Silver: Silver is a metallic element with the chemical symbol Ag and atomic number 47. It is much less expensive than gold but used just as frequently in jewelry making. Silver often symbolizes purity, clarity,
awareness, focus, and persistence. It is also associated with the moon and female energy.
Sterling silver is an alloy of 92.5% silver and 7.5% other metals, usually copper. It is often stamped with the numbers 925. For something to be considered silver, it must be at least 90% silver and 10% other metal. This alloy is stamped with 900. Fine silver (99.9% silver) is far too soft for jewelry but can often be used as a decorative element in silver pieces.
Gold: Gold is a metallic chemical element with the symbol Au and atomic number 47. It is the most malleable of all metals, making it perfect for jewelry making and jewelers all over the world. One gram of gold can be hammered into 1 square meter, and one ounce can be pounded into 300 square feet.
Chemically, gold is unaffected by air, moisture, and even the most corrosive reagents.
Gold has been highly sought after for jewelry making since the beginning of history. In medieval times, gold was believed to be beneficial to one's health. It symbolizes power, wealth, strength, happiness, warmth, love, hope, optimism, justice, balance, summer, sun, and harvest.
Traditionally, the three most popular colors of gold are yellow, rose (pink), and white. Green gold is an up and coming color that is beginning to be found in many jewelry items. Yellow gold occurs naturally and is the purest form of the metal. When used in jewelry making, it is combined with zinc or copper to form an alloy. Other colors of gold are created when different metals are mixed and used to form the jewelry alloy.
White Gold: White gold is an alloy of another white metal (such as nickel or palladium) mixed with gold. Its purity is signified in karats in the same manner as yellow gold. To maintain and/or enhance the white color of this gold, it is often plated with rhodium, which is a shiny white metal with extreme hardness. This coating, however, does wear off in time revealing the original color of the white gold.
Rose/Pink Gold: This gold has a pinkish-rose color and is an alloy of gold and other metals combined - usually copper. The highest karat weight for rose gold is 22K and can be referred to as crown gold. The higher the percentage of copper, the more intense the rose/pink/red tone will be. Eighteen karat rose gold is 75% gold and 25% copper.
Green Gold: The green tone appears when copper is left out of the alloy and is, instead, a mixture of just gold and silver. Cadmium can also be added to intensify the green color.
What is Karat Gold? Unlike a carat, which is a unit of weight used for diamonds and other gemstones, a karat is classified as a unit of purity used to describe gold. The standard starts at 24 karat gold, which is pure gold. In jewelry-making, 24 karat gold is rarely used because the pure form of gold is too soft to hold a firm shape. When gold is mixed with another metal, each karat consists of 1/24th of the amount of gold. Gold jewelry typically falls under the following karats: 22 karat gold (22K) is 22 parts gold and 2 parts other metal or metals, making it 91% gold. 18 karat gold (18K) is 18 parts gold and 4 parts other metal or metals, making it 75% gold. 14 karat gold (14K) is 14 parts gold and 10 parts other metal or metals, making it 58.3% gold. 10 karat gold (10K) is 10 parts gold and 14 parts other metal or metals, making it 41.7% gold. This is the minimum karat designation for a metal to be called gold in the U.S.
Caring For Your Jewelry
Basic care: Your jewelry should be treated with love and care. It should be treasured and enjoyed every time you put it on. There are, however, some important things to keep in mind so that your jewelry will last you for a very long time. The following are basic guidelines for keeping you and your jewelry happy: Unlike the perfect companion, most jewelry does not like to get wet, take showers with you or frolic in the sea. It is probably allergic to perfumes, lotions and hairsprays, so slather yourself up in areas where your jewelry will not touch it. Your jewelry likes to lounge about, so it should be the last thing you put on and the first thing you take off. Jewelry is already in amazing shape, so do not take it with you to hot yoga, swimming class, soccer practice, rock climbing or other strenuous physical activities. Believe it or not, regardless of price, all jewelry is delicate and needs to be taken care of. Your jewelry loves to travel, but not in the bottom of your handbag or in your pocket. It prefers instead to rest in a safe pouch by itself. It is also best avoid doing chores of certain kinds, such as mowing the lawn, hauling rocks or washing dishes. Of course jewelry is meant to be worn, seen and enjoyed - so do so with care!
Caring for gold jewelry: Gold jewelry of any karat can be lightly cleaned using a soft cloth. For a more thorough cleaning, soak your gold jewelry in a glass of warm water with a drop or two of non-detergent soap (Ivory, Dr. Bronner's, etc.) to help remove any oils and loosen buildup. Remove after a few minutes and pat dry with a soft cloth. To clean further, use a very soft toothbrush to carefully remove any dirt particles or debris.
