Care Instructions

sterling silver jewelry care: 

everything you need to know to keep your jewelry looking perfect

we at metal & marrow have a history with sterling silver, so we have an obvious bias, but there's a reason why sterling silver jewelry is such a classic choice– it looks beautiful on all skin types, it is stunning on all genders, and it never goes out of style. with proper care, your sterling silver jewelry from metal & marrow will outlast you.


 *it is important to note that these instructions apply to solid sterling silver and do not include care for gemstones, teeth, bones, or custom made memorial stones. these pieces should never be worn while bathing, showering or swimming*

what exactly is sterling silver?

sterling silver is made of at least 92.5% pure silver— hence the name sterling silver 925. sterling silver jewelry is a mixture, or an alloy, of metals that has at least 92.5% silver and 7.5% other metals, such as copper or nickel (metal & marrow pieces are all nickel free though!) sterling silver is more common than pure silver because it is both more affordable and more durable. pure silver is a super soft metal, so it’s not great for everyday wear– it’s just too malleable and easily bent out of shape.

when you alloy pure silver with harder metals like copper, you get the shine of silver without the durability problems; but the tradeoff is that the other metal, copper, oxidizes in the air. this means that it reacts to oxygen that’s naturally in the air and builds up a layer of tarnish over time.

why does sterling silver tarnish?

it is completely normal for sterling silver to tarnish when the jewelry reacts with oxygen in the air. tarnish is inevitable for sterling silver jewelry, but tarnish is removable so you can clean it and make your jewelry look brand new at any time.

tarnish is what happens when sterling silver is exposed to air over time– it’s a layer of build up that happens when the copper in sterling silver jewelry reacts with oxygen in the air. the copper can also react with other things. acids in your skin or in sweat, or chemicals in things like lotions, hairsprays, deodorants, shampoos, or perfumes can speed tarnishing of your sterling silver jewelry. even some medications you may be taking, especially certain antibiotics, can cause your sterling silver jewelry to blacken or discolor.

storing your sterling silver jewelry when you aren't wearing it:

the easiest way to delay tarnishing of your sterling silver jewelry is storing it properly. keep your jewelry away from the sun and in a cool, dry place. ziploc bags can be perfect to seal all the air out. you can even use anti-tarnishing strips or you can even use those little silica packs that you get when you get a new pair of shoes to help keep moisture away from your jewelry.

cleaning your jewelry if it has become tarnished:

don’t worry— you can clean off tarnish and make your jewelry look as good as new. there are a lot of options here, so we will list some of our favorite methods.

dish soap & water:

dish soap and warm water is a great method to clean light tarnish off of your sterling silver jewelry. in a small bowl stir a couple drops of mild dish soap into warm water until it creates some bubbles and then let your silver jewelry sit in the solution. after about five minutes use a soft toothbrush (anything harder than a soft brush does run the risk of scratching your jewelry!) to gently scrub away tarnish from your jewelry. rinse your jewelry with warm clean water and dry it with a soft, lint free cloth (again, paper towels or other abrasive clothes can scratch your jewelry!)

polishing cloth:

silver polishing cloths are soft cloths designed to clean your jewelry without scratching the surface. they are typically infused with chemical cleaners, so they can be used dry, without the need for additional products or polishing creams, making them a mess-free (although not chemical-free) way to clean silver jewelry. buff silver jewelry with the silver polishing cloth in a back and forth, rather than in a circular motion. as you scrub, the tarnish will come off onto the cloth. work in small sections, moving to a clean area of the cloth as needed.


this is a classic, simple DIY silver cleaning method. it is important to use non-gel and non-abrasive toothpaste. squeeze a small amount of it on a soft cloth and rub onto your jewelry circular motions (the same way you would a polishing cloth) to clean off the tarnish. leave it for 5 minutes and then rinse off the toothpaste with clean, warm water and dry it with a soft, lint free cloth (again, paper towels or other abrasive clothes can scratch your jewelry!)

professional polishing:

if you have already tried the above methods, or don't feel comfortable trying them professional polishing services are of course available. if you would like your piece polished through metal & marrow send us an email: