Wedding favours - jhoomars

 A few months back, a to-be bride wrote to me asking if I could do a flower jewelry set. During our discussion, she suddenly asked me if I could make a passa or jhoomar. Having no idea what it was, I turned to google and found that a jhoomar could be
Jhoomar - A (generally) large cascading chandelier or a light fixture.
Jhoomar - A Pakistani film written and directed by Syed Noor
Jhoomar - A form of fold music and dance that is accompanied by a lot of swaying and said to originated in Balochistan
Jhoomar - A fan shaped hair/head ornament worn on the side of the head by brides or dancers; also known as a Passa

The Passa looked harmless so I said that I could make one but then she told me that she wanted - a light weight jhoomar with no stones, pearls, preferably with flowers, triangular in shape,using gota, without circular base, in colors of her choice and within her budget!! Whew!  I made 2-3 samples and sent her. She really liked one but I wasnt convinced about the finish and outcome nevertheless I figured I could make one piece easily. 
But then came the shocker - she wanted 50 of them to be given away as wedding favours for her sangeet function which is a pre-wedding song and dance event - kinda like a bachelorette party. I was dumbfounded.  I had never made a proper jhoomar in my life before with these materials (which were not available in Chennai) but to make 50 of them in less than 15 days time within the budget was impossible. I tried saying no; neither could I do it according to my quality standards nor I could make so many pieces. But then the bride convinced me somehow to make them for her.

flower jhoomar wedding favors
The red - orange-pink palette
 Let me be honest here - The bride did give me a reference pic of a really beautiful jhoomar but none of the materials to make it were readily available in Chennai and I wasnt convinced that I could make everything from scratch at her budget. So I compromised. I looked for similar materials - gold roses, colored micro roses, cord and sequin tape. But as bad  luck would have it my local stores like me did not believe in mass production and so I couldnt get the materials I wanted and had used in my sample. My mom sweetly stepped in and hunted stores, throughout the city to get gold roses for me. She did find them but they were bigger and shinier than what we wanted but we had to make do with them. I wasn't really sure if they would turn out right and informed my client giving her alternate options. But then she had her heart set on one design and asked me to do it in the best possible way.

gota jhoomar wedding favors
The blue-violet palette
Armed with my trusty glue gun, I started to work. Each jhoomar had about 7 layers - the gold roses, colored micro roses, stones on top, cord and sequin tape, the base felt. and the dangles to complete them. We had originally planned that it would be worn on the hair with just a hair pin but the bride wanted some type of hook. The necklace hooks were too big and clumsy to be used on the head and we wanted something more delicate. We looked around the house and found a packet of blouse hooks that I had bought during my college days. (Yes! we are hoarders!!) The whole process was elaborate and had to be done 50+1 times letting the pieces cool between each layer. However we didn't like the finish. So my mom and I started sewing the tapes shut and attached them to the roses and then attached hooks to to them. Our hands were numb half way from all the needle pokes while sewing through 6 layers of the tape. 

ribbon flower jhoomar wedding favors

It took my mom and me a good part of 2 weeks to finish them due to my day job. I would rush home after work, finish my prep for the next day's class, thrown in an occasional blog post and would start working on them. After going through 2 sheets of felt, 714 roses, 5 sticks of glue and a box full of dangles, they were finally done and we were so happy. Maybe a little disappointed with the overall look but happy. They were decently finished, colorful, lightweight, done on time, and within the budget. They did turn out a little bigger than we imagined (they would have been so much prettier if they were daintier) and we would have liked an actual gota for the tapes and roses but we had never thought we would be able to actually make something like this - so 'A' for effort!

Though I wont be taking on a project like this any time soon, I learnt a lot about tackling the challenge of production, assembly line setups, variations, etc. I couldn't have completed the 51 pieces (we made one for the bride too!) without my mom's help, so a huge Thank you to her :) The next time I do something like this I think that I'll be more prepared and clear regarding expectations, outcomes and the effort required for it. Despite everything, it was a fun project and I hope that it was close to what the bride had in her mind and that her guests enjoyed wearing them.

So tell me, in the comments, about the time when you were faced with a similar challenge. How did you tackle it?

