Designs by Dhona

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What causes fashion/costume jewelry to tarnish?

Tarnishing, as in a darkening of metals such as silver, nickel, copper, brass, etc., is caused by impurities in the metal oxidizing in the air. The only remedy is to keep your jewelry polished or buffed.

There are products, like Silver Protector Strips, made by 3M, that you can keep in your jewelry cases which absorbs moisture from the air...much the same as the little packets of silica gel crystals that are often included with new shoes.

If we are talking about a base metal, covered in either an acrylic metallic color, such as a bright gold foil appearance, the only solution is to avoid contact with oils, salts and acids.

Since human skin transfers all of these, you can either wipe the jewelry off with a soft cloth when you remove it, or look into applying a clear, high gloss water-based varnish, available at craft stores.

This is not a permanent solution, but keeping the pieces clean and away from contaminants is the simplest way to preserve the appearance. Avoid oil-based varnishes and shellacs, as they tend to yellow, and crack. 

- Consumers' Guide to Jewelry Metals -

Gold-Filled~ items are made by combining a layer or layers of gold alloy to a base metal (usually brass), then rolling or drawing the metal to the desired thickness and shape. It has a long life and can be worn by most people without reactions or difficulties. Our gold-filled wire is 12Kt; our gold-filled chain is 14Kt.

Gold-Finished and Silver-Finished also called Gold Color and Silver Color or"washed"~ the base metal is brass or steel and the product is electroplated with a non-standardized thickness of gold, silver or nickel.

Gold-Plated, Silver-Plated and Nickel-Plated~ items have an industry standard of .15 to .25 mils thickness of gold, silver or nickel which is plated to the surface of the base metal.

Nickel Silver~ items are made of an alloy, mostly containing nickel, popularized in German and Native American jewelry. Nickel silver resembles sterling silver in color, with a greyer tone.

Pewter~ is available in both genuine and lead-free varieties.

Titanium~ items are made of neutral grey, lightweight metal. After manufacturing into the desired shape, such as earposts, the neutral grey base metal titanium can be anodized into six colors. (Note: anodized titanium earstuds are not certified hypo-allergenic, however most metal-sensitive people can wear them comfortably.)

Stainless Steel~ The generic term for grades of steel that contain more than 10% chromium, with or without other alloying elements. Stainless steel may also have varying additions of nickel, molybdenum, titanium, niobium and other elements. Stainless steel resists corrosion, maintains its strength at high temperatures, and is easily maintained. The chromium in the steel combines with oxygen in the atmosphere to form a thin, invisible layer of chrome-containing oxide.

The most common grades of stainless steel are:

  • TYPE 304- The most common type (chromium-nickel stainless class): accounting for more than half of the stainless steel produced in the world. This grade withstands ordinary corrosion in architecture, is durable in typical food processing environments, and resists most chemicals. Type 304 is available in virtually all product forms and finishes, including jewelry components.
  • TYPE 316- Also a chromium-nickel stainless class, 316 contains 2%-3% molybdenum (whereas 304 has none). The inclusion of molybdenum gives 316 greater resistance to various forms of deterioration.

Sterling Silver (925)~ items are made of 92.5% pure silver and 7.5% copper or other alloy, proportions fixed by law. Sterling silver will "patina" in time, that is, its color will take on an "antique" look.

Karat (Kt)~ is the measure of fineness of gold. 24Kt is pure gold, 14Kt gold is 14 parts pure gold. The balance is alloy. 14Kt is the standard fineness used for most jewelry in the USA. Our 14Kt has a rich yellow color and has hardness and durability suitable for lasting use. Our 18Kt gold has a darker color with a deeper yellow tone.

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- Disclaimer -

Realizing that this product is "fashion" jewelry, it was not designed for daily/every-day wear -- it was designed with complimenting your wardrobe in mind. Any alloy other than 14K Gold, 925 Sterling Silver, Stainless Steel, Platinum, etc., is prone to tarnish or change back to it's original state

To get the most life out of your new purchase, I highly recommend considering the suggestions above and remember to store your
Designs by Dhona pieces in their original plastic packaging or in a similar manner.