In short: Crystallized fossils are crystal, which can shatter with enough impact. Mother of pearl does, too. Don’t drop them. Genuine mabe, blister and round pearls are sensitive to harsh chemicals including perfume and cleaning fluids. Gold gilding shouldn’t be rubbed, scratched or treated with cleaning fluids either. A fidgeter? Don’t rub your necklace, buy a spinner! Sterling silver is fairly sturdy, but as any precious metal malleable. Silver wire, as any metal, may break if bent enough times.
If you must clean your wearable art, use a soft brush (clean, soft cosmetic brushes are a good choice) to gently dust. For more thorough cleanup (Did you really spill coffee on the one-of-a-kind work of art? For shame!), you may use a very soft, slightly damp cloth. Don’t rub, gold leaf is delicate. Yes, it’s been protected by a layer of lacquer, but with enough effort, it can still be damaged. If your sterling tarnishes, use a a soft sterling polishing cloth, and rub *away* from the stone or pearl. You don’t want to get the black oxide onto your lovely gemstones.
Store your jewelry in the original box, a soft cloth or both when not used. A tab of anti-tarnish paper has been included with all sterling pieces, and it will need to be replaced about once a year. Anti-tarnish tabs are the best investment you can make to protect your precious jewelry, and you can find them on Amazon at very good price.
Note on pearls, blister pearls, mother of pearl and coral: This wonderful organic material is fairly soft and chemically sensitive. Keep it separate from other jewelry so it wouldn’t scratch. To maintain the rainbow luster and shine of pearls, wipe with damp cloth and don’t expose to direct sunlight for a long time, as this could dry it out until it cracks (coral may fade as well). Pearls needs just the right amount of moisture – not too much and not too little. Wear your pearls often. Pearls do best in a moist environment, so wearing them frequently keeps them from drying out.
Never clean your pearl jewelry (or amber, coral or other organic materials) in ultrasonic jewelry cleaners! The lovely outer layer can be stripped off or damaged by cleaning action and chemicals.
Note on vermeil and gold coated sterling silver: Treat this lovely material like you would sterling silver – some pieces may tarnish if exposed to moisture for a very long time. If this happens, simply gently wipe the surface with a soft cloth to remove the tarnish. The best way to keep your vermeil shining like new is to store it away from moisture, with an anti-tarnish tab.
Note on sterling silver and gold gilding: All gilding applied to AmmonArt jewelry is protected by clear gilding lacquer. However, excessive rubbing, ultrasonic cleaning or soaking in water or chemicals can still damage the fine gold or silver leaf. Don’t wear your gilded jewelry under your clothing – leaf may eventually rub off, and don’t soak it. Gold and silver leaf is also somewhat susceptible to scratches, even with coating. The coating itself can be clouded or softened with harsh solvents, such as acetone (nail polish remover). Keep your jewelry in the box it came in, or another safe place away from sharp edges of other jewelry. With proper care, gilded jewelry can last for generations.
Note on matte beads: Matte beads are gorgeous, but they’ll soak in the oils. Don’t handle the pieces made with the mate beads with oily fingers, or they’ll darken. (Of course, if you actually want to make them darker and a bit shinier, you can apply a little clear, neutral oil or colorless wax on your fingers – don’t oversaturate – and then roll the beads with your fingers). Don’t use essential oils on jewelry that includes metal – it’s corrosive and it will cause it to tarnish! if your matte beads get oily, you can clean them with the short wash of mild soap and room temperature water, but test on a less visible part first and don’t immerse in water for a long time! Some matte stones could be color treated to enhance the natural look, and many have a high calcite content. Calcite dissolves in water, resulting in a more porous, “dimply” looking stone.
The best way to keep your AmmonArt jewelry long lasting and beautiful is to simply enjoy wearing it (except in the shower, at hair stylist or when kickboxing). Both pearls and sterling are nourished and polished by our skin’s natural oils, and gilding is in the areas away from excessive rubbing. Enjoy!