CARING FOR YOUR JEWELRY
Azteca Designs jewelry is hand-fabricated and hand-crafted. Please wear pieces with care. Some styles are more delicate than others. I make all jewelry to last, yet it’s possible items may catch on clothing or bang against hard surfaces while worn. Each scratch and ding adds to the piece's character and makes it your own! Read below for details on each material and how to best clean your jewelry.
DESCRIPTION OF MATERIALS
I use both stabilized AND natural turquoise (natural meaning it has not been synthetically stabilized or treated) in my hand fabricated jewelry. Natural, untreated turquoise is a relatively porous stone. It will absorb oils, lotions and soaps over time. Remove turquoise jewelry when showering and washing hands in order to preserve the color of the stone. You may notice the stone changing to a more green hue over time, which some people find desirable. Any color change is permanent. Never put turquoise jewelry in an ultrasonic cleaner and remove it when doing vigorous work or exercise. Details about each piece of turquoise will be in the individual listings/item descriptions.
Silver naturally tarnishes over time when exposed to the atmosphere, moisture and skin oils/lotions. Keep pieces in a cloth bag or stored away from moist air to prevent excess tarnish. Silver may be polished with widely available polishing cloths. I include a polishing cloth with most orders.
Argentium Silver is purer than Sterling (935 or 960), has increased tarnish resistance, a whiter color, antibacterial and hypoallergenic properties and a firestain-free surface. All of these benefits make Argentium Silver better for the end wearer and gentler on the environment, as less chemicals are used in production. The raw materials used to make Argentium Silver are more expensive, but we find that the superior properties of this alloy make it worth the premium.
Most of my hand forged ear wires are crafted from Argentium Silver, making them hypoallergenic and nickel free. If this is the case, it will be stated in the item description.
Copper’s rich orange tones can naturally oxidize and develop a patina over time. With prolonged exposure to moisture and under certain conditions copper can take on a green patina. Most copper in my jewelry has been pre-oxidized with Liver of Sulphur which gives it a darker tint in recessed areas. This tint will rub off if the copper is polished excessively with a polishing cloth and the look of the piece will be altered. When washing, if you would like to preserve the darker look of the copper in your jewelry, gently clean it with dish soap, water and a toothbrush. Make sure it dries fully, and if the piece has a stone, avoid washing the stone.
Brass also has the tendency to oxidize. A bright yellow brass will require some maintenance to keep it this way. A polishing cloth works well, as does steel wool if the jewelry has a matte finish to begin with. Using steel wool is effective if there are textures or grooves in the brass piece, but be aware that steel wool cleans by scratching the surface to remove build-up, so use it gently. You may also make a solution of 1/2c white vinegar, 1tsp salt and flour (add enough until you have a paste) and soak your jewelry for 10 minutes, then rinse. If the piece has a stone, avoid washing or wetting the stone.
Some copper, brass, and bronze pieces are sealed with either clear enamel or micro-crystalline wax polish to preserve patinas and metal finishes. If this is the case, DO NOT scrub, scratch, or excessively clean the piece or the sealant will be damaged. Instead gently wipe with a polishing cloth when necessary.