If you have any questions that aren't answered here, I would be happy to speak to you personally :-)
I. P.S. Semifine Jewelry
I hand fashion my pieces using 14K gold fill and Argentium 93.5% pure silver or 92.5% pure sterling silver – as well as semiprecious gemstones including pearl, hematite, onyx, pyrite and opal. Lastly, certain limited edition pieces may feature wood or handspun silk.
A. 14K Gold Fill
Gold fill provides an elegant, real gold piece at a fraction the cost of solid gold.
Yes. In many ways I prefer fill over solid! After all, I want options in my closet and don't want to spend my entire budget on a single piece. By providing a rich layer of karat gold – the stuff people will actually see – over a core of fine brass, I can save on material cost while offering designer jewelry for less than a fifth the cost of solid gold.
In jewelry, 14K gold fill really is a blessing.
I'm glad you asked! 14K gold fill is an exciting alternative to solid gold. It binds a layer of solid 14K gold about the finest jeweler's brass (85% copper/15% zinc) or silver. When polished, jeweler's brass beautifully mimics the color of 14K gold – but all that your friends will see is that thick shell of real, solid gold.
Pliers & String domestically sourced 14K gold fill is regulated in the USA by the FTC to be 5% pure karat gold by weight, or 1/20th (14/20) of total volume: that's real gold.
The savings you'll experience with gold fill will give you a designer piece for 1/5 the cost of fine jewelry. With the same look and feel of solid gold, 14K gold fill truly is the next best thing.
No – that gold-plated stuff is very thinly coated. While higher quality plating does exist, any sort of gold plate is much less durable than gold fill and not nearly as lustrous. Plating's thin veneer wears off over time: Most gold plate is microscopic, almost like gilt spray paint over a crude base.
Gold fill is much more durable: Its thick outer shell of solid gold is pressure bonded to its fine brass – at times silver – core. Not to mention P.S. gold fill contains approximately 100x – that's right: one hundred times – more real 14K gold than gold plating.
With proper care your gold-filled piece can last a lifetime. Chains and certain findings, however, may eventually need replacing, depending on regularity of wear. Your P.S. pieces proper – pendants, bars, earrings, bangles, cuffs, etc. – are very durable.
And no – 14K gold fill will cause neither skin irritation nor Hulk wrists ;-)
Yes: 14K gold fill causes no more skin irritation than an equivalent piece made from solid 14K gold. However, a small percentage of the population do find that even solid 14K gold can irritate their skin.
I'm always mindful of those who might be sensitive to even the barest of non-precious metal exposure. If you (or the recipient of your gift) have a metal hypersensitivity, I can upgrade your P.S. piece to an 18K solid gold option – simply contact me for a quote!
Also, finer link necklace chains may be more susceptible to tarnish and core exposure due to friction and sweat. If you'd like to discuss ultra-hypoallergenic alternatives, please contact me prior to your purchase.
Never. P.S. pieces contain no ferrous or cheap metals: My 14K gold fill contains nothing below the finest quality jeweler's brass – or silver – inside lustrous real 14K gold.
B. Argentium® & Sterling Silver
Argentium 93.5% pure silver is a higher grade silver than traditional sterling (92.5% pure) silver.
While sterling is prone to tarnish, Argentium resists tarnish, allowing for a longer-lasting “super-sparkle” buff right out of the box. Argentium is also a stronger, brighter material than traditional silvers, providing heirloom-quality semiprecious metal pieces while maintaining a reasonable price point.
Best of all, Argentium silver is ethically sourced at all steps of its manufacture.
Whether Argentium or traditional .925 sterling, my silver blends use only pure elements and no nickel – as such, all P.S. silver jewelry is hypoallergenic.
I handfashion my pieces from only the best alloys: 93.5% pure silver + 6.5% (germanium, copper, zinc, boron) hardening blend; and 92.5% silver + 7.5% hardening copper for sterling.
C. Ethical Sourcing
All P.S. 14K gold fill and silver wire stock – used to craft Pliers & String hoops, bangles, bars, cuffs, stud faces and pendants – is 100% U.S. made with consideration at all stages for ethical outcomes and our environment.
II. MAKING P.S. YOURS
Your new Pliers & String piece can be a lifelong companion with just a few gentle considerations:
A. Item Care
Like any quality handcrafted product, your Pliers & String jewelry will shine best with adequate care.
