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Jewelry Education and Advice

  • 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.




    Nickel chunk.

  • What Colors Go Best with Yellow Gold?

    I could say “any color goes with yellow gold” but that would mean a very short article. So let’s get a little more specific, shall we?

    Yellow gold pairs well with numerous colors and skin tones. More specifically, when pairing colors with yellow gold, the following are complimentary (meaning they look great with one another):

    • Green
    • Light Purple
    • Deep Purple
    • Black
    • Grey
    • Hot Pink
    • Pale Pink
    • Light Blue
    • Navy Blue
    • Royal Blue
    • Brown


    Colors that don’t go with yellow? Silver. (But don’t let that stop you from mixing metals, like silver and yellow gold. Some colors “clash” in an eye-catching and interesting manner. Innovative, risk-taking fashion often means breaking the rules and taking some chances.)

    Figure it this way: if you were decorating a room in your home with yellow, what color would you choose? Or how about nature? What colors naturally appeal to you when you’re outdoors? Consider your fashion choices in the same way.)

    Nature always gets it right. You can too!

    Nature always gets it right. You can too!

  • Could your Old Jewelry Be Worth More than You Think?

    If you’re anything like me, you don’t like getting rid of jewelry, even if its broken or you haven’t worn it in a while. Why? Sentimental value, for one. My grandmother gave me this necklace (with a broken clasp) or my first boyfriend gave me his high school ring (okay, I did ditch that).

    But is there a chance that there are pieces in our jewelry boxes that may be worth more than we think? Perhaps there are some pieces made of expensive metals, for instance. There are some quick and easy ways to find out.

    The Magnet Test. Cheap or phony pieces of jewelry will cling on to a magnet while authentic pieces will not. Simple enough, right?

    The Acid Test. This is easy enough with the right materials. It will test gold 14k or up. Here’s how it’s done:

    Think outside the (jewelry) box. Expensive metals can often be in our kitchen or dining room, not just in our jewelry box–namely sterling silver flatware which can be passed down for generations and worth more than you think.

    Remember: one woman’s trash is another woman’s treasure. There might be pieces you own that aren’t made of the finest metals or gems but are vintage or made by a particular highly coveted designer a long time ago. eBay is a great way to find out what vintage jewelry is hot and what’s not.

  • Dangerous Metals in Costume Jewelry…and How to Avoid Them

    Many of us know that itching, burning sensation we feel when we wear a certain piece of costume jewelry. Sure, its fun wearing it at the time…but that rash on our skin (or hives) that it can create is not nearly as fun.

    So how do you know if your jewelry could be harmful to your skin (or worse, your health. Some of these nasty metals are actually carcinogens).

    Ready for this reality check from Jezebel?

    A non-profit organization called The Ecology Center ran tests on 99 pieces of jewelry (some of which was geared toward children but most of it was for adults) that were purchased from 14 different discount stores such from around the country, like Target, Claire’s, Glitter, Forever 21, Walmart, H&M, and Hot Topic. They checked each piece for dangerous things like lead, cadmium, chromium, nickel, brominated flame retardants, chlorine, mercury and arsenic. And, surprise, surprise, lots of the jewelry was full of nasty stuff.

    Scary stuff, right? The study goes on to say that 90% of these pieces of jewelry had nickel and chromium, which can cause allergic reactions. 10% of the pieces of jewelry had cadmium, which has been the cause of several jewelry and toy recalls.

    So what’s the takeaway? Can you wear costume jewelry occasionally without fearing its dangerous effects? Well…not necessarily. Like the food you eat, know the “ingredients” and know the source. If you notice an effect on your skin, remove it asap. Don’t endure the itch. Your skin is an organ and you don’t want to absorb dangerous metals for hours on end.

    Even if your budget only allows for a few good pieces of jewelry, we advise wearing those only, except for a few rare occasions. And even then, know thy jewelry! 




  • How to Take (Good) Jewelry Images for eBay

    No surprise but a good image can make or break an eBay or Etsy sale. We humans are visual by nature, and if a piece of jewelry is poorly shot, it sends us a subconscious message that the jewelry itself is flawed or “less than.”

    Luckily, you don’t need a professional photography studio to get sharp, well-lit images of your jewelry. This video details just how easy it can be (and yes, she uses her phone to take the shots).

  • The Jewelry People Were Wearing the Year you Were Born

    This really fun Cosmo article takes you back to the year of your birth so you can see what kind of jewelry others were wearing. Really cool, right? 

    Well there’s one caveat: it only goes back as far as 1985. Sorry old timers  – if you were born before 1985, you’ll just have to do some Google research yourself. (Which is relatively easy: simply Google your year of birth along with the words “jewelry trends.)

    Here’s a shot of a jewelry trend from 1976. (Yes, it is a show about the 1950’s but Laverne & Shirley was such a hit that oversized pearl necklaces were donned all across America in ’76. Plus, a nod to Penny Marshall, whom we lost last week…sigh.)



