Caring for your handmade pieces will ensure that you can keep wearing them for many years. I have pieces I created 20+ years ago that I'm still wearing and look the same as the day I made them. Since most of the components undergo an antiquing process (oxidization), I always suggest taking off your jewelry before getting into the shower or bath, and definitely before going for a swim. Chlorine and other chemicals in pool water will ruin your magical pieces. Ocean salt water is also too abrasive for these pieces. Here is what you SHOULD DO: * Be gentle with your handmade jewelry. Treat it with as much love and respect as you treat everything you love and care about. * I suggest keeping it in the original gift box I sent it in, to protect it from getting tangled with other pieces. * Wear it in good health for many years to come. What NOT to do: * Do not swim in ocean water or chlorinated water (pool water) while wearing your handmade jewelry. This will damage the beautiful antiqued finish of the metal. * Don't shower with your jewelry on. While a little bit of water won't harm the jewelry, lots of water, soap, and shampoo, might ruin the finish over time. * Do not attempt to bend or reshape it.
Gold Filled vs Gold Plated There's quite a difference between filled and plated. Gold plated items have a very thin layer of gold that is applied by electroplating it. The downside of such a thin layer is that it can be scratched and rubbed off with even your fingernails quite easily. When that plating comes off, the base metal is exposed and the jewelry can get tarnished (apart from not looking too pretty...) 🙁 In fact there is so little gold in gold plated items that it's insignificant, and therefore gold plated jewelry has no value gold-wise. This is the reason it can be so inexpensive, as almost no gold is actually used. Gold filled on the other hand has almost 100% more gold than gold plated. Gold filled jewelry is required legally to contain 5% (or 1/20) gold by weight. Gold filled is made of two or three layers that are then bonded to the core metal with heat and pressure. These layers will not chip off easily and cannot be removed by rubbing your fingers on it. You never have to worry about gold filled jewelry tarnishing, and even if you're allergic to the core metal you don't have to worry about reacting to it as the thick layers of gold will protect you from a reaction. Gold filled jewelry is much more valuable because of the amount of gold used in it and due to how it's bonded to the core metal. This image explains it well: (Image from www.lonestargoldandsilverbuyers.com) Gold filled jewelry is one step down from solid gold when it comes to quality. You're important to me and that's why I only offer gold filled. Plated is just not an option when it comes to ear wires.