Q: What is sterling silver?
Sterling silver is an alloy of silver containing 92.5% silver and 7.5% of other metals, usually copper. The sterling silver standard has a minimum millesimal fineness of 925.
Fine silver is 99.9% pure and is generally too soft for producing functional objects; therefore, the silver is usually alloyed with copper to give it strength while preserving the ductility and beauty of the precious metal. Other metals can replace the copper, usually with the intent to improve various properties of the basic sterling alloy such as reducing casting porosity, eliminating firescale, and increasing resistance to tarnish.
Q: What is Rhodium?
Rhodium is a noble metal that is a member of platinum precious metal group and resistant to corrosion and tarnish. It is also one of the most expensive metals.
Q: What is Rhodium plating?
Rhodium plating is a process of electroplating with rhodium to give a protective layer or coating on the surface of jewellery items, usually those made of platinum, white gold and sterling silver.
Rhodium plating is used to provide a surface that will resist scratches and tarnish and enhance the shine to make jewellery pieces more attractive. The use of rhodium plating will dramatically increase the durability and luster of the finish.
Q: Does sterling silver tarnish?
Chemically, silver does not react with water or oxygen at ordinary temperatures, so does not easily tarnish. However, it is the other metals (as sterling silver contains 92.5% silver and 7.5% other metals), usually copper, that makes sterling silver tarnish. The copper reacts to the moisture and sulfur in the air, causing sterling silver to tarnish. In the case where the purity of the silver jewellery decreases, the problem of corrosion or tarnishing also increases.
Silver tarnishes faster in areas with high humidity and air pollution. Chemicals (hairspray, perfume, deodorant, body lotion, bleach, etc) can speed up the tarnishing process.
Sterling silver jewellery will tarnish unless it is covered in Rhodium or another heavy metal. Please note that all Rhodium plating will eventually wear off and the exposed silver will tarnish.
Q: How do I clean and care rhodium plated jewellery?
Just like you, our beautiful jewellery does need to be looked after. For regular cleaning, it is recommended to use a soft 100% cotton cloth. You can also keep it clean with a mixture of mild detergent and a little water. Rinse it well and dry. Use a fine and soft brush if it is difficult to remove dirt behind stones.
Please do not use harsh chemical, such as jewellery dips, dishwasher detergents or the likes as it can cause the rhodium plating to wear off more quickly. Usage of toothbrush and toothpaste are also not recommended.
Depending on the friction and how often you wear your jewellery; the rhodium plating will bound to wear off. There are few things that you can do to prolong the rhodium plating and to keep tarnish to a minimum:
- Store jewellery in dry and air-tight area, such as zip-lock/resealable bag or jewellery box when it is not worn. The less air and light your jewellery is exposed to when you are not wearing it, the less tarnish will occur.
- Store each piece of silver jewellery separately, so that it will not rub against other jewellery.
- Remove jewellery when doing household tasks, such as cleaning, gardening or any other heavy-duty activities
- To apply make-up, lotion, perfume and hairspray before putting on your jewellery and to take it off when you wash your hands, shower and swim as it may make jewellery to tarnish quickly.