Caring for Your Sterling Silver Inlay Jewelry

Turquoise wedding ring and engagement ring set in sterling silver.

Turquoise wedding ring set shown with white sapphire and turquoise engagement ring in Continuum sterling silver.

Unlike gold or platinum jewelry, your sterling silver jewelry needs some special care to stay as beautiful as the day you brought it home.  However, keeping your sterling silver jewelry looking good does not have to be a chore.  Silver jewelry can tarnish under the right conditions.  Your sterling silver jewelry is 92.5% pure silver with copper or other metals added to make the silver more durable.  The copper in the sterling silver alloy reacts with moisture and sulfur in the air to oxidize or tarnish the surface of the jewelry. Your silver jewelry will tarnish faster in areas of high humidity and air pollution.  Other agents such as hairspray, lotion, perfume, deodorant and other chemicals can accelerate the tarnishing process as well.  Some people’s body chemistry can also contribute to rapid tarnishing.

One of the easiest solutions to prevent your silver jewelry from tarnishing is to wipe your rings or other jewelry with a jewelry polishing cloth.  The best polishing cloths have two layers  or sheets.  One sheet is treated with chemicals that clean and whiten the silver.  The second layer is a soft cloth that is great for rubbing and buffing the piece of jewelry to maintain its luster.  If you use your polishing cloth on a regular basis you should be able to prevent tarnish from ever forming on your jewelry.  As an added precaution, some people find that storing their silver jewelry in an airtight plastic bag keeps tarnish at bay.  This may be a great solution for customers who do not wear a particular piece of jewelry very often and storing it in a plastic bag may not only prevent it from tarnishing but also protect it from being scratched by other jewelry in your collection.

If you discover that your inlaid sterling silver jewelry has stubborn tarnish build up that just won’t wipe away, there are several things you should not attempt.  Do not dip your sterling silver jewelry in a tarnish removing liquid or rub a tarnish removing cream on your jewelry if it has inlay, enamel  or other sensitive gemstones on it.  The tarnish remover could damage the stones or the epoxy used to secure the inlay in place.  The same is true for an ultrasonic jewelry cleaner.  While ultrasonic cleaners are great to remove “gunk” buildup around your gemstones, the powerful high-frequency sound waves can damage the epoxy holding the inlay in place, damage enameling and harm some gems.  No inlay jewelry should ever be placed in an ultrasonic cleaner and you should always consult a jeweler to see which gemstones are safe for ultrasonic cleaning.  The best way to remove stubborn tarnish is to take you silver jewelry to a jeweler and they will use a polishing compound with a buffing wheel will to make short work of the tarnish.

These measures will help your silver inlay jewelry stay looking great and tarnish free but the most important step is preventing damage to the inlay while wearing your jewelry.  Earrings and pendants are rarely damaged from everyday wear but rings can easily be nicked, scratched or dented from the objects your hands come into contact with on a daily basis. Silver is the softest of all the precious metals so some care must be taken to prolong the life of your favorite silver ring.  Some activities will be detrimental to both the inlay and the metal in your sterling silver ring.  Remove your ring before gardening, yard work, swimming, rock climbing, weight lifting or any activity that could jeopardize your ring or  possibly injure your finger if your ring gets caught or crushed.  A little common sense will go a long way toward keeping your silver inlay ring damage free.  The above suggestions will keep your jewelry looking good longer as well as extend the life of your jewelry.  Eventually, your inlaid stones and the silver will lose their luster and it will be time to send the ring or jewelry back to the maker to be refinished.

Shop our top quality silver inlay jewelry at shop.HilemanSilverJewelry.com and read about our tarnish resistant Continuum silver option.

 

HilemanSilverJewelry.com

TheHilemanCollection.com

 

 

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Getting an Accurate Ring Size for Your Inlay Ring

Gray dinosaur bone ring with white sapphires in sterling silver

Ring inlaid with gray dinosaur bone by Hileman Silver Jewelry.

You’ve found that perfect ring online and now you are ready to select your ring size.  You pause as you think back to a couple of years ago when you bought your last ring.  Was I a size 7 or 7 1/2?  I have gained a couple of pounds over the holidays…let’s just go with a size 8.  Guessing and guessing wrong is not a disaster with traditional gold and gemstone rings.  In most cases, if your ring arrives and it is too big or too small, you can take it to a local jeweler and pay to have it sized to your correct ring size.  This is not the case with inlay rings.

