I've had my FAQ posted on my Etsy policy page for awhile, but I thought having a nice complete list here would be most helpful and a maybe a bit broader in scope since some things may not have to do with Etsy. The questions and answers will be updated every so often, but hopefully each time you read it, it will be most current! Yay for editing on the interwebs!!
*DO YOU ENGRAVE?
Yes! See here for more details: http://bcyrjewelry.blogspot.com/2010/09/ring-engraving.html
*DO YOU DO CUSTOM ORDERS/DESIGNS?
If a new design is created, a $50 design fee may be added. If a simple alteration is desired, just ask, there is usually no charge for that!
*DO YOU USE MOLDS FOR YOUR DESIGNS?
No, all of my rings are “made from scratch”. Most designs are made from a huge lump of dark brown soft wax. This allows for any alterations you might like in addition to creating a truly unique ring for each of my customers.
*HOW ARE YOUR RINGS CREATED?
Most of my rings are cast using the lost wax casting method. You can see my full process on my blog - http://bcyrjewelry.blogspot.com/2008/03/lost-wax-casting-process.html
*WHERE DO YOU GET YOUR METAL AND STONES?
All of my metal comes from a supplier, Hoover and Strong, that offers 100% recycled metal. I recycle my own in addition to buying my “fresh” casting grain, sheet or wire from this company.
All of my diamonds are conflict free. I also use some synthetic stones (colored CZs) and will be adding similar options in the future including synthetic diamonds.
*WHAT SIZES DO YOU OFFER AND HOW CAN I FIND MY SIZE?
Ring sizes available 2 - 15 including 1/2, 1/4 and 1/8 sizes. Since each ring is made to order “from scratch”, I can make exactly the size you need.
As far as sizing for fit - Most hands do change through out the year, generally a little smaller in the winter and larger during the hottest months of the summer. Time of day can also affect sizing. Personally, my fingers are larger in the morning but after I get up and moving they are get back to their normal size.
Different people like a different fit for their rings. I prefer something as loose as possible but that never falls off. There are times during the winter when it gets close, but never does. And for the summer, its just perfect. I do not like when a ring is too tight - it makes me feel constricted and I find it really uncomfortable. Other people wear rings so tight that they can't come off and they don't find it to be a problem at all. The shape of the finger can have an effect too as to what would be comfortable for you. Some fingers are very slender and it doesn't take much for the sizing to be off. Other fingers are more "curvy" and as long as the ring can go over the knuckle, a full range of sizes will fit and be fine. The width of the ring can also affect the size of the ring. A narrow band can be much smaller and fit just fine, but for a wider ring (depending on how wide you get) The size may need to be 1/2 or even a full size larger. One of my fingers I can wear anywhere from a 5 (very narrow band), to a 6.5 (very wide 15mm+)
The ring sizers I offer are around 4mm which is a pretty standard width for most of my rings (4 - 6mm).
If you are sized at a jewelry store, make sure they use sizers that are close to the width of the ring you are interested in. Or try rings on that are the same width you want.
For the majority of my rings, it is easy to size them up a 1/4 or 1/2 size. Sizing down usually requires remaking the entire ring. The subtlety and love rocks bands are the easiest to size up or down.
*DO YOU HAVE SAMPLES?
I have samples of some rings in some metals. Feel free to ask if you know what design and metal you're interested in seeing in person. In some cases, two samples may be sent, one in the correct metal and one in the correct design. It just depends what I may have in stock. If you are looking for a wider than average ring I encourage asking for a wide sample to test out your correct size. A deposit is required for a sample. The amount is either put towards the ring being purchased or refunded at the time it is returned.
*ARE THEY COMFORTABLE? HOW WILL THEY WEAR OVER TIME?
I do think my rings are comfortable - I wouldn’t want to make a ring that wasn’t. Though many of my designs are too wide or thick for my own personal preference. I have very small hands and wear a 3 1/4 - so large rings don’t make sense for me to wear every day, especially with some of the tools I use! I find that it really is about personal preference. Some people will want a very thick ring, while others like me need something a little daintier. Most of my styles can come in a narrow thinner version to a thicker chunkier version. Average widths are between 1.5 and 2mm thick.
Metal does wear over time. A softer metal such as sterling will show signs of wear faster than white gold or the palladium/silver alloy. Patinas over time will wear down as well. It may depend on the person as to how quickly it may wear down as well as the texture of the ring. For some, it may look nearly identical 20 years later, for others, it may wear down in a week or so. How quickly the patina wears also depends on the metal - see next section.
*WHAT METALS DO YOU OFFER AND WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENCES?
*New Silver/Palladium alloy - AGPD - the same metals in palladium sterling, but lower silver content, higher copper and much higher palladium making it much harder than sterling, but more more affordable than white gold. It is darker than sterling, but a touch lighter than 14k palladium white gold. Color wise, it is cooler than 14kpw since it doesn't have the high yellow gold content to compete with.
Sterling Silver - 92.5% fine silver, 7.5% copper. This is a standard sterling alloy. Fine silver (99.9) by itself is much too soft (in my opinion) for a ring. Sterling is much softer in comparison to gold (will wear faster), but the addition of copper makes sterling much stronger than fine silver.
Palladium Sterling Silver - 92.5% fine silver, roughly 4.5% copper and 3% palladium. Palladium is a more precious metal and a relative of platinum. It gives a little added preciousness to sterling and makes it a little harder and a little more expensive. The color is nearly identical to regular sterling, but has a very slightly warmer tone when they are next to each other.
Argentium Sterling Silver - 92.5% fine silver, 7.5% copper and germanium. Though I don’t cast with it often, it is an option. Similar to the palladium sterling, some of the copper is replaced by another metal, germanium. It gives some different and unique properties to the alloy. (different melting temps, tarnish resistant, fuses easily)
All the gold I use are alloys. 24k is close to as pure as you can get with gold and it is very soft. Mixing it with different metals creates a variety of properties and colors.
