General Info, Care and Cleaning

MATERIALS AND CARE

Sterling Silver, Brass, and Bronze develop a natural patina over time from exposure to oxygen, moisture, and oils in the skin. Enjoy the antiqued patina that develops or discourage the process by keeping jewellery clean and dry and storing it in an airtight container when not in use. If treated properly your solid silver jewellery should last a long time. In most circumstances silver jewellery should keep its shine and bright colour simply through regular wear. If you haven't worn a  certain piece for a quite it can go black or discoloured but you can always restore the high shine and remove any tarnish on the surface by using a specially treated silver polishing cloth. You can even remove small scratches caused by wear and tear with a gentle silver cream cleaner and a soft cloth.

Silver dip can be used for some fine chains and cubic zirconia stones but very carefully as it is a harsh cleaning product. 

As a general rule try to avoid any contact with perfumes, hair products and harsh chemicals to preserve the colour of your jewellery. Please be aware that exposure to bleach and some chemicals will turn silver black and tarnished and be very difficult to remove without professional re-polishing. Ask your local jeweller for this service. 
Some people will have a tendency to turn silver black on contact against their skin, particularly silver chains.  There is not much you can do about this apart from regular cleaning or wearing pure gold/white gold. 
SILVER ALLERGY
When people have allergies to sterling silver it is usually a reaction to the nickel or other metals that have been mixed in small amounts with the silver to make it sterling silver. When silver jewellery is Hypoallergenic it does not contain nickel but this is not standard fr sterling silver.  All the silver offered by VEGA on this website is sterling silver unless otherwise stated. 
Some sterling silver is rhodium plated. This means it is solid silver but then plated with a rhodium coating which prevents the item from tarnishing as quickly and also prevents it causing an allergic reaction when in contact with skin.  
If your jewellery turns green or leaves a greenish stain on the skin when wearing it in water, it is not an allergic reaction but actually just a result of it not being silver. 

HALLMARKS

What does 925 Sterling Silver mean?

When 92.5% of pure silver is mixed with 7.5% of other metals (often copper, nickel or zinc) the resulting alloy is more durable and less soft and is called Sterling Silver. Pure 100% silver is much softer and duller and is not hard enough to  achieve the white colour and mirror like shine of sterling silver often preferred for modern jewellery making. This is why we have 925 sterling silver.

What is the difference between 925 and Sterling Silver?

925 silver and sterling silver are the same thing and are common standards of high quality for all silver jewellery.

Is all silver jewellery hallmarked?

Most heavier items are hallmarked 925 Silver but not all silver items especially lightweight pieces are hallmarked. This does not mean that they are not silver. Equally some items (not on this website!) may have a 925 stamp but only be plated silver or just a cheap alloy such as nickel. Usually, if something seems too cheap to be be solid silver its because it isn't.

Silver jewellery without hallmarks -

Some tribal, antique or ethnic handmade pieces may not have traditional recognisable hallmarks  because they were made without modern machinery and techniques but they can still be solid silver. However they will tend to be different mixtures of silver and are not referred to as sterling silver. For example pure hill tribe silver is 99% pure and has not been mixed with any other additional metals. These items have a much duller finish at first, however with wearing over time they develop their own lovely soft lustre, depth of shine and have a richer, warmer colour than sterling silver. They also tend to be heavier and very hard wearing, great for everyday use. Other traditional items may also be only around 60% silver and the rest a mix of metals. This is often true for Indian Jewellery, Alpaca (Central/South America) and North African Bherber Jewellery. 

VEGA guarantees that all the items described as sterling silver on this website are made from genuine 92.5 sterling silver. 

 

GEMSTONES & SHELLS

Much of our jewellery is uniquely designed and handcrafted therefore all crystals, stones, seaglass and shells are one of a kind and may vary slightly from the image you see in the picture, but we do our best to match general size, shape, color.

Please be aware that natural gemstones and shells/pearls can be very delicate and I therefore do not recommend they be cleaned using harsh cleaning products and should be worn and treated with care.

Please avoid wearing them all the time and take them off when bathing or swimming to prolong their life and protect their natural lustre.

Please be aware that some brightly coloured stones, crystals and shells will naturally fade and crack over time depending on care and use.

Follow this link for more information about caring for your pearl jewellery.

 

GOLD VERMEIL JEWELLERY 

Gold vermeil  is sterling silver jewellery that has been gold-plated. This is a good combination for those with allergy to normal, plated jewellery items as the base metal is sterling silver.

The metals underneath items described as gold plate or gold tone  are often nickel or nickel alloys which is why they will turn green and discoloured quickly and can cause an allergic reaction or discolouration of the skin. 

With time depending on care and use, the gold vermeil and hence colour on jewellery can wear off but underneath it is still sterling silver. The colour will also fade more gradually than regular plating so the items can still be worn. 

Silver and gold jewellery reacts with chlorine and chemicals. To prolong the life of your gold plated jewellery please take it off in water, avoid wearing in the pool or spa and avoid contact with perfumes and chemicals. 

As these gold vermeil items are solid silver underneath you can polish them and still continue to wear them as silver or you can have them re-plated with gold/rose gold. I am sorry but at present I do not offer this service.