- Caring for my Jewellery
Love your e.g.etal jewellery with absolute abandon, but keep in mind your beautiful original piece deserves to be handled with extra care.
Jewellery made from precious metals will scratch and wear over time. These marks become the story of your ring, bangle etc. Just avoid letting your jewellery come in contact with hard materials. Steel, concrete, etc. can cause real damage. Avoid exposure to harsh chemicals (chlorine bleach or cleaning products) and extreme temperatures.
For most pieces we advise that you should put any perfume on first, and then add your jewellery as perfume (and any lotions) is a very common cause for discolouration as well as dryness in pearls.
Remember to check all clasps are strong and secure before wearing your piece. If in doubt, please contact us to arrange for the clasp to be repaired.
See the below sections on ‘storing your jewellery’ and relevant care instructions for different gemstones and metals.
- Maintaining your Special Ring
As you would service a car, or anything else you use on a daily basis, so too you should have your rings regularly checked by a jeweller. We advise that you do this every 6-12 months. Contact us to make arrangements for this.
Gold and precious gemstones, even diamonds, are not indestructible. There are several materials that are much harder than them, such as stainless steel, concrete and stone. Contact with such materials will cause scratches, dents and other damage to your rings. Gold by its very nature is an alloy that has the capacity for malleability.
The settings around the stones are generally the most vulnerable part of a ring. Care needs to be taken so that this area of the ring does not come against harder materials. If you are not used to wearing precious rings, this can happen without you noticing. Because of this, it is the settings in particular that need regular servicing as it is not unusual for stones to become loose in their settings, depending on how the rings are worn.
Any guarantee of workmanship or liability on behalf of e.g.etal is subject to the proper care and maintenance of the ring.
This is not to say that your ring cannot be worn everyday. However it is a reminder that it is made of precious metal and precious stones and needs to be treated accordingly.
- Repairing your Jewellery
We are happy to repair all items made by current e.g.etal artists. Please feel free to bring your jewellery back into the gallery, or alternatively, send your item to us via registered and insured mail. If you choose to send your piece back to us, please include your details and include any information as to why the piece needs to be repaired. We’ll provide you with a quote for the repair upon receiving your piece. Please post your repair to:
150 Little Collins Street
Melbourne, VIC, 3000
Please email us if you’ve purchased a piece from e.g.etal in the past, and we don’t appear to currently represent the artist.
- Cleaning your Jewellery
Your jewellery will benefit from being cleaned regularly. Use a silver cloth for pieces with a polished finish. Use a cleaning dip for chains and pieces with a matte finish. Gold and silver dips are available for purchase through e.g.etal via email and at our gallery. When time allows, the e.g.etal staff are happy to give your jewellery a quick on-the-spot clean in our ultrasonic machine. This brings the sparkle back to your stones by removing dirt that may get lodged behind the setting.
Oxidised (blackened) silver has been given a surface treatment which should not be cleaned with silver dip as this will remove the treatment. The blackening will naturally wear off with time, which is a beautiful part of the piece’s life. e.g.etal can arrange to have some pieces re-oxidised (blackened) by the artist, where appropriate, for a small fee.
- Storing your Jewellery
Store your jewellery with care, ideally in the e.g.etal box it came in. Keep it separated from other jewellery as one may scratch another. Certain items such as resin should be stored away from sunlight or else the piece will become discoloured.
Neckpieces and pendants should be stored flat to avoid a kink or bend forming in the chain or cable.
Jewellery strung on a silk cord also needs to be laid flat when not being worn to prevent the cord from stretching. Silk cord should be checked annually for wear and will need to be re-strung from time to time.
We recommend cleaning your diamond often to remove lotions, skin oil and everyday dirt, which will all affect the brilliance of the stone. If convenient, we recommend visiting the gallery to have our staff clean your ring in our ultrasonic machine. If you aren’t in Melbourne, we recommend cleaning your diamond with warm water and a couple of drops of lemon dishwashing detergent.
We recommend having your diamond jewellery checked annually by the artist. They will be able to tighten any loose settings, examine your stone and clean and polish your piece. Contact us to make arrangements for this.
- Sterling Silver
Sterling silver is a precious metal and may tarnish naturally over time. The tarnishing will be accelerated if it comes into contact with chlorine and bleach, hence these chemicals should be avoided.
For all silver jewellery with polished surfaces a tarnished surface can be removed with a silver polishing cloth.
To clean silver jewellery that has a matte finish we recommend a silver dip or foam. Silver dip is a specialized bath for silver jewellery that removes tarnish instantly and restores the original shine. Jewellery should be dipped into the solution for 5-10 seconds, removed, and rinsed in cool water. The piece should then be dried with a soft cloth. Silver foam is an orange paste that is applied to the jewellery with a sponge. Once the sponge has absorbed and removed the tarnished surface, the paste will change colour to grey. The piece should then be rinsed in cool water and dried with a soft cloth.
Please email us if you would like to purchase any cleaning products or if you would like to arrange to have your e.g.etal jewellery cleaned.
- Blackened (Oxidised) Sterling Silver
Oxidisation is a treatment where layers of oxide are built upon the surface of the metal (usually silver) to give it a blackened appearance.
The colour is not completely black and may have a brownish tone or appear in a variety of opacities. The blackened layer will wear back as the piece is being worn, giving it a special patina. This is normal and is a part of the natural evolution and story of your piece.
Parts of the piece that touch your skin will wear back quicker than others, and this will be particularly noticeable for your rings, bangles and necklaces.
In time, if you would like to refresh the blackened appearance of your piece this can be done for a small fee.
Pearls are not minerals found underground, however, they are still considered to be gemstones. They form within various species of freshwater and saltwater mollusks.
