Cleaning Your Sterling Silver Jewelry

Claddagh Trinity Knot Rings by The Irish Jewelry Company

Sterling silver is a commonly used precious metal for jewelry for its affordability and for it is lustrous color, versatility, and durability. Sterling silver is commonly used in Irish Jewelry like claddagh rings. But beautiful sterling silver jewelry requires good care or it could tarnish, losing its shine and luster.

Sterling silver is silver that has been combined with other metals. If a jewelry item is made of sterling silver, it means that it typically contains 92.5% silver and 7.5% other metals. Hence the popular term when referring to sterling silver jewelry as 925. Other metals like nickel and copper are combined with silver to make it stronger but it also means it will tarnish.

Tarnish is corrosion that develops over sterling silver jewelry, causing an item to discolor and lose its shine. It typically occurs when the sterling silver reacts with the hydrogen sulfide in the atmosphere. This is why silver is often recommended to be store in a sealed bag. Regularly wearing and cleaning your sterling silver jewelry helps to deter tarnish.

Cleaning your sterling silver witha mild dish washing detergent is important. It is the first cleaning method you should do before trying other complex silver cleaning methods.

Cleaning Sterling Silver

To get started, fill a medium-sized bowl or basin with warm water and add about 6 drops of mild dish washing liquid. Next, dip a soft brush into the solution and gently scrub the silver item with it.

Cleaning Plated or Rhodium Plated Silver Jewelry

In a bowl, combine 1/3 cup of a mild liquid detergent with 1 cup of warm water. Then, soak your rhodium-plated items in the solution. Leave the items in the soapy water for about 10 minutes, but don’t let the jewelry sit any longer than 15 minutes. The extra time could cause damage.

If this method doesn’t achieve the desired result a professional cleaning and or refinishing at your local jewelry store might be necessary from time to time.

Summer Jewelry Care Tips

Panorama of mother and daughter with bike on a beach at sunset

Summer weather and all that comes with the excitement of the season can be very hard on jewelry of all kinds. Protecting your jewelry from the harsh summer elements and outdoor activities are every important part of your jewelry care routine. So as your pack up for your summer vacation or plan on that summer hike or even taking a trip to the beach, you should learn the best ways to care for your jewelry this summer in order to maintain its beauty! 

5 Tips on Maintaining Your Jewelry All Summer

  1. Consider the activity your are about to participate in when wearing jewelry. Will your jewelry make impact against hard surfaces when doing activities such as summer sports like hiking, rafting, climbing or biking can damage your jewelry by scratching the surface and dulling the finish. Be sure to remove any rings, bracelets or necklaces and store safety before embarking on your next active adventure! 

2. Hot temperature and high humidity can have an effect on the finish and look of your jewelry. Be sure to clean and wipe down your jewelry after wearing to keep sweat, humidity, and sunlight from dulling its sheen.

3. When gearing up for a fun day at the beach, remember that some types of jewelry may be better off left at home. Harder gemstones like diamonds and rubies can better withstand impact with sand and abrasive materials like salt, while softer gemstones like amethysts and opal might not fare as well. Also remember that sun tan lotion is a chemical and can also dull the finish of your jewelry.

4. Remember you can easily lose your jewelry while hiking or at the beach or even at a water park. Cold water can cause your hands to shrink making it easy for a ring to slip off. You might want to consider removing your claddagh ring before going in a pool, ocean, lake, or any water to avoid losing them! 

5. If your diamond, gemstone, or precious metal jewelry has had prolonged exposure to chemicals like chlorine or sunscreen, it is best to clean your jewelry daily to protect your favorite jewelry pieces from appearing dull or even tarnishing.  You might want to consider a professional cleaning after the summer.

Men’s Jewelry Trends

Let’s talk about social media infuencers, those trend setters. These day with the popularity of social media these days trends in jewelry especially are spreading quickly. Men’s jewelry trends in fashion are on fire as of late. As it turns out men like to accessorize just as much as women. They are taking a lot more pictures of their own curated style on social media showing off their various talents, body art and fashion sense just as much as female influencers are these days.

Men’s Celtic Cross Tigers Eye Bracelet

Bracing for Bracelets

All over social media there are images of men wearing bracelets. Often these bracelets are stacked and they are a mixing looks such as chunky metal and beaded men’s bracelets. Usually multiple beaded men’s bracelets.

