We create and sell fashion jewelry made of electroplated metals, including gold, platinum, sterling silver, stainless steel, brass, and other base metals. Over time, the surface of fashion jewelry can experience normal wear and tear and become dulled or cloudy. Timeworn prongs and clasps can result in the loss of a stone or an entire piece of jewelry. Thus, it is crucial to be aware of the materials of the jewelry you own and how to care for, preserve, and protect your jewelry.
Platinum and Gold
Solid platinum and 14k gold pieces may be worn daily, including while showering and swimming.
Avoid exposing gold jewelry to chlorine and other household chemicals, which will quickly cause gold to discolour and possibly disintegrate. To polish your piece, simply wipe it clean with a soft cloth.
Only polishing will remove scratches from platinum and gold. However, the patina of fine scratches that develops over time can add beauty to the jewelry and reflect the journey a piece has taken. The polishing process removes metal and is only recommended to be carried out a few times over the piece's life.
Sterling silver is made from 92.5% silver plus 7.5% copper to enhance its strength (hence the term 925 sterling silver). Its high silver content makes sterling silver a precious metal with a lustrous appearance.
Sterling silver tarnishes, especially when exposed to salt air and Sulphur products, such as rubber bands and some papers. Using a soft polish cloth, gently rub the silver several times. Then rinse the silver thoroughly in warm water and carefully dry. This will remove the tarnish and dullness, keeping your sterling silver like new.
Please note: chlorine and bleach accelerate tarnishing and should be avoided. Once cleaned and polished, silver must be kept dry and properly stored.
Sterling silver is soft by nature and may be prone to scratching. We recommend storing your pieces individually and within the jewelry boxes/bags/pouches.
In some cases, an oxidized finish is the deliberate blackening of crevices in the ornamentation of a silver object to make its decorative details stand out more clearly. This finish can be removed by overzealous cleaning and polishing.
Stainless steel is an alloy comprised of a number of non-precious metals, so it has a much lower price point than platinum, gold, and sterling silver. Instead, stainless steel's value comes from its durability. Stainless steel is a highly resistant material that resists water and knocks, so it's well-suited for everyday use. You can even shower with stainless steel jewellery on those lazy days.
Stainless steel stains less easily than iron-based metals, but it's not literally "stainless." Just like standard steel, stainless can be marked up by fingerprints, grease, discolour, and eventually rust. The difference is resilience. Stainless steel can withstand much more time and abuse before showing signs of wear.
Here at U3, the two most common stainless steel grades are 304 and 316. The critical difference is the addition of molybdenum, an alloy which drastically enhances corrosion resistance, especially for more saline or chloride-exposed environments. 316 stainless steel contains molybdenum. 304 stainless steel does not.
Brass and Other Base Metals
Brass and other base metals are usually electroplated in 14K, 18K gold, and Rhodium to mimic a similar luminous gleam finish that platinum has at a much lower price point.
Base metals have many hardwearing qualities and are more durable than sterling silver. With time, when the plating wears out, base metals will react with Sulphur in the air and then oxidize naturally, allowing each of our pieces to develop their unique characteristics. This means that base metal jewellery is not made for everyday wear.
There are several ways to prevent oxidization with a bit of maintenance, such as:
- Avoid exposure to cosmetics, perfumes, lotions, and hairspray. These products can damage your jewelry.
- Remove your jewelry before exercising, bathing, or sleeping.
- Store in a dry place. Also, it is best to store your items separately from other jewelry.
- Gently clean your jewelry with a clean and soft cloth.
- Refrain from exposing your items to abrasives, solvents, or cleaning compounds.
- Applying a polymer barrier or nail varnish on the inside of your rings
Some people find themselves sensitive to base metals, especially Nickel. If you have skin sensitivity concerns, opt for sterling silver, platinum, or gold instead.