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  • One of the best (and coolest) tips for avoiding excessive oxidation to your silver and copper jewelry is to WEAR IT… AS OFTEN AS POSSIBLE!  Over time, the oils from your skin will build up on the surface of your piece, slowing down the oxidation process.  Simply wipe your pieces with a soft dry cloth before storing.

  • Do not sleep while wearing your wire wrapped jewelry.  I have learned the hard way that waking up with your hair tangled up in your jewelry will cause severe damage to both your hair and your jewelry!  Take a second to remove your pieces and at the least, put them on the nightstand.

  • It’s important to store your delicate items properly.  If your jewelry has dangles (as in earrings, bracelets, etc.) it’s best to either hang these pieces or lay them out in a jewelry drawer.  Tangled metal wire on stones can leave scratches, not to mention damage your handmade collectible.

  • Avoid wearing your jewelry while bathing or showering.  Chemicals from commercial soaps and shampoos will damage some minerals.  In addition, the buildup caused from these substances will make your pieces appear dull and dingy.  By preventing the formation of this film, you reduce the need for polishing your pieces.

  • If deep cleaning is necessary, you can submerge or even soak your jewelry in warm soapy water (use a mild dish soap) to soften the dirt and debris.  Use an old soft toothbrush to gently clean your wire wrapped pieces and rinse when done.  Be mindful of the stones in your piece before using this process to clean your jewelry.

  • The items I create are not designed to be worn during activities such as sports, swimming, gardening or cleaning.  Protect your pieces from sharp blows, scratches, chemicals and abrasives.

  • Inspect your jewelry regularly for any possible problems.  Addressing signs of damage or loose stones will prevent further damage or gemstone loss and keep all your pieces in excellent shape for a long time.

  • Avoid cleaning damaged jewelry.  Additional handling of damaged pieces is likely to exacerbate or worsen the problem.  If you find a piece of jewelry is damaged, it should be set aside and, if possible, repaired as soon as possible

  • When not in use, it is best to store your jewelry pieces in airtight zip lock bags.  You could even place a silicone pouch in the bag to help keep the pieces from tarnishing.  I save and use the ones I find in pill bottles, new purses and handbags, or some clothing packages.  THIS TIP DOES NOT APPLY TO JEWELRY CONTAINING OPALS OR PEARLS.  Storing these delicate gems in an environment that’s too dry will cause permanent, irreversible damage.

General Guidelines to Keep Your Pieces Damage Free

  • One of the best (and coolest) tips for avoiding excessive oxidation to your silver and copper jewelry is to WEAR IT… AS OFTEN AS POSSIBLE!  Over time, the oils from your skin will build up on the surface of your piece, slowing down the oxidation process.  Simply wipe your pieces with a soft dry cloth before storing.

  • Do not sleep while wearing your wire wrapped jewelry.  I have learned the hard way that waking up with your hair tangled up in your jewelry will cause severe damage to both your hair and your jewelry!  Take a second to remove your pieces and at the least, put them on the nightstand.

  • It’s important to store your delicate items properly.  If your jewelry has dangles (as in earrings, bracelets, etc.) it’s best to either hang these pieces or lay them out in a jewelry drawer.  Tangled metal wire on stones can leave scratches, not to mention damage your handmade collectible.

  • Avoid wearing your jewelry while bathing or showering.  Chemicals from commercial soaps and shampoos will damage some minerals.  In addition, the buildup caused from these substances will make your pieces appear dull and dingy.  By preventing the formation of this film, you reduce the need for polishing your pieces.

  • If deep cleaning is necessary, you can submerge or even soak your jewelry in warm soapy water (use a mild dish soap) to soften the dirt and debris.  Use an old soft toothbrush to gently clean your wire wrapped pieces and rinse when done.  Be mindful of the stones in your piece before using this process to clean your jewelry.

  • The items I create are not designed to be worn during activities such as sports, swimming, gardening or cleaning.  Protect your pieces from sharp blows, scratches, chemicals and abrasives.

  • Inspect your jewelry regularly for any possible problems.  Addressing signs of damage or loose stones will prevent further damage or gemstone loss and keep all your pieces in excellent shape for a long time.

  • Avoid cleaning damaged jewelry.  Additional handling of damaged pieces is likely to exacerbate or worsen the problem.  If you find a piece of jewelry is damaged, it should be set aside and, if possible, repaired as soon as possible

  • When not in use, it is best to store your jewelry pieces in airtight zip lock bags.  You could even place a silicone pouch in the bag to help keep the pieces from tarnishing.  I save and use the ones I find in pill bottles, new purses and handbags, or some clothing packages.  THIS TIP DOES NOT APPLY TO JEWELRY CONTAINING OPALS OR PEARLS.  Storing these delicate gems in an environment that’s too dry will cause permanent, irreversible damage.