  • Simple Rules when Pairing Jewelry with Clothing

    Fashion can get complicated! But it doesn’t have to be. Jewelry pairing advice requires a little know-how and a touch of common sense. This quick and easy video touches on several points when matching jewelry with clothing (like if you have a busy neckline, focus on wearing a pair of complimentary earrings and not a competing necklace).

    With that said, dare to break the rules when you feel compelled! Most fashionistas know that stepping outside the box is what really creates a unique and personal style.


  • The Hammer Finish on your Custom Design Jewelry – Is it Right for You?

    The Hammer Finish – It Tells a Story

    The texture of the metal on your custom designed jewelry is an often overlooked detail. And it shouldn’t be. The metal of your ring encompasses a lot of finger real estate. And the texture of that metal can either enhance or detract from the complete look of your ring.

    Hand-wrought (another term for hammered) jewelry has a particular feel to it; it speaks of the artistry behind your custom design ring. The process is done with various types of hammers (no surprise there) by strategically striking the metal with the a ball peen hammer. There are many different types of hammer finishes, from bold to subtle.

    The hammer texture also has a long history so it creates a rustic, organic feel to a piece of jewelry, as if you can imagine watching the jeweler creating your piece. This age-old technique conveys the craftsmanship behind the piece (as opposed to work that is produced via computer or machine).

    There’s a certain flow or wave to hammered metal look as well. When rotating the ring, the pattern moves in a visually appealing manner, giving the piece a certain aliveness that’s unmistakeable.

    Is the hammered finish right for you and your custom design engagement ring (or wedding band, where it can look particularly appealing)? Only you can be the judge. But if you’re unsure, we’re happy to guide you!

    Meanwhile, here’s an example:

    A Platinum and OEC diamond Solitaire with Two Rose Gold Band with Hammered Finish

    This is high bench crafted solitaire, so sleek and fluid, set with an amazing OEC diamond. Shown with two delicate pink sapphire and rose gold stackers, with a hammer finish.

    Custom Ring Design
  • What is Pavé? (Engagement Ring Tips)


    An absolutely stunning custom made cushion and pave diamond setting with 2 ctw of micropave diamonds, set in platinum.


    You’ve heard the term before but maybe you’re not sure exactly what it is. Well, let’s get the pronunciation out of the way. It’s pronounced “pa-vey” and its a French word that means “paved.”


    So what is pavé?


    Pavé (or pave) is a type of setting that consists of many small gemstones attached to an engagement ring (or other types of jewelry) by small droplets of metal. The end result gives the setting a look of being paved with diamonds (or another gemstone of choice).


    What are the benefits of a pave setting for your engagement ring?


    Well, cost would be one reason to go with a pave setting. Because the individual stones are smaller, they’re more affordable. Yet you’re not sacrificing sparkle, since a pave setting provides a ton of that.

    Another benefit of pave setting is surprisingly easy care. The small gems are held together quite tightly by tiny prongs and are generally secure over the course of time.

    Above is a great example of a pave setting. It’s a custom made cushion and pave diamond setting with 2 ctw of micropave diamonds, set in platinum.

    Considering a custom design engagement ring with a pave setting? Give us a call or send us an email and we can talk in more detail. We create amazing rings with pave settings all the time and we’d love to bring you closer to your dream ring.

  • 2 DIY Methods to Clean your Costume Jewelry

    If you’re anything like me, you have a ton of costume jewelry (along with my fancier custom design pieces). Costume jewelry is play jewelry after all. It’s perfect for fun events (think costume parties) or other activities where you don’t want to risk the loss of your more cherished items.

    But recently, I noticed several of my costume pieces were looking a little…gray. That doesn’t sound fun, right? After a little research, I found out a few quick and easy DIY ways to clean up my jewelry to get it party-ready again.


    DIY Methods to Clean your Costume Jewelry



    Lemon juice. I decided to used the plastic bottle variety of lemon juice for this experiment (real lemons are expensive and are meant to accompany my adult beverage) and it worked just fine. Simply dilute one part lemon juice and one part water and soak your costume jewelry in it for 15 minutes (not much longer–it is an acidic wash and can do damage).

    Baking soda and salt. Another easy at-home remedy for your cheap, sparkly things, simply combine one tablespoon of baking soda and one table spoon of salt in a glass bowl. Then add one up of heated water and watch the wonders of chemistry take place (you’ll see bubbles). For an added benefit, line the bowl with aluminum foil for an even stronger chemical reaction.

    The last step for either of these DIY steps (don’t forget this one): a good buffing with a soft cloth. Don’t forget this step since it provides that extra shine.

    After I tried these steps, my costume jewelry came back to life again. Yay! More parties in my future for 2019.