Because pure gold is too soft to withstand the stresses of everyday wear, it’s alloyed with a mix of metals such as silver, copper, and zinc, which gives it strength and durability. Please note that we never use nickel as an alloy metal, as it can cause allergic reactions for many jewelry-wearers. At Charlotte Ehinger Schwarz 1876, you'll find only 18k and 24k gold (18k gold is 75 percent gold). Keep your gold jewelry away from caustic chemicals like chlorine and cleaning fluids; doing so will reduce day-to-day abrasions and prolong its luster. To clean gold, wash it gently in a solution of warm water and detergent-free soap, using a soft-bristled brush (an old toothbrush works well). Store your gold pieces separately in jewelry bags made of soft fabric or in their original boxes; this will keep them protected from harsh indoor elements.
Platinum is highly valued for its durability. Every time any other metal is scratched or polished, a tiny bit of it is lost. For instance, prongs made of gold may eventually wear down enough to necessitate their reinforcement with more metal. This isn’t the case with platinum: This strongest of jewelry metals won’t readily chip or splinter. However, abrading it may leave a scratch on the metal, and it can develop a patina with wear. Many people like that look, which is unique to platinum. But if you prefer a high shine, a jeweler can polish your jewelry to bring back its original reflective finish. In the meantime, buffing with a soft cloth can give your jewelry renewed luster. All of our platinum jewelry is 95 percent pure platinum combined with 5 percent iridium, palladium, ruthenium, or other alloys. For guaranteed quality in platinum, look for the marks 950 Plat or Plat. Soaking platinum in a mild solution of soap and warm water and gently scrubbing it with a soft-bristled brush is usually all that’s required to keep clean.
This metal, discovered in platinum ores in 1803, was named for the asteroid Pallas by William Hyde Wollaston. More and more, palladium is being used instead of platinum or white gold in jewelry. For instance, in many of our designs at Charlotte Ehinger Schwarz, it’s often a preferred alternative to other precious metals that are silvery in color. Because this metal is in the platinum family, clean and care for it in the same manner as you would your platinum jewelry.
Pure silver, also called fine silver, is relatively soft, very malleable, and easily damaged. Therefore, it’s commonly combined with other metals to produce a more durable product. The most popular of these alloys is sterling silver, which consists of 92.5 percent silver and 7.5 percent copper. Although any metal can make up the 7.5 percent non-silver portion of sterling silver, centuries of experimentation have proven that copper is its best companion, enhancing the metal's hardness and durability without affecting its beautiful color. With proper care, your fine-quality silver will last a lifetime. To minimize scratches and other damage, store your silver jewelry in either a cloth pouch or a separate compartment of your jewelry box. Avoid exposing your silver to household chemicals when cleaning with bleach or ammonia or when swimming in chlorinated water, as these chemicals can damage it. Care should also be taken to prevent silver-tarnish buildup, a natural dulling that occurs when silver reacts with sulfur or hydrogen sulfide in the atmosphere. To clean your silver, use polishes formulated specifically to remove tarnish. You can find fine-silver polishes, solutions, or cloths for removing tarnish at most hardware or craft-supply stores. Tarnish is most easily removed when it first becomes visible. Although wearing your silver jewelry is often the best way to prevent tarnish from accumulating, regular cleaning of all your silver items will prevent tarnish and keep them shining like new.
Because naturally occurring pearls are extremely rare and costly, most pearls sold today are cultured. To create a cultured pearl, a tiny bead is placed inside an oyster. Over time, the oyster coats this bead in many layers of minerals and proteins. These layers, called nacre (nay-ker), give pearls their beautiful iridescence and lustrous coloration. Though there isn’t an industrywide grading system for pearls, at Charlotte Ehinger Schwarz we make sure each pearl we use meets our exacting standards. When cared for properly, pearls can last a lifetime. The best way to care for them is to wear them often — but keep them away from household chemicals, including perfume, makeup, and hairspray. Many of the ingredients in these commonly used products can dull the luster of your pearls; avoid exposing them to such things by putting jewelry on last when you get dressed, making it the first thing you take off when you come home. Before storing your pearls again, wipe them with a soft cloth, then place them away from other jewelry to keep their tender surfaces from getting scratched.
After first producing our tipit and Charlotte rings in silver, we developed them in stainless steel. Steel makes an excellent base for interchangeable pieces because it’s strong and resists pressure without sustaining damage to its structural integrity. That’s why all components of the Charlotte technique are manufactured in stainless steel, including those made for gold rings. Applying a soft-bristled brush (again, an old toothbrush works well) with a non-abrasive soap, then rinsing in warm water, is the best way to clean your stainless steel.
We encourage you to send your Charlotte, tipit, and ES jewelry to us to be cleaned; we recommend at least an annual checkup. We’ll check the integrity of your jewelry’s settings and working components. This is a complimentary service; however, you will be responsible for return shipping charges. Please see our RETURNS page for more details.