Welcome to "A Mad Designer's Journey"

The comic, inspiring and always fashionable adventures of this "mad designer" as she navigates the reality of pursuing her dream...living the artisan lifestyle of a jewelry designer.

Phoenix Design, Artisan Jewelry is a one woman shop powered by zany energy, midnight inspirations and the support of my friends.

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Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Caring for Your Gold Jewelry

Gold Filled vs. Gold Plated 

Gold Filled: For those who have sensitive skin, 14K gold filled jewelry is an enduring, cost effective way to keep a solid layer of gold in contact with your skin. It has 1/20th the weight layer of 14 karat gold. The gold is permanently bonded over a core of base metal.  It is created by heat and pressure bonding a thin layer of gold to a brass core. Under normal everyday usage and with proper care that you would give any precious jewelry, 14 karat gold fill will not peel, strip or deteriorate. It is tarnish free.   

Gold Plated jewelry is made by laminating a thin veneer layer of gold over any base metal using electro-chemical processes.  Gold plated jewelry has 10 karats or greater in quantity.  Not all gold plated jewelry is the same. The quality of gold plated jewelry is determined by the amount of gold applied to the base metal. Not only will it increase durability but provide higher quality.  Gold plated jewelry has a thinner layer of gold than 14 Karat gold filled jewelry. 
The major disadvantage of gold plated jewelry is its tendency to lose its gold color and lust.  The reason given is most gold plated jewelry is veneered over silver.  In due course, gold will gradually lose its concentration and eventually recede into the silver base metal.   Better quality gold plated will have a tendency to last longer when copper is used as a substitution over silver; although copper will still reactive to gold, it does it at a lesser degree.  The highest quality of gold plated jewelry is when nickel is added as an additional barrier between the gold and silver/copper. Nickel will not pass through gold.

  General Care:     
  1.     Don't use mainstream cleaners. They are very harsh and can harm the finish on plated jewelry.   Instead, we recommend cleaning plated jewelry with warm soapy water with a soft brush for hard to reach areas. Don’t forget to dry it immediately with a lint-free cloth. 

  2.     Store your jewelry in either the same jewelry box that came with your piece or in a zip-lock bag. It should be noted that even solid gold and sterling silver jewelry can tarnish with exposure to the air.  If you want to prevent this from occurring, we suggest you regularly wipe each piece down with a lint-free cloth. Also, don’t forget to store your pieces in a proper zip lock bag.  

   3.     I also do not recommend using ultrasonic cleaners. Although these cleaners will remove dirt from hard to reach areas, they may also disturb the hand wrapped settings.  Avoid those machines whenever possible and try to clean your fashion jewelry by hand. 

I recommend you use polishing cloths such as Selvyt 100% cotton clothes for use on Swarovski crystals and gemstones and or Moonshine polishing cloth for use with gold, silver, platinum, copper or brass.  Neither is abrasive and it will remove tarnish without a lot of effort.  Both clothes are available for a nominal fee and kept in stock at my Atlanta studio. 

If you follow these guidelines, I am certain you will have years of enjoyment.  It is my hope you enjoy your unique One of a Kind hand crafted jewelry design as much as I did creating it. 

Thank you!

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