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Beautiful and ethical jewelry made with care in San Francisco. Using Moissanite, classic 14 karat gold and sterling silver.

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Modern Jewelry with a Modern Conscience

The Making Of - Custom Palladium Woodland Rings for a Sweet Couple

Sharon Zimmerman

The Woodland Wedding bands are some of my favorite rings to make. Each ring starts as a thick blank of metal. It gets rolled flat, heated, formed, heated again for soldering and finally, each ring is individually textured, making the rings unique and meaningful. Making the knots in the "wood" is my favorite part, and in this case the couple asked to customize the rings with only three knots in each ring. I love how each ring comes out a little different - your ring won't look like anyone else's.

"Thank you so much again for our Woodland bands. We love them. They are just the combination we were looking for of simple and understated yet unique and evocative. We were so happy to find a local artisan whose values and aesthetic resonated with us." - Ana
Soldering the rings closed

Soldering the rings closed

The tools of the trade

The tools of the trade

The finished rings. The bottom ring was created in a custom width.

The finished rings. The bottom ring was created in a custom width.

 

Turning Six and Giving Back

Sharon Zimmerman

Lots of styles have come and gone, but these have stayed constant

Lots of styles have come and gone, but these have stayed constant

My business turned Six in March! This business has been a roller coaster these last six years and I wouldn't have it any other way. Along the way, I've learned that staying true to my values is as important as making huge sales - one without the other feels so hollow. So it was an easy decision for me to combine the sixth anniversary month with Women's History Month and give back to a cause that supports women - The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. NCADV supports women (and men) leaving violent homes by providing resources, information and safety as well as a help line that you can call to get support. Thanks to my amazing customers, this business of mine was able to donate more than $200 to this cause. From the bottom of my heart, thank you. 

Our Feature in the San Francisco Chronicle

Sharon Zimmerman

It's been a roller coaster year, but we were thrilled with our recent feature in the San Francisco Chronicle. It shows Sharon in action - drawing down wire to make a nose ring, soldering a wedding ring, and basically showing you all the work and effort and love that go into each and every piece we make here.

Sharon Zimmerman draws down wire for a nose ring in her San Francisco studio

Sharon Zimmerman draws down wire for a nose ring in her San Francisco studio

Soldering a wedding ring in 14 karat gold. Image by Liz Hafalia

Soldering a wedding ring in 14 karat gold. Image by Liz Hafalia

Article by Carolyn Said, photos by Liz Hafalia.

Read all about it here.

 

The Good Karma Sale, Giving Back and a Coupon Code for you

Sharon Zimmerman

After the year that we've had, I am determined to be more committed than ever to giving back to organizations that are near and dear to my heart. I'm starting with this Holiday Season by participating in the Good Karma Sale - November 21st-30th, 10% of all sales made through the website and at the SF Etsy Holiday Emporium will be donated to the International Rescue Committee, an organization co-founded by Albert Einstein that is dedicated to assisting and resettling refugees escaping from violence around the world. Helping refugees takes on many different forms and includes providing water, food and shelter and ensuring that refugees are safe and cared for. Follow the hashtag #goodkarmaisthenewblackfriday to see all of the vendors participating in the Good Karma Sale!

Throughout December, 5% of all sales made through our website and at shows will be donated to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. NCADV works to create a culture where domestic violence is not tolerated; and where society empowers victims and survivors, and holds abusers accountable. 

And lastly, as promised, is your coupon code. Take 15% off any order on my website November 21-28 with coupon code Karma2016 *. This is my thank you for your support, enthusiasm and for helping to give back this holiday season. Enjoy, and I hope to see you soon.

Lastly, sign up for our mailing list to enter to win a pair of sterling silver spear huggies! The winner will be announced on November 28th.

 

*This code is good through Midnight Pacific Time on November 28th.

Ethical Gemstones Part Two- What is the Deal With Lab-Grown Diamonds?

Sharon Zimmerman

As promised from our last post, I’ll be talking about lab-grown diamonds in this post and asking--”how ethical are they?” There’s been recent hype from Leonardo DiCaprio, Silicon Valley, and millennials, all in support of lab-grown diamonds as a socially-responsible alternative that uses technological innovation to produce an identical and affordable option to mined diamonds. And I am totally effing on board! Lab-created diamonds aren’t tainted by the conflict of mined diamonds, and many are created right here in the United States with the highest labor and environmental standards. I’ve been proud to use lab-grown stones for the last four years, but I’m always concerned about where/how my suppliers produce these diamonds that we use in our engagement rings.

With the exception of the Diamond Foundry (a Silicon Valley-based business that uses solar energy with a zero carbon footprint), the labs that grow diamonds do not disclose their procedures and "proprietary information". They don’t have to. While the mined diamond industry has come under appropriate scrutiny, the lab-grown diamond industry, still a baby, doesn’t have a current certification, not even one as vague as the Kimberley Process. So some, playing off the label of “lab-grown” are profiting without having to meet consumer expectations.

