Handmade Jewelry Care Pro Tips & Easy Ring Sizing
Jewelry care and cleaning whether it's for handmade or commercially made jewelry is always a tricky terrain for non-jewelry makers aka buyers to to understand. I believe that there are several reasons for this.
One has to do with a buyers expectations when buying jewelry. I have seen over the years that one expectation is that certain metals will not tarnish (turn black)and some will. Often times this is just an assumption about what they think is going to happen based on the fact that if it cost more that must mean it won't tarnish and the price really has nothing to do with that either. This whole idea and focus on tarnish always reminds me of the Titanic sinking in that people really didn't think it would sink and of course it did. Jewelry is the same in a way in that it is always going to tarnish, and if not at least get dirty, need cleaning care and maintenance no matter what you paid for it. True some metals do turn black aka tarnish but they can usually be cleaned up with a jewelry polishing cloth. Mostly jewelry buying comes down knowing yourself and what you are willing to do in a day. Are you a rule follower who takes off your jewelry before bed, doesn't shower in it etc? If so your jewelry is going to last whole lot longer than the rule breakers jewelry... you know the ones...they never take their jewelry off, they sleep it in, swim in it etc. If you are a rule follower you can buy all kinds of jewelry that may tarnish because you have the personality type to do the maintenance needed to keep your jewelry in good order if you are a rule breaker you may want to stick with lower maintenance jewelry such as recycled aluminum option as it is very hypo-allergenic and tarnish resistant. Which oddly is the cheaper option but In the end you will be a lot happier than if you buy something that requires a lot of maintenance if that is not your jam.
This is a great all purpose Jewelry Polishing Cloth as it is long lasting and has a side for polishing shiny jewelry and a side for satin finish jewelry!
Also I do want to point out that here is also a difference between handmade jewelry and commercially sold jewelry and this leads to a lot of confusion if you are a buyer of both. Here is example from my experience, when I was in my early 30s I worked at a mom and pop a traditional jewelry store that sold diamond and gold jewelry with some sterling silver and even watches. I was the assistant to the main jeweler where I occasionally created custom sterling orders but mostly day in day out I repaired other peoples jewelry in both sterling silver and 14kt gold...I did LOTS of chain repair, ring sizings, replacing clasps etc. this experience has been one of the reasons I chose to use the style of chain and clasps that I do and always solder the loops so that my jewelry pieces will last longer. But one of the things I learned while working there that I had not known about before as a jewelry customer was that most commercial jewelry especially sterling silver or any metal that might tarnish has been plated with Rhodium plating which is a platinum based plating or 14Kt Gold Plating so not cheap plating like used in costume jewelry. The word plating causes confusion too because people associate it with cheap jewelry but this is electroplating and a different process. Anyway this process is done to keep jewelry from tarnishing in the showcase and to cut down on the amount of cleaning time that is needed before the jewelry sells. This may be why if you have a piece of sterling silver or gold-filled jewelry that has never tarnished it may very well have been Rhodium or 14kt gold plated. Most handmade jewelers and small studio's do not do this process and a handmade piece of jewelry may tarnish very quickly in comparison. The plating process which I had to do when I worked at the mom and pop jewelry shop is a very toxic process for both people and the environment so I do not do this process in my own studio. This is just one example of the difference that may occur that I believe leads to confusion for customers.
Lastly the big thing I notice that causes confusion is not knowing the difference between Allergies and Tarnish. For Example I get asked and we used to get asked this at the jewelry shop. "Will sterling silver turn me green? Will it tarnish?" all as one sentence, in the same breath. It's really two questions that are separate. Let's answer the first one. Will sterling silver turn me green? More importantly to ask is why it might turn you green? It might turn you green if you are especially sensitive to copper since silver is alloyed with copper to make it stronger. Have you ever wondered why sterling jewelry is stamped 925? that is because the 925 is the amount of silver and the remainder is copper. My sister had this issue as sterling would cause her to turn green if she wore it not because of the sterling but because of the copper content which in most cases is what is making you turn green. If you are not sensitive to copper you probably won't have an issue.