Rings inlaid with just about any inlay material are difficult to size without damaging the inlay.  The first issue is the epoxy that secures the pieces of inlay in the ring’s inlay channel.  The epoxy is quite hard with very little flexibility and bending the ring to make it larger or smaller puts stress on the epoxy.  This stress can cause the bond between the inlay material and the ring mounting to be compromised which could lead to one or all of the inlay pieces falling out.  This same stress can also cause the inlay pieces to crack if they break before the epoxy does.  For a jeweler to avoid stressing the inlay and epoxy, all of the bending of the metal to make the ring smaller or larger needs to be done in the bottom half of the ring where there is not any inlay.

laser welder

You really need a laser welder to size inlay rings.

Even if the jeweler is successful in bending the ring to the correct size, there is still one more critical step- joining the metal back together.  Traditional rings would just be soldered back together using a torch but inlay rings cannot tolerate that kind of heat.  The heat from the torch will ruin the epoxy and most likely scorch the inlay materials.  The only good option to rejoin the metal is a laser welder.  A laser welder produces highly localized heat so the jeweler can work safely on the bottom part of the ring and not damage the inlay.  More and more jewelers are using laser welders and some will be willing to try to size your inlay ring if you are willing to risk the possible damage.  All of this sizing drama and expense can be avoided by getting your finger sized accurately before ordering your new inlay ring.

The easiest and most accurate way to measure your finger size is to visit a local jewelry store and ask them to determine your ring size.  You may want to visit more than one jeweler just to confirm your size.  It is important to use a sizer that is approximately the same width as the ring you intend to purchase.  It is also important to use a sizer that is comfort fit if you are shopping for a comfort fit band.  You may wear a smaller size in a comfort fit band than a non-comfort fit band.  The only other acceptable and accurate method is to take a ring that currently fits (the finger your new ring will be worn on) to a jeweler and have them determine the size of the ring or you could ship the ring to be used for size reference to the jeweler that will be making your new inlay ring.  The jeweler can then measure the size of the ring with the same measuring tool that will be used to make your inlay ring.

Other methods for determining your ring size are not accurate enough for inlay rings.  Some of the big chain jewelers recommend the string test, the paper test or the secret test.  The string test involves wrapping a string around your finger and then measuring the length of the string and matching the measurement to a chart to determine your ring size.  This method is very inaccurate and doesn’t take into consideration the width of the ring or

ringsizer

Paper finger sizers are NOT accurate!

the size of your knuckle.  The paper test asks you to print and cut out a paper finger sizer.  You then cut a slit on one end of the paper strip and insert the other end through the slit and pull it snug around your finger.  All you have to do next is read the tiny numbers and marks on the paper to determine your ring size.  What could possibly go wrong!  The secret test is recommended if you are trying to surprise your loved one with a ring and don’t know their size.  The first challenge is going to be finding a ring that you know currently fits and fits the finger you want them to wear it on.  The next step is printing a sizing chart with circles representing different ring sizes.  Just lay the ring over the circles until you find the one that is closest to the same size.  Keep in mind that just a small error of 0.4mm could mean you are 1/2 of a size off which could mean the ring falls off or won’t even go over the knuckle.  We have experimented with these methods and found them to be highly inaccurate with errors of half a size up to a whole size.  Again, these inaccuracies are not a big deal for a traditional ring but are not acceptable for an inlay ring.

What if I do every thing right and my new inlay ring still doesn’t fit?  It’s not the end of the world.  If at all possible it is best to avoid cutting and sizing the ring to mitigate the risk of damaging any of the inlay.  If the ring is too big or spins after going over the knuckle, small sizing balls or a sizing pillow can be laser welded inside the shank (bottom) of the ring to snug it up.  This method also allows for the balls or pillow to be removed should the wearer gain weight.  If the ring is a just a little snug, it may be possible to grind some of the metal from the inside of the ring to loosen it up a little.  Getting sized by a jeweler increases the odds that any sizing error will be small and less risky to correct.  In some cases where the customer uses inaccurate methods to determine their ring size the sizing error is so far off that the ring cannot be resized and a new ring would have to be made.

