Does Sterling Silver Rust?

A common misconception is that sterling silver rusts when in reality, it is silver. In addition, sterling silver is an alloy, a mix of pure silver and other alloys that make the metal more durable. So, does sterling silver rust, and how can you protect your device?

No, sterling silver does not rust or tarnish, but it can discolor when exposed to air and elements. However, sterling silver tarnishes over time and can get damaged, so we recommend following proper care steps to help protect your jewelry.

Also, silver has a natural resistance to the elements, so sterling silver jewelry will not rust. It is, however, important to keep your sterling silver jewelry clean and dry to prevent tarnish.

For more information on protecting your sterling silver device, you need to carefully do all it takes to prevent them from coming in contact with rust reagents. You can read more on this information below.

Can Sterling Silver Rust?

Sterling silver is capable of rusting. Other than rusting, this silver alloy is also capable of undergoing some other corrosive states such as tarnishing. This will happen if the sterling silver in question is exposed to triggering factors responsible for rust and other corrosive states.

Does Sterling Silver Rust

Why Is It Possible for Sterling Silver to Rust?

Sterling silver can rust simply because it has a lot more than silver in its physical composition. Considering that silver is one of the precious and noble metals that cannot undergo rust in their natural form, this happens because of the combination of other metals (most often copper) to form the silver alloy.

Since copper and/or other metals added to form the sterling silver can rust, this makes rusting a possibility for sterling silver. So, seeing your sterling silver item undergo this corrosive situation is not an indication that it is fake. This is because even the best of sterling silver products can experience this.

Why Is It Possible for Sterling Silver to Rust

The sulfur and salt available in the air are what interact with sterling silver and cause it to rust when it does. As a result of this, ensuring that the sterling silver is kept and used in suitable atmospheric conditions will help a lot.

How Much Silver Is Contained in Sterling Silver?

Pure silver takes up the majority of metal composed in sterling silver. No less than 92.5% of the metal composition is pure metal alone. The other 7.5% is usually copper alone. There are also situations in which one or two other metals other than copper are used to make the silver alloy. However, top-notch manufacturers and industry-standards insist that the pure silver metal in the alloy is no less than 92.5%.

How Much Silver Is Contained in Sterling Silver

This is important so that the sterling silver item in question will stand a fair chance against conditions that affect metals in the category of copper. In other words, the chances of the sterling silver item rusting or tarnishing are slim if a lot of pure silver is used to make the silver alloy.

Does Silver Metal Rust Easily?

Sterling silver items can rust because of the presence of copper or such metals in their composition. However, the chances are very slim because of the chemical features of silver in the item. Handling the sterling silver item properly by keeping it far away from conditions that can trigger rust will help your sterling silver rust-free.

Can You Use Sterling Silver Items Around Water?

Wearing and using sterling silver items around water might not seem like a great deal but you should not do this. This is because moisture is a triggering factor for rust and you would be exposing your sterling silver item to this corrosive state.

Although sterling silver does not easily rust, you should also handle it properly to keep it rust-free. Keeping it away from water is one of the ways to handle it properly. If your sterling silver is a necklace, put it off before swimming, taking your bath, doing the dishes, or any other activity that involves the use of water.

Can You Use Sterling Silver Items Around Water

Since you would need to use water to clean sterling silver serving pieces and utensils, you still need to be more protective of them. You should do this by using a towel to dry them instead of allowing the atmosphere to do this. The earlier the moisture content is off the sterling silver material, the better.

Can Human Perspiration Cause Sterling Silver Metal to Rust?

Surprisingly for many, human perspiration has enough chemicals that can cause sterling silver items to rust. People that wear necklaces and other pieces of jewelry made with sterling silver need to take note of this.

The rule of thumb is taking off such items if/when you will be engaged in strenuous activities that could cause you to sweat. In addition to this, you should be careful of how your sterling silver items come in contact with water.

How Durable Is Sterling Silver?

Durability is one of the reasons there is something called sterling silver. This is because pure silver as a precious metal does not possess enough durability if used to make items (and that includes pieces of jewelry).

How Durable Is Sterling Silver

As a result, metals such as copper have to be added in small measures to guarantee durability. As a result of this, items made out of top-quality sterling silver can remain intact for as long as 2 – 3 decades and even outlive this time frame. This is as long as it is handled and maintained appropriately.

Does Sterling Silver Turn Green?

There is the possibility of sterling silver ending up with a green discoloration. This happens especially in areas with humid and hot climates. So, people in such areas have to take proper care by frequently polishing their sterling silver pieces of jewelry with silver clothing. This is also important as some people have skins that are too sensitive for this reaction.


You now have the answer to the question “does sterling silver rust?” in this article. With this, you should be able to make informed decisions by taking proper care of your sterling silver. This is so that you would keep it rust-free and enjoy your sterling silver items for a very long time.

Evan Cooper

Evan Cooper

Hi, I’m Evan Cooper, the founder and an editor of this site, Doesitrust. I’m a chemical engineer and working in a rust-eliminating paint manufacturing company. Besides this profession, I’m a researcher and blogger.

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