I use a mixture of fine silver, sterling silver and gold in my jewellery pieces. I also use a variety of semi precious and precious stones. With proper care, your jewellery will retain its beauty and character for many generations to come.
Please note that due to the handmade nature of my jewellery and the natural materials used, variations will occur. Each piece is unique.
- Fine Silver is pure, non alloyed silver (this means it is not mixed with any other metals). It is much softer than sterling silver. It is commonly just used for small portions of our jewellery pieces, for example on some settings and for enameled items. Any components of the jewellery that are subject to wear (posts of earrings, the band of a ring, for example) are never made in fine silver as it is too soft.
- Sterling silver is an alloy (mixture) of fine silver (pure silver) and a very small amount of copper. The copper element makes it stronger and more durable. Most of my jewellery is made from sterling silver.
- Gold is almost always alloyed as it is extremely soft in its pure form. The differing carat weights (9, 14, 18, 22, and 24) simply refer to the proportion of pure gold versus other metals that the gold is alloyed with.
- Tarnishing is caused by oxygen and moisture coming into contact with precious metal.
- Acidity (ph balance) of a person’s skin can also cause precious metal to tarnish. Some people have more acidic skin for a variety of reasons.
- All precious metals can tarnish to some degree. Platinum and pure gold are the most tarnish-resistant metals. It is normal for metal to tarnish.
- Wearing a piece regularly can help to slow down the process of tarnishing as the metal moving against your skin and itself will help to keep it clean.
- It’s also important to keep pieces out of flowing air and humidity when not being worn. All of our jewellery comes packaged in small cotton filled boxes or pouches which are ideal to use to store your pieces.
- If you live in a humid place, then keeping a humidity absorber near where you store your jewellery can also help.
- I recommend washing precious metal jewellery by hand in warm water with a mild liquid detergent to remove dirt and grime. You can use a very soft infant’s toothbrush to get into the crevices. Do not use an adult’s toothbrush or you may scratch your jewellery. For very dirty / tarnished silver jewellery that does not contain gemstones you can also line a ceramic bowl with aluminium foil, and spinkle in some bicarb soda and dishwashing liquid. Pop your jewellery into the bowl and then pour in warm water. Let the jewellery soak for around 15 minutes or until it’s looking brighter.
- Once the piece is dry you can gently use a metal polishing cloth. These are impregnated with chemicals which help to remove tarnish and are soft enough to not scratch the metal. You can use these cloths until they are black – they shouldn’t be washed. The brand I recommend are Sunshine polishing cloths (or speak to your local jeweller). All Benjamin And The Moon jewellery purchases over $100 come with a complementary mini Sunshine polishing cloth. DO NOT use a polishing cloth on matte finish or textured jewellery, such as the front of the finger print charms. The cleaning chemicals in the cloth get caught in the textured metal and give a grey / dirty look. This is easily washed off (refer previous). Use polishing cloths on smooth surfaces only.
- Chemicals such as hairsprays, perfumes, sun cream and body lotions can damage some gemstones. Where possible apply these before you put on your jewellery.
- Do not expose your jewellery to chlorinated water or very hot water.
- Ultrasonic cleaners are machines which generate small electrical waves in warm soapy water. These will easily remove dirt and grime from gemstones and crevices (see exceptions below). These should be used with caution for some semi precious stones and never for pearls, turquoise and other soft stones. It is best to leave this method to a jeweller, as such I don’t recommend this method to customers.
- All jewellery is delicate to some degree – and you should treat it as such. Jewellery should never be slept in.
- Pieces should not rub up against other metals or harsh surfaces as they will scratch and wear. Nor should they take too much weight or force.
- It’s a good idea to store your jewellery in small boxes or pouches when not being worn to help keep it clean and prevent it from being scratched.
- Benjamin And The Moon plated jewellery is sterling silver coated with high carat Yellow Gold. In order to prolong the life of your jewellery, please avoid perfume and cosmetics, showering and cleaning products. You should also avoid wearing gold plated items in bed; bed sheets rubbing against them can wear off the surface gold.
- Gold plate will wear over time depending on how much it is worn and the types of activities you do whilst wearing it. We can re plate most items should you need this done, please contact me to discuss.
- Extreme care should be taken when cleaning & polishing gold plated jewellery. A polishing cloth may be used extremely gently. Vigorous rubbing will remove the gold so please take care!
- Sometimes a chemical solution is used to blacken or otherwise colour part or all of a piece of jewellery. Usually it is to enhance a detail or texture in the metal.
- Silver dip, ultrasonic cleaners, any type of brush and harsh cleansers are not recommended for use on areas which are blackened or patinated as part of the design. These cleaning methods may damage or remove the finish. As can vigorous rubbing with a polishing cloth.
- Take care when polishing or cleaning such designs to avoid damaging the finish.
- Gilding (or ‘keum boo’) uses an ancient technique to bond gold foil to other metals.
- Take special care when polishing or cleaning gilded areas to avoid damaging the finish. Vigorous rubbing and harsh cleansers are not recommended for gilded finishes.
Gemstones, Enamel and Textile Areas
- Gemstones and glass beads can be cleaned with warm water and a mild detergent. You can use a very soft brush for the crevices to help remove grime, such as an infant’s toothbrush.
- An ultrasonic cleaner will remove dirt and grime from gemstones – however, you should never use ultrasonic cleaners with pearls, turquoise and other soft gemstones. As such I don’t recommend ultrasonic cleaners to customers.
- Enamel is suitable for occasional wear only and should not be subjected to long exposure to sunlight. It should be treated very carefully and must not be dropped or knocked. Direct exposure to cosmetics and cleaning agents may affect colour and finish. It should be cleaned with warm water, a mild detergent and dried with a soft cloth.
- Areas with any type of fabric (silk) stitching should be avoided with the polishing cloth. Try to go around it as best you can.
Care Of Pearls
- Chemicals such as hairsprays, perfumes, sun cream and body lotions can damage pearls. Where possible apply these before you put on your pearls.
- Generally a wipe down with a gentle, soft cloth is sufficient. The soft bamboo / cotton pouch in the inner of all our gift boxes is ideal for this! It is a good idea to do this each time you take your pearls off in the evening. This removes any chemicals (see above) that may have accumulated through wear.
- Do not use your Sunshine polishing cloth for wiping down pearls. It is for precious metal only!
- Do not expose pearls to chlorinated water or very hot water.
- Remember that pearls like to be worn and can benefit from your natural skin oils.
- Delicate chains (for example snake chain and very fine chains) should be stored flat and never bent beyond their natural curve.
- A delicate chain can snap if tugged at. Please treat with care and keep away from children.
- We never recommend sleeping, showering or exercising in your jewellery and this is especially true of delicate chains.
- Our products are unsuitable for children under 16 years of age due to small parts and associated choking risk, and risk of strangulation.
- Our products are worn or used at the buyers own risk. Benjamin And The Moon takes no responsibility for any loss, damages or injury sustained through use of our products.
- Seek medical advice immediately if you have any concerns about you or your child’s health or wellbeing.
- Enjoy your jewellery, but remember it is precious and needs to be treated as such!
- If you have any queries please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or fill in the contact form on the website.