Now lets answer the second part of the question. Will it tarnish? YES!! Sterling silver and even Gold-Filled Jewelry will tarnish aka turn black over time no question. Does that mean its ruined never to recover to its original luster ever again? Absolutely not! The copper again in both is the main culprit causing the tarnish but in both cases they can easily be cleaned up to there original shine by using a shiny finish jewelry polishing cloth
I am attaching below a list of my basic care instructions and you can always find these on my FAQ page as well. I hope this solves some of the jewelry care and maintenance questions. If you have any questions please leave a comment or contact me email@example.com
Care Instructions for Various Metals
When you order a piece of jewelry I always enclose a list of Care instructions PLEASE READ these. They are located on the back of the card included with your jewelry purchase. It is best to read the directions before wearing....storing & caring for your jewelry item in the manner suggested will mean less care and maintenance will be needed along the way. If a piece breaks under normal wearing conditions I will gladly repair it.
General Care – Avoid contact with lotions, perfumes, and beauty products. Remove jewelry before washing hands and showering. Avoid harsh chemicals and cleaning agents. I do not recommend swimming in swimming pool as chlorine in the water can cause damage. I recommend storing jewelry in a jewelry box will help to prevent tarnishing when you are not wearing it.
Recycled aluminum is very hypo-allergenic and also is very tarnish resistant ... meaning it does not turn black like sterling silver, brass or copper does so there is a lot less maintenance.
Recycled Sterling Silver – Naturally, all sterling silver jewelry will tarnish over time. This is not indicative of poor quality. If you notice your jewelry discoloring or losing its luster, use a polishing cloth to help bring back the shine. It will not, however, buff out any scratches. Also, please note that sterling silver has a small amount of copper in the alloy to which some individuals with sensitive skin may have reactions.
Oxidized Sterling Silver – The oxidization on those pieces that have been antiqued is not permanent, and will fade in some areas with wear. To keep the oxidization as long as possible, avoid silver cleaning solutions and prolonged exposure to liquids.
Rose & Yellow Gold-Filled - will tarnish over time just as recycled sterling silver does and once again this does not indicate poor quality. It will tarnish because it has a core of copper or brass that is clad on both sides (pressed together so it is much thicker that gold plating) and if your jewelry item has a satin finish or stamping this can especially disturb the surface making it easier to tarnish but it can tarnish also from oils on fingers etc. Shiny surface jewelry polishing cloths also work well.
Recycled Brass & Copper– Brass & Copper Jewelry will develop a natural patina over time. But you can keep it bright by polishing with a polishing cloth after every wear and storing in a jewelry box.
Easy Ring Sizing
My Reusable Adjustable Ring Sizer is an easy and inexpensive way to size your finger so that you know what ring size to order which is especially helpful for online shopping. Simply slide the end through the “buckle” like a belt to make a ring shape and tighten it to a comfortable level, ensuring you’re still able to slip it over your knuckle! The arrow on the sizer will point to the size you are - it’s as simple as that! Sizes both US whole & half sizes( If you just need to convert your size from another country’s, there are tables online for that.) Please be aware that narrow rings always feel looser than wider ones. For extra wide rings, you may need to order a half size larger. This is very individual however. The sizer is about 4 mm wide. See other ring sizing tips below.
Ring Size Tips
Our dominant hands are generally slightly larger — make sure you measure the right finger on the correct hand!
Rings with wider bands will fit a bit tighter. If you plan to measure one of your partner's rings, try to measure one with a similar width as the ring you want to purchase.
Make sure the finger is at normal body temperature — fingers can shrink or expand when hot or cold.
Your fingers tend to change size throughout the day — the best time to measure your finger is the end of the day.
If your knuckle is bigger, take 2 measurements and choose a size in between — ring needs to fit over knuckle but not be too loose or it will shift around.
When you don’t know your partner’s ring size, selecting one of the standard ring sizes is your best choice. The average ring size for women is 6 to 7, and the average ring size for men is 9 to 10.