Looking After Silver Plated Jewellery

Silver plate sounds simple enough, a thin coating of silver, covering a base (non precious) metal such as copper or brass to give the effect of the item being solid silver. However, like most things there’s a bit more to it than that!
Most plated jewellery is electroplated, this means that the item is submerged in a silver solution and an electric current passed through the solution resulting in the silver being deposited onto the metal of the jewellery. The depth of this deposited layer is usually measured in microns ( one micron is a thousandth of a millimeter so you can imagine how thin that is). Typically the layer of silver on jewellery is between one and five microns, on things such as drinking vessels (church chalices etc) the thickness can go up to 25 microns. As a very general rule of thumb with gentle use plate will wear out at a micron per year. However, there are a few things you can do to keep it looking good for longer.
1) Always wrap the jewellery up and keep it away from other items that might scratch it when it is not being used.
2) Keep the jewellery clean so that the surface does not tarnish or scratch.
3) Only clean with a jewellery cloth or gentle soap and water not with anything abrasive.
4) Never wear your jewellery when using cleaning materials or when in the shower, when swimming or in the bath.
5) Always put your jewellery on after you have applied make up and hairspray as chemicals in these can damage your plating and take it off first at night.
6) If you have something you really love which is looking a bit sad or the base metal is showing through remember you can always get it re-plated, the cost of this is usually very reasonable.
If you have any questions about jewellery care please email me helen@stonesandsilver.co.uk