Fine jewelry creation and care is a field I never would have imagined researching for a career, but after I found myself nurturing a talent for the creation of memorial jewelry, I found myself diving headfirst into everything that accompanied it. First and foremost, resin jewelry and its care is not information that is commonly known, even those who find themselves in possession of many pieces of fine jewelry, but it is a material that is commonly used not just in the creation of memorial jewelry but in fine jewelry as well. Because resin is the second primary component in the setting of my pieces, I do want to make sure all of the information for its care and preservation are readily available to my clients. Here are some tips and tricks for how to get the most longevity out of your piece, and keep it looking like new throughout all of life’s adventures.
Avoid storing any piece in direct sunlight. While my pieces are made with a high-grade resin with UV resistant properties, some resins will yellow when exposed long term to the sun’s light or heat. This is a slight catch-22, unfortunately, as my pieces look best in natural sunlight and many of my clients do use sunlight when taking their photos for social media or reviews. This is not to say your piece cannot be worn outside, just do not let it sit for prolonged periods of time in direct light.
Because Resin is technically a plastic, high heat is the best way to damage it quickly. Usually high heat from a dryer, jacuzzi, or direct lighting can cause the setting to detach from the metal because it expands to no longer fit the bezel it has been set into. I have also seen resin jewelry melt from exposure to high heat. This is why having a ring sized after it has been set can be dangerous, as it may cause the setting to solidly detach from the piece. Unfortunately, if a setting becomes detached from a bezel, there is no way for me to reattach it. What I would do in this case is have a client send a piece back to me with more ashes and reset it, the original setting can be kept by the client as there is no way to restore the setting to ashes without making them irretrievable.
Sharp or Abrasive Objects
Because resin is a soft material, sharp and abrasive items can cause scratches to the surface. This includes any metal that comes into contact with the setting, including other rings, or keys. I do recommend removing any jewelry before doing cleaning, house or garden work as well, as contact with stones, sand, metal sponges, or brushes can scratch the resin’s surface. Knowing this is sometimes unavoidable and that my pieces are ones clients want to wear all the time, I do set each piece with a clear layer of resin to protect the ashes, so even deep scratches and chips cannot damage the precious material underneath.
Chemicals are present in more items than we think: perfumes, lotions, shampoos, soaps, nail polish, etc. Lotions and perfumes can be worn while wearing resin jewelry, but I do recommend using these items before putting your jewelry on and not after you are wearing it. To apply lotion, I would recommend removing your ring, and placing it back on when the lotion has been applied, the same goes for perfume. While chemicals are everywhere, you should be mostly concerned with aggressive chemicals such as cigarette smoke, cleaning agents, and alcohol-based products such as acetone (nail polish remover) or perfume.
With the current state of affairs regarding COVID-19, many people are seeing increased use of cleaning supplies and hand sanitizer. Because Hand Sanitizer is an alcohol-based product, it can be extremely harmful to the settings on my pieces. Please exercise the same or increased caution when using this product, either synthetic or organic, and remove your jewelry before using hand sanitizer and replace your piece after the sanitizer has dissipated.
The most common culprits of yellowing or discoloration are fragranced items. Aside from resin jewelry, it is recommended to avoid contact of fragrance with the metal of your piece as well. Avoiding such items will minimize both the discoloration of the setting and tarnish to sterling silver jewelry. Some everyday examples of this are lotions, perfumes, and hair products that contain fragrance or coloring materials. Again, removing any piece of jewelry before applying these items will help to avoid stains on both products.
Now that we have gone over what to avoid, here are some tips for the general care and cleaning of a piece of jewelry that contains resin:
If you need to clean the resin or give it a light polish, a damp microfiber or chamois cloth can clean the setting without damaging it. You can also clean it with water and mild soap such as dish soap. A little goes a very long way with soap, so please do limit its use and make sure that the piece is thoroughly rinsed before wearing it again.
Metals such as sterling silver will tarnish over time with regular use due to one's personal skin chemistry, water and oxygen exposure. You can use a polishing pad or cloth to remove tarnish. If you use a tarnish remover product, be careful to avoid the setting as the chemicals in this product can cause damage to the resin. I have found that the more I wear my pieces, the less they tarnish as your skin does act as a natural polishing agent to the metal to keep it shiny and clean-looking. Contrary to popular belief, 14K Gold can tarnish but only under extreme circumstances. In most cases, this is not something you need to worry about as it is rare. Tarnish does appear less harshly on Gold than silver, and usually presents as a darkening of the metal. I do provide anti-tarnish bags and a polishing pad with each piece in every order to help with the care of your special forever piece.
When you want to store your jewelry, it is best to make sure it is in an airtight container whether it is a small bag, jewelry box, or both. Store the container in a cool, dark and dry area. Humidity can be a breeding ground for tarnish, and if your jewelry is submerged in liquid and left wet for too long, the chemicals present in the liquid can cause discoloration. I take all of my pieces off when I shower, sleep, swim, and clean to avoid all of the above and store them in their anti-tarnish materials when I am not wearing them for long periods of time. but this is by no means required. Many of my clients do not take their jewelry off at all, due to its sensitive nature and special meaning, which is perfectly okay too!
Overall, the treatment of your jewelry from the start of its creation to the presentation and wearing it every day, should be filled with respect, joy, and love. I do everything in my power to exemplify these things in the setting of each and every piece, which is why I use the highest-grade materials for both the casting of the jewelry and creation of the setting. While the utmost care is taken on my end to avoid discoloration, scratching, and tarnishing, once the jewelry is in the hands of my clients it is up to them to see to its care. Please feel free to wear your jewelry every moment of every day without worrying about damage to your loved one’s precious ashes, and follow these tips and tricks to keep your jewelry looking new and bright throughout all of life’s wonders.