What is Gold Vermeil? Also known as "gold plate," it is essentially sterling silver "dipped" in 22kt gold, and is pronounced "ver-may." 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 expense. Gold Vermeil allows it's price to be only slightly higher (about 10-15%) than sterling silver alone due to the high cost of gold, allowing the rich gold look without the rich price.
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 it's 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 with it (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 harsh chemicals can strip both gold and pearls of their luster.
How to Clean: When cleaning your gold vermeil use a very soft 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 always bring your jewelry into our shops 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 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 worth the 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, usually copper or nickel (we use copper). 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.
What is "Tarnish" & How Can I Get Rid of It!? We often hear the question "will this tarnish?" The answer is yes. Silver jewelry will always tarnish, no matter what. Unless you buy Platinum (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 & compounds in the air (like hairspray, lotion and air pollution. Many locations have chemicals in the water like chlorine or sulfur that get into the air and tarnish jewelry more quickly. Avoid wearing your silver jewelry in the shower, tub, pool and especially the hot springs! The chemicals and additives in most water will quickly tarnish silver and gold vermeil.
Best Storage: 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!).
Best Cleaning Practice: 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.
Emergency Cleaning! 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.
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. Also, any pulling of the leather will deform the silver work and weaken or break the piece. With proper care your leather jewelry should give you long-lasting, comfortable wear and enjoyment. We like to say...if you wouldn't wear your leather sandals in the water...don't wear your leather jewelry.