General Rules on Jewelry Care
At The Jewelry Code, we do not recommend wearing your fine jewelry at the gym, while in the pool, shower or ocean, as well as when using household chemicals and cleaners.
We recommend storing silver or gold jewelry in an airtight bag or box.
Never polish your jewelry with paper towels or tissue paper. For a scratch-free shine, gently buff with a lint-free cloth.
What is Sterling Silver Jewelry and how to care for it?
Sterling silver (925) is an alloy consisting of 92.5% silver and 7.5% other metals (mostly copper). It tarnishes from oxidization caused by exposure to moisture, particularly in areas of high humidity. Tap water and perspiration may also accelerate the tarnishing process.
Silver jewelry can be cleaned using mild, warm soapy water. We also recommend removing any tarnish and dullness with a soft cloth dipped in professional cleaner.
What are the different types of solid Gold Jewelry and how to care for them?
24k gold is pure gold. Gold is a soft metal that is mixed with other metals to achieve more durability and different shades. The smaller the percentage of gold, the stronger and more resilient it will be. For example, 18k is 75% pure, 14k is 58.3% pure and 9k is 37.5% pure.
White gold is a mixture of gold and metals such as palladium, silver, nickel, copper and zinc.
Rose gold is a blend of gold, copper and silver.
All types of solid gold jewelry can be cleaned regularly in a solution of two parts mild dish soap (we recommend Dawn) and 10 parts warm water for up to three hours. Gently rub with an ultra-soft-bristle brush for maximum shine. You can also polish your gold jewelry with a lint-free cloth.
What is Gold-Filled Jewelry and how to care for it?
Gold-filled jewelry is made of a metal bonded with a solid, thick top layer of gold. This layer is generally more durable and long lasting than the gold used in vermeil and plating. Clean only when visibly dull with a lint-free cloth.
What is Gold Vermeil Jewelry and how to care for it?
Gold vermeil is made of a thin top layer of gold that is at least 10 k pure, over sterling silver.
Frequent wear and abrasive cleaners can wear off the top layer of gold, requiring your jewelry to have the gold reapplied. Gold vermeil jewelry should be cleaned and buffed with a soft,
What is Gold Plated Jewelry and how to care for it?
Gold plated jewelry is made of a thin top layer of gold over another metal, usually a brass alloy.
Gold plated jewelry should only be cleaned with a soft, lint-free cloth.
How to care for gemstones
Clean your gemstones with mild soapy water or a professional solution. Gently rub with an ultra-soft-bristle brush for maximum shine. You can also polish gemstones with a lint-free cloth.
Note that emeralds, opals, onyx, turquoise, amber, tanzanite, peridot, garnets and most other gemstones are not as hard as diamonds, rubies and sapphires. Avoid cleaning these stones with ultrasonic devices, hot water, steam and ammonia.
We recommend storing jewelry containing amethysts, rose quartz, brown opal and zircons in a dark place, away from UV radiation.
How to care for pearls
Polish your pearls regularly with a soft, lint-free cloth. If visibly discolored, clean them gently with a damp cloth. Lay your pearl strands flat in a box, once they are completely dry. Do not hang them on jewelry stands as this can weaken the strands.
How to care for costume jewelry
Costume or fashion jewelry is typically made from base metals including brass, zinc and copper. These pieces are often plated with gold, silver, palladium, rhodium or ruthenium. Imitation gemstones, rhinestones, glass, wood, plastic and a wide range of materials may be added to these designs.
Always keep your costume jewelry dry; do not clean unless visibly worn or discolored. Store in an airtight bag or box.
Useful Definitions Conflict-free diamonds
Conflict-free diamonds are mined; traded and shipped without any connection to a country’s civil wars, rebel fighters and terrorist groups. Procedures and agreements like The Kimberley Process guarantee that ethical standards are met throughout the production process on a global scale. ‘Blood diamonds’ have funded crime and led to major human rights violations related to labor exploitation.
Cultured pearls are bred on farms under controlled conditions inside freshwater river mussels or saltwater pearl oysters. Most genuine pearls available today are cultured. Pearl farms practicing sustainable and ethical practices offer an eco-friendly alternative to excessive gemstone mining. Farmed oysters and mussels grow in filtered waters, technically protected from predators, and are gently handled to produce the finest quality pearls.
Lab-grown or man-made diamonds are produced with advanced technology that replicate a natural diamond’s formation. Man-made diamonds are chemically, thermally, physically and visually identical to mined stones, minus the negative environmental impact. Mining can cause soil erosion, deforestation, energy waste, increased carbon footprint, decrease in freshwater reserves and gradual loss of biodiversity. The same international diamond-grading institutions as natural diamonds certify these eco-friendly alternatives.
