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 Art of Adornment

Art of Adornment

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 Vintage inspired Victorian, Gothic, Steampunk & burlesque jewelry and accessories. Satin, velvet & lace rhinestone chokers. Skull cameo pendants, beaded necklaces. Antique silver button covers, cufflinks, brooch pins. Crystal chandelier earrings. Thigh highs, tights, evening gloves, folding fans.

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  • Costume Jewelry Care
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Art of Adornment Ebay Store: Costume Jewelry Care

COSTUME JEWELRY- Cleaning & Care

Many of our customers have expressed concern regarding the components used in our jewelry (due to allergies, etc.), as well as how to clean and maintain the products they buy here. This page serves as a quick-reference guide so you'll have the answers right at your fingertips!

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General Questions About Our Jewelry
Fabric Chokers - Cleaning & Care
Plated Metal Jewelry - Cleaning & Care



Art of Adornment Victorian Gothic Jewelry and AccessoriesI Have Metal Allergies. Am I Going To Have A Reaction?
Nickel allergies are common (in about 12-15% of people), although many with allergies can wear nickel for a few hours without problems. Any metal components which are known to contain nickel or any other substances that commonly raise health concerns have been noted in the product description. We offer upgrades to sterling silver parts on many of our metal jewelry products - click here for details!ls.

What Does "Plated" Mean?
Plating is a process where one metal is applied over another in a thin layer, usually by using an electrical current to bond the two metals. This is done for three reasons: 1. to protect against corrosion or scratches (rhodium or nickel plating), 2. to resist discolouration or tarnish (rhodium or gold plating), or 3. to reduce cost since a product made with a thin layer of precious metal (such as silver) over a less expensive base metal (such as brass) costs much less than a solid piece of precious metal. Plating is not as durable as solid metal however; it will eventually wear away with continued use (where it rubs against the skin mostly) to reveal the base metal underneath, a process which can take 1-10 years depending on how frequently you wear it and how well you care for it. Hence this is why plated jewelry is much less expensive than solid precious metal; its shorter lifespan is the sacrifice you make.

What Is "Rhodium"?
Rhodium is a silver-coloured precious metal from the platinum family that is highly scratch- and tarnish-resistant. It has a slightly less reflective finish than sterling silver which makes it a great compliment to antiqued silver jewelry, since antiqued finishes are darker in colour and less reflective. We use a lot of rhodium-plated components in our jewelry for both these reasons. Also, rhodium is usually safe for people with sensitive skin since it does not contain nickel (which is known to cause allergic reactions).

What Is The Difference Between "Silver Plate", "Sterling Plate", and "Solid Sterling"?
"Solid sterling" means that the metal content of the entire component is .925 silver with a .075 additive, usually copper (almost pure silver). "Sterling plate" means that this high quality of silver has been layered ("plated") in a coating on top of a base metal, usually steel or brass. Solid sterling will usually be stamped with a hallmark ("925"); sterling plate will not have a hallmark since it is only a layer over another metal. Since sterling silver is rather expensive (and fairly soft, as metals go), plating it over a hard base metal gives the component greater durability at a lower cost. "Silver plate" is a general term and means that a silver alloy (actual silver but often with very cheaply-made components it is blended with nickel or tin) has been layered over a base metal. Our silver-plated components do not contain nickel and are most often actual sterling plate.

What's the Difference Between "Antiqued" and "Antiqued Oxidized" Silver?
Normal polished silver is bright and shiny, and very white in colour. "Antiqued" silver is slightly more steel-grey in colour, with the deep areas in the design darkened (by use of a pigmenting agent) and the raised areas still shiny. "Antiqued oxidized" silver has been treated with a chemical that actually changes the surface of the metal; it has a a rich all-over matte finish ("patina"), is steel-grey in colour, with the deepest areas in the design significantly darkened to imitate considerable age.

Does Crystal Contain Lead? Is It Dangerous?
Crystal beads and rhinestones are usually about 30% lead. You cannot absorb lead through your skin - it is only transferable through inhalation and ingestion. Thus, crystal should not be handled by children since they often put objects in their mouths. Lead is present in many other household objects (pewter, plumbing pipes, dirt/soil, fine glassware, etc.); always wash your hands after handling these objects, and never drink from a chipped or cracked crystal glass.

What Kind Of Quality Can I Expect?
Better than you probably think. Our prices are rather low for artisan designer accessories, but this does not imply poor workmanship. We simply do not believe that designers should inflate their prices just to be pretentious. How do we keep prices low? Products are sold direct from our private studio, so there are no middlemen, no storefronts to maintain, and no expensive overhead costs. We do all our own web/graphic design, packaging, shipping, website maintenance and marketing. We buy high-quality components wholesale, so the savings are passed on to you. We are also extremely selective and check each piece carefully for flaws - we would not sell anything we would not be proud to wear ourselves!

