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Beautiful and sustainable jewelry made with care in San Francisco. Edgy and unique styles to wear everytday. We have everything from tiny platinum stud earrings to Moissanite engagement rings made from recycled gold and fashion jewelry from solid sterling silver.

Read all about how we make sustainable jewelry!

We have so much to share with you! Follow along on our blog | Sharon Z Jewelry | Shop Handmade Sustainable Jewelry San Francisco

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 sustainable 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 and sustainable 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. I’ve been proud to use lab-grown stones for the last five 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 in regards to conflict-free status or sustainability practices.

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 lab-grown 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-grown 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 a future shortage.

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

5 Ways to Find Out Her (or His) Ring Size On the Sly

Sharon Zimmerman

You're in love, you know you want to get married and you’re ready to propose. So you run out to get a ring, but how do you know that it’s going to fit them? A ring, unlike earrings and necklaces, isn't a one-size-fits-all piece of jewelry, so getting the size at least kinda sorta close to right is important.  Here are a few helpful hints for getting things right the first time.

Option #1 - Find a ring that he or she wears on their ring finger

This is probably the easiest shortcut to finding out their ring size, but it also assumes that your beloved wears a ring on their ring finger. Some women don’t wear anything on that finger before engagement or marriage out of tradition. Just keep in mind that there can be a significant size difference between the right hand and the left hand, so if you find a ring that they wear on their right hand, it may not be exactly the right size for their left hand.

Option #2 - Ask her friends.

There is always a chance that she’s dropped hints. Big hints. And by hints, I mean that she may have actually told her best friend (or sister, or Mom) what her ring size is. So...not really a hint. More like a giant clue that she’s left for you to find. And a pretty easy-to-find clue at that.

 Option #3 - Find out while they are sleeping

This will assume that you have super stealthy ninja-like skills. Your first step is to acquire a finger sizer. Then, while they are asleep, carefully and without being detected slip the sizer onto their left hand ring finger. Et Voilà! Ring size!*

Option #4 - Order a placeholder ring

Have they already decided which designer they’d like a ring from**? If so, then it's a good bet that your future betrothed would like something else from that same designer. Ordering something smaller and less formal is a lot less risky and can create a sweet memory for the two of you. Then you can plan together which "official" ring to get. It could even be a ring that can stack with their eventual engagement and wedding rings.

Option #5 - Well, you could just ask

Sure, it’s not exactly romantic, but maybe you guys are a couple of rule-breakers anyway. Or maybe you are both super-communicative.  Either way, if you talk openly about your future together, asking for their ring size won’t be a downer. Besides, you don’t have to tell them when you’re planning to propose.

*If they wake up and you get caught, just tell them that you were trying to hold their hand.

**OK, so let’s back up for a moment and say that you have no idea what kind of ring they would like. The best place to do your secret spy research is on Pinterest. Take a look at their boards and see what kinds of jewelry they pin. There is a great chance that they already have a board totally dedicated specifically to engagement rings. And when in doubt, ask their friends.

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 mein 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 of sustainable jewelry we make here in our San Francisco Studio.

 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. My commitment to sustainability does not end with jewelry - it extends to my sense of civic responsibility too. 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, 2016.

Transitioning Jewelry - when to remake antique and unused jewelry

Sharon Zimmerman

What can you do with unused jewelry?

Sparkle-Ball-ring-recycled-diamonds-14-karat-gold

Jewelry is powerful. Serving as a reminder of loved ones, connecting us to our past and grounding us in the present. But sometimes jewelry no longer serves us or it no longer serves it’s original purpose. Maybe your jewelry reminds you of a painful moment or transition in life; maybe you inherited jewelry from a loved one that isn’t to your taste; maybe your jewelry just needs a different look. If so, then it’s time for an update. The diamonds in these rings once symbolized a different life, but have now been refreshed, updated, made new. Rings (and earrings) that symbolize a change and a transition through to a new time in life. A jump start, a renewal; hit the reset button.

In the rough studs with recycled diamonds in rose gold

Interested in custom and bespoke jewelry using your existing stones? Contact me to find out what's possible, but first, fill out this little questionnaire and find out a little bit more about the process here.

recycled diamond 18 karat gold setting oxidized silver ring

How I Wear It - the Spear Huggies with Tiny Studs

Sharon Zimmerman

I'll admit it - I got into jewelry-making largely for my own self-interest. I wanted to have beautiful pieces of jewelry to wear and the best way to get something that's exactly what I want is to make it myself. So I started making jewelry. A lot. Obsessively. All the damn time.

Time passed, more jewelry got made and I got more curious about where my metals came from. I got more interested in creating a jewelry line that uses sustainable materials and incorporated more designs and more creative and wild visions. Each year, I make more and more jewelry that I love down to its core. It becomes pretty hard to figure out which pieces to put on each day when I feel like I have an embarrassment of riches. So much to love...so little ear space.

I mean, of COURSE - making more jewelry means that I need to be wearing more jewelry. So a couple of years ago I added two new piercings to my left ear to make room for more studs and earrings.*

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. (14 karat rose gold is my not-so-secret favorite metal to wear). Though if yellow gold or platinum are your jam, by all means go to town and create your own ear party!

Sure, you can wear our spear huggies on their own, without any other earrings and they will still look great alone, but this was far too fun of a look for me to pass up and adding in all of these studs feels like I’ve armored up for the day.

Pictured on my ear from left to right, all of these are shown in rose gold, and available in yellow gold, platinum (except for the spear huggies) or sterling silver:

Tiny Stick Stud Earrings
Spear Huggies
In the Rough Diamond Studs
Tiny Pebble Studs

We’d love to hear from you and see how you arrange your ear party! Feel free to post a comment or reach out to us by email. We’ll post your image to our Instagram feed and tag you too!

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

Hint: It's not an allergy.

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  s ilver and gold rings

Image of skin turning black underneath my silver and gold 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. And don't forget to clean your jewelry to get rid of any residual make up, soap, sunscreen, etc. Here is our Step-by-Step guide to safely cleaning and caring for your jewelry.

And now, please resume wearing all of the rings.