What is “Sterling Silver”?
Sterling Silver is considered a precious metal, consisting of 92.5% pure silver. (This is why it is sometimes referred to as 925 silver.) The other 7.5% of the alloy is usually copper, which strengthens the silver, making it durable without compromising it's appearance. Sterling silver can tarnish over time due to the natural chemical reaction that occurs when exposed to air. Since Sterling Silver is a solid metal (unlike gold-fill jewelry with it's brass core) you can polish your piece to your heart's content, without worrying about removing any outer layers.
What does “Gold-Fill” mean?
Despite the somewhat misleading name, gold-fill jewelry is not actually filled with gold, but rather the opposite. To make gold-fill jewelry, multiple layers of solid gold are pressure-bonded using extreme heat to a core of high quality jeweler's brass. The result of this technique results in a thick layer of gold that creates a durable, long-lasting product. Unlike gold-plated jewelry that only has a thin layer of gold that can easily chip or flake. Gold-filled jewelry is the perfect alternative to solid gold that offers both quality and value. Just like Sterling Silver, gold-fill pieces can naturally tarnish over time but can be easily cleaned with a polishing cloth. Be aware that you should only polish your gold-fill pieces when they are dull or tarnished with a light touch. Doing this too often, or with too much pressure can eventually rub away the outer layer of gold.
Can Gold make my skin turn green?
You may have heard that gold jewelry can turn skin green or black after prolonged wear. Though this is very rare, it may occur even when using high-quality materials including solid gold pieces. Contrary to popular belief, this discoloration is not caused by the pieces themselves, but rather from a few common external factors. The three common causes for this include:
Since gold is a soft metal, makeup and other cosmetics can contain compounds that are harder than gold. This can cause tiny particles to rub off over time, and when the particle dust comes in contact with an absorbent surface, like your skin, it can form a black or green smudge.
Corrosion of metals
Even 14k gold contains non-gold alloys in it and sweat and natural oils from your body can cause corrosion of these non-gold metals. This can leave a dark chemical compound behind which can stain your skin and can be worsened when in semi-tropical locations or near the ocean where salt is in the air.
The Chlorine from pools and hot tubs can eat away at gold and other metals, leading to corrosion and leaving behind black or green smudges on the skin.
Always remove your jewelry before applying cosmetics, and wash hands thoroughly before putting them back on.
Always take off your jewelry before entering into chlorinated water.
Clean your pieces often and take off and store when sleeping
How do I clean my jewelry and how often should I clean it?
After each wear, gently remove makeup and oils that may have transferred from your skin to your jewelry by wiping it gently with a soft cloth. If you've been sweaty that day, or if the piece has product on it (especially sunscreen) then it is recommended to give it a quick rinse in lukewarm water and then drying it with a soft cloth. Taking off your jewelry at night will also increase its longevity.
If you know your piece was exposed to large amounts of sunscreen, sweat, or other chemicals or products it is recommended that you give it a deep clean ASAP. Here is the best way to clean your piece:
1. Get a bowl of warm water and mix in tiny amount of gentle soap or mild dish soap
2. Soak your piece in the bowl for a minute or two, and then gently scrub the piece with an ultrasoft toothbrush.
3. Rinse under lukewarm water a few times and then dry extremely well for storage.
How do I care for my beadwork jewelry?
Since thread has memory, it is best to store your beadwork pieces flat or hanging when not wearing. Never wear your beadwork jewelry while showering, swimming, or during strenuous activities.