Jewellery Metals + Care
All of our jewellery is nickel free. That said, it is always best to know if you have any sensitivities to other metals before buying jewellery, especially earrings. We ask that you know what you can wear before buying because we are unable to do exchanges on earrings for hygiene reasons.
Everyone’s sensitivities are different, and they even change over time. If you could only wear gold for most of your life, you might find that you can wear silver now, or vice versa. Most people react to cheaper metals which we avoid selling in this store. The majority of our pieces are sterling silver, which most people can wear happily. A lot of our earrings are gold/silver plated brass with brass, surgical steel or silver posts. Tons of people can wear these very comfortably with no reaction. As a personal example, I am most happy in sterling silver and gold, but I can dabble in brass earrings sporadically with a little bit of itching. Trial and error!
We state the metal makeup of the piece so you can buy knowledgeably.
Sterling silver is a precious, non-plated metal. It is worn happily by most people and will not degrade over time. If it darkens, that is tarnish or dirt, and can be cleaned to its original shine.
Solid gold is also precious and non-plated. It comes in various karats, which indicate the purity of the gold. We tend to deal in 10k which is the most affordable. You should not have to do much, if any, cleaning of solid gold. It is the metal most people can wear without reaction. It can be yellow, white, or pink in colour.
Surgical steel is a very “bio-compatible” metal, which is why it is often used for piercings or surgical implants. We often have pieces with surgical steel posts which are great for sensitivity.
Brass is a pure, non-plated metal. Our solid brass pieces will retain their integrity, just like silver or gold would. One of the benefits of brass jewellery is this resilience and also, its similarity in appearance to gold. Tarnished brass can also be cleaned to regain shine. Sometimes brass can turn the skin a bit green, especially if you are hot and sweating. This has nothing to do with it being a “cheap” metal, it is an oxidization process which is natural for brass. Some people experience no greenness - it is different from person to person. Brass can be coated by a jeweller or at home with clear nail polish to prevent “greening."
Gold or silver plated brass is a very common makeup for jewellery that is not precious (or high quality costume jewellery). The nature of ALL PLATING is that it wears off over time. This is part and parcel with its more affordable price point. Plating will wear differently depending on where it is worn, for example, rings will lose plating the fastest because they have the most rubbing and friction. Necklaces and chains will lose it fastest around the back of the neck. Cuff bracelets are pretty good for retaining plating, but chain bracelets will receive more all-over friction and wear faster. Plated earrings are best for lasting as they are not subject to a lot of friction. To prevent rapid wear, try not to sleep or shower in it, or bring it into a lot of contact with creams and other products. Also the less you wear it in general, obviously, the longer it will last. Some pieces, if their base is good quality, can be re-plated by a jeweller.
Rhodium plated silver is a great combination. Rhodium does not really tarnish like sterling silver so stays shiny and needs little cleaning. It is a very high-quality metal, and great for sensitivity, so rhodium plated silver is kind of a best-of-both-worlds scenario. It tends to look a bit whiter than sterling which has a slight warm undertone to the silver.
Gold plated silver is very commonly used and many of our products are composed of this. It’s a cost effective way of getting gold-look jewellery at a fraction of the price, but also still buying a quality piece with a solid base. Also very good for sensitivities, but will wear like gold/silver plated brass.
Gold fill or gold filled is our favourite metal. In this process a base metal is plated with 100 times more layers of gold and bonded to the base metal. It is virtually impossible to wear through, giving it a real solid gold type quality - but at a fraction of the price! It is tried and true; you can find a lot of Victorian jewellery that is gold fill, and still looks like solid gold.
Silver - you can use silver polishes and cloths to de-tarnish dirty silver, but if it's something with a lot of crevices or sides (like chain) you may want to soak it. Soak in disinfectant (like Mr. Clean) for several hours then give it a little brush with an old toothbrush to loosen all that dirt. Polish with a cloth and your piece will look good as new. You can also buy chemical silver “dips” which will strip the dirt in seconds.
Brass - brass can also be polished with cloths but to really get it gleaming we recommend soaking it. Water down the juice of fresh lemon and soak the brass in that for a few hours. Give it a gentle scrub with an old toothbrush and then polish with a cloth to get it gleaming.
Gold and gold filled - no cleaning!
Gold/silver plated - it generally doesn’t need cleaning, but sometimes will respond well to a polishing cloth. Do not use chemicals on it or give it excessive polishing as this will just wear through the plating that much faster.