Frequently Asked Questions

Care

How to care for and clean your jewelry

The best way to care for your anodized jewelry is to gently wipe your piece down with a very soft cloth after wear and place it in a plastic bag to reduce exposure to the elements. If this is done regularly, you should not need to thoroughly clean your piece but twice a year.

Anodized jewelry requires special care because abrasives can remove the colored oxide layer. You certainly don't want your piece scraping against hard surfaces. When cleaning, never use polishes or cloths that contain abrasives such as Brasso or silver polishing cloths. The abrasives in these types of cleaning products will scratch and wear away the colored oxide layer. Do not place anodized pieces in ultrasonic cleaners. Any harsh chemicals like hairsprays, perfumes, bleach, chlorinated water and even your sweat can deteriorate the oxide layer over time, so try to avoid contact with these substances and rinse your pieces as soon as possible after exposure. If you plan on wearing your pieces day in and day out, please make sure to refer to the FAQ entry for more information and special considerations.

The safest method of thoroughly cleaning all anodized metal pieces is to bathe the piece in warm, soapy water for a few minutes. Use a mild soap such as Dawn dish soap (not a harsh detergent) to help remove any dirt and oils that have accumulated. Afterwards, rinse well and pat or air dry. Once completely dry, it is best to store the piece in a plastic bag to reduce exposure to the elements.

Avoid exposing your sterling silver jewelry to harsh chemicals such as chlorine, cosmetics, hair spray, and perfume.

To avoid tarnishing, periodically wash with mild soap, not detergent, and water.  Dry thoroughly before storing.
You may also polish gently with a polishing cloth.  To clean away excessive tarnish, use a silver polishing dip cleaner.

Stainless steel is an alloy of iron and chromium and does not tarnish and will not rust. However, over time it may lose its luster. To restore the shine to your stainless steel you can follow the cleaning instructions for brass and bronze.

Chlorine can pit stainless steel, so avoid exposing your stainless steel piece to chlorinated products such as chlorine bleach and chlorinated swimming pools. If your piece does come in to contact with chlorinated products, rinse throughly and dry it off as soon as possible.

Proper care will prevent EPDM from drying out and cracking.

Keep away from corrosive chemicals, perfumes, heat, and direct sunlight (unless being worn). Rinse after being in saltwater.

To clean wash with a gentle dish soap, like Dawn (not a harsh detergent), and water and pat dry with a clean cloth. Also it is recommended you wipe down the jewelry after wearing with a clean cloth and store in a plastic bag when not in use.

Bronze is an alloy of copper and, usually, tin. Like brass, bronze will natually tarnish over time. Follow the cleaning and prevention instructions of brass.

Brass is an alloy of copper and zinc and will naturally tarnish when exposed to oxygen. Some people like the patina of tarnished brass and the tarnish is actually a protective layer for the brass, but if you want to get the shine of the new brass it's pretty easy to do with some typical household products.

If the tarnish isn't too pervasive take about 2 tablespoons of baking soda and add drops of lemon juice - from concentrate is fine - until you have a nice paste. The lemon juice will bubble and fizz as you add, don't worry it'll stop after a second or two. Take an old toothbrush and apply the paste to your piece and scrub. Let it sit in the paste for about 30 minutes and then rinse it with water and dry it thoroughly.

If the piece is heavily tarnished or the above doesn't work, you can place the piece in vinegar and let it soak for 30-60 minutes and then scrub it with an old toothbrush. Once clean, rinse it with water. This cleaning method is more aggressive and may leave the piece more "raw" looking - it won't have as warm of color until the patina rebuilds.

Oils from your skin and the oxygen in the air are what accelerate tarnishing. If you want to slow the tarnish process, wipe the piece with a soft cotton rag after wearing and store in a plastic bag with an anti-tarnishing strip. You should have received one of these with your piece.

Keep your aluminum, niobium, and titanium jewelry away from corrosive chemicals like chlorine, bleach, acids, and drain cleaning solutions to prevent your jewelry from oxidizing and losing luster.

To clean wash with a gentle dish soap, like Dawn (not a harsh detergent), and water, then pat dry with a clean cloth. Also, it is recommended you wipe down the jewelry after wearing it with a clean cloth and store in a plastic bag when not in use.

Jewelry

Questions about the jewelry and how it is made

Chain maille (also spelled chainmaille, chain mail, or chainmail) dates back to about 300 B.C. as a light weight armor that resists piercing and slashing. It was used in many cultures including the Celts, Romans, Europeans, Persians and Japanese. Chain maille is still in use today for things like butcher gloves and shark suits - as well as jewelry.

