Different materials explained and some handy cleaning tips!
Updated: Apr 14
Here at Cumbria Life Casting we believe in offering you plenty of choice!
We are one of the only Memorial and Inclusion Jewellery studios to offer you a choice of materials for your inclusion stone, metal and the option of having your precious piece engraved here in house too!!
Let's start with your Inclusion stone.
You can choose from a glass stone or resin stone.
All our our resin designs are here:
And all of our Glass designs are here:
There are things you should take into consideration when choosing your inclusion stone material.
1/How often will you be wearing your pieces? If you never want to take it off, then choose glass. Glass is higher up on the Mohs scale of hardness.
It's not as hard as a diamond, so you will still need to take care, but is harder than resin. Resin does require you to pay attention and follow our Aftercare. https://www.cumbrialifecasting.com/aftercare carefully.
Although having a glass stone in your piece does not mean you can forget aftercare for any of your jewellery!! These pieces contain the most precious of inclusions and to keep your piece looking it's best we recommend following this as closely as possible.
Which leads you onto your next consideration...
2/Which metal is best?
We work in mainly sterling silver, 9k and 14k varieties of gold. Although we can make a number of our designs in higher carats of gold and even platinum.
Sterling silver is a precious metal that is actually an alloy of 92.5% fine silver with a hardening metal such as copper for added strength. It's easy to maintain, any scratches can be easily polished out and if it does tarnish this can be easily cleaned.
Preventing sterling silver from tarnishing is really no big deal and takes just a few seconds or minutes.
The best way to prevent your favourite pieces of sterling silver jewellery from tarnishing is to clean them after wearing. Not only will this remove any dirt or natural oils that may have accumulated, but it'll also prevent the chemical process of oxidation.
To wash your sterling silver, use warm water, scrub gently with a cloth, and then dry. You can even wash your sterling silver while you shower, just as long as you dry the piece afterward. Just bear in mind that repeat exposure to hot water is not recommended especially for pieces with resin inclusion stones.
Chemicals such as chlorine or household bleach will accelerate the potential for oxidation and tarnish.
Another way to prevent tarnish is to keep your pieces in an airtight jewellery box. Latent chemicals in the air fuel oxidation. So by limiting exposure to air, you'll reduce the oxidation.
If you already have tarnish spots on your sterling silver, there are a couple of methods to remove the blemishes depending on the extent of the oxidation.
For light tarnish or spotting, scrubbing with a polishing cloth can remove the discoloration. (We include one of these with your finished piece!) However, be careful not to overuse the tarnish cloth because it can sometimes reduce the luster of your jewellery.
Also, for light tarnishing, a toothbrush and light baking soda and water mixture can also do the trick. Scrub lightly with the toothbrush and solution and dry thoroughly.
You can also soak your pieces in a foil tray, covered in bicarbonate of soda and hot but not boiling water. Once the water has cooled wash your piece with some warm water and gentle dish soap, rub with the polishing cloth and marvel at the sparkle again!!
Gold is slightly easier to maintain, but can also tarnish if care isn't taken. Gold in 9k or 14k varieties is harder than sterling silver, so less likely to bend or deform over time.
A popular choice is white gold, but we should point out that white gold is a plated gold.
In its natural state white gold is a soft gold colour. To give that bright white appearance most jewellers rhodium plate over the gold.
Over time this rhodium plate will wear off to reveal the soft gold colour underneath. Some people are happy with this, but others prefer the bright white appearance and will need their pieces replating. Depending on how carefully you've been caring for your piece you may need it replated between every 12 months to a few years.
Hopefully the information here will help choosing your final piece a little easier.
Please get in touch if you have any questions.