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Gold Purity, Color and Care

Gold is a noble metal prized since ancient times for its beauty and purity since it does not rust, tarnish or corrode like most other metals. Pure gold, known as 24-karat gold, in general is too soft for fine jewelry. Pure gold is alloyed with other metals, usually silver, copper, zinc, nickel or palladium (for white gold), to make it more durable and practical for everyday wear. The fineness of gold is based on the purity level and the unit of purity is measured in karats. A karat (abbreviated as k or K) is a unit from 1 to 24 that indicates the pure gold content of a piece of jewelry. Below is the minimum percentage of pure gold for each of the common karat weights and hallmarks that can be found on each item indicating the fineness.

18 Karats – 75.0% pure gold (18 parts out of 24), metal stamp – 18k or 750
14 Karats – 58.3% pure gold (14 parts out of 24), metal stamp – 14k, 583 or 585
10 Karats – 41.7% pure gold (10 parts out of 24), metal stamp – 10k or 417

White gold is alloyed with other metals that are white in nature but is brittle and usually requires a rhodium plated finish to give it strength and a bright white appearance. Although rhodium is an extremely hard element, it may wear off over time and need to be re-plated, which is a simple process.

Rose gold is created by using large amounts of a copper alloy, which by nature will patina over time. The gold and metal alloy ratio is the same as the other gold colors, there is just a different mixture used to create the pink hue.

Gold is a natural element, which is affected by harsh chemicals such as bleach, chlorine or other cleaning products. For the best results, polish gold items with a jewelry polishing cloth. A solution of warm water and detergent-free soap with a soft-bristled brush will work also. Store your gold jewelry in soft cloth bags or the original box to protect them from the elements and other jewelry that may scratch them. Ultrasonic cleaners may be used to clean unadorned gold jewelry, but extreme caution should be used when it is set with gemstones. See gemstone care for more information.

 

Platinum Attributes and Care

Platinum is one of the rarest and heaviest elements in the Earth's crust. It is a true white metal, that requires no plating and the natural white sheen will never fade. Platinum is the most pure precious metal, is more durable than gold and is hypoallergenic. Its incredible strength makes it the most durable choice for everyday wear. It is hard to scratch but is not scratchproof. Our platinum jewelry is made from 95% pure platinum and 5% other alloys. Common hallmarks: PLAT, 950 Plat, PT, and Pt950.

To clean the naturally occurring patina produced by daily wear simply buff it with a soft cloth or soak in a solution of warm soapy water. 

 

Sterling Silver Purity and Care

Sterling silver is by far the most popular silver alloy in the world for jewelry. Sterling silver is an alloy consisting of 92.5% fine silver and 7.5% other metals (usually copper). Fine or pure silver is too soft and too easily damaged to be used in fine jewelry. Common hallmarks: .925, sterling, sterling silver.

The oxidation of sterling silver is a natural process and does not mean that it comes from cheap or defective material. It is important to avoid exposing sterling silver to harsh chemicals such as bleach, ammonia, chlorine, cosmetics and perfumes. Cleaning and wearing silver jewelry regularly will help prevent tarnishing and maintain its shine. Immediately upon noticing any discoloration, use a gentle polish made specifically for removing tarnish or use a jewelry polishing cloth to maintain and restore the luster.

Storing sterling silver jewelry in the open air and humidity for extended periods can cause tarnish to build-up quickly. We recommended that you keep your sterling silver jewelry in an airtight polyethylene bag or a tarnish proof pouch. Avoid storing your sterling silver jewelry in with other jewelry that may scratch them or directly on wood surfaces, because wood usually contains acids that can mar the finish.

 

Caring for Gold-Plated and Rhodium-Plated Jewelry

To clean gold or rhodium plated jewelry, we recommend using a small amount of mild liquid detergent and warm water in a non-metal bowl. Rub your jewelry gently with a soft cloth to clean, rinse thoroughly to remove any excess detergent then dry promptly with a soft cotton towel. Soaking is discouraged. Keep in mind, silver and gold are relatively soft metals, which can be scratched if using a coarse cloth for cleaning. We DO NOT recommend cleaning with a liquid silver or gold cleaner or polishing with a pretreated jewelry cloth intended for silver or gold items with no coating. These cleaners can break down and shorten the life of the gold or rhodium plating.

 

Enameled Jewelry Care

Materials used for epoxy enameling are strong and durable. To ensure the enamel stays in place do not bend jewelry. Enameling cannot take heat from over polishing, steaming or very hot ultrasonic cleaners.

