Jewelry Care

To care for your jewelry and keep it clean and ready to wear, gently wipe off excess make-up and skin oils after each wearing.   Use a nub free, 100% cotton cloth and gently wipe the piece clean using only the soft pads of your fingers. Put your jewelry on your body after applying makeup, hairspray, perfumes and/or any type of lotions. Never expose your jewelry to household chemicals or chlorinated water. These chemicals can do damage to the jewelry over time.

Do not sleep with your jewelry on as movement causes stress on all moving parts. Always remove your jewelry at night or during the day when you don't need to wear it.  Exercising, swimming or doing household chores while wearing your jewelry could eventually leave a film behind, dulling the color and shine!

If you normally use particularly purchased jeweler's cloths to keep your jewelry clean and shiny, be sure to use fresh cloths since the dirt and grit left on the cloth from a previous use will now leave scrapes and pits in the piece you are trying to clean and polish.

Always remove your rings and fine jewelry before using any product that contains bleach!  Bleach can cause gold and other metal alloys to breakdown leaving the metal irreparably damaged. This includes swimming pools and bathing in hot tubs as chlorine products are added to prevent bacteria growth.

Never use toothpaste or other abrasives to clean metal or stones.  You will find countless websites that recommend toothpaste as a cleaner, but this is not an accepted practice by fine jewelers.  And remember! Any alcohol can tarnish gold and silver plating, that includes perfumes, nail polish remover, and/or pretty much anything that contains a sufficient amount of pure alcohol.
Chains might tangle if handled in certain manner so please keep this in mind. You must keep all multiple chain jewelry contained in baggy on carton. Store in jeweler's tissue or a soft bag. 

Sterling Silver:
When cleaning sterling silver remember that it is a very soft metal and can easily be marred by a fingernail or wadded piece of fabric pushed roughly against the metal surface. 
When caring for your jewelry, never use anything but 100% cotton as a polishing cloth since paper, polyester, and coarse fabrics often contain wood fibers or synthetics. These materials may impart fine scratches in the metal, especially on sterling silver. 
Tarnish is a naturally occurring process of Sterling Silver called oxidation. Tarnish begins to appear as a golden tone, and then quickly gets darker. Simply wearing your Sterling Silver jewelry will reduce the rate of tarnish, as body oils slow the rate of tarnish. To help retard tarnish on sterling silver, wrap the piece in jeweler's tissue paper and place it inside a plastic zip lock bag and seal.
To remove fingerprints, light grease or dirt, add a small amount of mild liquid soap to a half cup of warm water, soak 2-3 minutes, rinse thoroughly with clean water and dry completely before storing in an air tight plastic bag.


Stones:
Be careful when using any soaking method to clean jewelry that has soft stones such as amber, lapis lazuli, or turquoise.  Extended soaking in any solution may harm the polish on the stone. Never use chlorine bleach to clean jewelry.
To remove excessive tarnish, polish with a 100% cotton cloth and a good nonabrasive metal cleaner.   Be sure to remove any remnants of the cleaner from gemstones and rinse thoroughly with clean water.

Swarovski Crystals:
The longevity of your hand crafted jewelry will depend on the care you give it. Swarovski crystals are known for their purest quality, luminosity and clarity.
We recommend washing Swarovski crystal by hand in lukewarm water to which a few drops of a mild dish detergent has been added. Then rinse under running water and dry with a soft, lint-free cloth to avoid spotting and lint spoiling the shine. Under no circumstances should any abrasive or corrosive detergents be used; glass or window-cleaning fluids should also be avoided, as they often cause streaking. When handling your crystal, it is advisable to wear cotton gloves to avoid leaving fingerprints.

OUR MATERIALS

Sterling Silver:
Sterling Silver is a white and highly reflective precious metal. Sterling refers to silver that is 92.5% pure, which is stamped on the metal. Sterling silver is 92.5% pure silver and 7.5% copper.  The copper is necessary for durability and strength since 100% pure silver is too soft to hold up on it's own.  Silver is a wonderful neutral color trend these days, and guess what else?  Yes, you can mix it with your gold jewelry too!
 
Silver Plate:
Any alcohol can tarnish gold and silver plating, that includes perfumes, nail polish remover, and/or pretty much anything that contains a sufficient amount of pure alcohol.
This means a silver coating on a base metal, usually electroplated or dipped.  It's a cheaper alternative to sterling silver; however, since it has a thin coating, it can be scratched off easily or dulled if not cared for properly.  This is what the cheap fashion jewelry and kid jewelry in large stores is usually made off.  You know the kind...bright and shiny silver for a few weeks or months, if you're lucky, and then a dull, matte grayish metal color.  The exception to this, from what I've seen, is when the pieces are not in direct contact with skin or clothing.  For example, small silver plated beads spread out among larger non-silver beads...the larger beads lift the small plated ones away from skin contact and fabric, thereby leaving the plating mostly untouched, unscratched and still shiny. 

14k Gold Filled:
Our gold filled beads are made by applying a layer of gold to a base of less costly metal. This produces a much thicker surface of gold than Gold Plating. The minimum layer of karat gold must equal at least 1/20th of the total weight of the item. Use care when buffing Gold Filled beads to avoid removing the gold layer.

Gold-Fill:
Also known as rolled gold, gold-fill products are made by bonding gold with a core of brass.  Gold is essentially rolled around the brass core, which explains the term "rolled gold".  In the U.S., gold filled items must contain 20% gold by weight.  This product has 100 times more gold than gold plated product, and will last a lifetime if cared for properly. 

Vermeil:
Vermeil is a gold-plating process which was developed in France in the mid-1700s. In the 19th century, France banned production of vermeil because the process involved the use of mercury. Present-day vermeil refers to an overplating of gold onto silver using a safe electrolytic process.  The result is a bright and shiny gold surface.

Swarovski Austrian Crystals:
Our crystals are genuine Swarovski (Austrian) Crystals are considered to be one of the finest products of their kind in the world It contains a minimum of 32% PbO, making the crystal optically very pure, and it is faceted with high precision, which creates beautiful prisms. Brilliant colors are added to these crystals to create beads of dazzling beauty and a wide variety of shapes and sizes. Swarovski Crystal is unmatched in quality and distinction.

Beading Wire:
More elegant and higher-end jewelry requires a nicer "drape", better durability and a more professional look.
Always avoid contact with chemicals, such as pool and sea water, hair spray and perfume, household cleansers, even hard water.  These could ruin the metals or stones, changing the color, making them more brittle, etc.  You can help avoid these things by not swimming with your jewelry pieces on and by putting your jewelry on last when getting ready to go out somewhere.

Erika Peña Designs is not responsible for improper cleaning habits.