This page has been curated for the content, creation and preservation of the metals and stones used by Astral Apparel Angel Armoury. If you have any further questions, feel free to drop me a message at nancygorman@astralapparel.co.uk

Astral Apparel Angel Armoury currently uses: sterling silver, 14K gold fill, gold and silver plate, copper, jeweller's brass, bronze, aluminium, stainless steel, Swarovski crystals and various semi precious gemstones.

Special request commissions using other precious metals and stones are available by enquiry. 

Airtight storage is optimal for jewel preservation.

STERLING SILVER

Fine silver is too soft a material for jewelling. As an alloy, sterling silver is supplemented strength with the complementary other metal whilst conserving the natural malleability and precious metal content, making it the optimal choice for cost value and longevity. 

 

925 Sterling Silver consists of 92.5% pure silver and 7.5% other metals [usually copper]. With special care, tarnishing can not only be delayed but also restored, in the long life of sterling silver. 

Sterling silver benefits from wear, the natural oils produced by the skin generate a cleansing substance. Tarnishing is almost inevitable in the long life of sterling silver, however this can be delayed and even restored with elementary care.

 

Should your jewel be looking a bit on the tarnished side, restoration is easy. Take a [clean] dry microfibre cloth and polish. If this is not sufficient, create a solution of water and baking soda to supplement polishing [taking care to avoid contact with any precious stones].

 

Avoid contact with sea and salt water, cosmetics or cleaning chemicals and other substances as much as possible when wearing your sterling silver jewels. Removal before prolonged contact with moisture is advised in the preservation of jewels.

14K GOLD FILL

A solid layer of gold is bonded to a sterling silver or jeweller's brass base [other traders may use other base metals]. Gold fill jewellery has 100x the gold alloy content of gold plate, allowing longer lasting and more robust pieces. 

To clean, create a solution of white vinegar, natural soap and lukewarm water. Soak for several minutes before buffering with a soft microfibre cloth and allow the piece to dry. 

GOLD & SILVER PLATE

Plated jewels are comprised of a base metal [most commonly bronze, sometimes copper] and coated in a layer of silver, gunmetal, gold or rose gold. An electric current generates a negative charge to the base metal and positively charges the solution of gold or silver ions. The positive gold or silver ions are attracted to the negative charge of the base metal, and gradually form the gold or silver layer of plating.

A gentle buffering with a [clean] dry microfibre cloth is sufficient for cleaning.

COPPER

Copper is a beautiful and inexpensive metal that has proven popular in jewellery since as early as 5000 BC [gold and silver around 4000 BC]. Over time, copper oxidises and tarnishes. Whilst some folk, including myself, enjoy the rustic aesthetic, restoring your copper jewellery is easy. Mix 1 tbsp of salt and 235 ml of white vinegar, apply the solution to the copper with a [clean] soft cloth and rinse. Alternatively, submerge the copper into 705ml of water and the salt-vinegar solution before boiling until the tarnish alleviates. 

Pure copper is hypoallergenic.

JEWELLER'S BRASS

Some of my scalemaille items utilise jewellers brass chains, giving a heavier more 'expensive feeling' weight, supplemented by its high tensile strength, durability and 14K gold-like appearance (with large scalemaille pieces however, lightweight aluminium is sometimes preferred). 

Also known as Merlin's Gold, Jeweller's Brass is an alloy of copper and zinc. Brass is an antimicrobial material due to its copper content. However, it is also the copper content of the alloy that oxidises when exposed to oils naturally produced by the skin, leaving the greenish hue of copper carbonate on the skin [easily ridden of by washing] known as patina. Oxidation can be further prevented by creating a carrier, applying a thin layer of clear nail varnish will do the job. 

Brass tarnishes in time by oxidation, this is easily resolved by mixing a solution of vinegar, salt and flour. Dissolve 1 tsp of salt into 120ml of vinegar and add flour to create a paste. Apply and rub the paste to your bronze surface and leave for 10 minutes before rinsing with warm water and lightly buffering with a soft dry cloth. Ketchup is also popular, as the acidic properties of the tomato are potent enough to erase the tarnish, though not sufficient to damage the brass. 

With exception to cleaning procedures, avoid wearing or exposing your brass jewellery to moist environments and store in an airtight vicinity.

BRONZE

Bronze is an alloy of copper and tin.  Bronze is an antimicrobial material due to its copper content. However, it is also the copper content of the alloy that oxidises when exposed to oils naturally produced by the skin, leaving the greenish hue of copper carbonate on the skin [easily ridden of by washing] known as patina. Oxidation can be further prevented by creating a carrier, applying a thin layer of clear nail varnish will do the job. 

Like sterling silver, bronze tarnishes in time. Tarnished bronze is easily restored by mixing a solution of vinegar, salt and flour. Dissolve 1 tsp of salt into 120ml of vinegar and add flour to create a paste. Apply and rub the paste to your bronze surface and leave for 10 minutes before rinsing with warm water and lightly buffering with a soft dry cloth.

With exception to cleaning procedures, avoid wearing or exposing your brass jewellery to moist environments and store in an airtight vicinity.

ALUMINIUM

All of my scalemaille items, unless by customised request, utilise the standard anodised aluminium composition.

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Over time you may notice a thin layer of grease appear on your scales, simply wipe away with a [clean] dry cloth. Anodised aluminium is lightweight [making it preferable for wear, especially amongst renaissance fair enthusiasts] flexible, enduring and inexpensive. 

Anodised aluminium is hypoallergenic.

STAINLESS STEEL

A highly durable and rust resistant alloy metal, comprised of iron and chromium.

To clean, liberally apply white vinegar and buffer with a soft cloth. Dip the soft cloth into olive oil, and polish. 

The stainless steel used by Astral Apparel Angel Armoury is hypoallergenic.

SWAROVSKI CRYSTAL

Swarovski Crystals are comprised of quartz sand, natural minerals. The secret formula for their creation is five generations old, courtesy of Austrian glass producer Daniel Swarovski. To maintain your Swarovski crystals, buffer the surface with a soft, dry and lint free cloth. Use gentle, circular motions to restore original lustre. If deeper cleaning is necessary, wash the crystals in lukewarm water with natural soap.

GEMSTONES

Most gemstones are mineral materials; however, some are porous- these are organic materials also widely considered under the 'gemstone' category. To clean mineral gemstones, gently rub the stone with a baking soda and water mixture or natural soap solution. Dry with a clean, microfibre cloth.  Organic gemstones such as amber or pearl are porous and require special care. Eliminate any contact with cosmetics, fragrances, cleaning products or staining solutions. To clean, simply wipe them with a soft, dry cloth.

Airtight storage is optimal for jewel preservation.

LUXE JEWELS

Keeping your luxury jewels exclusively for occasional wear is advised. Polish them regularly and put them on last and take them off first to avoid any snagging or other random damage. Jewels with black antique detail require more gentle cleaning so as to maintain the effect.

Airtight storage is optimal for jewel preservation.