The Statement Ring

With every image of a man wearing a bracelet undoubtedly he also has on a big bold statement ring. Often multiple men’s rings on one hand. These rings are large statement rings that ooze a certain bad boy, rock and roll style.

Oxidized Celtic Knot Ring Silver 10K Gold

Bands are tried and true favorite

Often mixed in with the men’s statement ring is an assortment other rings including a few simpler yet stylish wedding band usually to accent these more bold statement rings. Men are wearing rings and multiple rings in a variety of metals such as stainless steel, sterling silver and gold. In all sorts of combinations. I have even see a few rock-in a claddagh ring.

Diamonds aren’t just a girls best friend

With the recent launch of a famous retailers men’s engagement ring collection it is more and more obvious there is a market for cross over men’s bridal and unisex wedding ring styles. Diamond Wedding rings that have a classic style that works for any and all sexes.

Mens Celtic Tag Necklace

Symbols of faith and love

Men all over social media are depicted wearing symbols of their faith and love around their necks. Layered necklace in various combinations of crosses, like the Celtic cross and saint medals in a mix of metals. Claddagh necklaces for men have always been a traditional favorite symbol of love.

Ring Warmer Ceremony Guide

A ring warming ceremony during an Irish wedding is typically performed in lieu of a unity candle ceremony. A ring warming ceremony is an endearing way to include the bride and grooms friends and family in their beautiful nuptials.

A ring warming ceremony involves passing your wedding rings around to your wedding guests to have them give their “Irish” blessings, prayers, and warm thoughts of good luck for your marriage.

The origins of the ceremony can be traced back to Ireland, where the bride and the groom have guests pass their wedding rings around to give a blessing, prayer, or wish to the couple with it before they exchange their vows.

What is a ring warming ceremony?

An wedding ring warming ceremony is exactly what it sounds like. The ring warming is a tradition that involves literally passing around those costly and precious wedding bands to each trusted guest to actually be warmed. The precious metal wedding bands are in their hands on warmed by their touch and warm thoughts of encouragement.

Traditional Ring Warming Ceremony Steps

Step 1: Take your wedding rings and tie them together with a beautiful piece of ribbon and secure them inside a decorated box or onto a bridal cushion. You ca really get creative and maybe add some fresh shamrocks or use some Irish lace as decoration.

Step 2: Just before the bride and groom make their final exchange during the ceremony the wedding officiant will announce to your guests that the ring ceremony with brief instructions is beginning and the wedding rings are going to be passed around to each guest. Make sure to assign someone special; to assist in seeing the rings move swiftly and loving among the quests.

Step 3: Music should be played while the rings are making the rounds among the quest. Remember the music tempo will help set the pace. Have each guest hold the rings for a few seconds and make a quick wish for success and pass them.

Step 4: When all your guests have sufficiently warmed your wedding bands that special designated ring assistant should promptly see that the precious bands make their way back to the couple or the best man.

A ring warming ceremony is an enduring way to include your guest in you wedding however its probably best performed for smaller wedding gatherings as it could take up significant time.

Ring warming ceremony ideas for large weddings

For large weddings with a hundred or more guests a traditional Irish ring warming ceremony can take up a substantially amount of time. Time couples aren’t often afford during an extremely busy day.

A fun alternative to passing your wedding rings around to each guest tie your wedding rings to a piece of decorative ribbon, maybe embellished with a sprig of shamrocks and leave them displayed on a table maybe on a piece of Irish lace towards the entrance of your reception area before the wedding ceremony with a trusted guardian of the rings of course. Place a sign or a isle on the table instructing your wedding guests to hold or warm the rings in their hands for a moment and make a wish for you both. Kindly ask your guardian of the rings to see they get back to the best man before the ceremony begins.

The Scottish Luckenbooth History and Origins

Exclusive Luckenbooth Brooch from The Irish Jewelry Company

The Luckenbooth is traditionally a Scottish love token. The Luckenbooth brooch design is an ancient symbol of Scotland, and a traditional token of betrothal as a symbol of affection, friendship and fidelity given as a loving gift for the past four hundred years.

Scotland a land of exquisite highland beauty and now synonymous with the popular TV series Outlander and its leading main heartthrob Jamie.  During season 5 of Outlander Jocasta, Murtagh’s lover can be seen wearing a beautiful luckenbooth worn on a cord given to her by Murtagh as she and Jamie lament over his passing.  The luckenbooth brooch is as traditional to Scotland as are kilt pins are to kilts dating back to the 17th century.

