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Honor Your Dog Today

Today is the day to honor your dog so take a moment and give your pet a little extra love! Here's a shot of our happy shop dog, Lightning, and some pet inspired jewelry.

 

Metal Pressions Shop Dog

silver charm with gold pet paw
Silver Personalized Dog Bone charm

Win a Silver and Gold xoxo Charm Necklace

 

Jessica Lynn - Rising Country Star - Custom Guitar Pick

Recently Jessica Lynn contacted us to create a one of a kind guitar pick... not just any old pick, but one for her sweetheart that not only celebrated their relationship, but also his love of

baseball. We worked with Jessica over the phone to create her dream design with our jewelry customizer software.

Check out the illustrations and the final product below. Elisha hand stamped each line individually to create the design. Click here to see her design in the software and make it your own.

 

We got to know a little bit about Jessica, as we do with all our customers during the design process. Turns out that she is quite the talent!

Jessica is an up and coming country singer that has had a passion for music and performing since she was a child. Over the years she has always gravitated toward country music's charm. We took a moment during the fabrication of her silver guitar pick to visit her site and take a listen. Needless to say we are impressed. She's got an amazing voice, solid chops on the guitar, and a commanding stage presence. She's easy on the eyes but its her crooning that will win you over.

As an aspiring musician in my college days, I can assure you that getting to her level is no easy task. Talent is only one aspect. It takes hard work, dedication, and perseverance. These are attributes we admire and aspire to have ourselves.

Visit her website www.jessicalynnmusic.org and have a listen. We think you'll be just as inspired as we are. I don't think it will be long before we are saying that we found out about her before she was a superstar. ;-)

What Causes Silver Tarnish?

Now that we have a better understanding of what silver tarnish is, we can talk about what causes silver tarnish. The rate that silver tarnishes is a function of temperature, humidity, and chemical exposure. In general, if these factors are low, then you can reduce the amount of tarnish. Silver in cool & dry environments will tarnish slower than in high moisture.

As we mentioned before, silver sulfide is the main result of the silver tarnishing process. While moisture is required for the tarnishing reactions to take place and oxygen plays a role in the reaction that creates silver sulfide, hydrogen sulfide is the main culprit. If you come in contact with material that contains sulfide compounds and then get those on your silver items, you will see that silver tarnish. For example vegetables from the Allium genus like onions or garlic contain organic sulfur compounds that , while low in concentration, could contribute to tarnish.

From reading articles on various sites, the copper portion of sterling silver can create copper oxide or possibly copper sulfides. You can check out an interesting debate about copper tarnish on pennies at Finishing.com. From working with copper, I have seen it tarnish considerably faster that sterling silver. We have polished a piece of silver and a piece of copper, and the copper has tarnish on it sometimes in as little as under an hour. Fine silver tarnishes slower than sterling silver. Is the copper the reason sterling silver has the potential to tarnish more easily? There are definitely some more questions I have about how the two materials interact and tarnish in combination.

In addition, chemicals have an effect on the rate and amount of tarnish. Ever jump into a pool with your silver jewelry on? You may have found the silver tarnished fairly quickly and in some cases almost instantly. In this case the cause could be the chlorine content in combination with the acidity that produces a silver chloride. With personal care products for skin and hair, coupled with other fragrances we spray on, the list of potential contaminates that can effect tarnish can get pretty long.

Even our bodies can play a role. A lot of times you may hear people say that skin composition can effect the rate of tarnish, I think it really is the composition of a persons sweat. Perspiration is water containing sodium chloride, phosphate, urea, ammonia, ethereal sulfates, creatine, fats, and other waste products. Eww! Sounds gross, but it does highlight that our bodies are part of the equation. Your own perspiration composition changes with various factors such as diet, health, and hormones levels. I found another discussion on Finishing.com that talks about body chemistry and silver tarnish

The last thing we have observed is that tarnish begets tarnish. If you have a clean piece of silver that isn't tarnishing much and put it in contact with another tarnished item, the tarnishing seems to accelerate. We have seen this happen on necklaces. The tarnishing rate has increased on other cleaner charms and on the chain if it is sterling silver when the tarnished charm was added to the arrangement. I can't explain technically what's going on or the roll perspiration has, but it is something we've confirmed empirically.

