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Flatlay of 925 sterling silver jewellery

In the Glow: Your Guide to Sterling Silver

Let's talk about the other precious metal.

You know us, we love gold. But there’s another, equally popular precious metal that’s also deserving of the spotlight. Bright and beautiful with a bit of edge, we’re taking a moment in appreciation of silver.   

What is sterling silver?

At Michael Hill, our beautiful silver jewellery is always crafted in 925 sterling silver. The figure ‘925’ refers to the percentage of pure silver in your jewellery piece – 92.5%. Sterling silver jewellery is real and precious, and it’s made by creating an alloy out of pure silver (also known as fine silver) and 7.5% copper. The addition of copper makes the silver harder and more durable, making it suitable for use in jewellery.

925 sterling silver is the standard for fine quality jewellery. You’ll know that your piece is genuine sterling silver if it has an engraved ‘925’ hallmark; and this stamp can be found on jewellery pieces from many of the world’s most prestigious jewellery brands.

Is sterling silver as good as gold jewellery?

The question of gold versus silver jewellery only has one true answer: the precious metal you love most is the one for you. Both gold and silver are precious metals, and if you choose quality crafted pieces and care for your jewellery properly, you’ll enjoy lots of wear from both metals.

Sterling silver is a highly versatile and modern metal. In a polished finish, it can be worn anywhere from a casual brunch to the office or a night out.

Of course, a key selling point for sterling silver is its affordability. Comparatively, it’s much more accessible than gold – so if you are looking for a statement piece, or multiple jewellery styles to layer and stack, sterling silver is a great choice.

It’s also important to note that you don’t have to choose one or the other! Sterling silver and gold are both beautiful, high quality, and precious choices for your jewellery. You can switch between the two depending on the occasion, or wear both together (we love the contrast of sterling silver alongside classic yellow gold).

What type of silver does Michael Hill use?

At Michael Hill, we use sterling silver—92.5% pure silver—to craft all of our precious silver pieces. Once we have expertly designed them into the many shapes and styles you know and love, we sign off each piece with a mark of authenticity. This is showcased by a stamp on each sterling silver piece that reads ‘925’, to illustrate its high-quality precious metal composition.

The best ways to style silver jewellery

With its versatile, modern vibe, sterling silver is perfect for experimenting with layering and stacking. Here are some of our favourite ways to wear silver:

  • Layered silver necklaces. Layering jewellery is a trend that won’t disappear anytime soon – especially since it’s easy to make this trend your own. Try layering two silver necklaces; this could be two chains in contrasting textures (such as a snake chain and a curb chain) or a chain and a pendant necklace. Once you’re comfortable with stacking, add an extra layer or two to build your statement look.

  • Stacked silver rings. Another major trend in jewellery, stacking rings is timeless and totally customisable. Start with a simple sterling silver ring, such as a barrel ring or dome ring, then stack another ring on top or on your next finger. To make your stack interesting it’s best to mix your textures, so try a unique ring shape or even a style set with diamonds. As with necklaces, you can continue to stack up your rings to build a look you love.

  • Silver layered with gold. Forget the old rules – you can most certainly mix your metals! The bright, cool tone of silver contrasts beautifully with lustrous yellow gold. A handy guide to getting your mixed-metal look right is to balance your ratios. For instance, layer one yellow gold chain with one sterling silver chain. Carry your mixed metals through to another area as well, such as your rings. Two-toned layers will look great in the same or similar jewellery styles, such as two polished dome rings or two snake chains.

How do I care for silver jewellery?

Sterling silver jewellery is at its best when it’s beautifully polished and reflective. To keep your silver jewellery shining, there are a few general rules to follow:

  • Your jewellery should be the last thing you put on in the morning (after skincare, makeup, perfumes, and so on) and the first thing you take off when you get home. This way you can avoid accidentally exposing your jewels to chemicals that might damage them; soaps, shampoos and makeup which could build up grime; or potential tangles that can occur by sleeping with your jewellery on.

  • Wear your sterling silver regularly. The natural oils in your skin can help prevent tarnish.

  • When you’re not wearing your silver jewellery, store it somewhere safe and dry, away from direct sunlight and air. You can find specialised jewellery boxes and pouches that are designed to prevent tarnish.

How do I clean sterling silver jewellery?

Give your sterling silver jewellery some regular TLC at home to keep it looking its best.

  • Clean your silver jewellery in a simple solution of warm water and mild soap to remove everyday build-up of oils, products, and grime. Soak your pieces in the solution for a few minutes, then gently clean using your fingers or a very soft toothbrush. Gently pat your jewellery dry and then allow to air-dry completely before putting them away.

  • For extra care, tarnish prevention, or to remove tarnish, a specialised silver jewellery cleaner is the best option.

If in doubt, or if you’d rather leave the care of your precious pieces to the professionals, bring your jewellery in-store to Michael Hill for complimentary cleaning.

Build your jewellery wardrobe with your favourite precious metal, or expand your styling options with something new. Explore sterling silver jewellery online >

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