How do I clean my silver jewelry?
A natural property of sterling silver is that it will tarnish when exposed to air and more with some peoples body chemistry than others. When you are not wearing your jewelry, keep it sealed in a plastic bag to prevent oxidation. To keep the piece shiny, use a jewelry cloth to polish it. To maintain a satin finish, use a soft tooth brush with toothpaste or baking soda. This can also be used to loosen any dirt and oil on the piece.
A liquid dip cleaner can remove the oxidation that occurs around details of the piece, like the stone settings or patterns. These details are enjoyed by some people, because it personalizes each piece. If you don't want the dark details removed, do not use a liquid cleaner, just a toothbrush and mild cleaner, then dry and use a polishing cloth. Most cleaners and cloths can be bought in the jewelry department of major department stores. My favorite silver cleaner is ‘Hagarty’s silver foam cleaner’.
I have a nickel allergy. Does sterling silver contain nickel?
No, sterling silver should not contain nickel. I purchase my refined metals from a Canadian smelting company where 25% of what they manufacture is claimed from recycled metals. By law sterling silver is 92.5% fine silver and 7.5% copper. The copper is added to make the fine silver harder and better to use in jewelry. If you are really sensitive to nickel, you might want to stay away from white gold jewelry too. There is about 10% nickel in some alloys of white gold, so you may find that it is not for you. Look for white gold alloyed with palladium if you are worried about nickel.
What is the difference between precious and semi-precious stones?
The difference reflects the rarity of gemstones in ancient times but does not reflect our modern values of gemstones. Precious gems refer to diamonds, rubies, emeralds and sapphires- all with the Mohs scale hardness of 8 to 10, 10 being the hardest gemstone, the diamond. Semi-precious gems would be amethyst, garnet, aquamarine, tourmaline and other colored transparent stones. Some stones, like garnet, come in a wide variety of colors. Certain colors, like the green garnet tsavorite, is not as common and can be more expensive than a mid-grade emerald. My favorite colored gem is the rare Paraiba tourmaline. I have seen some of these stones that are more expensive than large diamonds.
What are the birthstones for each month?
Here is a list with the stones that commonly go along with the month
June Pearl or Alexandrite
October Opal or Pink tourmaline
November Golden topaz
December Blue Zircon
Do you custom design? How does this process work?
Yes, I do. It really helps me get an idea of what you are looking for if you have some pictures or can be descriptive in what you like. Once we have this conversation (via e-mail or phone), I will draw some sketches up for you to approve. I then cost things out based on the price of metal, stones used, and the time it will take me to get your finished jewelry ready. I take a 50% deposit on the full cost of the item to get started on your unique piece. It’s best to give me a lead time of 6 weeks if you are looking for jewelry for a special occasion like a wedding or anniversary. Please check out my blog to see custom work I have done in the past. I love the stories that go along with each unique piece. Special jewelry always has a story! If you are interested in the process, please watch my video on how I make custom jewelry.
What is the difference between custom and customizing?
The main difference is time and cost. In most cases, it is quicker for me to change a piece of jewelry I have already designed than to start from scratch on a new piece. If you see something on my site and just want a different type of metal, different color or size of stone, or slight alteration, that would be customizing. All you need to do is ask! I will e-mail you with a quote on the customized piece and an estimate on when I can get it done.
Do you re-design old jewelry?
Yes, I do. I enjoy doing these projects because of the stories that are behind each piece. I believe that the memories and sentiment that the original jewelry has is passed on into the new design. It is such a shame that we all have pieces from someone special that we don’t wear because it is just “not me”. If you are OK with changing it to suit your tastes then I am more than happy to help you with that. It is usually the case that I need to add more metal to the project than is in the original design. Please note that I am not able to legally stamp the karat of the metal in the new design. Also, if there is metal left over from the project, you will get that back. Again note that there is always a small amount of metal lost in the jewelry making process due to cutting, filing, and spillage from casting or ingot making. You will not be compensated for this loss. To find out more about it please read this blog.
Is my expensive piece of jewelry shipped with insurance?
Yes it is. I use an insurance broker and Fed Ex to get your higher priced jewelry to you (over $1000 CND). It is insured from the minute it leaves my studio to the time you sign for the package. I will provide you with a quote on the shipment once I have your ship to address.
Do you do repairs?
I will gladly repair my own work but I do not repair others. Most repairs are free of charge, but I will decide once I know the story behind the repair. I also make mates to those sad lost earrings. Just contact me with a photo of the one you still have and I will give you a quote to make it whole again.