by Angela Tague
From extravagant gemstone cocktail rings to simple, classic wedding bands, sterling silver rings are beautiful and go with everything. Shiny sterling silver is versatile, durable and soft enough to be engraved or molded into a variety of ring designs. Sterling silver rings are popular for their neutral nature and incredible value. Sterling silver is one of the top metals preferred for jewelry and is a great choice when shopping for men's and women's accessories. Sterling silver engagement rings and wedding bands are available in many varieties. Add a sterling silver ring to your jewelry collection or give sterling silver jewelry as a gift.
Alloy: Sterling silver is made of 92.5 percent pure silver and 7.5 percent metal alloy. Copper is a favorite metal alloy for sterling silver jewelry, although other metals are sometimes used. Sterling silver rings can be decorated with pure silver, but pure silver is typically too soft for large silver jewelry pieces.
Features: Chosen for its strength and beauty, sterling silver has a lifetime of durability. Pure silver is very soft, making it a poor choice for an everyday ring, such as an engagement ring or wedding band. The addition of copper makes silver strong. A sterling silver ring is typically marked with an engraving to inform consumers that it is genuine. Sometimes the number "925" is used to specify that a metal is sterling silver.
Finishes: Sterling silver rings can be polished or coated in rhodium to become tarnish-resistant. Rhodium is a member of the platinum metal family, and as a coating, it gives sterling silver jewelry a high-gloss finish.
Styles: When you are shopping for sterling silver rings, you have many styles to choose from. Simple sterling silver rings with feminine detailing or symbolic designs and lettering are perfect for everyday wear and make good choices for romantic jewelry gifts. Sterling silver rings with gemstones, diamonds and pearls can bring color to any outfit. Choose a meaningful gemstone ring with your birthstone or select a gem that has a rich mythological history.
Care: Storing sterling silver jewelry in a cloth pouch or individual compartment in a jewelry box is the best way to prevent scratching. Bleach, ammonia and chlorine can damage or discolor sterling silver rings. Be sure to remove sterling silver jewelry before handling common household cleaning chemicals and before swimming in a chlorinated pool or hot tub.
Cleaning: Sterling silver jewelry will tarnish over time as it is exposed to natural elements in the air; a quick polish will restore the shine and luster of a sterling silver ring. Use bleach-free or ammonia-free silver polish labeled for tarnish removal to clean sterling silver rings. A nonabrasive cloth labeled for polishing should be used to prevent scratching. Microfiber cloths are great for polishing silver jewelry.