Caring For Natural Gemstones and Minerals

  • The best care you can give your handmade gemstone jewelry is to simply not wear it when swimming, bathing or during activities that cause perspiration.  Almost all the gemstones I use are natural, therefore can be damaged by chemical reactions.  Chlorine, salt water, perspiration, perfumes… all can cause damage, change of color, staining, etc.  I’m not saying you shouldn’t wear your beauties whenever you want!  Just take a moment to realize that a minute or two of caution can save these items from damage and allow you to enjoy them for years to come.

  • Avoid direct contact with perfumes, lotions, etc.

  • Never use ultrasonic cleaners on your gemstone jewelry unless you are familiar with the gemstone and absolutely sure it will stand up to the heat and chemicals used in most cleaning solutions.  Many organic minerals are porous and will be damaged beyond repair.

  • Avoid using paper towels or tissue paper to polish your jewelry.  Because of the fibers in these products, fine scratches can form on the surface of some materials; this is especially true with pearls, opals, silver and gold.  Use of professional polishing cloths is always recommended to polish your handmade pieces.

  • Never leave or store your natural gemstone jewelry (especially pearls and opals) near sources of heat or cold such as fireplaces, heat and air conditioning vents, or open windows.

  • Avoid prolonged exposure to direct sunlight as this may cause fading or other unfavorable changes to the color of some minerals and gemstones.

  • Some gemstones are incredibly sensitive to water, so always use caution when cleaning jewelry containing any type of gemstone you aren’t familiar with.  Selenite, for example, will dissolve in water.

SPECIAL INSTRUCTIONS FOR PEARLS AND OPALS:

  • Pearls and opals are especially delicate in nature.  Even something as simple as household dust can scratch the delicate surface of these materials, so use extra caution when cleaning or polishing pieces made with these precious gems.  Store your pearl and opal jewelry separately from other pieces to minimize accidental contact or scratches caused by your other pieces.

  • Opals will craze (develop cracks on the surface) and lose their play of color if their water evaporates.  Storing your opal jewelry pieces wrapped in soft, moist cotton may prolong their life.

  • Be especially careful when taking opal jewelry strait from your temperature-controlled home into extreme cold or hot temperatures outside.  Keep opal pieces under your clothes if possible, to help minimize potential damage caused from the sudden temperature change.

Polishing Oxidized Copper

Nearly all of my copper pieces are oxidized and polished to bring out the fine detail of the wire weaving.  Oxidation will continue to occur naturally over time; this is true for all metals, but is particularly noticeable in copper.  I recommend that you DO NOT use standard polishing creams or liquids on oxidized copper pieces as these substances will completely remove the oxidation and irreversibly change the look of your piece.  Instead, I use the following methods to polish my oxidized jewelry:

  • Professional jewelry polishing cloth (if you received one from me, it can be used until both sides are completely black)

  • “0000” ultra-fine steel wool, which is available in most hardware stores.  Be careful not to rub the stones too hard, as it can cause scratches.

I have not personally tried the following, but have seen several jewelry designers recommend this as an alternative solution for touching up your pieces:

  • A cotton cloth with a mixture of ketchup and salt.  The acidity in the ketchup and abrasion from the salt removes tarnish from jewelry.  Be careful to not over polish your oxidized copper.  If you remove too much of the patina, the result will be less than desirable.  Worcestershire sauce also works wonders for minimizing tarnish

Polishing Silver, Gold, or

Raw Copper

If I have several silver pieces that need attention, I use the following method.I find it’s much less laborious than polishing each piece separately using a product such as Jewel Brite or any other professional grade jewelry polish. These instructions are intended for sterling, silver-filled, gold, brass, and raw (not oxidized) copper jewelry only.Using these instructions to polish oxidized copper will completely remove the patina, or oxidation, and you will be very unhappy with the result.As previously stated, you must be mindful of whatever gemstones are in your pieces before following through with this process.

You will need the following items:

  • Small bowl (like a cereal bowl)

  • 1 piece of aluminum foil (large enough to cover interior of the bowl)

  • 1 tablespoon salt

  • 1 tablespoon baking soda

  • 1 tablespoon dish detergent

  • 1 cup HOT water

  1. Place the aluminum foil inside the bowl

  2. Place salt, baking soda and dish washing liquid on top of the foil

  3. Place jewelry on top of the salt, etc.

  4. Pour HOT water over everything and let it sit 5 to 10 minutes

  5. If there is a lot of tarnish or dirt on the piece, you can use an old soft toothbrush to gently brush these things off, rinse, then continue soaking for a few extra minutes if necessary

  6. When done, rinse jewelry in cool water and dry completely dry using a soft cotton or microfiber cloth