In this modern age people are used to get most of what they want online. This is no exception for silver jewelry, especially if you own a retail store you can compare prices from the comfort of your living room. Having said that, the reality is you must travel abroad in order to find the most unique designs at the best prices or jewelry that fits your brand and customers. What are some of the best known places to go looking for that kind of jewelry?
In the recent years, there are a few popular spots in the world that have become known countries with “silver towns”. These Silver jewelry countries usually have a long tradition of working with silver and at least one is a major producer of the commodity. These places flourish with experienced artisans, designers and jewelers that excel at their job and often strive to transfer their skills to their descendants and/or apprentices so that the traditional methods of jewelry making are not lost. It is somewhat of a common consensus that some of these places:
This warm and tropical country aside from being a famous tourist destination, boasts the world’s largest biggest jewelry store located in Phuket. Rich deposits of gems found in the central provinces, innovative designers, silver jewelry craftsmanship influenced by minority groups in the mountainous north (known as the hill tribes) as well as ancient gold artisan skills from Hindu settlers for more than 700 years are some of the reasons Thailand. Currently, Thailand’s Chiang Mai and its capital Bangkok -with a jewelry district comprising four different areas that specialize in colored gemstones, gold and silver jewelry as well as antiques- are considered the most important silver jewelry destinations. Buying silver jewelry here can be done with confidence if you do your homework and shop at a reputable outlet.
The country often is seen in the top places in the world for the production of mined silver. Two of the most productive mines in the world, Penasquito and Fresnillo, are located there. With a history of over 500 years of commercial mining it is not a surprise Mexico is also has a considerable number of silver jewelry designers and artisans, mostly concentrated in the city of Taxco.
Archaeological record of jewelry making goes as far as 3000 years ago with the Etruscan civilization. In more recent years, small family-owned operations have become large multinationals, especially in the chain jewelry market. A sizable number of renowned jewelry design schools is located within its borders.
Metal work craft was introduced by the Chinese roughly 2500 years ago. Jewelers here are known for their still traditional, high labor intensive style of silverwork known for its granulated ornamentation and decorative wirework.
A long jewelry history in the country is still evident today as the most important events and religious rituals display incredible amounts of exotic jewelry. Gold and silver are traditionally considered sacred metals, and with the size of the country styles vary greatly.
The opinions on where to go to find the best silver jewelry designs vary wildly as each source gives its opinion based on their likes, dislikes, tastes, individual style, budget among others. Some might add to this list places like Morocco, China and the USA. One might listen to their advise and go to the recommended place and not find anything special. Therefore, before planning a trip to any of the places mentioned it is recommended you do your own research so you know what to expect.
How To Keep Your Sterling Silver Jewelry Clean And Shiny
My wife and I have been in the Jewelry business for over 25 years. “The Jewelry Lady” who I happen to be married to is my partner at a Company called “Accessory Snobs” and we do special events at various Sam’s Clubs nationwide.
During all the years we have been in the business I can attest that my wife has somehow mysteriously been able to keep all her Sterling Silver Jewelry looking like the day she bought it all. So I asked her and here is my take on what she said…
How does an Accessory Snob take care of her jewelry…
Being an Accessory Snob means you are committed to your jewelry AND accessories. You are like “that’s hot, that’s not… ” and being so committed, you must enlighten others around you so that they too, one day can become properly accessorized like you are.
As she is the head Accessory Snob in her area of expertise, she has found that there are some VERY basic care and cleaning instructions for jewelry of all types. Since this is going out to the masses, forgive me if I am covering old ground with you on things you already know, there may yet be some pearls of Accessory Snob Wisdom you may be able to glean from these words…
So here are a few of our tips…
The most important tip I will tell you is never ever sleep in your jewelry. You just never know what the heck it is going to catch on. Then if you do sleep in it, it inevitably lands up in the shower with you which leads to my second big no-no.
Do not shower with your jewelry on.
The shower is no friend to jewelry. Jewelry just gets dull from the different products we use on our bodies and hair not to mention softeners in the water.
So then what the heck do you do with it when you aren’t wearing it?
If it’s sterling silver you want to keep it in a plastic bag.
You want to get all the air out of the bag as well. If you don’t get all the air out, your silver will tarnish which is a chemical reaction silver undergoes with the oxygen in the air.
When silver tarnishes it combines with oxygen and forms silver oxide. Silver oxide is black. When a thin coating of silver oxide forms on the surface of silver it darkens the silver. You may see it as a patina of gold coloring to black. The silver can be returned to its former luster by removing the silver oxide coating from its surface.
You can also put a piece of aluminum foil in the bag.
Very important, only one piece of silver jewelry in the bag. This will keep the silver from oxidizing or tarnishing.
If your PLAIN silver has tarnished there is a home recipe you can use. NOTE this is for plain silver only do not use this if there are any stones in or on the jewelry.
Line the bottom of a pan with aluminum foil. Set the silver object on top of the aluminum foil. Make sure the silver touches the aluminum.Cover the jewelry completely with very warm water. For every gallon of water you use, use a cup if baking soda. If you use a half a gallon of water use half a cup of baking soda.
You can add a quarter teaspoon of salt. The water will start to froth a bit and spill over the container so you want to do this in the kitchen sink.You may need to change this mixture several times and go through the process over and over. When you see that your jewelry is clean you need to rinse it completely. Then place it on a dish towel or paper towel and dry it with a blow dryer. PLEASE note, do not dry while in your hands. The silver will heat up and burn the heck out of you!
A store bought silver cleaner which is wonderful is called Dip It. Please read any instructions carefully. Not for use with stones of any kind! Most silver cleaners allow for 30 to 60 seconds in the solution and that is it. These cleaners are very strong and if silver jewelry is left any longer than the recommended directions the jewelry can get severely damaged.
For sterling silver with stones
You have to use a polishing cloth. Just never polish the stone itself as the chemicals in the cloth can take off layers of your natural stone, abalone and mother of pearl.
Can be kept in a gift box, plastic bag or just separate slot in your jewelry box. You never want anything touching the crystal itself. So pull the chain away from it so as not to touch the crystal. You can use a micro fiber cloth on the crystal to take off smudges.
The rest of your jewelry should just go in the jewelry box in its own compartment. Omega’s should not be clasped, just loosely Silver jewelry wrapped around itself like a coil.
For cleaning gold and diamonds, here is a homemade recipe.
I do not like this for rings with rhodium plating on them. This is for solid gold only and NO PEARLS or OPALS. I mainly use this for my diamonds only or plain gold. (For semi-precious stones omit the ammonia.)
FIRST!! Open the windows… get a glass or a coffee cup.
Fill it half way with warm water. Add about 2 tablespoons of liquid dish soap.
Then add about an inch or so of ammonia. Let your jewelry soak in this.
Sometimes you can put this in a container with a lid on it and leave your wedding ring in it over night. Then after soaking use a soft toothbrush to get anything left in it.
Then before rinsing, make sure the drain is stopped up so your ring can’t go down and then rinse away.
After rinsing the jewelry again use the blow dryer. Do this and you will see spectacular results.
Please remember and note very well… you want to open your windows when using ammonia. If this smell bothers you, you can completely omit it from the receipt. The hot water and the liquid soap is a great cleanser all by itself.