Chain maille is created by taking metal wire rings and linking them together in various patterns. These patterns are called weaves. Where stability is crucial - like in butcher gloves or shark suits - the rings are soldered or riveted closed to ensure they do not break open when force is exerted; however, jewelry rings are normally not closed this way. This greatly reduces the time to create the jewelry and also makes it easy to modify in the future.

The thickness of the wire used to create the ring is called the gauge - the same as with electrical wire. The higher the gauge the thinner the wire. Typical wire gauges are 14g, 16g, 18g, and 20g - though lower and higher gauge wire is available.

The ring size is the inner diameter - the diameter of the hole of the ring - and is usually roughly measured in fractions of an inch - 3/8", 1/2", 7/16", etc - though the actual measurement can vary. One 1/2" ring may be 0.561" while another may be 0.483".

The ratio of the ring's wire gauge to its inner diameter is called the ring's aspect ratio (AR). AR is very important in chain maille because it determines how loose or tight the weave is - each weave has its own optimal AR with a range that can effectively be used.

We guarantee our jewelry for life as long as proper care and maintenance has been practiced. We are not responsible for damages due to abuse or neglect. Please make sure you are familiar with care & cleaning instructions provided in this FAQ.

We are confident you will love the jewelry Amy creates for you, but we understand when it's just not what you expected. Within the first 30 days after you receive it, based off delivery confirmation, let us know why you are not satisfied by emailing [email protected] or calling 630-909-8334. You will receive store credit for the amount you paid, though the piece must be in like new condition to receive full credit. You will be responsible for shipping costs back to us and ensuring the piece is safely shipped - we recommend using USPS Priority Mail in a small flat rate box.

Within the first year we will make minor adjustments - such as small resizes or changing the clasp type - for free. You will be responsible for shipping costs back to us and ensuring the piece is safely shipped - we recommend using USPS Priority Mail in a small flat rate box. We cover the shipping costs back to you.

Standard lengths are:

17-18" Will reach the collarbone
20" A few inches below collarbone
22" At or above neckline
24" A little below the neckline
30" Below the chest

For larger necks, use the next length up.

If you have a seamstress tape measure, wrap it around your neck to a comfortable fit. If you don't have a seamstress tape measure, take a piece of yarn or string and wrap that around your neck to a comfortable fit marking the point where the end touches itself. Lay the string straight next to a ruler and note the length. 16" is a standard choker size. 17-18" for larger necks.

If you don't have a set of ring sizers, the best way to measure is to go to a jewelry store and have them measure your finger.

If you have a seamstress tape measure, wrap it around your wrist snugly, note the length and then add 3/4 of an inch to that measurement. If you don't have a seamstress tape measure, you can take a piece of yarn or string, wrap that around your wrist snugly, note where the ends meet and add 3/4 of an inch to that measurement.

Chain maille pieces are woven together one ring at a time. Using nothing but pliers, Amy opens each metal ring weaves it through other rings, and then meticulously closes it.

For many pieces that use crystals (such as Andromeda) or seed beads she hand creates the eye pins to attach them to the chain maille. She makes these out wire, pliers and a mandrel to ensure each loop is consistent.

Amy makes use of interesting stones (as in Jupiter), gems and corals (as in Coral Sun) that she finds at trade shows. Because these usually have no bails, and sometimes not even holes, she freehand wraps these using half hard wire to include in the piece.

Because Amy can make all these findings by hand it allows her to come up interesting and elegant accents as well (as in Spirit of Egypt).

Amy spent many years seed bead weaving, and every now and then she likes to go back to it (such as the Easter Flower). These are created by carefully weaving seed beads together, 1 tiny seed bead at a time, with a small needle and strong thread.

Materials

Information about the different materials we use

Solid gold rings are just that, rings made completely out of gold. However, solid gold is very soft and very expensive, so Amy will only work with that upon special request with a deposit.

Gold filled rings are made from a solid gold tube that is permanently bonded to a brass wire. Gold filled rings are at least 5% gold by weight of the ring and are very durable - you get the strength of brass and the shine of gold - and a fraction of the cost of solid gold. Because the gold is permanently bonded to the brass, you can expect the gold to last forever and not wear or chip away.

Gold plated is a process of coating a base metal with gold. This coating is very thin and because it's not permanently bonded to the base metal, can easily chip off or wear away. Gold plating is cheaper in cost that gold filled, but is much less durable as well. Because of its lack of durability, Amy does not work with gold plated rings.

