Here at White Elephant we believe in providing beautiful jewelry that is made by hand, and made with extreme care and intention by independent makers and designers. We also fully believe that all of our pieces should be worn and loved in any setting - from an elegant celebration to a casual day of work. Some scratches and dings may happen while wearing, along with tarnishing, and that's okay! It's a sign that your jewelry is well loved, and adds more life and personality to your piece. For best results however, we recommend taking your jewelry off when doing any manual labour, working out, playing any contact sports, sleeping, swimming, showering, and gardening. Try not to expose to moisture and store in a cool, dry place to extend the life of your pieces. All metals, including bronze, silver and gold, can react to beauty and cleaning products. Avoid contact as much as possible with perfumes, hairsprays, lotions and household cleaners.
For the most part, just wear and enjoy!
Here are some tips for caring for specific materials you will find in some of our pieces.
Sterling silver is a material that tarnishes quite quickly when it comes into contact with oxygen. While the best way to prevent this is to wear your silver jewelry often because the oils in your skin help prevent tarnish (depending on your own body chemistry) we do recommend that you clean your silver periodically to help. The best way to clean tarnished silver is with a jewelry polishing cloth. The tarnish will wipe away easily and your silver will be bright once again!
An airtight plastic bag will help prevent tarnishing while you are not wearing your silver. There are also many great natural home remedies to clean silver, which you can search online. However, silver is a very soft material so be mindful and use only a soft non-abrasive cloth to wipe it with.
Brass is a yellow alloy of copper and zinc. It resembles gold in color. Over time brass will tarnish and patina over time turning a dark brownish aged color, depending on your own body chemistry. This look can be just as beautiful as the shiny new brass. However, if you prefer your brass to shine simply clean it with a brass polishing cloth.
Due to how brass may react to the chemistry of your skin, for some it can leave that green mark behind. This is a reaction of the oxidizing of the copper on your skin. Everyone's skin is different, but it is harmless. If you wish to create a barrier between your skin and the brass, a clear coat of enamel or nail polish will do the trick.
14k gold fill is a professional jewelers grade metal. It will not tarnish, crack, chip, peel, or turn your skin green. Under normal circumstances it will last an entire lifetime. Gold filled is NOT plated. It is a tube of solid gold mechanically bonded to a brass or sterling silver base. There is 100 times more gold in gold filled than in something that has been gold plated. This layer of gold must be a minimum of 1/20th of the total metal weight to be called gold filled. The color looks exactly like 14k gold.
The easiest way to care for it is to scrub it with an old soft toothbrush or non-abrasive cloth and a mild dish washing liquid. Rinse it well and lay on a towel to dry.
Natural Bronze will oxidize over time, turning a darker, more muted color. Some designers prefer this darker, aged color as it adds character to the metal. To maintain a shiny bright finish for as long a possible, store your bronze away from the air in a ziplock plastic bag, and keep it as dry as possible. Do not wear in the shower or store in a humid environment.
If you like a high shine, you may prefer using a commercial metal cleaner specifically formulated for bronze or brass. Follow the instructions on the cleaning product.
Gold Plate/Gold Vermeil/Silver Plate
Plating may wear off fairly quickly over time, as it is a thin layer of gold or silver applied to a less expensive metal, such as brass. It is almost like gold paint. Since so little gold is used in making gold-plated jewelry, it is less expensive than gold, sterling silver, or gold-filled jewelry. Because the surface is so delicate, you must be extra careful cleaning plated jewelry.
Don’t use traditional jewelry cleaners on your plated jewelry, or any other chemical solution. Instead, rely on a soft cotton cloth and warm water. You can use a miniscule amount of liquid soap, but you should only do this when needed. You should limit its exposure to water as well.