About Us…

We are inlay jewelry experts. We have been creating inlay jewelry since 1974 and would love to help you with all your inlay jewelry needs.  Contact us to get started building your new inlay ring, wedding ring or engagement ring.  We specialize in dinosaur bone, turquoise, lab created opal and Australian opal inlaid in sterling silver, gold, platinum and stainless steel.

Visit www.HilemanSilverJewelry.com or www.TheHilemanCollection.com to see our creations.

New Lab Created Opal Wedding Ring Set

This new lab created opal wedding ring set is stunning.  We inlaid the wedding set with some of the new lab opal we just received.  This new lab opal has bright green flashes of color on a dark blue base color.  The colors and flash of the lab opal mimic those of the best Lightning Ridge Australian opal at a much more affordable price.  Both rings in the set are a comfortable thickness and width.  The man’s band is 6.5mm wide at the top and the woman’s band is slightly narrower at 5.5mm wide.  Both the man’s wedding ring and the woman’s are available for purchase separately if you don’t need a set.  You can also purchase the set in hers and hers or his and his combinations.  The green lab opal in these rings is very flashy and bold.  We also have several other lab opal color options that are variations of blue-green and some options that are multicolor.

M200 W100 lab created opal ring set 2 cropped

Green lab created opal wedding ring set in sterling silver by Hileman Silver Jewelry.

The high quality lab created opal we use in our rings has the same chemical composition as natural opal with the exception of water content. Natural Australian opal contains about 4% water and lab created opal contains no water. Instead, the water is replaced with resin

in lab created opal. The resin gives the synthetic opal more durability and helps to resist cracking. Laboratory grown opal gives you all the fire and colors of top grade natural opal at a much more affordable price with increased durability.

M200 W100 lab created opal ring set 1 cropped

His and hers lab created opal wedding ring set.

This set is available for purchase in our Hileman Etsy shop or our new Lab Opal Jewelry website.  Please allow us 4 to 6 weeks to make your rings in your exact sizes.  See more lab opal colors on our Hileman Flickr page or on our lab opal Pinterest board.  If you are interested in natural Australian opal take a look at our Australian opal jewelry website featuring only the finest Australian opal inlaid in our bold 14 karat gold designs.

Hileman Silver Jewelry Wins Wedding Wire Couples’ Choice Award for 2015

Turquoise and moissanite wedding and engagement ring set.

Turquoise and moissanite wedding ring and engagement ring set.

Phoenix’s Own Hileman Silver Jewelry Wins a WeddingWire Couples’ Choice Award® 2015

Phoenix, AZ – August 17, 2015 – WeddingWire, the nation’s leading online wedding marketplace, named Hileman Silver Jewelry as a winner of the prestigious WeddingWire Couples’ Choice Awards® 2015 for Wedding Rings in Phoenix!

The WeddingWire Couples’ Choice Awards® 2015 recognizes the top five percent of wedding professionals in the WeddingWire Network who demonstrate excellence in quality, service, responsiveness and professionalism. The esteemed awards are given to the top local wedding vendors in more than 20 service categories, from wedding venues to wedding photographers, based on their professional achievements from the previous year.

While many industry award winners are selected by the host organization, the WeddingWire Couples’ Choice Awards® winners are determined solely based on reviews from real newlyweds and their experiences working with Hileman Silver Jewelry. Award-winning vendors are distinguished for the quality, quantity, consistency and timeliness of the reviews they have received from their past clients.

“It’s always exciting to start the year by honoring the top-rated wedding professionals within the WeddingWire Network who represent more than two million reviews on our website,” said Timothy Chi, CEO, WeddingWire. “Each of the businesses recognized are committed to quality, professionalism and all around top-notch service. We applaud Hileman Silver Jewelry for their impressive achievements within the wedding industry.”

As a Couples’ Choice Awards® winner, Hileman Silver Jewelry is highlighted within the WeddingWire Network, which is comprised of more than 200,000 wedding professionals throughout North America and abroad.

