bright white color to it-not a more silvery gray. Some sterling silver has platinum as its alloy metal. This won’t tarnish either, although it will raise the price of the Jewellery. These are both good options if you like the bright white look of platinum, because it will be much less expensive than solid platinum.

How should I store my silver? The metals in sterling silver react with their environment by tarnishing. Even exposure to air, light, and water can hasten the tarnishing process. While you may not be able to keep sterling silver from ever tarnishing, you can slow the process down with proper storage.

Store silver Jewellery in a tarnish-resistant cloth. This cloth has been treated with materials that slow the tarnishing process. Never store silver Jewellery in a wooden box, as the acids in the wood can tarnish the silver. Since silver Jewellery is so soft, it’s best stored away from other Jewellery. This way, it won’t get scratched during storage. Some jewelers advocate storing your silver in separate plastic bags to keep them away from air and other Jewellery.

How can I remove the tarnish? It’s never good to polish silver too hard or too often. However, that’s exactly what you have to do in order to remove tarnish. To get around this, use an extremely gentle method of polishing. Avoid using toothpaste or baking soda, as these can scratch and wear down the metal. Most Jewellery stores sell polish that is specially formulated for silver. This can be applied gently with a soft cotton cloth. Be sure to read the label to ensure it’s safe for any gemstones in your Jewellery. There are also chemically treated cloths available that make polishing easier.

Silver is an attractive, affordable metal that’s perfect for all types of Jewellery. Buy the right silver, store it properly, and buff it to avoid tarnish, and it will stay beautiful for years to come.

Organising Your Jewellery – Tips for Storage

Do you have boxes and bags of tangled jewellery everywhere and wear very little of it? If you do, Boopydoodle have just a few suggestions to help you see and wear lots more of those rings, necklaces, bracelets and earrings.

Untangle (if necessary) and lay out all your jewellery your bed or a table.

Divide it up. You might want to split it up into

* Gold / Silver / Plastic

* Red / Pinks / Blues / Greens / Oranges etc (this is how I do it)

* Rings / Necklaces / Bracelets / Earrings

* Daytime Casual / Evening Glamour

Where you store your jewellery can depend how many pieces you have and their style. If you tend to wear chunkier pieces you will need something larger than the standard jewellery box. If you prefer fine jewellery then a smaller box should work fine for you. I find that jewellery boxes are often too small and can be expensive.

There are lots of alternative ways to store jewellery. I’ve just listed a few to get you started.

* Small to medium size tool boxes from DIY stores have great compartments & drawers.

* Large makeup box have lots of divided section.

* Use a notice board and drawing pins to display necklaces. You can get lovely notice boards with fabric covers. Use an old picture frame and add your own cork board.

* Ask shops that are closing down or refurbishing if they have any mannequins they are throwing away. These are great for hanging lots of necklace and scarves on.

* Use egg cartons for rings and earrings.

The internet is full of weird and wonderful ways to store your jewellery. Just get Googling!

One more tip To keep necklaces tangle free get some pipe cleaners. Find the centre of the pipe cleaner and hang the necklaces from the centre and then twist the pipe cleaner closed. Just untwist it whenever you want to take a necklace off and re twist to close again.

Fair Trade Jewellery and Handbags

The fact is that as an organization having a positive effect on otherwise disadvantaged peoples of the world works. Since its inception, the number and types of goods and products that are available certified as Fair Trade has grown steadily to the point where its no longer an obscure trade and business concept. To the contrary, Fair trade is now accepted mainstream.

Jewellery & Handbags – The List Is Huge!

One problem that many people have though is that so much of the media attention on has been on agricultural or food products. It just makes for more “tastier” stories in colorful green settings such as coffee and cocoa plantations as lush backdrops. The fact of the matter is however, that the list of gift items and fashion accessories that are now registered Fair Trade is huge!

Hand Made Gift Products From Peru and Kenya

For instance, now operates in Peru. A country all too well known for it silver production. So wouldn’t you know it, there is now a huge selection of fantastic silver Fair Trade Jewellery available, much of it in amazing indigenous design motifs. All hand made of course. Its the same in Kenya where Fair Trade Jewellery and handbags are produced incorporating authentic neolithic tribal methods and designs.

Silk and Woven Reed Products From Cambodia and Vietnamn

Cambodia and Vietnam are becoming all too well known for their intricately woven reed bags of exceptional quality and also for their exceedingly fine silk fabrics that are produced using natural organic dyes and methods that have been in use for centuries. The scarves with their traditional designs that are produced from these silk fabrics simply can’t be reproduced anywhere else on the planet.

Workers Escaping Sweat Shop Conditions In Thailand

In Thailand where clothing production has been an integral part of the economy for generations, production workers are finally escaping brutal sweat shop conditions and receiving fair livable wages producing high quality Fair Trade jewellery and handbags for export to countries like the United Kingdom, the United states and Canada.

Working To End Forced Child Labor On the Indian Sub-Continent

has also made extensive inroads into India where exploitation of children and impoverished people has always been an excepted way of doing business. Now Indian Jewellery makers and textile workers who produce Fair Trade Jewellery and handbags receive far pay working eight hour days, rather then the twelve hour days they used to work that often left them saddled with crippling repetitive movement disorders.

Developing Permenent Solutions with Trade Rather Than Aid

Fair Trade is working to bring positive change to third world countries by way of trade rather than aid, with a proven system that works. Remember that aid may feed the the stomach but it starves the spirit and turns proud people into beggars. When you buy Fair Trade Jewellery and handbags you not only send more of your money to third world workers and craftspeople, you also send a message to those who would exploit them that their way of doing business is coming to an end.