Friday, October 1, 2010

The Secret to Getting Just the Right Size

How long is that bracelet or necklace?

Well, that depends on what measurement you're talking about. A necklace or bracelet with large beads or other bulky components has a much smaller inner circumference than its length when measured stretched out flat. For example, the necklace in the photo is 20 inches long when stretched out flat but 18 inches when worn. Similarly, the bracelet shown is 8.5 inches long when stretched out flat but 7 inches when worn.

What size do you want?

One of the great advantages of ordering handmade jewelry from the artisan is being able to have your bracelet or necklace custom sized. Most artisans offer this service at no additional charge whenever possible.

For bracelets, I always suggest that you start by measuring your wrist. For a snug fit, I figure on an inner circumference 1/2 inch greater than the wrist measurement, one inch for somewhat loose fit, and 1.5 inches for very loose fit. I think most are comfortable with the "somewhat loose" fit. For necklaces, I suggest that you measure the length of a thin chain that falls on your neck where you want the chosen necklace to fall.

Sizes can be adjusted after purchase, but it's easier on everyone to get it right the first time. Of course, gifts involve much more guesswork!

Jewelry makers who are interested in the EZ Necklace and EZ Bracelet cones shown in the photo may find out more about them here:

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Silver and Silver Care

Types of Silver Used in Fine Jewelry

Silver used in fine jewelry varies in its purity and tarnish resistance. Fine silver is 99.9% silver, Thai Hill Tribe silver is 95-99% silver, and sterling silver is 92.5% silver. As the purity of the silver decreases, the problem of corrosion or tarnishing increases.

Fine silver is very bright and highly tarnish resistant compared to sterling silver. It is softer than sterling silver and, in wire form, is used for crochet work and wire wrapping. Fine silver can also be seen in items made of precious metal clay (PMC) which is shaped and heated to form a solid metal.

Sterling silver is an alloy of silver containing 92.5% pure silver and 7.5% other metals, usually copper. Argentium silver is a variety of sterling that replaces copper with germanium for increased tarnish resistance.

Causes of Silver Tarnish

Compounds containing sulphur in the air, hydrogen sulfide and sulphur dioxide, cause silver to tarnish. High humidity levels will also accelerate the formation of tarnish. Some examples of tarnish-causing elements include paints, fabrics containing wool or felt, rubber bands, latex gloves, and foods containing eggs, onions, or citrus. The oil in our fingers can also lead to corrosion patterns if not removed.

Silver Care

Twinkle is a very mild and effective silver polish that is recommended by silver experts and is widely available. Storing your silver in Pacific Silvercloth can keep your silver tarnish free for a very long time. The photo above shows a small pouch of Pacific Silvercloth that takes only a few minutes to stitch.

Pacific Silvercloth is a cotton fabric embedded with thousands of particles of fine silver. These particles catch the tarnish-causing gases before they reach the silver article stored inside. Authentic Pacific Silvercloth is always brown and turns various shades of brown as the embedded silver tarnishes. Other manufacturers' products are not embedded with silver but are treated with other metals, such as zinc, and do not discolor. Also, authentic Pacific Silvercloth is 36-38" wide, whereas other products are always wider. Washing Pacific Silvercloth will destroy its ability to prevent tarnish.

For more information and Pacific Silvercloth products, see: