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Jewelry Education and Advice

  • What’s the Difference Between Sterling Silver and Stainless Steel?

    The world of metals is vast and confusing. But we’re about to make it a little easier. Prepare yourself for some metal education !

    What’s the Difference Between Sterling Silver and Stainless Steel?

     

    Well, let’s talk about what stainless steel and sterling silver have in common first: both are alloys (meaning they are metals made up a combination of two other metals).

    Now for the differences:

    Stainless steel is made up of steel and chromium. It contains within it the strength and durability of steel with the luster, easy maintenance and resistance to corrosion of chromium. Stainless steel is used in surgical equipment, cookware, architecture and jewelry, among many other uses.

    Sterling silver is made up of silver and another metal, most commonly copper, though potentially zinc or platinum. Silver by itself is too soft for most functional purposes, hence why its alloyed with another metal. This means it has the strength and functionality of the alloyed metal with the beautiful and lustrous appearance of silver.

    Sterling silver is used to produce cutlery, jewelry, musical instruments (some manufacturers prefer to use sterling silver over brass).

    Differences between sterling silver and stainless steel also include:

     

    Stainless Steel:

     

    More scratch resistant than silver

    Doesn’t tarnish

    Less lustrous

     

    Sterling silver:

     

    Less scratch resistant than steel

    Tarnishes

    More lustrous

    Lighter in weight

    One of the main benefits of sterling silver is its appearance; it looks brighter and shinier. Stainless steel, on the other hand, is more durable and can last longer; it doesn’t tarnish but its also not as shiny.

     

    Sterling Silver Tip: If you see a marking on that reads “.925,” this signifies the minimum fineness required for an object to be considered sterling silver.

    A pure silver business card.

    A pure silver business card.

  • Why is my Jewelry Making me Itch?

    It’s a special occasion and you’re dressed to kill! Every hair is in place, your outfit is to die for and…you keep itching your neck all evening long.

    Why? Your necklace (while it looks fabulous) is a piece of costume jewelry and not hypo-allergenic. Let the hives begin! 

    If your earrings, necklace or other piece of jewelry causes an itch or a rash on your skin, chances are you may be allergic to nickel.

    It’s considered one of the most common skin allergies, mainly because nickel is used in so many items, including jewelry, cell phones, zippers, eyeglass frames, belt buckles and keys.

    If you have a nickel allergy, you’ll notice symptoms 12 to 48 hours after you come into contact with it (though some notice symptoms earlier). Generally, the rash is specific to the area where the jewelry made contact but it can spread (sweat can worsen it, for example).

    What can be done about a nickel allergy? 

     

    Take steps to avoid nickel contact. If you want piercings or tattoos, have it done with sterile, surgical-grade, stainless steel instruments. Take care to avoid piercing guns (since they can contain nickel and cause bacterial infections).

    When you purchase jewelry, make sure its made of surgical grade stainless steel or either 24-karat yellow gold. Beware of white gold (which may contain nickel).

    Other nickel-free metals? Pure sterling silver, copper, titanium and platinum. If you simply must wear earrings that have nickel in them, add plastic covers.

     

     

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    Nickel chunk.

  • What is Garnet? (Quick Gem Education)

    What is a garnet?

     

    Garnet is not one single mineral per se but is used to encompass a group of several closely related silicate minerals. Garnets are widely known as dark red though come in a variety of colors, including red, orange, yellow, green, purple, brown, blue, black, pink, and colorless.

    According to Middle English, the word itself means “dark red.” In Latin, garnet is derived from the word “granum” meaning “seed” possibly referring to a pomegranate seed for which it is quite similar in color and shape.

    The garnet’s history extends back to the Bronze age. Garnets were used as beads in a jewelry dating back to 3000 B.C. This gives us an idea of its durability and strength.

    Symbolically, it represents the feminine nature (some say that only women should wear garnet). During medieval times, garnets were believed to cure depression, protect dreamers from nightmares and relieve diseases of the liver. It was also thought to be potent against poisons.

    Garnet is the official birthstone for January. It is also used to celebrate the 2nd anniversary of marriage.

    Below: a heart shape pendant in 14kt white gold featuring approximately .06ct t.w. of genuine Brazilian garnets and natural diamonds. (Pendant only, chain sold separately)

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  • Custom Design and a Touch of Spirit

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    I was particularly struck by this quote by J. Donald Walters and how it applies to our work. Walters is an internationally known author, lecturer, and composer and considered as one of the world’s foremost authorities on meditation and yoga. A spiritual guru, if you will.

    How does a man so seemingly different than a custom design jeweler relate to our work so well? Because yes, custom design has a spiritual element. When we create a piece for a client not only does their heart and soul go into the final product…but so does ours.

    Now, people have all sorts of things custom designed. But think about jewelry for instance. Or more specifically, think of wedding jewelry. When else would you want something imbued by the spirit of the wearer and the maker? How could a box store ever compete?

    We’re proud of the work that we do in our Scottsdale studio. Three generations strong. And there’s a reason its been the backbone of our family for so long: the spirit of what we do exceeds the final product, like this wise author has touched upon.

    If you’re looking for jewelry steeped in spirit and soul, look no further. We can create a piece of jewelry that becomes bigger than the piece of jewelry itself. Contact us for more information. 

  • 25 Random Things you (Probably) Didn’t Know about Jewelry

    You think you know your jewelry, do you? Well, think twice. We’re guessing you probably only know one, maybe two of these facts (we knew only a handful more so not to worry, grasshopper).

    Expect to learn that:

     

    In some cultures, people ate whole pearls to remedy illness.

     

    All diamonds turn to graphite over an extremely long period of time.

     

    Opals can actually be up to 30% water.

     

  • Is ALL Cheap Jewelry Ugly Jewelry?

    Is ALL Cheap Jewelry Ugly Jewelry?

     

    Well, of course not. There’s a time and place for cheap jewelry. Sometimes you just need those wacky red, white and blue star earrings for July 4th or dangling Santas for the holidays.

    This woman reviews her recent haul of cheap jewelry and uncovers some sweet pieces for the occasional wear:

  • Jewelry Cleaning Tips (from Queen Martha Stewart)

    Sure, we’ve shared a bunch of jewelry cleaning tips over the years. But…these tips are from the Queen of All Things Domestic, Ms. Martha Stewart. Does she give any mind-blowing advice? Well, she does advise ammonia (which we don’t hear often) and covering your drain with a cloth…that’s a good one!

     

  • A Brief History of Hair Jewelry

    There’s something about “hair jewelry” that makes me cringe a little. Like “dusty ice cream” or “peanut butter and snails.” It just doesn’t seem right. But like many things in life, we have to look at the context, historically speaking.

    Queen Victoria made hair jewelry popular by wearing a locket of her beloved Albert’s hair around her neck after he passed away.

    The Victorian era ran with this morbid phenomenon and instead of just wearing a locket containing a snip of hair, began creating entire pieces of jewelry consisted of human hair…like, the whole piece (I’m not quite sure how they managed the clasp).

    According to Nat Geo: 

    It could be a brooch, or a pendant with hair woven in the middle, or even a bracelet of hair. In its heyday, hair jewelry was considered both sentimental and fashionable. It caught on in Europe sometime before the 19th century, and then fell into vogue in the United States around the Civil War.

    While we do custom design, we’ve yet to encounter any requests for hair jewelry. But you never know, right?

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    Victorian Hair Mourning Jewelry

  • Jewelry Tips – How to Prevent (Dreaded) Oxidation

    It happens slowly. Over time. You may not even notice it at first. But soon that shiny piece of jewelry of yours becomes oxidized and dull-looking. It’s just nature running its course. Due to moisture and oxygen, residue gathers on your jewelry, taking away its original shine.

    What to do??? 

    You’ve heard that expression “a stitch in time saves nine”? Well here are some preventative steps you can take to make sure you don’t fall victim to the dreaded oxidized jewelry look.

    Remove jewelry before swimming. Okay, this tip should be a given. But many people find themselves in situations that challenge this long-held rule of jewelry maintenance (like a late night hot tub). Chlorine can quickly and seriously discolor many types of jewelry. So take it off (the jewelry, that is).

    Avoid taking your jewelry to the bathroom. Another sneaky little environment that contains moisture that can kick-start the oxidation process. Get in the habit of removing jewelry right before you enter the bathroom and placing it somewhere safely. Once the habit is ingrained, its easier to maintain.

    Store your jewelry in closed containers. Enter the jewelry box. There are several practical and pretty reasons for a jewelry box. But one real reason a jewelry box protects your jewelry: it’s a dry, humidity-free space.

    So there you go. If you want to keep all of your jewelry looking the best, these little steps go a long way!

    Split Shank Halo Engagement Ring A gorgeous split shank halo engagement ring, featuring a round brilliant stone halo'd with delicate pave. The split shank pave increases in size as the diamonds form a single shank.

    Split Shank Halo Engagement Ring – A gorgeous split shank halo engagement ring, featuring a round brilliant stone halo’d with delicate pave. The split shank pave increases in size as the diamonds form a single shank.

100 Years in Jewells Business

Today, Joseph Schubach builds upon his family's experience and continues the tradition with Joseph Schubach Jewelers, offering both intimate jewelry brokering in his Scottsdale, Arizona showroom and full-service online sales to clients from around the world, where he has maintained that personal customer connection in the virtual world.

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Call Joe, Margie or Jen for expert help at (888) 724-8222