History of the Luckenbooth..

The earliest luckenbooth brooches are on display at the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh. The first brooches were remarkably simple hearts usually inscribed with romantic sayings such as “Wrong not the heart whose joy thou art” or “My heart you have and yours I crave”. They were mostly made of silver and given to a sweetheart or as a betrothal gift. It was known as a witch-brooch and used to save children from the evil eye as a talisman of protection for new parents to ward off witches and pinned to the newborn’s clothes.  Nursing mothers also wore them as a magical charm to help their milk flow.

The Luckenbooth brooch or Scottish Love Brooch is a heart-shaped brooch, either a single or double intertwined heart with a crown. Historians believe the original design was created as a betrothal brooch for Mary Queen of Scots from the teenage Dauphin of France, whom she married in 1558, hence the two hearts and the crown.

Origins of the Luckenbooth name…

These Luckenbooth brooches often have a crown above one heart, or two intertwined hearts. They are typically made of silver since it was affordable, easy to work with and may be engraved or set with stones. The name comes from the Luckenbooths or “locked booths” of Edinburgh’s Royal Mile, where jewelry and trinkets used to be sold, including this type of brooch.

Today you can find many variations of the traditional luckenbooth design from reputability online jewelers like The Irish Jewelry Company. Shop their selection Scottish Jewelry including their exclusive Thistle Heart Luckenbooth Pendant, Thistle Heart Luckenbooth Earrings, Luckenbooth Brooch and their Luckenbooth Corded Necklace.

JDPN Celebrates Women’s History Month

To promote Women’s History Month the JDPN is having 2 webinars about women in the Jewelry Biz. Our first one features 2 women in unconventional careers in the diamond trade, Aleah Arundale and Jaime Feld. It’s tomorrow at 6:30pm ET.
Register with this link: https://lnkd.in/dzT9B-8

The Romantic Irish Tradition of The Claddagh Ring

The Claddagh is a legendary jewelry item that epitomizes timeless values. The legacy design cues hands on either side of a heart and a crown on top. The classic Claddagh ring shows the wearer’s family situation. Thus, a heart looking out the fingertips means you’re single, whereas this element pointing towards the wrist means that the owner is taken.

Today, this ring has a huge number of design variations, but the main three elements have remained intact. This Irish jewelry item is presented to girls and women as a symbol of companionship or as a Claddagh engagement ring.

The Story Behind The Claddagh Ring

The Irish Claddagh ring tells a heartwarming romantic story steeped in heritage and life-long affection. This story began a long time ago – three hundred and forty years ago, to be exact.

The protagonist of this most widespread legend is Richard Joyce. One day, he ventured off to what is now known as the North American islands. On his way back, he was going to walk his sweetheart down the aisle, but on the way to Claddagh, his ship was seized by Algerian pirates. 

In those days, pirates tore the blue waters, filling travelers with dread. Many noblemen died in the fight and thousands of merchants lost everything they had earned. Thus, Richard was enslaved and brought to a famous jeweler. He spent in slavery fourteen years. Joyce mastered the jewelry craft to perfection and became an excellent craftsman under his master’s guidance.

Richard kept on dreaming of meeting his bride. This inspired him to create a ring that portrayed two hands holding the heart under the crown.

Later, the goldsmith was set free. However, a Moorish jeweler liked the capable lad and even offered him to tie the knot with his daughter. But Joyce refused since a bride was waiting for him in his homeland. 

When Richard arrived to the motherland, he gave the ring to his faithful girlfriend, who had been waiting for him all these years. They married and settled down in the village. Richard went on to pursue his favorite and lucrative business – he opened his own jewelry workshop. Since then, these rings have sprouted into the local culture.

Although there are different legends circulating about the origin of this item, the romantic history seems the most plausible. The fact remains that the oldest surviving rings bear his trader’s mark, and that a jeweler named Richard Joyce actually existed. It is also interesting that this goldsmith’s mark features an anchor, which is a symbol of hope.

Today, this ring has rightfully taken its place among the cherished Irish wedding traditions and customs alongside with locking of the church door, the make-up beds, and others.

The Bottom Line

Today, the Claddagh is the eternal embodiment of affection and wholeness. The charm of this item is that it can be used as both a promise heirloom and a marriage symbol. So whether you are into the traditions or prefer a more modern stance, this lovely heritage can be worn and adored by everyone.

