Handle with Care, Love with Abandon
Caring for delicate materials
When choosing a treasured piece of jewellery, the most important factor is how it stirs your soul: the way you connect with it, how it represents you and the meaning it embodies. But when you’ve come down from the heady emotions induced by a glittering gemstone, there are a few important practical considerations. Especially when it comes to pieces made with special materials that require a little more attention.
We’ve prepared this practical care guide for delicate materials, to help you look after your most fragile beauties and wear them for a lifetime.
Emeralds are beautiful stones, 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, diffuse 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 it 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.
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. At e.g.etal, to keep your pearls looking as good as new, we sell a special ‘Pearl Clean’ solution which moisturises the pearl and removes harmful residues.
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.
‘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 activites, like housework, going to the gym or playing sport.
Blackened (Oxidised) 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, this will be particularly noticeable for 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.
‘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 the piece 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.
If you have an e.g.etal piece that could use a clean or refresh or would like to discuss any of the services mentioned above, please feel free to contact us.