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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

Filtering by Category: The Making Of

OMG Palladium What the Hell?

Sharon Zimmerman

A quickie economics lesson from someone with experience pricing jewelry and making jewelry - sometimes jewelry materials are really really expensive. Reductive? Yes. True? Also, yes.


Metal prices change daily with the market. Most jewelers I know take a look at the metals market at least weekly, if not daily. I will admit that one of the first apps that I open on my phone in the morning is Kitco to check on the day’s gold prices. More importantly than the day-to-day changes, year to year they can shift enough that we as designers and jewelers will take a step back and reevaluate our pricing. Such is the situation I’m in with palladium today. Palladium is a tricky metal to work with. It has a prettier color than 18 or 14 karat white gold (Full disclosure that I have OPINIONS about metal colors and which ones I like), which makes it great for bridal jewelry, but it isn't as easy to work with as platinum or white gold. It takes heat from a torch very weirdly (trust me, it is extremely weird to solder and melt this metal) making it a more technical metal to work with and it takes a lot more time to make almost all of my palladium jewelry. In the past, the relatively low cost of palladium made it worthwhile since you could make a piece that has a prettier color than white gold, and at a price point that was slightly less than 14 karat white gold. The extra work was worth it to be able to make something in a white metal that could still be in an acceptable price range for my clients. It's also a sturdy metal with a lot of qualities similar to platinum, but without the weight and density. It also used to be a fraction of the price of platinum.

That's all been changing in the last 4-5 months. The price per ounce of palladium has grown high enough that some of the rings I make in palladium are almost as much as the same ring in platinum. With all of the changes to palladium costs, I’ve been recommending to more and more clients that they simply upgrade a little bit to platinum.


This is all to say that part of the reason why my palladium rings are discontinued is that I won't be able to recreate these rings at a price that would appeal to most of my customers. I've tried re-pricing some rings in palladium and most of these rings would all be almost double their current prices. In the coming months, you’ll see some changes to my bridal collection as I reprice just a couple of styles and change the rest over to either platinum or 14 karat palladium white gold. This may be the last that you see of the solid palladium rings until palladium prices come down.**

**If they ever do. Currently, palladium prices are driven up by an increase of the use of palladium in car exhaust filters - it is keeping your air clean of pollutants. Take a metal in high demand, add limited mining output of palladium and presto! Increased metals costs. Citation - https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-12-21/why-palladium-s-suddenly-an-especially-precious-metal-quicktake


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

Sharon Zimmerman

C'mon baby, let's do the twist! You've purchased a brand new solid gold nose ring (or you've been keeping your eye on a new nose ring) and now it's time to give it the care that it deserves. Here are the right way and the wrong way to open up your new nose ring.

Did you know that there is a right way and a wrong way to open it up? 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 your hoop to open the ends side to side, which keeps them in line with each other and makes it easier to get a tight closure on your nose ring. This will be really important after you open up the ring to insert it.

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

Do: Gently twist your hoop closed. You can use your fingers, but thicker gauges might require a pair of needle-nose pliers, or it might require going to a professional piercer for a jewelry change. Call ahead to a reputable local piercer and find out if they offer jewelry changes. Some places charge a nominal fee to switch out your jewelry - I find that it is totally worth the investment in your jewelry to have it opened and closed properly.

Do: Look for the purest kind of metal that you can afford, and look for something that you’ll want to wear all the time. Choosing metals that cause irritation (gold plated base metal, white gold alloys that contain nickel) can irritate your piercing and the surrounding skin and cause some serious problems. Spending a little more, in the beginning, means that you won’t have to spend more later when you inevitably need to replace your nose stud or ring.

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 a size. Try rinsing your piercing with a saline solution or soak to soothe the irritation. If this doesn't work, consider switching to solid gold if you've been wearing gold plated/gold fill jewelry (this can be a big problem for nose piercings, and most piercers will recommend going with a solid metal like 14 karat gold or 18 karat gold). If you find that gold irritates your piercings too, consider switching to platinum jewelry as this one is the least reactive metal and the least likely to cause an allergic reaction.

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

Ready to learn more? There’s a DIY workshop coming up soon. You get to make and finish your very own 14 karat gold nose ring in this fun jewelry-making workshop. Sign up below!

*This date doesn’t work for you? Contact me to set up a different time!

The Exciting World of Jewelry Cleaning

Sharon Zimmerman

What’s the Best Way to Clean Jewelry?

You want your jewelry to last you a long time, and so do I. A lot of heart and soul go into each piece and while some wear and tear are normal over time, treating your jewelry and giving it a little TLC can keep it looking great for a lifetime. 

The Basics Don'ts

Avoid wearing while swimming, working out (yes, even yoga), showering, gardening or when working with chemicals. All of these activities can stress your jewelry, scratch it, bend it or just generally gunk it up (ew).

Cleaning Oxidized Silver Jewelry

Oxidized silver has been given a surface treatment to create a dark black color. Over time, this color may fade to bright silver and is considered normal wear. Never fear though, this blackening can be brought back simply and affordably. Contact me if you would like the oxidized patina restored to your Sharon Z Jewelry piece - info@sharonzjewelry.com 

Storage

We know that you want to wear your Sharon Z Jewelry piece all the time, but when you aren’t wearing it, we suggest storing it in the box that it came in or even better, in a tiny plastic bag with an anti-tarnish strip.  The plastic bag trick works especially well for silver.

Eco-Friendly Tarnish Removal

Fun Science Project Alert!

Silver jewelry has a great luster and bright, white color, but over time, exposure to moisture and air can cause tarnish.  Here is a fast, cheap, easy, fun and eco-friendly way to restore your silver jewelry to a bright shine.

  • Boil water

  • Place a piece of tin foil in a heatproof bowl

  • Place jewelry on top of foil

  • Sprinkle baking soda and a pinch of salt over the jewelry

  • Pour boiling water over the jewelry and foil

  • The mixture will bubble (like you're a witch standing over a bubbling cauldron) for a moment and then your silver jewelry will be bright again.

  • Careful when removing jewelry-it will be very hot! (This seems obvious, but my lawyers recommended that I tell you this.)

  • Rinse with cool water

This method is safe for many stones, except for turquoise and opals.  Also, be advised that while pearls will be fine in this process, the epoxy that often holds them in place might come loose due to the heat.

PS - this works great on gold that has discolored too!

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 their 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 top ring is available to order  here .

The finished rings. The bottom ring was created in a custom width. The top ring is available to order here.

 

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.

Recent Photoshoot - Outtakes and Gag Reel

Sharon Zimmerman

This photoshoot with my awesome assistant Alissa went so well, we will probably do it again with even more jewelry! She was so awesome and accommodating even as the temperature dropped. Her photos are now sprinkled throughout the website and are featured on the home page Check it out!

New Statement Rings are Live!

Sharon Zimmerman

Your fingers are bored - give them something fun to wear! I created a new crop of statement rings in all kinds of metals, stones and price points for almost any occasion.

Oh, and welcome to my new website! I refreshed and updated the look and the shopping experience. Poke around and let me know what you think!