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Valentine’s Day Meaning & History

Ah, Valentine’s Day. The first thing that comes to mind is a heart-shaped box of cheap chocolates that should be directly applied to one’s hips. And then there is that sweet little cupid. He’s an overweight angel aiming a bow and arrow at you to inspire you to fall blissfully in love. I mean, let’s face it. Cupid’s arrow is a weapon that literally and metaphorically could be the death of you. But all jokes aside, do you even know why we actually celebrate Valentine’s Day? I didn’t think so.

What is the meaning of Valentine Day?

The Legend of Saint Valentine
In ancient Rome, the date February 14th was a holiday to honor the Roman Goddess of women and marriage. The next day was celebrated as the pagan Roman Feast of Lupercalia. During this time in Roman history, young adults were strictly segregated by sex. No surprise, it was 269 AD. Eventually they needed to give their hormones a chance to flourish. So it was customary on the eve of the feast of Lupercalia for young men and woman to be partnered for the feast by the men picking the girls’ names from a jar. Sometimes the pairing lasted for a year and with the young couples falling romantically in love and eventually marring. It was all very sexist in a provocative way.

Unfortunately, this didn’t last for long. This euphoric ritual of hormonal teenage partnering would come to an abrupt end during the tyrannical rule of Emperor Claudius II, also known as Claudius the cruel. Emperor Claudius had Rome fighting in many bloody and unpopular battles and was having grave difficulty recruiting soldiers to sustain his military forces. In his warped mind, Claudius believed the reason he couldn’t get soldiers was due to women. He convinced himself that the men’s love of his family, wife, or girlfriend prevented them from leaving there side and joining the military. It had nothing to do with the little matter that they didn’t want to die a savage death for an Emperor they despised.

Fun-loving Emperor Claudius proceeded to cancel all pending and future marriages and engagements in Rome. Claudius then made it a crime punishable by death to associate with Christians.

Why is Valentine’s Day on February 14th?

Legend has it, no doubt a wee bit embellished if not entirely fictional, that Valentine was stricken with the unbearable belief that many young souls would be destined to be sinners. So Valentine, a roman priest, married young lovers against Claudius’s decree in secrecy. He was of course apprehended and condemned to death for his deeds. He suffered martyrdom on the 14th day of February, in either 269 AD or 270 AD. Nobody really knows what yearly exactly, but they know the date was February 14th, now known as Valentine’s Day.

So where is St. Valentine now?

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Ireland, duh! What you may not know for some unknown reason is that St. Valentine’s remains are rumored to be buried in Dublin, Ireland. How do you like that wee bit of useless knowledge?

The Carmelite Church on Whitefriar Street in Dublin City claims to hold the remains of St. Valentine. The Carmelites are a small community in the monastery attached to Whitefriar Street Church. Saint Valentine’s remain were given to the Carmelites in 1835 by Pope Gregory XVI.

The Perfectly Romantic Valentine’s Day Gift: The Claddagh Ring

Oh, the Irish are wonderful folk. They just about have their hands in everything good and pleasurable. Not only did they give us spooktacular holidays like Halloween and fantastic Christmas traditions like the wreath on our on the front doors, but they also house the remains of St. Valentine! The romantic patron saint of lovers whose feast day has become so commercialized it actually makes Christmas seem, well, less commercial by comparison. In any event, Board Failte wouldn’t be doing their job if it didn’t see the Euro signs in the fact that Dublin, Ireland’s capital, is the last resting place of the beloved Saint of Love. It virtually makes Ireland a must-do pilgrimage for lovers. I mean, after all, the Irish did give us the best Valentine’s Day gift of all the claddagh ring, too. The claddagh is the one and only symbol of eternal friendship, love, and loyalty. The story of the claddagh and the claddagh ring is a story for another day or blog. Anyway, its romantic, symbolic meaning makes it a no brainer Valentine’s Day gift for someone to give any lucky partner. Cowinkydink?