Pearls are soft and need particular care when worn. Be careful not to let them come into contact with anything that may scratch or damage the nacre of the pearl. They shouldn’t ever be exposed to chemicals, such as perfume, hairspray, cosmetics, hand cream or lotions.
It’s important to remove pearl rings when washing your hands or cleaning. After wearing your pearls, wipe them down with a soft clean cloth and store them away from metal jewellery, preferably in their own box.
When not being worn, jewellery strung on silk cord needs to be laid flat to prevent the cord from stretching.
If your pearls are threaded on silk, the silk will naturally stretch and weaken over time. We suggest bringing your threaded jewellery back into the gallery annually to be checked for wear. Pearls will need to be restrung from time to time.
At e.g.etal, to keep your pearls looking good as new, we sell a special ‘Pearl Clean’ solution which moisturises the pearl and removes harmful residue.
If cared for properly, you will able to pass your pearls on for generations.
- Gold Plating
Plating is a process in which a thin layer of gold is deposited on the surface of another metal, usually silver or copper, giving it a golden appearance.
With proper care, your piece should retain its beauty for some time, however the gold layer will eventually wear back on any piece that is well loved – especially in places that regularly come into contact with skin or fabric.
To maintain the beauty of your gold plated piece, we recommend it is removed when sleeping, showering, cleaning, swimming or exercising. In particular, chlorine, chemicals, perfumes, and body lotions can negatively affect plating as any moisture can cause the metal underneath to oxidise.
In contemporary jewellery, we like to celebrate each piece as it evolves. However, if you would like to fresh the golden appearance of your piece, this can often be done for a small fee.
- Bleached Silver
‘Bleached’ silver is actually a surface treatment where the piece has been heated to bring the fine silver component to the surface. This gives the metal a matte, bright white appearance. With time, the surface will wear back to a typical silver appearance.
If your piece becomes tarnished and requires cleaning, note that cleaning this piece using any silver clean product will likely take off this ‘bleached’ layer.
For this reason, we recommend sealing the piece in an airtight container when not being worn, to prevent tarnishing and preserve the bleached effect for as long as possible. In time, if you would like to refresh the bleached appearance of your piece, this can often be done for a small fee.
- Mild Steel
Some components of a piece may have been made with mild steel which can rust if exposed to moisture. If your piece accidentally becomes wet, it should be dried immediately.
Avoid environments prone to moisture and humidity like kitchens, bathrooms or laundries. Your mild steel piece should be cleaned gently with a soft cloth (avoiding oxidised areas of the piece).
If you’re a little unsure about how to clean your particular mild steel piece you can always contact us for expert cleaning and advice.
Emeralds are beautiful stones, and there is nothing quite like the ’emerald green.’ In fact, high-quality emeralds are rarer than diamonds.
Because of the way they are formed in nature, emeralds contain many tiny inclusions and fissures known as the stone’s ‘jardin’ (garden).
These imperfections create a lush, diffused appearance. Emeralds are not ‘soft,’ in fact, they are quite hard. However, the inclusions, which are more likely to appear than not in an emerald, can also make the stone more brittle and prone to breakage.
Be careful not to let your stone come into contact with any hard surfaces and be sure to remove your ring when lifting weights at the gym, doing housework, or working with your hands. Emeralds can be worn every day as long as the wearer is prepared to take care and remove the piece when necessary.
When it’s time to clean your piece, avoid using an ultrasonic cleaner. Instead, all you need to do is give your piece a wipe with a soft cloth and a little soapy water.
Solid Australian opals are prized for their unique beauty, captivating colours and distinct individuality. They are a soft stone, so extra care should be taken when wearing your opal jewellery, especially rings to ensure their health and longevity.
Please be mindful to avoid exposing the stone to knocks, abrasive surfaces and harsh chemicals.
High heat and sudden temperature changes can also damage opals.
To clean your opal jewellery use mild soap, warm water and a soft cloth. Do not use an ultrasonic cleaner.
- 'Icy' Gemstones
‘Icy’ gemstones contain threads and inclusions. These characteristics give the stone a beautiful, diffused glow and are an integral part of what makes the gem so special.
It’s important to note that inclusions create natural fissures within the stone which can make the material sensitive to knocks. Be careful not to let your stone come into contact with any hard surfaces that could cause it to crack or shatter.
This is not to say you can’t love and wear your ring daily! But please be mindful of removing it whenever your ring is likely to impact a hard surface during your daily activities, like housework, going to the gym or playing sport.
- Other Materials (ie. wood, plastic, enamel)
Jewellery made from less conventional materials sometimes needs a little extra care.
To look after wooden pieces, we recommend removing them when you are in or around water. From time to time, rub a small amount of oil into the surface of the wood to prevent the wood from wearing.
Enamel is a very fine glass, which is fired onto the surface of metal in a thin layer. It is very fragile and needs to be worn with care. Enamel jewellery tends to be worn as an occasional piece, rather than everyday.
We suggest thinking of your enamel piece as glass and treating it as such. Avoid dropping your piece, as this may result in chips in the surface.
The enamel components of your piece won’t change over time, so they won’t need any cleaning. The silver will naturally and gradually tarnish over time. We recommend cleaning your piece with a soft silver cloth. Avoid silver dip, chemical or abrasive cleaners and hot water, as these may damage the piece.
Contrary to popular belief, plastics do degrade. To prolong the life of your plastic jewellery we recommend storing jewellery containing plastics in a cool, dark place when not being worn. It is best to store plastic jewellery in a rubber-sealed glass jar. Furthermore, be sure to keep plastics away from perfumes, chemicals and water.