Caring for sterling silver jewelry: Follow the directions for cleaning gold jewelry above. For silver jewelry with a high-polish surface, you can use a special silver cleaning cloth to restore the shine. For silver jewelry with a matte finish, make a watery paste of baking soda and water and rub gently to restore surface.
Caring for your wedding/engagement ring: If you wear it on a daily basis it will need to be cleaned every 1-2 weeks at least. Doing this at home is very easy and inexpensive. Most rings made of gold, platinum, diamond, sapphires and rubies can be cleaned by following these directions (the same method we suggest for cleaning gold jewelry): Place your ring in a dish of warm water with a few drops of non-detergent soap (Ivory, Dr. Bronner's, etc.). Let your ring soak for 5-10 minutes to loosen any buildup. Use a baby toothbrush and gently clean around the stone settings. Be sure to clean under the
stone setting as well. Rinse in warm water and pat dry with a soft cloth.
Getting a tune up: All the cleaning in the world won't take the place of getting your ring professionally cleaned. We recommend having this done about every 6 months.
Wearing tips: Jewelry, especially your ring, should be the last thing you put on after clothing, make-up, hairspray and perfume. The chemicals and oils in cosmetics can dull its shine, and prongs or pave settings can catch on clothing. Let your ring rest in a safe place while you do physical activity or chores around the house or garden.
Make sure to store your jewelry properly. Diamonds can scratch other stones, so store each piece separately in a jewelry box or soft pouch. Be sure to remove your ring when showering or swimming. Soap buildup from the shower can cause your ring to look dull. Swimming in chlorinated water, such as a pool or hot tub, can cause damage and pitting to gold and platinum. If you are swimming in the ocean, the cold water may cause your fingers to shrink enough so that your ring may actually slip off! Clapping can cause surprisingly excessive damage. Moving heavy items, hoisting luggage, handling heavy pots and pans, lifting weights,
biking and many other every day activities should be done while taking care not to put strain on your rings. When in doubt take it off and put in a safe place.
Caring for your pearls: Pearls are beautiful, organic gems and need very special care and treatment to maintain their natural beauty and luster. Your pearls should be the last piece of jewelry you put on and the first thing you take off. Wipe them with a clean, soft cloth or chamois. Never clean with commercial jewelry cleaner or put in an ultra-sonic cleaner. Do not steam clean. Pearls can be washed in water with a mild,
non-detergent soap (Ivory, Dr. Bronner's, etc.) and cleaned with a soft cloth. Lay them on a clean towel to dry. Do not wear while wet as the silk or string can stretch. Likewise, do not hang them to dry.
Essentials For Your Jewelry
Have you ever wanted to make your necklace longer because it was just a bit too short? How about a bracelet or anklet? Rings fit differently over time, so did you ever end up with a ring that became just a little too big? What about worrying about losing your favorite necklace or bracelet? Did you know that there is a solution for all of these things?
Extenders, ring size adjusters and safeties exist to solve all of these problems. A necklace extender is a simple chain with a clasp on one end and a jump ring on the other, that attaches to your necklace to make it a bit longer. Think of it as linking an additional piece of chain to your necklace chain. It's that simple. Extenders are a great add on to any necklace, bracelet or anklet to give it that extra length you desire. They are small, sturdy and are usually unnoticeable. You can add one inch or even up to six inches, you decide. The extender simply clips on to your necklace, bracelet, or anklet and voila. Your favorite piece of jewelry is now a different length.
A ring size adjuster or some times known as a ring guard is a simple add on to your ring that will make it a bit smaller, giving you a snug fit again. There are several different types, which is great because it gives you options. They come in rubber, sometimes plastic and other ones are metal. It is a small piece of material that wraps around the band of your ring to make it a bit thicker, therefore tightening the fit. Most times this is an excellent fix to loose rings at a small price. No need to do anything drastic or expensive to your ring just to size it down a bit.
Safeties are a magical accessory that everyone should have in their jewelry collection. You can attach a safety to your necklace, bracelet or anklet. It is a simple chain with clasps on both ends that attaches to your jewelry and provides extra security in case your jewelry unlatches unexpectedly. It will keep the ends from coming apart and will hold the piece of jewelry in place. It's a wonderful accessory that will save your favorite necklace, bracelet or anklet from being lost. It's almost unnoticeable and you can find ones that totally match your jewelry.