14k Yellow Gold - a traditional yellow gold. All 14k alloys contain 58.5% yellow gold. The other metals vary per alloy and in amount. I buy all of my casting grain alloyed already, so the make up per % of the rest of the alloys is unknown to me.
14k Palladium White Gold - contains 58.5% gold, and instead of nickel as in traditional white gold, it contains palladium as a "bleaching" metal. The color is often referred to as “straw white” though I think of it as a “warm steel” color. It is a lovely soft and buttery gray color that is not plated in rhodium as traditional white golds are. If you are attempting to match a current white gold ring, be aware that it may not. It is the hardest of all the metals I use and is more expensive than other 14k alloys. The qualities that give it added hardness as far as wear is concerned, also make it harder to work with. This and the added value of the palladium are the reasons for it being more expensive than the other 14k alloys.
Palladium is in the platinum family and makes the alloy overall and more precious metal. (though palladium is much less expensive than platinum!) If you want the bright white look, you are more than welcome to have your ring plated at your local jewelry store. Most rhodium plating needs to be redone every year or couple years depending on your wear.
Palladium white gold will take a patina, though it is not as dark as the patina on sterling, nor is the contrast as great since the metal is darker and the patina not as dark. There are several comparison shots if you search for “comparison” on my flickr site: http://www.flickr.com/photos/bcyrjewelry The patina also does not wear as well and for most textures may wear off very quickly.
14k Rose/Red Gold - a lovely coppery rosy reddish toned gold - again contains 58.5% gold. Can take a light patina, though wears off more quickly, so starting out with just a little is best.
14k non traditional colors - Though not commonly used, brighter “royal” yellow, green and peach gold - just slight variations of a traditional yellow.
18k - contains 75.2% gold - due to the higher gold content, 18k alloys have a different color than their 14k relatives. Most commonly requested for the subtlety bands, though I can upgrade most styles to 18k instead of 14k. It is a little softer, quite a bit heavier/denser, and more expensive.
*IS YOUR METAL PLATED WITH ANYTHING?
No. Rhodium plating is common for traditional white gold and much of the mass produced commercial jewelry is also plated in rhodium for a bright white finish that doesn’t tarnish. Plating WILL wear off over time. I do not offer the service, though most jewelry stores can rhodium plate a ring for you if you want.
*DO YOU USE PALLADIUM OR PLATINUM?
I am not able to personally cast with either in my studio, though I use a larger casting company that has the facilities to cast both of these metals. The melting temperatures are much higher than I am able to do with the equipment I use for silvers and golds. A model can be made in sterling and then sent off to be molded and cast in either of these metals. Generally this adds an extra 3 - 4 weeks. For some styles, such as the subtlety, love rocks or sands of time, I can buy a ring blank and create a ring that looks just like my cast bands. This is often less expensive and faster than having them mold and cast a sterling model.
*HOW DO I TAKE CARE OF MY JEWELRY?
For rings that get worn ever day, the natural oils from your skin and constant wear should keep it an even color and shine. Certain chemicals like chlorine can cause a bad reaction and dull or even darken the metal. I find that it will come off as you wear it, though a polishing cloth can be used to clean it up. It is best if you frequently are around chlorine to take the ring off as it can corrode the metal with prolonged exposure.
For jewelry that gets taken off, with proper storage, your piece should remain lovely for a long time. Air and moisture cause tarnish and letting a piece sit on the bathroom counter will dull it rather quickly (yes I know this by experience!). Keeping it in a bag or box will help to keep this from happening.
Some of the patinas will wear down over time - in addition textures of a ring may develop their own patina naturally. This will depend on the wearer.
Most bands that are worn every day will show signs of age, little nicks or dings or scrapes. I try to design most of my rings to fit lovingly with this natural progression of your wedding band. I also tend to make my rings a bit thicker than a lot of traditional bands to give a longer life and sturdier product for every day wear.
*I HAVE METAL ALLERGIES, WHAT DO YOU SUGGEST?
Everyone has a different body chemistry and will react (or not react) to different metals or chemicals. Usually an allergic reaction occurs when another chemical is introduced and gets trapped between the ring and the skin. Certain lotions, perfumes or soaps can cause a reaction. While one person may be able to wear a particular metal and use lotion with no reaction, their spouse may have a completely different reaction due to their own personal body chemistry. People are different and not everyone can wear the same metals.
The most common metal allergies are copper and nickel. I have a completely nickel free studio, though there are small amounts of copper in all of the alloys I use. I have had some great feedback for the palladium sterling and palladium white gold. Some customers w/ a slight intolerance to regular sterling have worn the palladium sterling with no problem. Since there is no nickel in the palladium white gold, it is an excellent alternative to customers who have had problems with standard white gold.
Rhodium plating often tricks people in to thinking they are not allergic to certain metals - though as they plating wears off, they may find that they are in fact allergic to the metal underneath. None of my rings are plated with rhodium or any other metal.
*DO YOU WHOLESALE OR SELL ANYWHERE ELSE?
No, not at this time. Some designs may be available for a sample ring to be sent.
*HOW IS YOUR NAME PRONOUNCED?
Beth is pretty self explanatory (and just Beth, no Bethany or Elizabeth or anything)
Cyr is pronounced like "Sear". Family lineage to CT, ME, Canada and France.
If you have any questions or comments, please let me know! firstname.lastname@example.org
For right now, info on payment, shipping, returns, etc are on my Etsy Policy page. I will be doing posts for each of those separately in the next month or so. For the mean time, just check out Etsy!
Thursday, October 4, 2012