Shop Irish at TheIrishJewelryCompany.com

Wedding Trends for the New Normal in 2021-2022

Popular consensus would say that 2020 has been a difficult year for the entire wedding industry.  From postponed ceremonies to all together canceled wedding celebrations all over the world. It has been a year that has brought about many forced changes especially to the bridal industry and to the modern bride’s event planning.  

happy wedding, bride and groom together

More Meaningful Celebrations

The pandemic has caused many brides to be to reevaluate the important things in life. The biggest realization is perhaps is that the thing that matters most is not the lavish party with hundreds of friends, co-workers, and distant family members you see once every time someone gets married. The meaning for the ceremony itself is what is important.  Everything else is literally table dressing and not necessary. Perhaps the sentiment of the auspicious occasion has been getting lost among the planning and the ability to keep up with the Jones in recent years. Maybe the one good thing the virus has done is made every bride and groom more aware of the fact that the only thing that really matters is their commitment to each other. And so long as the folks you love the most are near it does not matter any longer if it is a small back yard celebration or an intimate dinner with few friends.

The Return of the Nostalgic Back-Yard Wedding or Mini Wedding.

Couples are now opting for smaller more intimate outdoor spaces. They are focusing less on decor end more on natural picturesque outdoor landscapes.  Couples are looking for a simplified setting and smaller spaces for a celebration of 40-60 verses 200 plus people. With many venues unable to accommodate parties of any size due to covid restricts many couples have start embracing the nostalgia of the once scorned upon “Football Weddings”.  Popularized in the 40’s and 50’s, the football wedding or Italian football wedding  was a celebration usually held in the yard with sandwiches, cakes and trays of cookies  and all sorts of food prepared by the entire family as an affordable and fun way to celebrate with extended family and friends. The regained popularity of the back-yard wedding has really reduced the stress on the wedding couple and allowed them to genuinely enjoy the party with family and friends. Maybe they have incorporated some new features like a fun food truck for dessert or tacos. But all in all, it’s a low key, laid back budget friendly event.

Affordability and Budget Conscience

With the shutdowns and job losses and what is likely an uncertain future, couples are less apt to go into debt for the party or to spend big bucks on things like bridal jewelry. Instead couples are choosing to go with more meaningful sentimental and affordable options. Couples are looking to vintage styles purchased at a bargain on sites like Esty or Ebay that lend themselves easily to private resellers. You have heard of the saying, “What’s old is new” right? They are turning to more simplistic and dainty styles with a Victorian feel. Something perhaps their grandma would have worn. Couples are also warming up to the more affordable option of lab created diamonds. It offers them the big look they want at a value and price tag they are comfortable with.

Another affordable option couples are turning to are claddagh rings as their wedding rings of choice.   The Claddagh ring tradition has seen a significant resurgence. The Irish ring gives couples that meaningful sentimental feature to mark the more then unusual circumstance of the occasion. A ring that does not necessarily break the bank and is something they can happily wear forever.

The Claddagh ring is really a fede rings and have a long history dating back to Roman times. The name “fede” derives from the Italian phrase mani in fede meaning loosely “hands joined in faith” or “hands joined in loyalty”. The clasped hands were viewed as promise ring used as an engagement ring or wedding ring in medieval and Renaissance Europe. The  Irish Claddagh ringis a version of the fede ring has roots deeply seeded in long standing Irish tradition

Claddagh Rings are world renowned, and are worn by both men and women, single or taken. Irish Claddagh rings are named for the ancient fishing village of Claddagh, near Galway, Ireland, dating back to the 17th century. The Claddagh ring in Irish is fáinne Chladaigh and is a traditional Irish ring which represents love, loyalty, and friendship. The hands represent friendship, the heart represents love, and the crown represents loyalty. The Irish Cladddagh ring, as currently known, was first produced in the 17th century.

Irish Claddagh Ring Meaning and Claddagh Ring Wedding Traditions

The Irish Jewelry Company's Blog

Have you ever seen an authentic Claddagh Ring? Chances are if you are Irish or you have taken a trip to Ireland you have seen this beautiful and unique piece of Irish jewelry.

an Irish claddagh ring

By definition a claddagh [ klah-duh ] is a noun. It is a ring in the form of two hands clasping a crowned heart, given in friendship or love.

According to dictionary.com

Expect fine jewelry designer, Jennifer Derrig who is the owner and head designer at The Irish Jewelry Company described the tradition of the Irish claddagh ring as such.

The Claddagh Ring is an instantly recognizable symbol that represents true love and boundless affection. Like a bond between soul mates.

Jennifer Derrig, owner of The Irish Jewelry Company

What are Claddagh Rings?

Claddagh rings are fede rings and have a long history dating back to Roman times. The name “fede” derives from…

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