Enameling is the coating of a metal with a non-metallic substance - plastic in the case of enameled copper.

Plating is a thin coating of a metal on another metallic substance - such as silver plated copper.

Anodizing changes the surface of a metal through an electrochemical process without changing the composition of the metal.

Niobium and titanium are anodized by sending an electric current through the metal. This current creates and oxide layer on the surface of the metal. The amount of Voltage determines the thickness of the oxide layer which also determines the color.

Aluminum is anodized by sending an electric current through the metal; however, unlike niobium and titanium, this current does not create an oxide layer. Instead, it creates tiny holes in the surface of the metal. The amount of Voltage determines the size of the hole created. The size of the hole determines what color pigment will fit in that hole - each color is made of tiny blobs of a certain size. After the pigment has been applied a protective coating is applied to help lock in the pigment and protect it from the elements.

Niobium is a lightweight metal that in its raw form has a dark grey/silver color. It is hypoallergenic and can be anodized for a range of colors. It is hypoallergenic so can be a good alternative to stainless steel (containing nickel) or copper, bronze or brass.

Bronze is an alloy of copper (90% or more copper) and tin. Bronze has a redder color than brass and is harder and more durable than copper. Because of the copper, bronze will tarnish over time but can be cleaned to restore its original finish.

Brass is an alloy of copper and zinc. There are two main types of brass - yellow brass and red brass (also called jeweler's brass). Amy uses red brass which is about 85-87% copper and 13-15% zinc. Brass will tarnish over time but can be cleaned to restore its shine and color.

Stainless steel is a steel alloy that does not rust or corrode and is compose primarily of iron with 18-20% chromium and 8-10% nickel. Stainless steel is shiny but with a slightly darker hue than aluminum or silver that will darken over time. Because stainless steel contains nickel, those with nickel allergies usually cannot wear stainless steel.

The copper rings we use are 99.9% copper. Copper will tarnish over time turning a reddish brown and eventually green if left unchecked. Enameled copper is copper that has been coated in a colored plastic and also prevents tarnishing. However, because enameling is a plastic coating of the wire, this coating can be scratched if care is not taken.

Aluminum is an element that is very common; however, the aluminum rings we use are an alloy of aluminum (at least 92.9%) and manganese with trace amounts of chromium, copper, iron, silicon, zinc manganese, and/or titanium. Bright aluminum is how we refer to it in its natural, un-dyed state and has a silvery color. Usually aluminum is dull but bright aluminum rings are brought to a high polish through tumbling. Anodized aluminum rings are rings that have been placed in a electrolytic chemical bath with special dyes and had an electrical current applied. Anodizing aluminum chemically binds the dye to the aluminum and actually makes the aluminum harder.

Regardless of if it's bright or anodized, aluminum jewelry is very light and durable if properly cared for.

Fine silver is pure silver, 99.9% silver. Fine silver does not tarnish, but is soft and is not suitable for chain maille unless the rings are soldered.

Sterling silver is a silver alloy of 92.5% silver and 7.5% copper. The copper makes the silver harder and more durable but also causes the silver to tarnish over time. Amy works almost exclusively with sterling silver for silver pieces.

Argentium sterling silver is also a silver alloy like sterling silver. Argentium sterling silver is at least 92.5% silver and a combination of copper and germanium. Argentium sterling silver does not tarnish. Amy does not normally work with Argentium sterling silver, but can upon request.

Most of our jewelry is made with either aluminum, copper, bronze, brass, stainless steel, or sterling silver; however, titanium, inconel, niobium, 10k solid yellow gold and 14k gold filled (yellow, white and rose) is available upon request.

Ordering

Questions about the ordering process

We currently accept PayPal, checks and money orders. If paying by check, please be aware that we will not ship your piece until the check clears which may take up to 5 business days. Also, if the check does not clear, you will be charged any fees that result.

For PayPal you will be redirected to their site to complete payment and afterwards sent back to our site to complete your order.

Typically 2-3 weeks, but because your order is created to your specifications there are a variety of factors that can affect that. For instance, if we are currently out of a particular ring color/size that you request, we're at the mercy of the ring vendor. If there will be a significant delay, we will let you know an anticipated date if we have one.

Shipping

Questions about the shipping process

Our primary method is via US Postal Service Priority Mail, but we also can ship via USPS Express or UPS. We currently can not use FedEx, but we are working to provide that as an option.