When you look at Maria Bella Jewelry, you will notice some of my pieces are made with sterling silver components and some with silver plated components. Silver is usually plated over brass in jewelry and is less expensive. The cost benefit is the reason that I use plated silver. Plated silver jewelry is less expensive to make and easier to afford for many customers. The plated chain and other components I have found look just as nice as the sterling silver jewelry parts that I have. The plated pieces will probably not last as long as the full silver ones.
Silver plated jewelry, like sterling silver jewelry, will tarnish over time. But there are care techniques you can use to extend the life of your jewelry piece. I found this care information written on the web by Nancy Janeliunas of Janeluinas Jewelry. It sounds like good solid advice to me.
"To remove tarnish from silver plate, use the same techniques or solutions that you would with solid sterling silver items. However use the least amount of polishing (or shortest exposure time needed to liquid dips) as necessary because any process that removes tarnish also removes minute amounts of silver on the surface. Over time the plate will eventually wear, some plates are thicker than others so a heavy plate will most likely last a lifetime with proper care.
To advise which is better using a chemical dip tarnish remover or a polishing cloth. I would first say that depends on the item. If there is porous stones (Turquoise, Lapis, Malachite, etc. or pearls) in your jewelry do not use the liquid dips. I prefer these dips Tarn-X in particular for quick removal of a heavy tarnish as it will remove all blackness within seconds. I do not leave parts in any longer than necessary. Then a light rub with a polishing cloth puts on a nice shine as the chemical dips leave a dull finish. Polishing cloths are my second choice (or first if my jewelry has porous stones), the Sunshine cloths in particular are the best. They are not abrasive and remove tarnish without a lot of pressure and rubbing. A last resort is tarnish removing paste or polish as it is highly abrasive and would remove too much of the plating with each polishing.
My best advice though to extend the life of a plated item is too use techniques that minimize or slow down the build up or exposure to tarnish in between wearing. The less you have to polish the longer life your item will have. Store in plastic air tight zip lock bags with anti tarnish paper, anti-tarnish cloth jewelry bags, or at least in an air tight, low humidity environment. Do not place in a card board box or on paper as they have sulfur producing compounds in them that increase the rate of oxidation."
By Nancy Janeliunas of Janeluinas Jewelry