Silver is an element commonly found in jewelry. Most jewelry made from silver contain sterling alloy, which is a mixture of silver combined with other types of metals to make the material more durable. If you own expensive silver jewelry, then you will need to meticulously care for the pieces to keep it shining and in good condition.
When the jewelry is not in use, be sure to keep them in an anti-tarnish cloth or bag. This is a napped cloth flannel that absorbs chemicals and gasses in the air that can cause silver tarnishing. Do not wash or get the cloth wet as this will cause it to lose its effectiveness.
When it comes to cleaning, using a polishing cloth is a good idea. There are some recommendations swirling on the Web that toothpaste is a great product for cleaning sterling silver. However, just because toothpaste cleans your teeth does not mean it is an effective cleaning agent for jewelry. Toothpaste is abrasive and can cause scratches.
If you use your jewelry often, it may begin to develop a patina. These are darkened areas on the jewelry surface accompanied by a glow. Some people actually like this look and if this is the case, then by all means leave it as it is. However, if you wish to restore the silver back to its original look, then use a polish cloth. Never wipe the jewelry with a paper towel as it contains fibers that can also scratch the surface.
The less often you wear the jewelry the better. If you must wear it, then be sure it is the last thing you put on in the morning and the first thing you remove at night. Never leave it on when entering the shower or when going to bed.
With the right care, your jewelry should retain its glossy shine and remain tarnish and scratch-free for years to come.