Where Do You Get The Metal Choker Parts & Other Components? Can I Buy Some From You?
Sorry - a great chef never reveals her secret ingredients! Check out our About Me page for where to buy great new & vintage components.

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If you are rough with your jewelry even the most sturdy pieces can scratch, snag, or break - avoid casually tossing your choker in your purse or jewelry box. You can fold it neatly and store in a re-sealable plastic bag (we often ship chokers in these bags, keep them!), lay it flat in a covered tray so it won't get dusty, or hang it up by the clasp/chain.

Art of Adornment Victorian Gothic Jewelry and Accessories Wrinkled or Folded Satin and Velvet
Press satin chokers from the back using the lowest steam setting. Do not let the iron touch any metal or glued components. Velvet chokers can be steamed: (if you do not have a steamer, set your iron to the lowest steam setting) hover over the velvet, making several slow passes, avoiding any metal pieces or glued components. Gently tug on the choker for 10 seconds while it cools. If there are any "crushed" or folded areas, lightly brush the velvet back and forth with your finger.

Stretched-Out, Folded or Wrinkled Lace
Most can be shrunk or tugged back into shape with a mist of warm water. Place the choker face down on a towel and mist with a spray bottle until lightly damp. Remove from the towel and leave it somewhere warm to dry flat, face-up. Arrange any out-of-shape areas by tugging in those spots only. Don't pull on it horizontally or you will stretch out the length (leave it slack) and weaken the ends where the metal clamps attach.

All of the ribbon and lace materials we use are colour-fast and washable, but still require care. Generally, cleaning should be a last resort since you risk making water stains, puckering the ribbon, and creating "worn" marks - so don't do it until absolutely necessary. Dip a cloth in very diluted mild detergent (the same type you use for lingerie/delicates), dab gently, and allow the choker to dry flat in a warm place.

Lace: dab with a cloth or wipe gently; do not scrub or you may pull it out of shape.
Velvet: gently brush the cloth back and forth in a long sweeping motion across the length of the ribbon, even the clean areas of the velvet to ensure you don't make a "worn" spot.
Satin: dampen ALL of the exposed satin equally or you could get watermarks when it dries; will likely require ironing afterwards (use lowest steam setting).
Getting Rid of Odours:
mist the back with fabric refresher spray (eg. Febreze). If that doesn't help, fill a sink with cold water and a capful of mild detergent. Drop the choker in, swish back and forth and leave it to soak for 10 minutes. Rinse carefully under a cold tap and allow to dry flat face-up on a towel. DO NOT tug on the choker while soaking wet! The fabric at the ends will have softened and could become loose where the metal parts attach if pulled on. Allow to dry completely, then if it needs some re-shaping or ironing follow the instructions above.

Want detailed info on how to select, wear and size fabric chokers? Read our Ebay Guide!

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(This includes the metal parts on our fabric chokers as well as necklaces and earrings.)
Plated jewelry requires a bit more "TLC" than solid precious metal jewelry. The plated surface is not as durable as solid sterling or gold; since it is merely a layer it will eventually wear away with continued use (where it rubs against the skin mostly) to reveal the base metal underneath, a process which can take 1-10 years depending on how frequently you wear it and how well you care for it. This is why plated jewelry is much less expensive than solid precious metal; its shorter lifespan is the trade you make.

Storage & Care
It is easy to make your plated jewelry last longer. If you wear it only periodically (only a few times a month and/or for only a few hours at a time) and avoid contact with household cleaning products, perfume and alcohol-based products, potting soil and gardening activities, talc, and abrasive surfaces such as granite, steel wool and sand paper, it should last 5-10 years. Hang up your necklaces and earrings rather than casually tossing them in a jewelry box or else you risk scratching any beads as well as metal parts.
You can further protect your plated jewelry by periodically painting clear liquid lacquer specially designed for protecting metal (or even clear nail varnish if cost is a factor) to surfaces that touch the skin most frequently.

Avoid contact with abrasive chemicals as they will damage the plating and ruin the darkened finish of antiqued components. Instead wipe with mild soap and water - DO NOT use chemical cleaners, anti-tarnish agents, or "impregnated"-type polishing cloths. We recommend the SELVYT® brand 5" x 5" washable polishing cloth or a piece of plain chamois leather - these are safe on metal surfaces as well as crystal, glass, acrylic and other costume jewelry components.

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More Questions?
Do you want more background information ABOUT ME? Do you have a question about our items or store policies? Check out the Help/Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page!