Here are a few simple guidelines to keep your jewellery looking at its best for years to come.
Avoid exposure to household chemicals, perfume, hairspray and cosmetics - put your jewellery on after applying cosmetics and hair products.
Remove jewellery before showering
Do not use silver dip on items with stones, pearls or oxidisation as it is known to remove colour from certain types of porous stones, for example pearls, and if your jewellery has an oxidised finish the dip will remove the patina.
To minimise scratching and wearing off of oxidisation it is advisable to store your items of jewellery so that they do not touch and scratch each other.
Sterling silver is an alloy made with 92.5 % silver and 7.5 % copper, over time copper reacts with sulphur found in the air, and this naturally causes the item to tarnish.
To clean sterling silver polished items I would recommend a silver polishing cloth, such as those made by Goddard's (these are widely available). For pieces with stones, polish the chain and pins with your cloth but avoid rubbing the stones.
My gold vermeil items are plated with a durable, 2.5 micron-thick layer of hard gold plating. This type of plating is known as "hard" because there is a small amount of alloying which reduces the pure 24ct gold to 23.7ct. This doubles the hardness of the deposit.
Avoid using a silver polishing cloth. Clean with a soft cloth, or with gentle detergent and a soft toothbrush.
A black or grey oxidised finish is created using a chemical treatment which advances the natural tarnishing process. It is not a permanent finish and over time can wear off. This can give the piece a wonderful antiqued character, as raised areas will wear away to a polished silver finish, leaving recessed areas black.
Do not use silver dip on items with stones, pearls or oxidisation as it is known to remove colour from certain types of porous stones, and if your jewellery has an oxidised finish the dip will remove the patina.
Store separately from your sterling silver items as it may cause them to tarnish more quickly.
If you’d like to restore the dark finish of your jewellery I am happy to reoxidise pieces. Please email me to see if this will be possible – items including pearls and other soft stones cannot usually be re-oxidised without damaging the stones.
Chrome diopside is a beautiful green semi-precious gemstone with a rather unprepossessing name! It is mined in a remote location in Eastern Siberia known as Inagli in the state of Sakha, formerly known as Yakutia.
Chrome diopside is part of a large family called “pyroxene.” The diopside branch gets its name from the Greek word, "diopsis", meaning "to have a double appearance". This probably refers to its "pleochroism", a tendency to show different colors when viewed in different crystal directions.
The deep rich green is due to chromium, hence "chrome" diopside. Stones with this rich green colour are only available in small sizes, as stones over three carats steadily darken until they lose life.
Freshwater pearls are a kind of cultured pearl that comes from freshwater mussels; they are produced mainly in China.
Cultured pearls are the response of the shell on a tissue implant. A tiny piece of mantle tissue of a donor shell is transplanted into a recipient shell. This graft will form a pearl sac and the tissue will precipitate calcium carbonate into this pocket.
Just like the shell the molluscs in which they are formed, a pearl is made up of calcium carbonate in minute crystalline form, which has been deposited in concentric layers and forms a lustrous iridescent 'nacre'.
The finest quality natural pearls, have been highly valued as gemstones and objects of beauty for many centuries, and because of this, the word pearl has become a metaphor for something very rare, fine, admirable, and valuable.
Pearls are believed to stimulate spiritual transformation, promote prosperity and success and help with digestion and emotional stress.
Pearls are the birthstone for June and the traditional 30th wedding anniversary gift.
Green Amethyst (aka Prasiolite, Vermarine, Greened Amethyst)
Prasiolite is a green form of quartz, made by heat-treating amethyst. The colour ranges from a pale yellowish green to deep green. The amethysts used to produce greened amethyst are mined mostly in Brazil.
The name prasiolite is derived from the Greek prason meaning "leek" and lithos meaning "stone", so "prasiolite" literally means "leek-green coloured stone".
It is believed that prasiolite facilitates the gap between the physical and spiritual aspects of life. It attracts prosperity through strengthening the mind, emotions and will.
Pyrite (aka Fool's Gold, Iron Pyrite)
Pyrite is an iron sulfide with the formula FeS2. This mineral's metallic lustre and brassy golden hue have earned it the nickname fool's gold. It has a striking cubic structure in its rough state.
The name pyrite is derived from the Greek πυρίτης (purites), "of fire" or "in fire". In ancient Roman times, this name was applied to several types of stone that would create sparks when struck against steel.
Pyrite is used to make marcasite jewellery. Marcasite jewellery, made from small faceted pieces of pyrite, often set in silver, has been made since the time of the Ancient Greeks. It was particularly popular in the eighteenth century, the Victorian era and with Art Nouveau jewellery designers.
The ruby is considered to be the most powerful gem in the universe, and is associated with many astral signs. To own a ruby is said to have contentment and peace. Placed under a pillow the ruby may ward off bad dreams. Given as a gift, the ruby is a symbol of friendship and love. The ruby is also the symbol of vitality and royalty.
Rubies are the birthstone for July and the traditional 40th wedding anniversary gift.
Sapphire means "blue" in Greek. These stones range in colour from a very dark, blackish blue to pale blue, as well as yellow, violet, green and clear. Today most sapphires are mined in Australia.
It is said a necklace of sapphires will cure a sore throat. The sapphire was called the "Stone of Destiny". It is believed that sapphires contribute to mental clarity and perception and can promote financial rewards.
The sapphire is the symbol of heaven and joyful devotion to God.
It is the birthstone for those born in April. Blue sapphire is traditionally given as a 65th anniversary gift.