Sterling Silver and Fine SilverWhitty Wire Jewelry continues to use either fine silver or sterling silver in many jewelry pieces. Fine silver is 99.9% pure silver whereas sterling silver is usually alloyed with another material such as copper for more strength. Sterling silver is usually 92.5% silver.
Filled wires: Gold and Silver FilledIf you bought jewelry made of gold filled wire it is 14K gold filled. Solid gold of course is the best and also the most expensive. Gold filled is a good quality alternative to solid gold. Silver filled items provide the white brightness of silver at a fraction of the cost of solid silver, and still provides higher quality finished pieces than do plated items. Either fine or sterling silver is used in this process. The wire has an actual layer of gold or silver pressure bonded to another metal. Gold filled wire will not flake off or tarnish as would gold plated items. The silver will tarnish as does solid silver wires, but again will not flake off as some less expensive plated items may.
Pam creates all her own ear wires and posts for her earrings. Either sterling silver or 14K gold filled wires are used and these are nickel, lead and cadmium free.
Silver plated colored wiresA few of our items are created by copper wires that are silver plated and then have a permanent enamel color coating that is tarnish resistant or tarnish proof. Plating is a thinner coating on a base wire than what is on a filled item. We use no gold plated items in the creation of our jewelry. If you see a gold colored item, you will be told if it is plated colored wire or gold filled wire.
Care of your jewelryAll copper, silver, bronze and brass items will tend to tarnish over time. When not wearing your jewelry, it is best to keep it in a plastic bag. Anti-tarnish tabs are also available to help prevent tarnish.
Caring for gold filled items is as easy as caring for any gold jewelry. Simply keep away from chemicals, clean regularly with mild sudsy water, rinse well and pat dry with a non-scratching cloth. Polish gently with a jewelry polishing cloth.
You can use a silver polish cloth on solid silver and silver filled items. If your jewelry time has had a patina added to give it an antiqued appearance, beware of using silver polishing clothes as this may remove the patina.
Do not use silver polish or polishing clothes on plated jewelry items as it will strip away the tarnish resistant coating as well as stir away the fine silver layer and eventually reveal the copper or brass core. Instead use warm soapy water and a soft cloth. Dry with a soft cloth. Never use a toothbrush on rhodium coated items or silver plated items.
For all your jewelry items, avoid wearing them in the pool, steam room or exposing them to harsh chemicals.
Care of Gemstones: Be particular about your gemstones that can be wet or soaked in water. Also some soft stones or color treated stones will not tolerate silver polish. Below are some cleaning categories and the stones that are affected.
Safe in anything: Diamonds and Spinels
Safe in lukewarm but not hot water, safe with silver dip/silver polish cloth: Rubies (unless
lead glass filled), sapphire, topaz, aquamarine, tourmaline, amethyst, citrine, smoky quartz, rock crystal, Zircon, cubic zirconia, and onyx.
Safe in lukewarm water, not with silver dip/polish: Garnet, jade, peridot, moonstone, hematite, tanzanite.
Don't soak in anything: Emerald, opal, lapis lazuli, cameos (shell and wedgewood), coral, pearls (including cultured, simulated and mother of pearl), ivory, amber and malachite.
Do not get wet: Opal doublets and triplets (thin layer of opal cemented to another stone backing), turquoise (some have been enhanced with artificial dyes), any charms or jewelry made with paper inserts.
Ultrasonic cleaners : do not use this on silver, gold, or rhodium plated items. Safe to use sterling silver and gold as well as gold and silver filled items. Do not use on gemstones that do not tolerate soaking or getting wet. Also avoid with any stones with cracks or inclusion to include diamonds with inclusions or colored diamonds. on most metal jewelry, but not on gemstones listed above that would be affected by water or soaking.