Frequently Asked Questions
WHAT IS STERLING SILVER? DOES IT CONTAIN NICKEL?
Sterling silver is a mixture, referred to as an alloy, of fine (pure) silver and copper. The silver is mixed with the copper to harden it up and make it more durable as fine silver is quite soft. The ratio is 92.5% silver and 7.5% copper (denoted by the 925 stamp). Sterling silver is NICKEL FREE.
WHAT DO THE DIFFERENT NUMBERS IN KARATS OF GOLD MEAN?
Most gold jewellery as we know it in North America is a certain mix of metals which we call alloys. The most common alloys are either 10kt, 14kt or 18kt gold. The percentage of gold content is different for each karat with the remaining part of the mix being other metals such as silver, copper, palladium and sometimes zinc. The alloy mix is dependent on the desired outcome such as color and/or quality of the gold.
10kt = 42% gold 14t = 58% gold 18kt - 75% gold
I HAVE ALLERGIES TO METAL. IS THE METAL YOU USE SAFE FOR ME TO WEAR?
A large proportion of allergies to metal are due to the nickel content in the alloys. Sterling silver and yellow gold are NICKEL FREE. We can also source alloys for white gold that is nickel free. However, this does not mean that you won't be allergic to it as everyone is different. Allergy testing can often determine which particular metals you may be allergic to.
IS IT SAFE TO WEAR MY JEWELLERY IN THE SHOWER? WHAT ABOUT IN THE SWIMMING POOL?
Yes, it is, but we don't recommend it. The exposure to moisture may speed up the oxidation process for silver. Other than that showering does not harm your jewellery. However, wearing your jewellery into hot tubs, hot springs or swimming pools is definitely putting your jewellery at risk. The chemicals (natural and otherwise) could possibly oxidize the metal instantly and/or impact gemstones.
DOES STERLING SILVER TARNISH?
Yes, it does, but there are ways to avoid it. Exposure to air, moisture and sunlight will speed this process up. Here are some tips to avoid oxidation (aka tarnishing): Store your jewellery in zip-lock bags and be sure to squeeze out the extra air. Place anti tarnish strips in your jewellery box and or in the zip-lock bags. Store in a dry, cool & dark place when you are not wearing it.
HOW DO I CLEAN MY STERLING SILVER JEWELLERY?
First of all when you are not wearing it store in a dry, cool & dark place like a box or plastic bag to slow down the process of oxidation (aka tarnishing).
To clean brushed silver surfaces you can use green scotch-brite pads or fine steel wool and soapy water (DO NOT USE Oxi-cleaners). Scrub in one direction to maintain brushed look. Rinse.
To clean silver chains, high polished or jewellery with purposely colored/blackened areas use a jewellery polishing cloth to buff and shine. or scrub with a soft toothbrush and soapy water or gel toothpaste. Rinse. Repeat if necessary.
OR [this is the Best Method but do not use on jewellery with purposely colored/blackened areas] :
1. Line a bowl with aluminum foil or use an aluminum tray.
2. Fill 3/4 with boiling water from kettle or hot tap water.
3. Add silver jewellery.
4. Add 2 - 4 heaping tablespoons of baking soda and watch it FIZZ - it's like magic! If needed keep adding baking soda until solution stops fizzing.
5. Let stand for 2 minutes or until fizzing has stopped.
6. If your jewellery still appears tarnished repeat steps 4 & 5 in the same tray of water (this can be repeated 3 or 4 times).
7. Remove & Rinse. Repeat as needed.
Voila! Sparkly clean!* *This is most effective when jewellery is just dulled and starting to tarnish. If jewellery is badly tarnished you may have to repeat this 5+ times, but it will work!
I WANT TO HAVE SOME CUSTOM JEWELLERY MADE AND HAVE SOME QUESTIONS.
What metals do you work with? We can work in silver and any karat and colour of gold for custom design work.
Can I use my old gold? Generally, no. Gold becomes brittle when it is re-used without first being refined to remove impurities. Using old gold can create problems in appearance and durability such as surface blemishes, cracking or breaking, which is why we highly recommend not using it. However, we can offer you a trade-in value for your gold based on current market prices as a credit towards your custom design.
But sometimes ... yes. In the case that you cannot bear to part with an old piece of jewellery for personal reasons and really want it to be included in the your new peice, we can assess whether we can use it in your new design. Many variables will influence whether it is feasible to use such as the colour and karat of the gold relative to the desired outcome.
Can I use these old gemstones? Yes. Gemstones can be extracted from old or unwanted jewellery and be re-purposed into new designs as long as they are in good shape and compatible for your new design.
How much will it cost? That depends entirely on the scope of the project and it's complexity. Factors that impact price are what metal you want to use, if you have gemstones that can be re-purposed or if we need to source out new ones. If you have a budget in mind we can design to fit into that budget. Prices are different for every job as there are so many variables.
We provide quotes on all orders and require your approval on the design and price before any work is started . A 50% non-refundable deposit is required to confirm your order. Feel free to contact us about a custom design for you.
How long will it take? Once we have agreed on a design it generally takes 4-12 weeks to complete an order. Keep in mind that sourcing gemstones whether it is through us or your family takes time too that needs to be accounted for. The design process itself can be as short as one hour but can last as long as indecision does. That part is up to you.