Jewellery Care

The materials that jewellery items are made from are detailed on the descriptions page for each item. The majority of the pieces are made with silver plated, gold plated, Sterling silver, copper or brass wire and findings.

In most cases of plated wire, the base wire is copper, electroplated with silver or gold. The plating on them is very thin and will not withstand substantial polishing as solid silver items can. But silver does tarnish over time, taking on a yellowy tint initially and gradually darkening.

It is the surface silver oxidising in the air that causes this tarnish, so preventative action can minimise this substantially. It is recommended to keep your jewellery items in sealed airtight containers between wear. Whilst not terribly elegant, zip locked or sealed plastic bags offer an inexpensive and effective solution to keeping your jewellery out of the air. The jewellers' recommendation is to keep each item wrapped in tissue or a soft cloth, sealed in a zip lock plastic bag and these bags then kept in an airtight container. Leaving jewellery out on display and open to the air will see them deteriorate quickly.

Keshi freshwater pearls.

If your jewellery does show signs of tarnish over time, a very gentle polish and buff with an impregnated cleaning cloth for silver will restore shine. Do not use abrasive polishes, or work too vigorously, as this may remove the thin layer of plating entirely.  Just buff the surfaces gently.

You can further extend the life of your jewellery piece, especially freshwater pearls and crystals, by gently wiping and buffing with a soft cloth after wear and before storing, to remove the oils from your skin and cosmetics that can accumulate on the surfaces and dull their lustre.

When putting your jewellery on to wear, do so after applying cosmetics, hairspray and perfumes as these can all damage or discolour the surfaces if you spray them whilst wearing jewellery. Crystals really shine if buffed before wear and washed periodically in a warm dilute solution of washing up liquid or shampoo - if the rest of the piece can withstand it - ensure that you dry the piece carefully. Just breathe on them and buff with a soft dry cloth if not.

The golden rule is that your jewellery should be the last thing you put on and the first thing you take off.

Sterling Silver:

Some of the pieces are made in Sterling Silver. This is the most common grade of silver used in jewellery as it is soft and pliable enough to work with, but also hardened enough to maintain its shape once complete, where pure silver is softer and needs to be tempered or hardened after making in order to withstand wear.

Sterling silver wire used in many of my pieces.

Sterling silver is also often called 925 silver, or bears the hallmark .925. This is from the minimum of 92.5% pure silver it must contain.

The other 7.5% is usually copper, but may be other mixes of metals that offer particular favourable properties. The addition of copper makes the silver more stable and practical to use, but does also accelerate the tarnishing process. So the same care should be taken with Sterling silver pieces as outlined above for plated items.

Whilst I don't have my pieces stamped or hallmarked as Sterling silver, where Sterling is used, this is indicated on the site descriptions and the documentation supplied with your order.


I hand make the majority of my jewellery components myself. The copper I use in pieces is solid red copper.  It starts out in its raw and newly polished state as a lovely shiny pink colour.   This colour will darken over time to a warm rich brown colour - which is also very attractive.  You may find this desirable, in which case, leave your copper piece alone and allow it to age gracefully - something that we'd all appreciate. 

If you prefer the original pink shiny state, this can be restored with a gentle application of some metal polish - just as you would your brass house ornaments.  There are many impregnated metal polishing cloths and pastes on the market, you're sure to have something suitable to hand already.    You can even mix your own with salt and lemon juice - which you could gently rub in with an old toothbrush or soft nailbrush.  Rinse your piece after cleaning with some washing up liquid (or shampoo) and warm water and dry carefully.

Gently does it: But proceed with care, the pieces are delicate and copper is a very soft metal and a heavy hand may distort your jewellery. 

Antiqued copper:

One of my favourite finishes is to antique copper - and there are many pieces in the shop with this treatment.     I make the piece in shiny red copper and then artificially accelerate the aging process with a dip - this turns the copper almost black.  I then hand polish the piece to restore shine - but just where I want it.  I polish the proud areas of the design, leaving crevices dark - this brings out texture in the piece through the visual contrast and gives it the look of a family heirloom - losing the newness of the raw copper.  The copper also takes on a slightly less pink appearance, just as you'd expect from a piece lovingly worn over time. 

If you like the contrast and find it loses this over time as it darkens, you can similarly lightly shine the proud surfaces, as outlined above with metal polish or a polishing cloth.  The lemon juice and salt technique may remove too much of the original antiquing process and remove the desirable patination too far.

Caring for your kilt pin, fibula or brooch:

Many of the kilt pins that I make are in copper, which is a very soft metal, so consequently, the pins need to be handled with a little care and sensitivity to the characteristics of the metal.

The point of the pin has been sharpened and smoothly polished by hand, but is still rather chunky and best suited to open weave fabrics such as knitwear and jackets.

I carefully position the point of the pin within the latch so that the sharp point is protected from scratching you or snagging clothing in wear.

You may need to flex the back of the pin a tiny amount (just the pressure of your fingers, no more) to release it from the clasp to open and then it will only spring open a small amount, but it should be enough to allow it to be pinned on your garment and re-closed.   Open the pin gently and ease it through the fabric without undue force, to protect the shape of the pin. 

With a little care in handling of this nature, your pin will give you a lifetime of enjoyment.

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