Mass-produced or commercial jewelry is jewelry manufactured with the help of machines. The same styles are produced in great numbers on an assembly line at a low cost. It is the opposite of original, high-quality handcrafted designs made by skilled artisans.
Necklace Length Options
Standard necklace lengths and their corresponding styles:
Collar (12-14L") sits tightly around neck
Choker (15-16L") sits at base of neck
Princess (17-19L") sits on the collarbone
Matinee (20-24L") falls between the collarbone and décolleté
Opera (26-35L") sits on bustline, or falls a couple of inches below
Rope (over 36L") hits at middle of bust or just below
Sustainable jewelry is produced with the least possible negative impact on the environment and involves fair trade practices. It is made of upcycled materials, including metals and gems that are recycled or mined in ways that minimize toxicity and energy waste. Eco-friendly jewelry is handcrafted to avoid the carbon footprint of heavy machinery. Artisanal methods ensure the sustainable development of skills within local communities and the protection of those groups from chemical disposal, soil erosion, deforestation, water pollution and the gradual loss of biodiversity.
General Questions and Thoughts Is lead-containing jewelry harmful?
Lead is a toxic metal used in mass-produced jewelry for children and adults as an inexpensive way of providing support, weight and brightness to its structural components. It accumulates in our bodies via digestion, inhalation and skin absorption. It can cause neurological disorders, anemia, organ failure and even death, especially in children.
Are there rules when it comes to jewelry?
There are no rules to embellishing yourself and wearing jewelry, the only instruction or advice we have is to wear whatever you are comfortable with.
Can I mix fine jewelry and costume jewelry?
We believe you can mix fine and costume jewelry, and suggest you maintain a balance between the various pieces you’re combining and the rest of your outfit. Build your signature mix around a common element (metal, gemstone, color, texture, design motif, theme or scale).
Can I mix silver and gold jewelry?
Yes, you can mix silver and gold jewelry. We recommend mixing metals and stones in complementary tones for a more balanced and modern look.
What metal best suits my skin tone?
Personally, we don’t buy into the idea that certain tones look best on specific skin colors. It’s all about how you put it together. Conventionally, white gold, platinum and silver flatter those with cool skin tones (pink, red or blue undertones). Yellow gold, copper and brass are recommended for those with warmer skin (yellow, peachy and golden/bronze undertones). All metals work on neutral skin (no undertone or a mix of cool and warm ones). Rose gold looks great with most skin shades, too. Mix it up and find a new hue that makes you look and feel beautiful in your skin and jewels!
Our thoughts on how to stack rings
Space rings along your fingers so they don't scratch each other or pinch your knuckles. Pile thin ones together and keep chunkier styles apart.
Mix metals, gemstones, shapes, textures, sizes and widths together, but stick to a unified theme or mood (romantic, edgy, boho, minimalist).
Wear dramatic, cocktail rings in traditional spots (near the base knuckles) and simple bands wherever you like, including around the middle and top knuckles. Place different ring widths in proportion to the size of your fingers.
Our thoughts on how to layer necklaces
Mix metals, gemstones, shapes, textures, sizes and scales as you like, but try sticking with a single theme or mood (romantic, edgy, boho, minimalist), as you would when layering rings or bracelets and wrist adornments.
Layer a variety of weights and widths to create a cascade of lengths that let each piece stand out. Play with different chain styles, too. (rolo, wheat, bead, rope, snake, mesh, Figaro, Venetian etc.).
We love combining necklaces in groups of three or other odd number pairings for a personalized and pleasing aesthetic.
Purchase a necklace spacer to avoid tangling.
Different types of rings
Band: Typically, a ring with a uniform width. Identically cut gemstones can line part of the perimeter, or all of it as in ‘Eternity’ or ‘Infinity’ bands.
Three-Stone Ring: These rings feature a linear arrangement of three stones with a larger center flanked by two smaller ones. It might symbolize the past, present and future.
Halo Ring: Small diamonds or other same-size gems are set around a main stone, often to give the illusion of a larger center stone.
Cluster Ring: Feature multiple small gemstones secured in a ‘cluster setting,’ or arranged around the main stone. Back in the Prohibition era, ladies were wearing this style while secretly sipping cocktails, and these often sizeable and dazzling rings are more commonly known as ‘Cocktail’ or ‘Dinner’ rings.
Antique Ring: A ring that is over 100-years old.
Birthstone Ring: A ring with a featured stone that symbolically represents the month you were born.
Flexible Ring: A comfortable, bendable style usually in metal mesh or chain link that adjusts to your finger’s shape.
Signet or Seal Ring: These designs showcase a round, initial-engraved plate and get their name from the Latin word, ‘signum,’ which means ‘signature.’ Known as a ‘gentleman’s ring’ or ‘pinky ring’ (from its preferred finger placement), it adds a heritage feeling to your look.