Caring for your Jewels by Shari jewelry is easy!
Straight and easy care of both sterling silver and copper pieces includes storing in an air-tight container when not in use, which slows tarnishing, and wiping with a jewelry polishing cloth, such as Sunshine Cloths from Rio Grande, or those sold by jewelry sections in other stores. For more complete information and understanding, please continue reading below.
The materials used in my handmade jewelry –
Due to the brittleness of fine silver, alloying silver with other metals makes a stronger, more versatile jewelry material, which can withstand a little more of a beating or being slightly bent. Alloys which contain at least 92.5% silver are considered “sterling”. Italian sterling is generally 92.6% pure. Sterling silver generally will be a copper/silver alloy; however, there have been reports that “cheap” sterling silver purchased from China, etc., do sometimes contain nickel, the metal found in jewelry to which people are the most allergic. Argentium silver, which is another widely used sterling alloy, uses germanium, due to its tendency to oxidize and tarnish much slower than its better-known copper/silver counterpart.
I use sterling silver in both copper/silver and argentium-form in my designs.
As for copper, I generally use only raw, unsealed copper, as copper which has been coated tends to lose its coating over time, whether it’s damaged during or after jewelry-creation, in the case of coatings pre-applied by jewelry-supply manufacturers, or it’s just worn off, such as in the case of post-completion application of a protective coating on a finished piece of jewelry.
Cleaning your Jewels by Shari Handmade Jewelry Pieces
My sterling silver, Argentium, and copper works can be cared for like any other sterling silver or copper jewelry you may already own, with the exception of pieces which have been pre-oxidized.
For shiny-bright pieces, use of ultra-sonic cleaners and polishing cloths is best, along with cremes which are marked specifically for jewelry.
I ask my customers to not use Tarn-Ex unless they really want to remove all patina, as this chemical causes pitting in the metal, thus the piece will tarnish quicker in the future. Tarn-Ex can also potentially harm soft stones, such as pearls, malachite, turquoise, opals, etc.
My personal preference for jewelry cleaning and polishing, which is the one I most often use for the work I sell, is Sunshine Polishing Cloths from Rio Grande. I’ve tried several other polishing cloths, and these are, by far, the best, in my opinion.