All gold wire, components, ear wires, hoops, chain, etc. is made of 14k gold-filled.
What is 14k gold-filled? Unlike gold plating or vermeil (gold plated silver), gold-filled is a thick layer of 14k gold pressure-bonded over a small core of base metal (usually brass), is permanent, and WILL NOT wear off or tarnish...we guarantee it for the life of the jewelry!
You can have all the beauty and wearability of 14k gold without the huge cost. Gold filled is a much higher quality product than gold plated or vermeil jewelry. Most people with metal allergies who feel they must wear 14k gold usually do not have any problems with the gold-filled.
All silver wire, components, ear wires, hoops, chain, etc. is made of .925 sterling silver and argentium silver (silver with germanium added to resist tarnishing). Unlike gold-filled, sterling silver will eventually tarnish. Cleaning sterling is easy, but must be done frequently to keep it looking bright and fresh (see Cleaning and Care below).
What is handcrafted?
"Handcrafted" can be a loosely based term, but at Calico Juno Designs, every piece is truly handcrafted by the artist and team. We do not buy parts and findings, but create everything by hand (with the exception of chain), with the utmost attention to detail and craftsmanship. While we strive to make all the jewelry the same each time, and to look the same as what you see on our site, sometimes due to the nature of the stones and what we have in stock (shading of color, size, shape, faceting, inclusions, etc.), and due to the fact that each piece is made by hand, this isn't always possible. Please understand that sometimes we may have to substitute a stone or use something slightly different. If you're not happy with the substitution you may return it for a full refund or a modification.
So when you wear Calico Juno Designs jewelry, you'll know you're wearing something special that was lovingly created by the artist, and will have that unique look that is distinctive to something truly made by hand.
Gemstones, Pearls, Stones, and Crystals
All gemstones, pearls, and crystals used by Calico Juno Designs are carefully selected to assure that high quality stones are used. Gemstones and pearls are all natural, meaning that there are no fake imitations or cheap stones used. Crystals and cubic zirconia are always manmade, but they have the longevity, color-fastness, and brilliance of real gemstones, while at a fraction of the cost. Some stones are dyed, heated, or treated (stablized) to enhance color, shine, or stability.
Precious and semi-precious gemstones, pearls, stones, and crystals
translucent = light shines through easily and is clear or semi-clear
opaque = some or no light shines through and is a more solid color
Andalusite --- orangish, greenish brown (translucent)
Aquamarine --- pale icy-blue (translucent)
Black spinel --- black (opaque)
Cherry Quartz --- light peachy-pink (translucent)
Chrysocolla --- marbled blue-green (opaque)
Citrine --- pale yellowish-orange (translucent)
Garnet, grossular (green garnet) --- yellowish-leaf green
Green amethyst (prasiolite) --- pale mint green (translucent)
Hematite --- silvery dark-grey iron (opaque)
Idocrase --- olive green (translucent to semi-translucent)
Jade --- pale to dark olive green (opaque)
Peruvian Opal --- very pale to bright sea blue (semi-opaque)
Pink spinel --- bright raspberry pink (translucent)
Ruby --- pink to dark red (translucent to opaque)
Tsavorite --- bright emerald green (translucent)
Pearls --- all pearls are freshwater, some round, some irregular shapes, and can range in color (some dyed) from opalescent ivory to ivory-pink, ivory-peach, pale green-gold, copper, bronze, gold, peacock, and ebony. Keshi or Biwa pearls are from Japan and are always irregularly shaped - from long skinny sticks to wide oblong pieces to "cornflake" shaped pieces.
Crystals and Cubic Zirconia --- all are created in a similar fashion to making glass, and while that sounds "artificial", these stones have exactly same mineralogical makeup, and come in a range of gorgeously beautiful colors. They have the lasting longevity of color, brilliance, and sparkle of natural gemstones, with a Moh's hardness of at least an 8 (like a ruby).