Next we'll tackle the discussion of what can be done to clean and prevent tarnish.

Father's Day Sale - 25% Off

Just a quick heads up to let you know about our Father's Day sale through 06.09.2013. It's easy to design jewelry for Dad. Whenever you put time, effort, and thought into a gift it is always well received. Including your children's names or birthdates on a men's necklace, men's bracelet, men's ring, or personalized money clip is a sure way to make personalized jewelry that he will cherish forever.


Use code FD13 to save 25% on your order.

Men's Personalzied Jewelry for Father's Day

What is Silver Tarnish?

This is the first post in a series of to educate you about silver tarnish, what it is, how it happens, how to prevent it, and how to clean it. There is a lot to cover, so we will break it up into multiple posts.

Picture of silver tarnish compared to an untarnished silver

The simplest description of silver tarnish is the darkened appearance of the metal that happens over time. In the picture, the charm on the left has some severe tarnish.

There are lots of factors that we will discuss later that cause silver to tarnish.  New clean silver has a bright white appearance. As it is exposed to the environment it starts to darken to a greyish or brownish color and can eventually turn almost pitch black.

What is that black substance we call tarnish? Tarnish is just a descriptive term that means the lack or loss of luster. If we want to clean and ultimately find ways to prevent silver tarnish, we need to understand what it is and how it is caused.

Silver tarnish is a type of chemical reaction, often incorrectly described as oxidation of the silver or called silver oxide, it is silver sulfide. But that's not a complete description of what silver tarnish is. Another part of silver tarnish that seems to be missed in other online descriptions is the reaction of other materials in sterling silver, the most common silver alloy. Sterling silver is 92.5% silver. The remaining 7.5% is primarily made up of copper, a material that tarnishes very easily. By itself copper seems to tarnish very easily, more so than pure silver. I will have to do some more research, but I believe that the copper is creating some copper oxide and other sulfide compounds that contribute to the tarnish.

If you put a piece of fine silver and a sterling silver side by side, the sterling silver tarnishes mush faster. Based on this empirical observation, that small amount of copper is playing a larger role in the tarnishing reactions. While many discussions online solely talk about silver sulfide as the main culprit, there are at least two metals that comprise sterling silver and can react and contribute to the tarnish you observe over time.

 

To be continued...

 

Top Baby Names

Picking a name for your new baby isn't always an easy task. There are lots of factors involved when picking a baby name. Are you going to follow tradition and use a family name or break away from the masses with a unique baby name. Regardless, the one thing you should absolutely consider is what were the past and trending top baby names.

Every year we make thousands of mommy charms and mommy necklaces for new and expecting mothers. We haven't complied a formal top 10 list of baby names for 2012 but we can talk about some trends from the past year. Traditional names are making a comeback and when mom's are designing jewelry they want the full names spelled on the charms. While there will always be variations in the spelling of names, we've seen a movement away from odd or whimsical spellings and cutsie nicknames.

Naming a baby is serious business for new parents. Whether they know the sex of the baby or not, we've seen an increase in the number of parents that are waiting till the new addition arrives to finalize on a name. More so than in previous years, proud Fathers to be will order push presents for their wives in advance and without a name selected. After the baby is born, sometimes within hours, we'll get a call from an exuberant new dad ready to finalize the customization. We complete the order, sometimes shipping that same day.

There are lots of tools available to help you understand past and trending baby names.

Here are a couple tools and websites that you can use to help you select a great baby name.

  1. Social Security's Website - popular baby names
    The Social Security web site provides data on baby names since 1879. You can search the data by lots of criteria to what names were popular for a previous year nationally or by state. The Social Security Department hasn't updated the data for 2012 but here is the top 10 list from 2011. If you look around the internet,you will see this baby name list repeated frequently.