 

Contemporary Metals and Care

316L Stainless Steel, also known as surgical steel, does not corrode, rust or tarnish but unfortunately it is not a scratch free metal. It puts up with more abuse than gold, silver or platinum and is more affordable but it is also naturally prone to scuffs and marks. This normal sign of wear is not a defect in manufacturing or the material. Stainless steel may be cleaned with a steam cleaner or hot water and soap to remove dirt embedded in diamond bezels or between links. Soaking is discouraged. Ultrasonic cleaners may be used on stainless steel jewelry without gemstones.

Titanium is lighter and stronger than stainless steel; it is resistant to corrosion, dent resistant, has a silvery gray color and is hypoallergenic. It will scratch and show signs of wear over a period of time. This normal sign of wear is not a defect in manufacturing or the material. Titanium may be cleaned with a steam cleaner or hot water and soap to remove dirt embedded in diamond bezels or between links. Ultrasonic cleaners may be used on titanium jewelry without gemstones.

Tungsten is one the hardest and most resilient of the contemporary metals, it is less likely to scratch and shows very little signs of wear. However, it may also crack or break with a strong blow, which is non-repairable, but under normal conditions is very resilient and will last a lifetime. Clean with soap and hot water or a steam cleaner. Do not use ultrasonic or any other cleaners or chemicals for cleaning your tungsten jewelry. Tungsten items are not suitable for engraving due to the strength and hardness of the material.

Ceramic is a high-tech, inorganic, non-metallic material that is valued for its scratch resistance, heat resistance, hypoallergenic and colorfast properties. Ceramic jewelry has a greater hardness than titanium and is less likely to scratch but will exhibit signs of wear and tear at some point. The potential for cracking does exist, so keep rings away from extreme forces. Clean with soap and hot water, alcohol, or a steam cleaner. Do not use ultrasonic or any other cleaners or chemicals for cleaning your ceramic jewelry. Ceramic items are not suitable for engraving due to the strength and hardness of the material.

Cobalt is a newer material that is lightweight, hypoallergenic, has a platinum look that differentiates it from both tungsten and titanium. It is more scratch resistant than titanium but not quite as hard as tungsten. Rings will not chip or crack and are sizable as well as engravable. Clean with mild soap and water then gently dried with a soft cloth. Do NOT expose to harsh chemicals like chlorine.

 

Bronze Jewelry Care

Bronze is an alloy of copper and tin, and is as rich in tone as it is in history. For thousands of years, cultures around the world have produced works of high art using bronze, and the metal continues to be a growing jewelry trend with a unique, contemporary edge. Like copper, the patina that can form on bronze jewelry gives it an attractive aged look.

Similar to sterling silver, bronze jewelry is prone to oxidation so it will tarnish because it is a copper alloy. When exposed to air and moisture will develop discoloration in the finish or form a greenish layer of build-up on the surface. Bronze needs to be keep dry and cleaned on a regular basis.

Cleaning bronze is simple, first use a jewelry polishing cloth to wipe down your item then apply some mild soap and rub it to take out any dirt that has accumulated. Rinse it with water, and dry it using a soft towel. Bronze jewelry may also be cleaned with a bronze or brass cleaner (for bronze) commonly found at any store that sells cleaning products. Never dip the jewelry in the cleaner, always use a cloth soaked in the cleaner and hand apply.

 

Diamond Key Points

A diamond is a precious gemstone composed of crystals of pure carbon that have been subjected to tremendous heat and pressure. It is the hardest natural substance found on earth. Diamonds are graded based on four primary elements called The Four C's, which refers to the cut, color, clarity, and carat weight.

The cut refers to not only the shape but also the proportions, symmetry and polish, which has the greatest influence on a diamond's light performance or brilliance.

The color refers to whiteness of a diamond and the color scale is based on its lack of color. The color grade for white diamonds runs from D-F (colorless), G-J (near colorless), K-M (faint yellow), N-R (very light yellow) to S-Z (light yellow). Completely colorless diamonds are rare.

The clarity refers the existence or absence of naturally occurring internal inclusions or external blemishes that are present in almost all every diamond. The clarity scales begins with FL-IF (flawless) and moves down to VVS1-VVS2 (very, very slightly included), VS1-VS2 (very slightly included), SI1-SI2 (slightly included), and I1, I2 and I3 (included, may be visible to the unaided eye). A flawless diamond is very rare.

The weight of a diamond is measured in carats and does not accurately reflect its dimensions. Diamonds of equal weight may appear slightly different in size, depending on their depth and proportions. One carat is equal to approximately 1/5 of a gram. You may also see the weight of diamond referred to in points. One carat is comprised of 100 points and each point is equal to 1/100 or 0.01 of a carat. Therefore, a 25-point diamond is equal to 1/4 or 0.25 carat.

The white diamonds in all of our fine jewelry are natural and have not been enhanced in any way. The black diamonds have undergone the traditional heated or irradiated enhancements to create the unique black color. Diamond weights in all of our jewelry adhere to diamond market standards and are approximate.

