Sunday 19 July 2015

Care of your silver jewellery

Silver jewellery, and particularly silver rings which are worn often are unfortunately are prone to tarnish.

Sterling silver is a mixed metal, combining pure silver (92.5%)  and copper (7.5%) and it is the copper in the silver that reacts with moisture, and sulphur in the air to create the tarnish. As such the tarnish is produced more quickly in areas with high humidity - like swimming pools.

The tarnish will also happen with different speeds on different people, due to the differing body chemistry and the environments they live in.

I did a blog post a while ago on the basics of how to keep your silver shiny.. and have since found lots of other useful info on the internet about it.

I thought this post was particularly informative on how to clean and care for sterling silver jewellery and covers everything you could possibly wish to know.

There are a lot of other websites which suggest using aluminium foil, and bicarbinate of soda - but I must admit I've not tried it yet. I'm also lucky as I got myself a super dooper ultrasonic cleaner for my workshop, which keeps all my silver nice and shiny, (and you're always welcome to get in touch about sending your jewellery for a go in it!) but I'd love to hear any of your other tips and tricks if you've got any.

To stop the tarnish building up in the first place there are lots of suggestions like not wearing your rings in the shower, or pool, or when you're cleaning etc..

Pah - I don't know about you, but I can't be doing with taking my jewellery on and off all the time.

Apart from anything else I'd forget to put it back on again.

I personally reckon the easiest solution is to keep the tarnish at bay by getting a silver polishing cloth, and giving them a quick rub every day just before you put them on. By keeping the tarnish down in that way, it should never build up to a problem level.

Sunday 5 July 2015

The evolution of a jewellery business

Well, after months of thinking about it, and a few weeks of doing bits and bobs behind the scenes, the new look Becky Pearce Designs is now live.

Things have really changed in terms of how my business looks since the start. When I started this all off back in 2009 it was a hobby. I was trying to juggle working three days as a research manager for a publishing company, and two pre schoolers. At this time doing a little bit of beading here and there was what kept me sane. It was how I relaxed.

It was so exciting to set up a new shop, and blog. There was loads to learn and play around with. I called my shop Red Bird Jewellery, got a pretty banner and it bought in a few pounds to help  pay for all the beading supplies I was buying. When I look back now on the really early days - crikey - things have changed a bit!!

Here's an, ahem, ever so professional picture of the first thing I ever put into my etsy shop.

(chain maille necklace from 2009)

Wow. I'd have to say both my jewellery style and photography have changed somewhat over the past six years. Hopefully for the better.

The first banner I had at this time was one;

Beading eventually led to playing with precious metal clay; which then led to getting a torch and basic soldering, which then led to all the silversmithing I do today.

(a 2015 necklace)

I gave up work at the end of 2009, and started childminding so I could spend more time with the kids, as well as step up the jewellery. It was then that I thought (hoped) that maybe jewellery could, just maybe be more than a hobby which just about funded itself, and develop into a creative business. 

Here's my post at the end of 2010 on whether I'd made the right decision or not. 

In 2011, I splashed out on a new camera. (I can still remember the pain of spending that much money at the time) and I took a photography course both of which changed the way my photos look dramatically. 

In February 2012 I got my own website, and changed the business name to Becky Pearce Designs. 

And this header made an appearance,

I also started making rings. And then realised I absolutely bloomin' LOVED making rings.

Some of you will probably remember this incarnation. It doesn't feel so long ago, but in so many ways the business has changed dramatically. 

In August 2013 the header changed again to this... 

and I got more and more into working with birthstones, and began making more and more rings. 

Rings, and in particular birthstone stacking rings have definitely become my number one bestseller...

...but I still make all my other goodies too; bangles, earrings, necklaces, you name it.  And I have so many new designs waiting to be made in my sketch book.

When I started writing this post, I was just going to show you the new logo design but once I started, looking back to the beginning and plotting the evolution of the business was a real eye opener.

One thing I realised is how much I have learned, and how my skills and confidence have developed in the last 6 years. I feel so proud of my progress.

But the thing that struck me most; the thing that really thrilled me is the realisation that so many of my customers, and facebook friends have been along for the ride, maybe not since the very beginning but for years and years. I can't tell you how grateful I am to all of you for your custom, your support, and advice, your comments and "likes" and for pushing me to advance my designs with your commissions and special requests.

It really means the world -  I am so lucky to have you all - THANK YOU!

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