Browse Month by March 2016
Jewelry & Accessories

How To Clean Your Custom Jewelry

Custom jewelry is a thoughtful gift with meaning that lasts a lifetime, but what do you do when your favorite piece begins to lose its shine? In-home jewelry cleaners can be pricey, and a trip to your local jewelers may cost more time and money than you’re willing to commit on a regular basis.

Rather than leaving your custom jewelry to rest in peace in the back of your jewelry box, follow these few tips to restore beauty and shine.

Alka-Seltzer

From relieving symptoms of the common cold to getting rid of indigestion, Alka-Seltzer has a multitude of uses, and now you have one more reason to keep it around. Turns out, the fizzing action effectively removes oils, dirt, dust, and grease from sterling silver, chrome, and titanium. Simply place your jewelry in a bowl filled with warm water and drop in a couple tablets. Allow the jewelry to sit for about twenty minutes, and then rinse them thoroughly.

Vodka

Nope, not for you; for your jewelry. Vodka is another hardworking household item that can tackle jobs big and small. To clean your chrome or silver jewelry, immerse the pieces in a shallow bowl of vodka for a few minutes. After they have finished soaking, grab a microfiber cloth and gently buffer until they shine.

Aluminum and Baking Soda

When oxygen and the sulfur in household cleaners, perspiration and rubber come into contact with sterling silver pendants, they chemically bond to the surface of the jewelry, creating a dull, tarnished surface. If your silver jewelry has lost its luster, there is a quick and fascinating fix.

A simple chemical reaction created with baking soda, salt, aluminum foil and boiling water can clean your sterling silver. Line your kitchen sink or a glass roasting pan with aluminum foil, shiny side facing down. Lay your jewelry on top of the foil, and then pour enough boiling water over them to ensure that they are completely submerged. Stir in two tablespoons each of baking soda and salt, being sure to dissolve them completely.

Within 5-10 minutes, the tarnish will transfer from your silver to the foil. The process doesn’t smell especially great, as the sulfide tarnish that is released from the jewelry smells like rotten eggs, but your silver will shine once more.

And you thought you’d never actually use chemistry.

Toothpaste

For a quick fix, look no further than your medicine cabinet. A dab of toothpaste on a toothbrush with soft bristles gently sweeps away dirt and grime while polishing your jewelry to a bright sheen.

Ammonia

Brighten your jewelry by allowing pieces to soak in a mixture that is 2 parts water and 1 part ammonia. The acidity of the ammonia breaks down oils and dirt, allowing your sterling silver, chrome and titanium jewelry to sparkle anew.

Ketchup

This pantry staple has enough acidity to transform dull jewelry. Simply submerge the piece in a bowl of ketchup and allow it to sit for 5-10 minutes. Be sure to watch the clock; the acid from the tomatoes and vinegar can damage the piece if it’s left for too long. After a few minutes, remove the jewelry, use an old toothbrush to clean any grooves in the piece and rinse well. As an added bonus, ketchup is effective in preventing tarnish.

Keeping your custom jewelry looking new is simple and inexpensive. By using what you already have on hand, you can keep your sterling silver sparkling, your chrome shining and your titanium gleaming.

Sarah is a contributor to Soundwave Artâ„¢, a unique company that creates art and jewelry from sound.

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Jewelry & Accessories

How to Store Your Earrings

Earrings come in many shapes and sizes, ranging from chandelier antique earrings right through to modern stud styles and designs. One of the issues that arises for many women is how to organise and store all of their jewellery so that it is protected as well as easy to find when they need it.

The first thing that you should consider for precious jewellery – especially with vintage and antique earrings that are more delicate and can be more easily damaged that modern pieces – is that caring for these items should be a priority. With this in mind, it is important to store your items in certain quality conditions.

Metals and precious stones are subject to damage from light, moisture and fluctuating temperature, so it is important that storing high quality items takes this into consideration. One solution is to keep your items in jewellery boxes that are lined with a breathable material such as cotton, and then put these jewellery boxes in a ventilated place benefiting from a stable, moderate temperature.

Although it can be tempting to have all your gorgeous vintage or antique earrings on display all the time, they will often be subject to light and heat which can erode and damage them, not to mention all the dust and grime that can accumulate on them when they are out of storage.

Instead, aim to do what is best for your most precious earrings and keep them tucked away from damaging factors. For a more convenient option than mentioned above, keep a jewellery box with your items organised neatly in a convenient place. This means that you can access your earrings on a moment’s notice and they are still being cared for when being stored.

Other earrings that are not so precious can be kept in a variety of ways, including on certain hangers and displays. Costume jewellery is generally far less expensive and replaceable than precious stones and metals, so you should feel more relaxed about the damage that will occur to them by being on display all the time.

Furthermore, non-precious stones and metals can even be more resistant to heat, moisture and sunlight, so you can worry less about the effects that these elements can have. Display cases and stands are often great for chandelier and hoop earrings, as this can avoid them getting tangled and keep them hanging in an upright position.

These can be great for viewing your earrings as well as keeping them in a good condition and well organised. Indeed, organisation is a major advantage here, as you can choose to hang up your styles according to colour, size, shape and many more factors.

Another option is the little bookcase or drawer style case, which allows you to place your earrings on it, separating them out and organising them onto different levels. This again is a good choice for chandelier and hoop earrings, and basically any earrings that take up a large amount of space.

Stud earrings often take up far less space to store, but problems can arise as they are so small and easy to lose. As before, aim to keep vintage and antique stud earrings in a cool, dry, dark and ventilated space. Again, costume jewellery studs in general do not necessitate such a high standard of care.