And the deceit doesn’t stop there. Since lab-grown diamonds are physically, chemically, and optically identical, they are being passed off as mined-diamonds and sold at those prices. These fake mined-diamonds are so believable that only trained gemologists, equipped with the most precise instruments, can tell the difference. In my opinion, it's shady when those that claim that lab-grown diamonds aren’t the real thing, bypass the experts in order to sell them as such. For those consumers interested in real lab-grown diamonds, responsible businesses will certify the quality-grade of their cultured diamonds.

With mined diamond production slowing down and becoming increasingly costly, I’m curious to see how giants like De Beers, who started manufacturing diamonds in the 1960s, will spin and sell lab-grown diamonds eventually. Right now, De Beers and friends are speaking out against cultured diamonds in defense of their workers. According to them, mining diamonds creates jobs for more than seven million of the poorest people in the world. But I think real concern for these communities might look like preparing them for the inevitable exhaustion of mined diamonds, using higher current wages and training in alternative work. Even Botswana, a country that has experienced relative stability with it’s own diamond trade, will likely exhaust their diamond mines by 2029.

Across the board, transparency and traceability for lab created diamonds haven’t become industry standards yet, but I’m super-optimistic that all of us conscientious consumers will demand it. I believe we’ve brought about the changes we’re seeing now and that lab-grown diamonds will continue to evolve to become a real solution for future shortage.

Next time, I’ll be talking about another option I endorse - traceable colored gemstones. Please tune in, join the discussion, and feel free to get in touch.

The dos and don'ts of putting in a new nose ring

Sharon Zimmerman

C'mon baby, let's do the twist!

Left image: the right way to open your nose ring. Right image: makes puppies cry.

Left image: the right way to open your nose ring. Right image: makes puppies cry.

Did you know that there is a right way and a wrong way to open a nose ring? Here is a quick list of the dos and don'ts when it comes to opening a nose ring (or a tiny hoop earring for that matter):

Do: Wash your hands. With soap and water, like a regular human.

Do: ABT - Always. Be. Twisting. Twist open the ends side to side, which keeps them in line with each other and makes it easier to get a tight closure. 

Do: Only open it the minimum amount needed to slip it into your piercing.

Do: Gently twist it closed. You can use your fingers, but thicker gauges might require a pair of needle-nose pliers. 

Do: Feel free to ask a friend for help. It could be a bonding experience for the two of you.

Don't: Open the hoop laterally. This not only makes the ring harder to close, it also stresses the metal in the wrong direction and could weaken the ring.

Final Note: You might feel a small amount of irritation after changing a piercing. This is pretty normal since you have been roughing it up a little more than normal. It can also happen if you are gauging up. Try rinsing your piercing with a saline solution or soak to soothe the irritation.

The yellow gold nose ring in the top picture can be found here and the rose gold nose ring in the bottom picture can be found here

Have a question? Post it in the comments!

How I Wear It - the Spear Huggies with Tiny Studs

Sharon Zimmerman

I'll admit - I got into jewelry-making largely for my own benefit. I wanted to have beautiful pieces to wear and the best way to get something that's exactly what I want is to make it. So I made jewelry. A lot. Obsessively. 

Of course, making more jewelry means wearing more jewelry, so last year I added two new holes to my ear to make room for more studs.*

I love how tiny studs accent the ear like a sprinkle of stardust. All the more so when those studs are made in rose gold.

Sure, you can wear our spear huggies on their own, without any other earrings, but this was far too fun of a look for me to pass up.

From left to right, all of these are shown in rose gold, and available in yellow gold or sterling silver:
Tiny Stick Stud Earrings
Spear Huggies
In the Rough Diamond Studs
Tiny Pebble Studs

How do you like to wear your tiny studs and huggies?

*I had mine pierced by Perry at Rose Gold in the Haight.

Why is my skin turning black under my rings?

Sharon Zimmerman

A few years ago, I thought I was developing an allergy to silver and gold.  Almost overnight, my skin was turning black underneath my rings and I couldn't explain it. The answer?  Science!

Image of skin turning black underneath my recycled diamond rings

Image of skin turning black underneath my recycled diamond rings

At about the same time that my skin started turning colors, I had started using a mineral sunscreen* containing zinc oxide.  Zinc Oxide, in its non-nano state, is a fantastic and safe sun-blocking agent as well as a common ingredient in many cosmetics. I am pretty obsessed with my skin care (though you wouldn't believe it if you saw my hands. Ah well, such is the jeweler's life). Zinc oxide is also, as it turns out, a very mild abrasive.  Veeeery mild. But gold and silver are soft metals, so the mild abrasive in my sunscreen was actually rubbing off minuscule particles of metal from my rings and these particles transferred to my skin and appeared black.

My solution?  Well, I wasn't going to discontinue using my sunscreen nor would I stop wearing rings and the problem goes away when I, you know, wash. My. Hands. I also wait to put on rings until after I've applied the sunscreen and washed my hands. Sometimes the simple solutions are the best.
 

* I’d like to give a quick shout out to the makers of my mineral sunscreen.  Marie Veronique Organics.  They care about the safety of their products above and beyond their industry standards and their sunscreens are amazing! It is also a woman-owned and Bay Area-based business.