Metals – Sterling Silver

Hi Everyone!

This is our new blog series about metals. We decided that this would be an interesting topic for all you jewelry fanatics, so if you are interested in learning more about the metals we use for our jewelry, then you should definitely keep reading!

Today we will be talking about sterling silver, which is our most used metal, and a favorite of many. Sterling silver is an alloy containing 92.5% pure silver and 7.5% other metals, mainly copper. The 7.5% can be any metal depending on preference, but time has proven copper to be the best addition to the pure silver. Why do we add “cheaper” metals to the pure silver? Simply because it makes the silver more resistant. Also – and this isn’t so great – makes the silver more prone to tarnish.

Sterling silver has been used for centuries for many different things. It is an obvious choice for jewelry, but has also been used for decorations and even tools such as forks, knives and buckets. Especially in the Victorian times, when eating with your fingers was a big no-no, cutlery was very important. Even today people still use silver cutlery for important occasions, however it is much less common and many people rather melt down the silver to create a piece of jewelry from it.

Sterling silver is a metal we use very frequently for our jewelry. Silver looks good on every skin tone and goes with all colors of clothing, making it a very versatile metal. When it comes to engagement rings, we tend to stay away from sterling silver as it is much softer than gold. This means it is more prone to scratches and dents and doesn’t usually hold stones as well as gold would.

Since sterling silver does contain some copper it will tarnish over time. The best way to prevent this as much as possible is by storing your silver jewelry in a dark and dry place. We always recommend storing your jewelry in a little plastic baggie, because that will prevent it from tarnishing as well as getting scratches or dents from other jewelry. Also in order to preserve your jewelry, don’t wear sterling silver in chlorinated water or when working with household chemicals, as these will damage the jewelry.

No matter how well you store it, after some time your sterling silver jewelry will tarnish. To clean sterling silver jewelry we recommend using a polishing cloth or a mild soap and water solution. For stubborn spots simply apply a little bit of silver cleaner with a cotton swab, and follow by brushing your jewelry with a baking soda and soap paste.

Make sure to NEVER clean your sterling silver jewelry with tissue paper or paper towels because those can cause scratches because of the fibers in these products. Also, be careful with sterling silver dips, as those can damage gemstones by taking off their color and polish.

Introducing…Gift Cards!

We are so excited to share some exciting news with you! We realized that as a jewelry company that specializes in custom work, we needed to offer the perfect gift by giving our special one of a kind service as a gift!

So here they are, just in time for the holiday season we are introducing RZ Jewelry Gift Cards!

Give the most unique present!

                                                        A gift card like no other!

If you are interested in getting one of these amazing gift cards, please feel free to stop by the studio or simply click here to learn how to order one!

Store Stories – Mark Shale

As some of you may remember, in the beginning of 2012 I created a jewelry collection for Mark Shale, a Chicago-based department store that opened its doors in 1929. The store is known to greatly value design, craftsmanship, and individuality as well as care deeply about the environment, the city of Chicago and the way women dress.

Last December, the Mark Shale team decided to showcase a few local designers and singled my work out. We then met to create a customized exclusive collection just for the store. The pieces were elegant, simple and made out of sterling silver and gold-filled. Most of the pieces in the collection where inspired by my classics, such as the double satellite pendant. Some of the pieces also included stones, a favorite being labradorite, a beautiful trichromatic stone with brown, blue, and green colors.

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Unfortunately, after nearly 100  years, Mark Shale filed for bankruptcy this summer, and has decided to close its doors forever. I feel so lucky to have had the opportunity to work with such an important store. They welcomed me into their family and I will be forever grateful. It was a wonderful experience for me, and the collection that came out of this collaboration was simply elegant just like Mark Shale was famous for.

Take a look at Mark Shale’s “A Day-Date with Rebecca Zemans” and get an idea of what a collaboration such as this looks like!

Sapphire – Stone of the Month

The sapphire is often referred to as the ruby‘s sister. Why? Because they are both made out of the same material, the mineral corundum. Gemstones that belong to the corundum family, which are the hardest besides diamonds, consist of pure aluminum oxide, which over many years crystallized into beautiful colorless gemstones. Other elements such as iron and chrome are responsible for the sapphire’s beautiful coloring. The word “sapphire” derives from the Latin “saphirus” and the Greek “sapheiros”, meaning “blue.” Although mostly known for its deep blue color, the sapphire can come in many other colors including red, yellow, green and pink.

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The sapphire dates back to 800 B.C. when they were the gems of choice among clergy and royalty of ancient civilizations like Persia. Blue sapphires were believed to reflect heaven and ward off evil, often put into jewelry as a talisman.

Good quality sapphires are rather rare and are only be found in Burma, India, Sri Lanka, Africa and Brazil. Since the color of the sapphire is so important, and since the stone shines in different colors from different angles, the cutter needs to make sure to cut this very hard gemstone in the right angle in order to maximize the brilliance and luster.
Even though the sapphire is a rather expensive stone to own, once you own it it will be fairly simple to keep clean and beautiful. Due to its hardness the stone doesn’t easily break, and because of its value and mystery, this beautiful gem can be a wonderful substitute for diamonds in engagement rings. It is also associated with 45th wedding anniversaries.

Photo Credit: Flickr.com – dctim1

Peridot – Stone of the Month

Bright green peridot is the perfect stone for your summer wardrobe and one of the few gemstones that occur in only one color, an bright olive green. The vivacity and hue of the green, depends on how much iron is in the chemical make-up of the mineral. The color of the gems can vary from yellow-to lime-to olive-to brownish-green. The most valued color is a dark olive-green.

Green is the color of life, growth, balance and healing so the peridot was used frequently all over the ancient world and has become very popular again in modernity. It was used in Egyptian jewelry as far back as the early 2nd millennium B.C by high priests to guard against jealousy. The ancient Romans were also fond of this gem to relieve depression because of its green radiance, which doesn’t diminish even in unnatural light.

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Peridots can be found all over the world and only comes in one color: various shades of green. The most beautiful ones are found on the border or Pakistan and Afghanistan and in Myanmar. The largest cut peridot is a 310 carat (62 g) stone which is housed in the Smithsonian Museum in Washington, D.C.

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons

CitysolesTV

A couple of weeks ago I did a video-interview with CitySoles‘s owner Scott Starbuck. Citysoles is a great boutique in Wicker Park (on the intersection of Milwaukee, North Ave and Damen) that sells my jewelry!

Click here to see the video:

Also, I recently started my Etsy shop! Etsy is a website where artists can sell their work in an online community. I am really excited about it, so check it out if you have a minute or two…

Other than that I am busy preparing complimentary tickets for the One of a Kind show in December…keep an eye on your mailbox, this is one show you don’t want to miss!