What is CZ? Cubic Zirconia is a created gemstone, zirconium oxide (ZrO2), a mineral that is extremely rare in nature but is widely synthesized for use as a diamond simulant. The synthesized material is hard, optically flawless, and can be made in a variety of different colors by using certain metal oxides during the process. Cubic zirconia is very hard, at about 8.5 on the Mohs scale - close to diamond, and much harder than most natural gems. While CZ is man made, it has a hardness, sparkle, and color-fastness that almost matches a diamond!
A special section on Turquoise
Turquoise can come in many forms and colors, and is often imitated by other stones that are dyed (howlite or magnesite), and it can be difficult to determine what is real. Magnesite is white and has a charactaristic even veining all over, that looks like the matrix in some turquoise, and howlite is white, so they're dyed blue to look like turquoise...not that there's anything wrong with it, but it's not turquoise.
Chalk turquoise is a lesser grade turquoise, and can either be dyed and stablized or ground into smaller pieces and glued back together and then dyed and stablized.
A lot of good quality turquoise, coming from many different parts of the world, is "stabilized", which is a good thing...it simply means that it's been treated with a resin to protect it from fading and chipping, because all turquoise is relatively soft (about 5 on the Moh's scale), somewhat chalky, and will absorb water, which, if allowed, will weaken and possibly crack it (a good reason to not allow your turquoise jewelry to hang out in water!).
Some other turquoises don't have the beautiful blue or green color you normally associate with turquoise, so thus is color-enhanced (as opposed to outright dyed, like howlite or magnesite, which in natural form is white, but when dyed will look just like turquoise to the untrained eye). This is fine, but again, being dyed, you don't want to expose it to water, so just assume that any turquoise jewelry you get will either be dyed or color-enhanced.
The one rare exception to all this is "Sleeping Beauty" turquoise. It comes from an Arizona mine specifically, and is a natural robin's egg blue, not dyed, and with very little or no matrix (veining). Again, it can be stablized, but this is just to protect it. Sleeping Beauty turquoise is expensive, so if you see turquoise that is called this and is inexpensive, then it's most likely not the real thing.
CARE AND CLEANING OF YOUR JEWELRY
Gold - while gold-filled jewelry does not tarnish as does sterling silver, occasionally it can be cleaned/polished (the same way as regular 14k gold) using warm soapy water and an old toothbrush. A little ammonia added will help too. Or, you can use a commercial liquid gold cleaner.
Hairspray and other chemicals can dirty the gold (not tarnishing it, but adding on a layer that will blacken), so if you find that your gold-filled jewelry starts looking like this, clean as mentioned above, and don't put on the jewelry until after you're done with everything else.
Sterling silver needs to be cleaned often to keep it bright and shiny, as it will tarnish and become dull and dingy looking, eventually oxidizing and turning almost black (unless you want it to look blackened).
Tarnishing is the natural process of a metal oxidizing, reacting with oxygen in the air and changing color (like iron rusting). This does not happen with gold as gold is an inert metal and does not react with oxygen.
Keeping your sterling silver jewelry protected in a jewelry box or commercial jewelry bags infused with anti-tarnishing agents will help slow down the tarnishing.
Every so often, when you notice your silver jewelry is no longer looking bright silvery white but dull and perhaps even grey, clean it with a commercial silver cleaner. Tarnex, a liquid silver cleaner, or a jewelry polishing cloth, is recommended. You can just dunk your jewelry in the liquid, swish it around for about 5-7 seconds and pull it out...any longer may damage stones!!! (Turquoise, coral, and other porous stones are not recommended to be placed in solution).
Rinse with warm running water and dry with a paper towel (NOT a cloth or terry cloth towel, as it may snag!), and your jewelry will look bright and shiny again.
All Calico Juno Designs jewelry should be handled with care, as it is delicate. If it does snag on something, do not pull at the jewelry as it may stretch it out of shape (if this has already happened, please contact us!). Gently hold the jewelry and try loosening the snagged item instead.
While not being worn, the jewelry should be carefully stored in separate quarters away from other jewelry, to keep it from getting tangled. Optimally it should be hung up on displays designed for hanging jewelry.
Any questions, please contact us! CalicoJunoDesigns@msn.com