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925 Sterling Silver

925 refers to the 92.5 percent content of silver in the alloy. The other 7.5 percent usually consists of copper, which does not change the color of silver but adds to its hardness.

Silver turns black when it reacts with sulfur in the air and in perspiration. Silver containing copper, a more reactive metal, will tarnish and dull. Buy a silver polish or silver cloth to clean it before heavy buildup.

German Silver

The metal known as German silver is an alloy made of copper, nickel, and zinc. It resembles silver in appearance, may be engraved, and is much harder than sterling silver.

Because German Silver contains no silver, the material doesn't tarnish but can get dirty from perspiration and normal wear. You can clean German silver jewelry right at home for virtually no cost to you. Get a clean toothbrush and gently scrub jewelry with either baking soda or toothpaste. Rinse and dry with a soft cloth thoroughly to return your item to its normal shine.