The highest quality silver for jewellery is called Sterling Silver or 925 Silver. It is called 925 silver because it is 92.5% pure silver. The other 7.5% is another metal (typically copper), which helps strengthen and stabilize the metal. It is rare to find jewellery that is 100% Sterling Silver since silver is very malleable (weak) and this type of silver is very easy to break.
Silver in its pure form will not tarnish, but is too soft for use in jewelry and giftware. Sterling silver will tarnish. This is not a defect, but the result of a natural chemical process that occurs when sterling silver is exposed to oxygen and other elements in the air. Other common tarnish causing elements are wool, rubber bands, and latex gloves. Humid environments will accelerate tarnishing. Preventative maintenance is the easiest way to keep your Sterling Silver looking great. Avoid exposing your Sterling Silver jewellery to direct sunlight, harsh chemicals like chlorine, cosmetics, hairspray, perfume, and perspiration, and keep items in sealed polyethylene bags when not being used.
See our Product Care page for more information on how to take care of your Sterling Silver jewellery.
Frequent light polishing with a cloth designed for use on sterling silver will also help minimise tarnish. Tarnish is easily removed when first noticed (generally a yellowish tint) but will become more difficult to remove as it turns brown and eventually black.