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Maintaining, cleaning, and caring for jewelry can easily go overlooked and be forgotten in the mundane. Leather can last a lifetime when maintained properly. As with all genuine leather, it must be protected from the elements like dirt and water. Remember, WATER IS NO FRIEND OF LEATHER.
When leather is exposed to water it can lose its charm. This is true of leather shoes, handbags, and jewelry all the same.
With that said it's best to avoid wearing leather when weather conditions are unfavorable. It's also a good practice to REMOVE jewelry prior to swimming, bathing and other intense physical activity.
LIMIT CONTACT with lotions, make-up, and perfume. While handling leather jewelry our hands need be clean and dry. The lighter the leather the more susceptible it is to darkening over time from the oils and dirt from our skin. This happens because there are no dies used in natural, light colored leather; leaving it porous and more prone to soiling. Each piece of jewelry I make gets 2 to 3 coats of an all natural leather salve before completion.
Saddle soap is my favorite way to clean leather if it gets noticably dirty or soiled. As most of us don’t own horse saddles or saddle soap, don't worry there's another way!
Put a small dab of a natural gentle soap or leather cleaner on the cloth and wipe down (avoid using a wet cloth or immersing the leather in water). Then wipe down with a new damp cloth . Pat dry. Once completely dry, use a protective leather balm to rehydrate, soften, and seal your leather. My favorite is an all-natural boot wax made by Otter Wax. Bag balm works really well too and you may already have an old green can lying around in the cupboard somewhere.
Wearing pearls is one of the best ways to care for them. The natural oil from our skin keeps them lustrous and looking new. Although pearls are quite durable, their surface can be delicate and scratch if handled too roughly as they are comprised largely of calcium. Harsh chemicals and abrasive materials can break down the nacre of the pearls and diminish their luster.
Fun Facts: Did you know that if swallowed, pearls will break down in just a few days in your dijestive system? The inventor and father of the cultured pearl, Mikimoto, is said to have swallowed 1 pearl a day in the later years of his life and he lived to be 96 years old! (Please don't swallow the pearls. This is just a bit of history). My pet chicken, Lucy, once plucked one of my Grandmother's pearl and diamond earrings right out of my ear and took off running. I haven't found the pearl yet! So, please use caution if and when feeding chickens, as they do have an irresistable love for luminous pearls and won't hesitate to peck at them and even eat them.
Use a damp cloth with mild soap and warm water to wipe them down.
Handle stones with love and care as they can be delicate and have different levels of hardness on the Mohs scale. Although they are solid and very dense structurally, having to be cut, drilled, and polished using special diamond headed drill bits, they are not entirely exempt from damage. Be careful not to hit them against hard surfaces or drop them on the floor or they could break.
Simple soap and water and a clean cloth is all you need.