Why choose sterling silver earrings and how to look after them
WHY SILVER IS A PERFECT CHOICE FOR EARRINGS
Silver has anti-bacterial properties
Silver’s ability to kill bacteria earned it the status of the ‘original antiseptic’. And while its positive properties were discovered hundreds of years ago, it is still used in hospitals today. Effective in treatments for burn victims, protecting against germs on catheters and to combat superbugs that have grown resistant to traditional antibiotics, silver is a truly precious metal perfect for sensitive ears.
However sterling silver is an alloy which contains other metals, so it is important to only wear high quality sterling silver earrings made from silver alloyed with metals that also have positive health properties (such as copper, zinc or palladium). For example, sterling silver that contains nickel may cause skin reactions, irrespective of its silver content. And that's why Brave Edith only ever uses nickel free, high quality sterling silver.
Silver is a hypoallergenic metal
As a precious or noble metal, silver doesn’t easily react with acids. From a jewellery perspective, this means it is much less likely to react with your skin. With so many of us suffering from allergies and sensitive skin, silver’s hypoallergenic properties make it a clear winner for earrings. Again it is important that your sterling silver is high quality and does not include any nickel, which is a frequent cause of allergy in jewellery wearers.
Silver is relatively light
Apart from the importance of your skin health, silver is comfortable to wear because it is relatively light compared to other precious metals such as gold. This makes it a much better choice for statement earrings, as well as more affordable than solid gold.
Silver has a beautiful lustre and can be cleaned easily
Light around your face helps lift your features, and sterling silver’s wonderful white and highly reflective properties, make it the most luminous of metals that can literally light up your face. And although silver does tarnish, it does not permanently discolour. With a little care, tarnishing can be minimised and silver's beautiful appearance can be restored.
WHAT IS GOLD VERMEIL AND WHY DO WE USE IT?
What is gold vermeil?
Gold vermeil is the highest grade of gold-plated sterling silver. To be classed as gold vermeil, jewellery must be made of solid sterling silver and plated with a minimum of 1.5 microns of 10 carat gold. Brave Edith takes this standard higher. We plate our gold vermeil items with an extra thick hard layer of 2.5 microns, 14 carat and 18 carat gold. This enables our plating to last longer than standard gold-plated items as well as longer than other gold vermeil pieces of thinner thickness.
Why do we use gold vermeil?
Gold brings warm, rich tones to your wardrobe
Gold is a beautiful material and like silver has a wonderful lustre. Warmer and richer in tone than silver, it is an alternative option to enhance your complexion and complement different tones in your outfits. It can add colour to your skin as you mature, it looks great with a sun-kissed glow, and it can also add warmth to your winter wardrobe.
Gold vermeil allows us to create statement pieces
Sterling silver is considerably lighter and more affordable than gold, which allows us to create larger pieces that are comfortable to wear and are extravagant yet affordable. And by only using precious metals for all of our jewellery (rather than plating over a cheap base metal such as brass), Brave Edith is able to create pieces of superior durability and lustre. Additionally, by creating a super thick layer of gold over our silver instead of the standard very thin layer, our jewellery will keep its beautiful gold lustre for longer.
Gold vermeil is hypoallergenic
Gold toned jewellery that is made from brass with standard gold plating can cause allergies when the plating inevitably rubs off. Because Brave Edith jewellery is only made using hypoallergenic materials - high quality sterling silver and a thick layer of 14K gold - it is kinder to your skin and much less likely to cause an allergic reaction.
Gold vermeil can be recycled and repaired
As gold vermeil mostly comprises sterling silver and gold, it can be repaired and recycled. This means that when properly cared for, gold vermeil jewellery will stand the test of time. And if after prolonged wear, the gold-plating wears through, your jewellery can be easily re-plated.
LOOKING AFTER YOUR SILVER AND GOLD VERMEIL JEWELLERY
How to keep your sterling silver and gold vermeil jewellery looking beautiful
Silver is naturally very tough and robust. Some people believe it gets better with age as the colour ‘matures’ into a richer and lusher colour. With antique jewellery, small marks and scuffs on silver jewellery are not frowned upon, as they show the age and longevity of the piece.
Even though it’s tough, sterling silver still needs care. Its biggest challenge is developing a tarnish through being exposed to the air (oxidisation). Ironically, it is the metals that it is alloyed with (such as copper), the very thing that gives sterling silver its strength, is what reacts to the air and causes tarnishing. But this can be both prevented and repaired very easily.
Gold vermeil is also susceptible to tarnishing, but due to the less reactive nature of gold, it is more resistant to oxidisation. It is however important to avoid chemicals that may damage the plating.
Jewellery should be the last piece you put on and the first you take off
To prevent tarnishing, the easiest thing to do is to make sure your sterling silver earrings or necklaces don’t come into contact with chlorinated water or household chemicals. And the easiest way to do this is to take off your jewellery before you do any heavy cleaning or before you jump into the shower or pool. Also put your make up and perfumes on first and avoid wearing your jewellery when exercising or sleeping as perspiration also contributes to tarnishing.
Carefully store your jewellery away from air
Store your jewellery in Brave Edith’s velvet bag and box to help prevent air tarnishing your pieces over time. If storing for longer periods, place in a zip lock bag and acid free tissue. Also take care to store each piece separately so it doesn’t tangle or scratch against other items.
How to clean dirty or tarnished sterling silver and gold vermeil jewellery
If your sterling silver gets dirty, then you should only clean it with water and mild soap. Don’t rub it with any abrasive pads and make sure you pat it completely dry with a soft cloth.
If your silver jewellery is lightly tarnished, it can be brightened up with a polishing cloth. We recommend using a silver cloth such as Goddard’s silver polish cloth. Do not use paper towel or tissue to clean your jewellery as this will cause scratches.
For gold vermeil items, you can use warm soapy water and a soft cloth to remove any dirt. We do not recommend using chemical jewellery dips on gold vermeil as this can remove the gold.
If your jewellery is heavily tarnished, it can be a little more difficult to get its shine back. But it’s not impossible. If the tarnish doesn’t come off with a light polishing, then we recommend getting your jewellery professionally cleaned. There are a lot of homemade ‘recipes’ out there that promise to clean silver. For the sake of your jewellery and precious memories, we recommend only letting experts handle heavy tarnishing with delicate jewellery.