Hileman Silver Jewelry is proud to be one of the top Wedding Ring Designers in Phoenix in the WeddingWire Network, which includes leading wedding sites such as WeddingWire, Project Wedding, Brides.com, Martha Stewart Weddings, and Weddingbee. We would like to thank our past clients for taking the time to review our business on WeddingWire. We value all of our clients and truly appreciate the positive feedback that helped us earn the WeddingWire Couples’ Choice Awards® 2015.

For more information about Hileman Silver Jewelry, please visit our WeddingWire Storefront today at http://www.WeddingWire.com/HilemanSilverJewelry

To learn more about the Couple’s Choice Awards®, please visit http://www.weddingwire.com/couples-choice-awards.

About WeddingWire
WeddingWire, the leading technology company serving the $100 billion wedding and events industry, is the largest online vertical marketplace connecting engaged couples with event professionals. With more than two million consumer reviews, it is the industry leader in consumer reviews. The site enables engaged couples to search, compare and book from an extensive database of more than 200,000 recently reviewed event professionals, from venues to photographers. WeddingWire provides event professionals with the technology they need to serve their clients, including a SaaS platform, which powers advertising, marketing, and CRM needs of local wedding and events businesses nationwide.

See our wedding ring designs and read more about us at www.HilemanSilverJewelry.com.

Cobalt Chrome Wedding Rings

Cobalt chrome is one of  newest alternative metals to hit the jewelry market.  Cobalt chrome is the perfect combination of color, strength and weight for a wedding ring.  It’s color is very white and is  comparable to that of platinum at a much more affordable price.  Cobalt chrome is very strong but at the same time malleable enough to be practical for most jewelry styles.  It won’t shatter or crack like some of the other alternative metal choices.  Cobalt chrome is 4 times harder than platinum, 5 times harder than gold and 7 times harder than silver.   It has a nice weight, similar to that of white gold.  Cobalt chrome rings are not featherweight like titanium and not super heavy like tungsten rings.  The other advantages of cobalt chrome rings over titanium and tungsten rings are its pleasing white color and the ability to size the ring slightly if needed.

We are excited to offer cobalt chrome as an upgraded metal choice for our wedding rings.  It’s durability makes it a great choice for our wedding rings and sets.  Because of the extreme hardness of this new metal, we will have to charge more for cobalt chrome rings than our sterling silver rings  to cover the additional metal working time and extra wear and tear on our tools and equipment.

Tan dinosaur bone ring in cobalt chrome.

Tan dinosaur bone ring in cobalt chrome.

Here is one of our first rings made in cobalt chrome.  The ring is inlaid with tan dinosaur bone with no dividers between the sections of dinosaur bone, giving it the appearance of one continuous piece of dinosaur bone across the top of the ring.  As you can see, the cobalt chrome has a nice bright white color similar to platinum or rhodium plated white gold.  To see more photos of this dinosaur bone ring in cobalt chrome visit our Etsy shop at Etsy.com/shop/thehilemancollection.  Most of our ring designs will be available in this great new metal choice.  Please contact us for details or questions.

 

www.HilemanSilverJewelry.com

info@HilemanSilverJewelry.com

 

 

We Need Your Reviews on Wedding Wire!

White sapphire wedding ring set with Australian opal inlay in sterling silver

White sapphire wedding ring set with Australian opal inlay in sterling silver

Wedding bands and engagement rings have become a large part of our business and positive reviews from happy brides and grooms are an important factor in our success.  If you have purchased wedding rings from us recently, we need your help.  Positive reviews make a big difference to prospective buyers looking for a jeweler to create their forever wedding rings.  Please take a couple of minutes to go to our WeddingWire.com page and leave us a nice review.  It would really help us and help our future clients entrust us to create their rings.  Also, by reviewing us or your other vendors you can earn up to $75 worth of free gifts!

In addition, during the month of July WeddingWire is running a review sweepstakes. For each review you write on WeddingWire, you’ll be entered into a grand-prize drawing for $1,000!

Here is the link to leave a review on our WeddingWire review page:

http://www.weddingwire.com/shared/Rate?vid=c5ecda4fb1fb047a

 

Thank you for your help and good luck in the drawing!

Mark and John

http://www.HilemanSilverJewelry.com

info@HilemanSilverJewelry.com