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  • Opal ~ October's Birthstone

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Sterling Silver Blue Opal Earrings
    Every Day Low Price ~ $22.99

     

    October is a wonderful month. The weather turns cooler, the leaves change to radiant colors and softly fall to the ground, and the sights and smells of autumn are in full force. For the lucky Octoberites born in this exciting month there are two gorgeous birthstone options available; pink tourmaline and opal. Today, we are going to talk about the stunning and multicolored opal.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Sterling Silver Opal Cross Earrings
    Everyday Low Price ~ $22.99

     

    Opals are all different unique and beautiful. One thing that lovers of opal need to be aware of is, that it is an exceptionally fragile stone. They should be worn with great care and kept in a safe place to ensure they will last a lifetime. Opal is a sedimentary stone created as water percolates through the earth, becoming rich in dissolved silicates. When it enters a cavity, the silicates are deposited as tiny spheres. If they are similar in size and shape, they will diffract light. However, if they are random in shape and arrangement they create an opal. The tiny spheres that make up the opal are what give it is fire and the changes in color. Volcanic ash does give the black opal its color.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Sterling Silver Opal Cross Necklace
    Everyday Low Price ~ $21.99

     

    Some opals are enhanced in different ways to bring out the the radiance and color. Some enhancement treatments include: Another enhancement method is called and opal doublet. This is when an opal is fixed to other stone (sometime onyx) to strengthen or enhance the color of the stone.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Sterling Silver Blue Opal and CZ Ring
    Everyday Low Price ~ $59.99

     

    As we mentioned earlier. Opal is not a good "everyday" stone to wear. It's very delicate and part of that is related to it's moisture content. If you live in a dry climate it is important to store your opals with moisture. A great way to do this is to put it in a ziplock bag with a damp cotton ball. You may have heard the storing your opal in olive oil (or any oil) is recommended, however this is not a good idea. It probably wouldn't damage the opal but requires a great deal of cleaning. Drastic temperature changes or exposure to extreme temperatures can cause the opal to crack.

     

    Opal is best suited to earrings and pendants. It is also recommended that if you do where an opal in a ring, you choose a protective setting like the one pictured above.

     

     

     

  • How to Care for Your Sterling Silver Jewelry

     

     

    Hopefully you were one of the lucky people to receive a fine quality piece of Charming Chick sterling silver jewelry over the holiday. If you were - or you already own, love and enjoy this gorgeous metal - we have some tips on how to keep it looking it's best. There are just a few things you need to know about silver before we talk about how to care for it.

     

     

     

    Sterling Silver consists of 92.5% silver and 7.5% of another metal, which is usually copper or some other alloy. You can tell if a piece of jewelry is Sterling silver because it is commonly stamped with -- 925 or sterling. Silver is much more abundant than gold and platinum, so the price of the piece is largely determined by the craftsmanship and labor involved in its creation.

     

    As some of you may know, over time sterling silver reacts with the sulfur or hydrogen sulfide in the air and the metal can become tarnished. Tarnish (which appears as black patches) occurs when the compound silver sulfide if formed. It is important to note that silver can react poorly when it comes in contact with other things like; rubber gloves, cleaning products, chlorinated water, perfumes, hairsprays, etc.

     

    How to Reduce Tarnishing:

    To reduce tarnishing, we recommend keeping your sterling silver jewelry in an air-tight protective bag made of tarnish proof cloth or a plastic zip lock bag made of Mylar or polyethylene. Charming Chick stores and ships our jewelry in small zip-lock style bags for this reason. You can continue to store your jewelry in this bag if you wish, or purchase another larger bag for storing your sterling silver collection. If you properly store your sterling silver charms, bracelets, necklaces, anklets, rings, brooches, etc., they will require minimal cleaning to keep that beautiful shine. We also recommend storing it away from other articles that might rub against it and causes scratches. Sometimes wood finishes can contain chemicals that are not good for sterling silver, so avoid storing on wood surfaces.

     

    Cleaning Sterling Silver Jewelry:
    Often you can simply rub your sterling silver jewelry gently with a 100% cotton cloth to remove excess dirt and restore shine. Be sure not to rub too hard, because sterling silver is a soft metal that can be bent and scratched. Also, make sure that the cloth is very clean. Rub in a lengthwise motion, not circular since this can scratch the surfaces. You can use a very soft toothbrush to remove debris in hard to reach crevasses.

    If you would prefer to soak your jewelry to remove dirt that seems to be stuck to the surfaces, add a small amount of very mild detergent to warm water. Do not use a detergent with bleach. You can also use a silver paste cleaner, silver dip polishers or silver polishing spray. Often these cleaners can damage gemstones and crystals (especially Swarovski crystal), so we do not recommend using these methods if your jewelry item is not entirely composed of sterling silver.

     

     

    Helpful tips:

    1. Always remove your jewelry before using abrasive chemicals such as bleach, alcohol, etc.

    2. Clean your jewelry before storing it

    3. Prevent tarnishing by cleaning before the silver becomes tarnished

    4. Lotions can wear away at the finish on your sterling silver, so avoid wearing them on surfaces that come in contact with your jewelry

    5. Remove your sterling silver jewelry when doing household chores

     

    Following these tips will elp to ensure that you will be able to love and enjoy your sterling silver jewelry for many years to come@

     

  • DIY ~ How to Preserve Your Wedding Bouquet

    You carefully picked and planned exactly what you wanted your wedding bouquet to look like -- but once you say "I do" what can you do to preserve your flowers?  They can be preserved, and enjoyed for years to come. On the Charming Chick blog today, we have some ideas that can help you to do just that!

     

     

    There are several different methods that you can use to preserve your wedding bouquet, if you or someone you know, is experienced at drying flowers, you can save a lot of money but saving money isn't always the most important thing -- especially if this is something you have your heart set on.

    You can look for professional preservists in your area. Some of them actually have the ability - and skill - to disassemble the bouquet, freeze-dry all the parts, ans then put it back together. This is a pretty advanced technique and will not work for every bouquet or flower. You should talk to the preservist several weeks before you wedding so you can find out if the flowers you have chosen are suitable for this method.

     

     

    Note: Many preservists also need the bouquet a day or two after the wedding, so if you are jetting off on your honeymoon right after your nuptials, you'll want to ask someone to deliver your bouquet.

    If you would like to preserve your own bouquet, here are some instructions on how you can do that. Remember, it's best  to start preserving your bouquet the day after the wedding.

    {1.} Purchase some silica gel from a craft supply store. Important: If you have pets or children around, be sure to take great care to ensure that there are no silica granules left out that they could get to. There are other materials that people use for drying such as sand, but silica is the most popular choice.

    {2.} Cover the bottom of an airtight container - which is large enough to hold your bouquet - with about 2" of the silica gel.

    {3.} Place your flowers on the silica. If they are open, stand them upright, leaves can just lay flat.

     {4} Carefully add enough silica get to cover the flowers. Do this very gently so you don't damage the flowers. You don't want to crush them.

    {5.} Cover the container with and lid to begin the drying process. After a couple of days, you will want to check the flowers to see how they are progressing. Check them often to ensure that they are dried just the way you would like. Be sure that you don't leave them in the silica too long -- you don't want them to  become too brittle.

    {6.} Carefully lift the flowers from the gel and be sure to remove all the granules from the petals. Then you can arrange the flowers are you wish. Some brides will even showcase their bouquet - along with other wedding mementos - in a keepsake box.

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