    Rank Male name Female name
    1 Jacob Sophia
    2 Mason Isabella
    3 William Emma
    4 Jayden Olivia
    5 Noah Ava
    6 Michael Emily
    7 Ethan Abigail
    8 Alexander Madison
    9 Aiden Mia
    10 Daniel Chloe

    While the ranking of individual names is useful, the popularity of the first letter of a name could be beneficial in deciding. Using the data for the top 1000 names in a given year we can calculate the popularity of each letter. I know this is a little on the geeky side of things but here are the results I calculated from 2011.

      Male     Female
    J 11.00%   A 16.70%
    A 8.70%   M 9.80%
    C 8.10%   K 9.60%
    M 7.30%   J 8.00%
    D 7.20%   L 7.20%
    R 6.80%   C 6.60%
    B 6.70%   S 6.10%
    K 6.60%   E 5.30%
    T 4.60%   B 4.10%
    E 4.50%   R 3.90%
    L 4.40%   D 3.00%
    S 4.00%   H 3.00%
    G 3.30%   G 2.60%
    H 2.40%   N 2.60%
    N 2.00%   T 2.50%
    P 1.90%   P 2.40%
    F 1.80%   I 1.70%
    I 1.70%   V 1.20%
    Z 1.60%   Y 1.00%
    W 1.50%   Z 1.00%
    O 1.00%   F 0.90%
    V 1.00%   W 0.40%
    Q 0.60%   O 0.20%
    Y 0.60%   Q 0.10%
    U 0.40%   X 0.10%
    X 0.40%   U 0.00%
  2. Belly Ballot
    Belly Ballot helps you select your baby's name by enlisting your closest family and friends to vote on names you select. It seems like a fun way to pick a name. They track all the polls and results so they some of the most up to date top name trends on the net. Here are a few.

    Increasing in Popularity
    Girls: Audrey/Aubrey, Riley, Aria, Brooklyn
    Boys: Landon, Caleb, Jackson (Jaxton, Jaxon, or Jaxen), Ryder

    Decreasing in Popularity:
    Girls: Olivia, Makenzie, Skylar, Sophia
    Boys: Ethan, Elijah, Liam, Gage, Bentley

    Consistently Popular Baby Names:
    Girls: Savannah, Ava
    Boys: Michael, Noah, Owen

    The Belly Ballot folks also made some predictions for 2013 naming trends:

    1) Tech Inspired Names
    2) Multiple Names
    3) Old is New
    4) Surnames for First Names
    5) Crazy Spellings

 

 

At the end of the day if you pick the name that feels right and has meaning for you, then it is the right choice. Most of all enjoy your new bundle of joy!

Personalized Jewelry for the Family - Jules Art

During the holiday season in 2012 we had the pleasure of working with Jules P. to design some very personal jewelry for her family. We used our online jewelry design tool to create several designs, tailored to each person. It was a great experience for the both of us sharing stories about our kids and getting to know one and other. After a few iterations back and forth, we had designs that not only she was happy with but were uniquely designed for each child. It was an intimate process working with her, a mother wanting to design motivational keepsake jewelry for her family.

Jules is an artist herself and once I learn about her handmade and painted bags I wasn't surprised at her ability to articulate emotions and feelings so we could help her create heartfelt jewelry designs. I was so impressed with her work that I bought a bag for Elisha as a surprise Christmas gift. The bags are large, vibrant, and hand painted with an eclectic free form design. All the painting is done with her hands... literally the designs flows through her hand and fingertips. It was interesting becasue the process was similar to how we help our customers design. Jules took the time to ask questions about Elisha's style, color preferences, and personality to create a one of a kind bag just for her. She even paints the box for an amazing presentation.

Check out Jules' Etsy store and pick up one of these great custom bags. It has become Elisha's favorite go to bag.