 

Cultured Pearl Treatments and Care

Pearls are organic gems produced by a living organism. Because natural pearls are so rare and difficult to find most pearls available today are cultured. The majority of freshwater and Akoya cultured pearls are often bleached to achieve uniform color or enhance their appearance and may also be polished to clean and improve their luster. Dyes, heat treatment, and irradiation are sometimes applied to produce a wide range of colors. Most South Sea and Tahitian cultured pearls do not require enhancements to create or improve their color.

Pearls require special care because they are sensitive to chemicals and harsh environmental conditions. To care for your cultured pearls, wear them often and keep them away from perfumes, hairspray, abrasives, solvents, and nail polish removers. Simply wipe them with a soft cloth to clean them. Do not use ultrasonic cleaners, liquid soap or other chemical products unless it is specifically designed for that purpose. Like your skin, cultured pearls contain water and may dehydrate and crack if exposed continuous arid conditions. Avoid storing pearls in airtight places, they will benefit from the moisture in the air.

 

Gemstone Treatments and Care
Historically and traditionally nearly all natural gemstones have been enhanced to improve their appearance. The enhancement techniques vary within each stone variety and change as new and better methods are developed. Defined below are some of common types of enhancement treatments that improves the appearance or durability of a gemstone. Some enhancement processes are universal and permanent, such as heated and irradiated treatments. Others are common and may require special care to avoid damage, such as coating or oiling. Color range varies on all natural stones so please allow for slight variations in shades.

Bleaching - The use of heat, light and/or other agents to lighten or remove a gemstone's color

Coating - The use of such surface enhancements as lacquering, enameling, inking, foiling or sputtering of films to improve appearance, provide color or add other special effects.

Dyeing - The introduction of coloring matter into a gemstone to give it new color, intensify present color or improve color uniformity.

Filling - The filling of surface-breaking cavities or fissures with colorless glass, plastic, solidified borax or similar substances. This process may improve durability and/or appearance, and/or to add weight.

Heating - The use of heat to effect desired alteration of color, clarity and/or phenomena. Heat enhanced color and/or clarity treatments are permanent.

Heating & Pressure - The use of heat and pressure combined to effect desired alterations of color, clarity and/or phenomena.

Impregnation  - The impregnation of a porous gemstone with a colorless agent (usually plastic) to improve durability and appearance.

Oiling/Resin Infusion  - The filling of surface-breaking fissures with colorless oil, wax, resin or other colorless substances, except glass or plastic, to improve the gemstone's appearance.

Irradiation - The use of neutrons, gamma rays or beta particles (high energy electrons) to alter a gemstone's color. The irradiation may be followed by a heating process. Irradiated enhanced colors are permanent.

Diffusion  - The use of chemicals in conjunction with high temperatures to produce ARTIFICIAL color change and/or asterism-producing inclusions.

Waxing/Oiling  - The impregnation of a colorless wax, paraffin or oil in porous opaque or translucent gemstones to improve appearance.

 

Basic Gemstone Care

Every day wear and tear can jar stones loose a little at a time, as with all fine jewelry, the stone setting should be checked daily on frequently worn items and professionally checked at least twice a year. By inspecting and taking the proper precautions when performing daily activities, your gemstone jewelry can last a lifetime.

The best way to clean your gemstone jewelry is in a bowl of water with a few drops of ordinary dish soap. Using a soft bristle brush, scrub gently behind the stone where grime can collect. Then rinse and pat dry with a soft cloth. When using a jewelry cleaner make sure it specifies that it is safe to use with your gemstone.

A home ultrasonic cleaner should be used with extreme caution. It can be used to clean unadorned gold jewelry, but it may damage any gem that has many inclusions or has been enhanced with a treatment that is not permanent such as oiling. When in doubt, do not use it.

Every day household items can ruin your gemstones. Make sure not to expose them to the chemicals in cleaning products, hair care products, perfumes and cosmetics. Store your gemstone jewelry in a cloth-lined box or soft pouch and keep them away from other jewelry, which may scratch them.

Special Gemstone Care – The following gemstones are especially vulnerable to heat and/or sudden temperature changes, chemicals, cosmetics and ultrasonic cleaning: amber, emeralds, opals, pearls, lapis, tanzanite, tourmaline and turquoise.

 

Synthetic vs Imitation Gemstones

A synthetic (sometimes refereed to as created) gemstone is manmade or laboratory grown from synthetic materials that have essentially the same physical and chemical properties as a naturally occurring counterpart and are as stable in color and composition.

An imitation gemstone is a manufactured product fabricated from materials that imitate or resemble the appearance but does not duplicate the characteristic properties of a natural gemstone. Imitation gemstones require special care such as avoiding household chemicals, cosmetics and sudden shock.