Studs can often be stored on hanging cards and even in ice cube trays, which helps add a little organisation to these items and helps keep the separate. With these items separate with a convenient place to store each pair, it means that it is less likely that you are going to misplace a pair or spend hours trying to find a matching set to wear to your special occasions.

 

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Jewelry & Accessories

Five Types of Watches You Can Gift Men

When it comes to buying gifts, it is fairly easy when it comes to buying for women, there are plenty of options and you can hardly ever go wrong but when it comes to buying gifts for men, the options are irritatingly limited and you end up repeating things or just giving up.

It’s not like you can buy costume jewelry and just be done with it. As we think about the possible gifts, fashion blogs like these come to the rescue.

We all are tired of buying clothes, belts, wallets, their favorite teams merchandise or favorite superhero merchandise. Some of us might have bought watches but trust me you can do that again.

There is more than one type of watch that a man can own and should own and you can contribute some of them if you have a good budget for the gift. Here are the broad five categories from which you can choose

1. The Classic Leather Strap

This is the go-to style if you are gifting it someone who goes to a lot of formal events and black-tie occasions. This is the classic look with a brown or black plain leather strap, a light metal case and has a classic look. If it’s a black tie event opt for the more classic black band, a brown band is for a more casual feel, like a casual business thing.

2. Metal Love

These are heavier and have a large case with metal bands. This can be used casually as well as with formals. It can be understated or over the top depending on your budget and the brand attached to it. It depends on the person’s style and liking for heavy watches. They can have some bling on them, so be sure before you buy them, this is not you buying costume jewelry for yourself. Most men don’t like very flashy items.

3. Activity Specific

These are situation specific use, as the name suggests. So if your friend is an avid diver or hiker or sportsman or into any kind of adventure/outdoor activities, this will make him extremely happy. You can go for diver watches which can withstand underwater pressure, pilots use ones with bigger dials and numbers or some made from really strong bands and cases for hikers and the likes. These can be worn casually as well even if you are not doing all those things but nor finally. They are too bulky to be worn to formal events and look out-of-place.

4. Sport It

These are most casual and commonly used ones. They are available is a varied price range thus are the go to option if you are tight on budget. This is the variety that you wear anywhere you go as they are lightweight and can take a beating so you can wear them while working out or playing. The specific sports edition has features like a digital screen, lap times, compass etc, it has a nylon or rubber strap with a light-weight case and backlight to make it better during night. They can also be water-proof and can be easily cleaned due to the rubber strap.

5. Everyday Casual Watch

They go well with any casual wear. There are unisex versions as well, actually all watches in the man’s collection are being opted by women as well, they are sturdy and look great so if you are buying one for your partner, you can get ample use out of it as well. The more casual ones are cheaper which don’t have as much features and are suitable if the person is like a colleague or a common friend on whom you don’t want to spend too much and don’t want to look cheap either.

 

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Jewelry & Accessories

Tips for Maintaining Your Pearl Jewelry

Durable and delicate at the same time, pearls are a beautiful and unique gemstone created by mollusks instead of the ground and their care is different than what you would expect for a gem. Here are five tips to help you ensure that your pearls are treasured for years to come.

Stay away from acids

If you have ever seen the grammar school science experiment involving an egg and vinegar, you’ll remember that the acid in the vinegar dissolved the shell and left a naked egg. That is because the egg shell is made of calcium. Your pearls are made of calcium carbonate too. That is why you want to avoid acids. When we think of acid, we usually picture something dangerous, however, we use acidic substances every day. In addition to vinegar, acids in our homes can include chlorine and citrus fruits. Our sweat also has an acidic pH which is why, “Pearls are the last thing you should put on and the first thing to take off,” is advice that has been handed down for generations. Avoid overnight wearing and always make sure to wipe the pearls off with a soft cloth before storing.

How to store your pearls

The best investment to store pearls is a soft cloth of silk, satin, or cotton. These can usually be found at your jewelers. Avoid storing your pearls in plastic as the chemicals released over time can destroy your pearls. You also want to store each of your pearl items individually. The nacre of pearls is hard, but in comparison to the metals and other gemstones in jewelry, it is quite soft and can be easily scratched. Do not store pearls in a dry space or safety deposit box – pearls need moisture. Of course, the best way to keep them hydrated is to wear them!

Be selective with certain pieces

Because pearls are a softer gem, you’ll want to make sure that you are limiting the use of rings and bracelets. Not only are you more likely to scratch a pearl ring or bracelet, you are also more likely to soil them. Save your rings and bracelets for special occasions. Earrings and necklaces are much better for daily wear, however, make sure that you are not wearing them when you apply makeup, hair products, or perfume.

Washing your pearls

Occasionally, you may need to wash your pearls. The best way to wash pearls is with a soft cotton cloth dampened with lukewarm distilled water. Tap water has chlorine which can damage your pearls. Gently rub the pearls until they are clean. If just water won’t clean them, you can use a natural soap as well. Stay away from steam, detergents and jewelry cleaners that do not specifically say they are safe for pearls. If the pearls are in a necklace, make sure not to pull or stretch the string in between, especially if they are not individually knotted. This can cause wear to the string and cause the strands to break. No one wants to crawl around searching for their pearls.

Inspections

The best way to take care of your pearls is to make sure to check them at regular intervals. Make sure strands holding the pearls are still strong and supple. Make sure that pearls in settings are not loose. For stranded pearls, you should have them restrung by a jeweler every few years. Especially if you wear them a lot. Individually knotting them is more expensive but it pays off in the end. Having pearls on necklaces and bracelets individually knotted is more secure in case you do have a break. Better to lose one pearl than to lose all of them.

Pearls are organic and continue to change with time and they require a different type of maintenance from other jewelry. With the proper care, your pearls will maintain a high luster and be handed down generation to generation.

 

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