Sterling silver is an alloy of 92.5% silver and 7.5% copper. It can be antiqued or given a high polish. We use both antiqued and polished beads. A puff cleaner can be used to clean the outer edges of the sterling beads and leave the inner antiqued crevices antiqued. Do NOT use a Sterling Dip to clean your antiqued jewerly.
14K GOLD FILLED BEADS
Our gold filled beads are made by using heat and pressure to apply a layer of karat gold to a base of less costly metal. This produces a surface with karat gold much thicker than both Gold Plating and Heavy Gold Electroplate. The minimum layer of karat gold must equal at least 1/20th of the total weight of the item. Use care when buffing Gold Filled beads, to avoid removing the gold layer. Note: Gold fill is 50 to 100,000 times thicker that regular Gold Plating and about 17 to 25,000 times thicker than Heavy Gold Electroplate.
A product described as "vermeil" is strong and does not dent becasue it has a base of .925 sterling silver. It is plated with a heavy layer of gold not less than 10k. Where the Gold Plating has not completely bonded with the Sterling Silver, the Silver will eventually tarnish. Overtime, This will appear as darkened areas on the gold.
SWAROVSKI AUSTRIAN CRYSTALS
Our crystal is genuine 32% lead "Strass" crystal from D. Swarovski of Austria. The beautiful rainbows produced by this crystal have made Austrian Crystal Chandeliers famous around the world. This crystal is Swarovski's first quality crystal, not seconds. If you look very closely, you may notice occasional tiny "nicks" on the crystals. This is normal and does not affect the rainbows. All crystals are double checked for quality before they leave the warehouse.
Our Birthstone Crystals are all Swarovski Crystals. Common Gemstone names have been given to the crystals that most resemble them.
We use the strongest beading wire possible for each specific custom jewelry item. All custom bracelets and necklaces are made with 49 strands of steel coated in Nylon.
Our Alphabet Letter blocks are 5.8mm in size. All beads on our bracelets range from 4 - 6mm in size. Some of our Earrings, Gemstone dangles and Precious Metal dangles are made with 8mm beads. Some of our images are larger than life size to show detail.
All our Gemstones are Natural with the exception of Hematite.
Nearly ALL commercially available "hematite" beads are a simulated material virtually identical to real hematite. Both genuine and simulated Hematite are Iron Oxide. True hematite leaves a red streak when scratched across a piece of unglazed porcelain. The simulated products usually leave a gray streak. Even though a few vendors still say their hematite style beads are a natural material, we believe most mass produced hematite beads are the simulated product. The simulated material and the genuine are so similar in look and feel that vendors may not question their suppliers and may inadvertently mislead the customer.
Gold Plate and Silver Plate
Gold Plate is a very thin deposit of gold, electroplated or electrochemically applied to the piece. It is a very small fraction of an inch thick (1/1,000 - 1/1,000,000 or so of an inch thick). Heavy gold electroplate might be 2 or 3 1,000’s of an inch thick (this can also be written as 2 or 3 mils).
Silver Plate is a plating that matches the color of Sterling Silver.
NOTE: We only use Gold and Silver Plated materials on the end pieces of our Eyeglass Chains. All materials in our remaining products are .925 Sterling Silver and 14k Gold Filled.
Depending on your individual lifestyle and wear and tear on your bracelet you should have your bracelet periodically restrung to prevent breakage or loss.
A Note About General Jewelry Care
Remove your Beaded Jewelry while Cleaning, Swimming or taking a Shower. Chemicals used during these activities are hard on all jewelry and WILL damage silver.
The above image shows an example of Sterling Silver Damaged from Chemicals in a Hot Tub. Chemical damage is not covered under warranty.
Remove your jewelry for sleeping (except for rings and stud earrings). Movement during sleep causes stress on all moving parts. Cherished Time Designs uses the strongest jewelry wire in the industry suitable for our bracelets/necklaces but with wear and tear the wire does eventually need replacing. Following these few tips will lengthen the period of time between maintenance re-stringing.