Product Care Tips
(Jewelry by Daria)
We have been asked many times by our customers how to clean their jewelry. Cleaning cloth? Liquid cleaning solutions? Sonic cleaning, etc.? We composed a series of articles that hopefully will help you in answering your questions. We are going to address how to clean each media periodically. In this issue, we are going to talk about how to clean silver jewelry.
Most silver jewelry can be cleaned with a silver cleaning cloth. Once a week will do the trick or sooner if you see any darker spots. Silver cleaning cloth can be purchased at Lireille - Gallery of Contemporary Jewelry and Art at $5 for a large 4 " x 3.25" one. It is a double layer cleaning cloth, one layer for cleaning and one for polishing. It can also clean gold, platinum, and pearls. It is free for any purchase over $100. The following article is composed by our artist Monica Schmid. We appreciate that she shares her secret of how to get the spotless shining silver back.
Clean Silver Safely and without Effort
As silver oxidizes it will tarnish. This layer of oxidation can be removed without polishing and scrubbing by simply
dipping your silver in this non-toxic electrochemical dip. Another big advantage to using a dip is that the liquid can reach places a polishing cloth cannot.
- 1/4 cup baking soda
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 quart boiling water
- Aluminum Foil or Pan
Line the bottom of the sink or a glass baking dish with a sheet of aluminum foil (a must for chemical reaction). Leave baking soda and salt mix in the pan.
Fill the foil-lined container with boiling hot water
Drop the silver items into the container so that they are touching each other and resting on the foil. You will be able to watch the tarnish disappear.
Remove the silver when it appears clean. Leave heavily tarnished items in the solution for as long as 5 minutes.
Rinse the silver with water and gently buff it dry with a soft towel.
Using your silver flatware/hollowware or wearing silver jewelry helps to keep it free from tarnish. Ideally, you should store your silver in a low-humidity environment. You can place a container of activated charcoal or a piece of chalk in the storage area to minimize future tarnish.
(Cleaning Silver Safely and without Effort provided by artist Monica Schmid)
But be aware, not all oxidation in jewelry is considered as a bad thing and meant to be cleaned, especially in art jewelry. Some art jewelry artists intentionally use sulfur to oxidize silver for the esthetic effects, which you may have seen in our gallery. Our artists, to name a few, Ina Hohensee, Sherry Cordova, and Gayle Friedman, etc., are good examples of using this technique for their design. Here are some of pictures of their work. To care the oxidized jewelry, just gently rub the jewelry with the polishing layer to get the shine back, be careful not to rub the oxidation.
If you don't feel like go through the process introduced above, try cleaning silver jewelry with mild dishwashing liquid, such as Joy, or mild soap. For jewelry with intricate designs, use toothbrush, which can get into small crevices, (Don't use toothpaste or other abrasive cleaners, which will scratch.) Wipe with a clean, soft cloth.
Care Tip: Don't wear in pools, since chlorine can cause pitting.
You need to be extra careful when it comes to pearls and gemstones, especially soft and organic ones. If you are not sure of it, always check with jewelers who offer professional cleaning.
Mokume Gane collections and Care Instruction
Mokume gane (“wood-eye metal”) is a traditional Japanese metalsmithing technique. First
made in 17th-century Japan, the mixed-metal was used only for sword fittings until the Meiji era, when the decline of the katana industry forced artisans to create purely decorative items instead. The inventor, Denbei Shoami (1651–1728), initially called his product guri bori for its simplest form's resemblance to guri, a type of carved lacquerwork with alternating layers of red and black. Other historical names for it were kasumi-uchi (cloud metal), itame-gane (wood-grain metal), and yosefuki.
The traditional components were relatively soft metallic elements and alloys (gold, copper,
silver, shakudo, shibuichi, and kuromido) which would form liquid phase diffusion bonds with
one another without completely melting. After the original metal sheets were stacked and
carefully heated, the solid billet of simple stripes could be forged and carved to increase the
pattern's complexity. To achieve a successful lamination using the traditional process required a highly skilled smith with a great deal of experience.
The modernized process typically uses a controlled atmosphere in a temperature controlled
furnace. Mechanical aids such as a hydraulic press or torque plates (bolted clamps) are also
typically used to apply compressive force on the billet during lamination and provide for the
implementation of lower temperature solid-state diffusion between the interleaved layers,
allowing the inclusion of many nontraditional components such as titanium, platinum, iron,
bronze, brass, nickel silver, and various colors of karat gold including yellow, white, sage, and rose hues as well as sterling silver.
Care and Cleaning
Mokume surfaces are brushed or etched to accentuate the pattern in the metal; liners and
stone settings are generally polished. Plain bands and those containing diamonds, rubies, and
sapphires may be cleaned ultrasonically. If desired, polished liners and settings can be gently
brightened with a polishing cloth taking care to avoid patterned areas.
These rings are designed for everyday wear, and over time will develop a “patina” that is
unique to the wearer. Mokume gane generally takes a period of a couple of months to
“break in”, that is, to develop a consistent patina that covers the entire surface of the ring. This
process is completely normal, and the result will be unique to each individual, reflecting the
activities of their daily lives. Patinas on brushed and etched finished will develop slightly