With proper care your P.S. jewelry will shine like new for years to come. A jewelry box or any cool, dry place out of direct sunlight would do nicely – or you may choose to use the packaging included with your order.
I also recommend you wipe your jewelry with a clean, dry cotton cloth before storage. This will remove any residue left from wear, which will prolong your jewelry's finish.
You might also choose to store your pieces separately from one another – hanging necklaces, dangle earrings and other chained or corded pieces – in order to minimize tangling.
Lastly, with any length of soft metal such as gold or silver, I would take care not to use excessive force while handling.
Silver – whether Argentium or .925 sterling – will tarnish over time. Any tarnish or oxidation can be buffed away with the polishing pad included with your Pliers & String order.*
14K gold fill, on the other hand, isn't inclined to tarnish. You may, however, notice darkening at the edges of bars and wire, or where drilling occurred – usually where a bar or pendant attaches to its chain. This is natural. Your piece will easily buff back to original sheen with a few gentle strokes from your polishing pad!*
In all cases, a light to medium pressure while rubbing your piece with a linear, repetitive motion along your polishing pad will do the trick.
*Please do not use your polishing pad on hematite or gemstones.
Well, that depends on the amount of patina or tarnish you'd like. If you prefer to keep your pieces bright as the day they were born, I would advice a nice polish at the first sign of discoloration or any buildup, which will occur naturally with regular wear. If you want to be super vigilant, a quick polish weekly should do nicely.
P.S. I'm glad you like the polishing pad – it's made from tight-bond cellular foam permanently bonded with micro-abrasives. Sounds a lil' rough, but your jewelry will love it!* It's great for getting those nooks and curves, not to mention the fact you can actually see the pad lift off the tarnish and oxidation which builds over time.
*Please do not use your polishing pad on hematite or gemstones.
When opening, only the slightest downward force is necessary. When closing, simply allow the piece to snap shut using its own springiness! No need for bending, don or doff.
In all cases, please open laterally to best preserve your P.S. hoops' shape.
For bangles, I recommend you slide your new bracelet on as if it were closed, instead of pulling the ends apart to create a larger opening.
For cuffs, you can slide your bracelet perpendicularly onto your wrist. If you'd like, you may then – using the subtlest of pressures – lightly mold the cuff to your desired fit.
Regardless, please bear in mind that excessive back-and-forth bending will compromise any metal, which can lead to breakage.
Gemstones – hematite or other – should be kept dry whenever possible. If your piece does gather moisture, simply wipe gently with a clean, dry cotton cloth. A little sweat over the course of non-sport wear is fine – but we don't want to leave acidity on your gemstones for too long. A quick polish with a non-synthetic cloth before nightly storage will do wonders to prolong the beauty of your P.S. hematite or gemstone jewelry.
Important: Please do not use a microabrasive polishing pad – such as those included with fully metal P.S. pieces – on your hematite or gemstones. Doing so can severely compromise their integrity and finish.
I would recommend removing and storing your piece before sleeping – particularly necklaces and dangly earrings (which include medium and large hoops) – as they may become entangled during slumber and thereby lose form.
I also suggest waiting to put on your jewelry till after you've applied makeup, moisturizer, perfume or hairspray – as this way your pieces will remain brighter and more lustrous for a greater period of time. Lastly, I would wait to don your P.S. until you're done with any heavy manual labor, exercise, swimming/showering, etc.
Depends on the water! Though most of my pieces are safe to wear in the shower, your jewelry will retain its shine and polish for much, much longer if set aside beforehand.
Regarding pools or other chemically treated water – not to mention the ocean – I would highly recommend removing your P.S. jewelry beforehand, as such chemicals and high levels of salt are very unfriendly to 14K gold fill, silver and gemstones.
Ordering your new P.S. jewelry should be a breeze! If you do encounter any ambiguity, or have a suggestion on how I can improve your shopping experience – or if your question simply isn’t listed here – please feel free to gimme me a shout.
For shipping, returns, exchanges, repair policy and item guarantee, please see here.
Your order includes a complementary polishing pad alongside your piece in a designer-packaged box perfect for gifting or storage.
I ask that you please allow 8–12 business days for fabrication, as each of your pieces is handmade to order, just for you.
I appreciate your purchase so much! Small business is the backbone of any vibrant economy, so in a real way you're supporting an entire community of small makers, independent designers and craftsmen.
In the end, money doesn't make things – people do! Thanks again for shopping my atelier :-)