FAQ

Listed below are answers to common question.  If you have any other questions, please feel free to contact us.

What types of ear wires do you use?  Many people react to base metals with nickel in them.  Catcophony uses only sterling silver, sterling silver plated, copper, brass, gold-plated, gold-filled, and niobium ear wires.  The type of wires and other components are listed in the product description.

Do you use nickel in your jewelry?  Since many people are allergic or react to nickel-based metals, Catcophony does not use nickel in their jewelry.

I really love a piece of jewelry you have and I'd love to have matching pieces, is that an option?  Most pieces are limited edition (or one-of-a-kind pieces); however, I try to make matching items.  If there is an item that you would like a matching bracelet, earrings, or necklace, please contact me with the item name and I will e-mail you regarding availability and cost.  Some materials are rare finds of limited quantity.

What materials do you use in jewelry fabrication?  I use only precious and semi-precious stones, sterling & fine silver, gold-plated & silver-plated metals, copper, brass, polymer clay, and fine glass beads in my jewelry. 

What is Fine Silver? Fine Silver is 99.9% pure silver, and is known to tarnish eight times slower than Sterling Silver due to its lack of copper.  The general rule is that as the purity of silver increases, the problem of tarnishing decreases.

What is Sterling Silver? Sterling Silver is 92.5% pure silver hardened with another metal alloy of no more than 7.5%, usually copper.

What is Gold Filled, Vermeil, Gold Plated?

Gold Filled is wire that has a layer of gold (10K gold or higher) that is mechanically bonded under heat and pressure to one or more surfaces of a supporting base material (usually brass).  The jewelry industry standard regarding the quantity of gold in gold filled must be at least 1/20th (5%) by weight of the total product.

Vermeil is Sterling Silver that has been heavily electroplated with at least 2.5 microns of fine gold (at least 14K, usually 22K). The layer of gold may be either electroplated or mechanically bonded.

Gold Plated:  A layer of gold (I use 14K or higher) is electroplated to a metal, often brass.  The amount of gold in plated gold is less than that found in gold-filled products.

How should I care for my jewelry?

Gemstones
Precious and semi-precious gemstone beads are made of natural minerals and are quite porous and will chip if not cared for properly. When wearing your beads, be careful not to knock against hard surfaces.  Apply cosmetics and perfume before putting on your jewelry. Cosmetics and perfumes may contain substances that will discolor your beads or damage the protective outer layer. Do not wear or leave your jewelry exposed to high temperatures. Remove your jewelry before entering a sauna or when you plan to spend long hours in direct sunlight. Do not wear your jewelry while swimming since both salt water and chlorine can damage them.  Most gemstones should not be cleaned in an ultrasonic cleaner.

Pearls
Pearls are porous and require special care. Never use jewelry cleaners (unless specified as safe for pearls), since this might turn light colored pearls black.  Instead, wipe pearls gently with a damp cloth. As with gemstones, put your pearls on last to minimize direct contact with perfume, cologne, hair spray, lotions and make-up. The best way to care for your pearls is to wear them. The oils from your skin will help prevent the pearls from drying out. Do not store pearls plastic bags because moisture can build up inside a sealed bag and damage your pearls.  Instead, wrap your pearls in a jeweler’s tissue, acid-free tissue paper, or a soft cotton cloth, and store directly in a soft jewelry bag.

Patinas

Patinas will slowly darken over time from exposure to the air and other elements in the environment. Using a metal cleaner will remove the patina and change the look of the piece and may cause damage to the brass, copper, silver or gold. Use either a rouge cloth or a soft cotton cloth for light cleaning. When precious metal jewelry requires a more thorough cleaning, gently finger wash in lukewarm water with a tiny drop of mild liquid soap. Allow the jewelry to air dry thoroughly before polishing and storing.

See also Copper & Silver Care