Keeping your jewelry cared for it will make it happy. How to do it? Much of it depends on the materials in each piece, but ‘best practices’ are prevention, this will make your jewelry last longer and lower the frequency of needing to clean it.
Protect your jewelry!
One of the practical reasons all of our jewelry comes in a closed silk pouch is to protect it. Yes, from scratches, but mostly from the air! Keep your jewelry in a pouch or little plastic bags. For BEST results, add a little clean piece of cardboard to absorb any tarnishing elements that may be in the air (that is why we have a card insert in ours!). Also, our jewelry uses very fine, thin metal wire to achieve the delicacy and intricacy of our work. This is quite durable for normal wear, but can be seriously weakened if bent, smashed, or pulled roughly.
Gemstones and Pearls
Caring for Gemstones and Pearls
Harmony Scott Jewelry Design includes only genuine gemstones and pearls from nature. The hardness of the gemstone effects the tolerance of the stone against the elements. Pearls, Opal, and Turquoise are the top few known to be soft, and should be given extra consideration. For example, Turquoise will darken and change color over time with exposure to body oils and skin chemistry. So put your pearls and other jewelry on after the hairspray, and don't wear rings or bracelets when you are using cleaning agents or chemicals.
Perspiration is inimical to pearls. If it is impossible to keep your pearls away from your skin (if they’re on chokers or bracelets, for example), wipe them clean with a damp cloth immediately after wearing them. Also pearls should not be stored sunlight due their softness. We suggest you keep them in a darker place like a jewelry box, bag, drawer or a shaded wall if displayed.
However high a gemstone hardness may be, take into account that there may be inclusions and incipient cleaves that might have unfortunate reactions to heat or mechanical cleaning and overall rough handling. Be gentle with your jewelry, do not drop, smash, or yank it. If you drop a glass on the floor, will it break? You bet, and so will gemstones if treated roughly! This is especially important with large stone pendants, larger cuts of gemstones, and the delicate "briolette" cut gemstones that are drilled at the narrow top of the stone.
How to Clean Gemstones and Pearls
As a first step, let your jewelry piece soak for a few moments in a solution of warm water and mild soapy solution. Use a soft brush to gently scrub your gems. Then rinse in warm running water, preferably about the same temperature as your solution. Radical temperature changes are dangerous and should be avoided.
You can also use jewelry cleaners that specify are safe for all gemstones and pearls. Harsh chemical and cleaners can strip the luster from pearls and discolor gemstones, so be sure to read all the labels.
What is Gold Vermeil?
It is different than "gold plate" and “gold filled,” and is pronounced "ver-may." It is a high-quality core metal that is electroplated in 14-24kt gold. Gold vermeil differs from gold plating in that it is standardized in requiring thicker electroplating, it must be no less than 2.5 microns thick, much more than regular plating. More specifically, Harmony's gold vermeil is 22kt gold electroplated over sterling silver, giving our jewelry an extra luxurious and distinctive look of high-karat gold for a fraction of the cost to you. Gold vermeil allows its price to be only slightly higher (about 10-15%) than sterling silver while allowing the rich gold look without the rich price due to the high cost of gold.
Caring for Gold Vermeil & What to Be Careful Of
To keep your gold vermeil looking fresh, you will have to treat it well. Rough handling and exposure to chemicals (perfume, make up, oils) will fade the gold before its time and leave you with a silver piece of jewelry! To keep your gold vermeil jewelry looking its best, we suggest you take it off before showering or swimming (unless you don't mind the antique-y look before it turns silver, which some people do). Be conscious of hairspray, perfume, cosmetics and lotions on your jewelry as well as regular chemicals that can strip the gold.
How to Clean Gold Vermeil
When cleaning your gold vermeil use a very soft, clean cloth or gentle hand soap and filtered water. Please do not use tarnish remover or jewelry polish, as these will strip the gold layer quickly. You can also always bring your jewelry into our shop to be cleaned! We use our ionic cleanser (great for gold vermeil), and also sell the all-natural cleanser that we use on the tougher to clean pieces.
If you love the rich color gold, but don’t want to deal with the plating or ‘fading’ of gold vermeil, the only alternative is to invest in a piece of pure gold. The warmth, shine, and beauty of solid gold jewelry can last for generations, so it is a worthy investment. Check out Harmony's exclusive 18kt gold collection here.
What is sterling silver?
Sterling silver is composed of 92.5% silver and is mixed in with another alloy. This is done not to reduce the cost, but add strength and flexibility to the otherwise soft silver. Pure silver would not hold up to the rigors we put our jewelry through! Commonly stamped with ".925," it signifies 92.5% silver mixed with an alloy, typically nickel or copper. Harmony chose copper as a stronger alloy and as more hypoallergenic metal.
Caring for Sterling Silver
We often hear the question "will this tarnish?" The answer is yes. Silver jewelry will always tarnish, no matter what. Unless you buy platinum or white gold then you had better learn the "best practices" now. Tarnishing is a natural process for sterling silver, caused by the oxidation of the alloy and results in a blackening of the silver. Tarnish is expedited by chemicals, oils & other compounds, i.e. hairspray, lotion, humidity, and air pollution. Avoid wearing your silver jewelry in the shower, tub, pool, hot tub and especially the hot springs! The chemicals and additives like chlorine or sulfur in most water will quickly tarnish silver and gold vermeil.
How to Clean Silver
To clean your sterling silver, you may use any jewelry buff cloth or flannel cloth to gently remove tarnish from silver. For more serious issues, we offer small and convenient jewelry cleaning kit. Included in this kit is a polish cream that is nontoxic, biodegradable (made out of coconut and banana oils) and safe for pearls, gemstones and your health, a small toothbrush to get even the most intricate areas clean, as well as a small buff and polishing cloth with instructions included.
If you need help now, you can try white toothpaste with a soft toothbrush. Concentrate only on the silver chain and try not to touch pearls or gemstones. Before rinsing, use a clean, moist cloth to gently polish the silver chain and remove tarnish, then rinse in warm water and air dry. Makeup or grime can be removed from pearls and gemstones with warm filtered water and a tiny bit of gentle hand soap, rub with a soft cloth to clean and air dry.
Caring for Leather
Harmony's leather is authentic leather from Greece. While leather is sturdy and strong, its greatest weakness is water! Please avoid wearing your leather pieces in the shower, tub, pool or hot springs! This also applies to washing the dishes, your face, the dog, etc. If you will be getting the leather excessively wet, take the piece off, as it will stretch and wear out more quickly. If the design has cord stringing materials or leather we suggest you lay the necklace down instead of hanging it so it doesn't stretch out over time due to gravity. Stretching the material can make the beads loose enough to slide around and cause extra wear.
With proper care your jewelry should give you long-lasting wear and enjoyment. We do offer repair and replacements if needed. See our Repairs, Replacements, and Warranty page for more info.