I hope you found it interesting
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Jasmine jewellery for weddings

November is peak wedding season for Indians so my last couple of months were spent creating multiple wedding jewelry sets. Jasmine seemed to be the order of the day, particularly a hit in the USA and so I made 2 sets for two NRI brides in the US.
Jasmine is a flower that is well known for its beauty and fragrance. In Indian jasmine flowers are the most preferred flowers for adornment during weddings and festivals. It is customary in most traditional households to gift jasmine flower strands to guests (women) who visit their houses when they leave and also for the guests to gift them to their hostess when they arrive. In olden days when royals visited each other they would bring "gold" jewelry or coins as gifts but as it is not possible to gift gold to everybody, we give flowers. There is even a saying for it in Tamil "Pon veikara edathila poova vai" which when translated means, where you cannot offer gold you offer (jasmine) flowers.

Jasmine jewellery for weddings
Jasmine flower jewelry set 1 with yellow, orange and green accents. Comprises of Haath phool, tikka and ear studs
The scent of Jasmine flowers are said to help in releasing endorphins that make us feel good. Jasmine tea supposedly calms the nerves and is helpful in reducing stress. On the flip side there are many people who are allergic to the scent and quite often it triggers migraines. 
 Jasmine flowers are usually the first choice for garlands that are offered to Gods and goddess as their white color is associated with purity and spirituality. But not many follow the tradition, as jasmine flowers are quite expensive to buy. When I was a kid we had a jasmine shrub (Jasminum sambac -Madurai Malli), and a jasmine (Mullai - Jasmine auriculatum) creeper at my house from which my father would pluck flowers every morning while he chanted slokas and would offer them to the deities. Sadly, living in an apartment means that you have to make do with either being dependent on local florist or with artificial flowers.

Jasmine jewellery for weddings
Jasmine flower jewelry set 2 with yellow, orange and gold accents. Comprises of necklace, Haath phool, tikka and earrings with ear chain and armlet
Jasmine jewellery

Coming back to the sets they are very similar with minor variations in color and arrangement and so it was easy for me to make them one after the other in terms of design. However while making the first set, I had huge issues with the glue and had to remake the set - twice. Thankfully and somewhat magically the issue was resolved by itself for the second set. This was also the first time I made earrings with ear chains (maatal) but in the west Indian style with a dangler hanging at the bottom of the chain.

Jasmine earrings 

Having made three jasmine sets I have decided to make no more of them until I figure out a better glue for a acrylic-felt-pearl-thread-rhinestone combination. I might explore more on organic options for the buds though but till then no more jasmine orders. I feel that it might also give me the chance to work on new, one of a kind ideas as every bride, deserves jewelry that is both beautiful and unique - like her.

 I hope you found it interesting
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Superstition Blog Hop - Nalla neram

Sometime back Tammy Adams of Paisley Lizard, challenged us jewelry lovers to create jewelry that was based on superstition. Though I fear the number13, black cats, propped up ladders and the dristhi of the evil eye, I found them too common to write about and Tammy expressed her desire to know about something 'Indian'. After a lot of brainstorming, I have picked the Indian concept of  "auspicious Time" or Nalla neram.  This exactly isnt a superstition but more of a belief based on scientific calculations. But since I have not found such a concept in western civilisations I thought that it would be interesting to write about it. 

right time jewelry quote
 Here is a small background on how time is calculated as per vedic traditions. Hindu days start at sunrise and end at sundown and the timings are studied to figure out the good and less auspicious times for activities throughout the day.  They are published at the start of every year (which begins on April 13th or 14) in almanacs called the Gowri Panchangam and Paambu Panchangam in Tamil Nadu*'Panch' means five and 'angam' means attributes. Thus these almanacs talk about 5 attributes of time like - Vaaram -day of the week, Tithi - Phase of moon - i.e the number of the day in the month starting from new moon to full moon, nakshatram - star, yogam - time and karanam - half of a tithi. Find today's hourly analysis below calculated for IST using the Drikpanchang website. If you are curious you could enter your city's name in the location box there to figure about auspicious times for anyplace in the world. 

  Each 24 hour day is split into 60 naazhigais, each being 24 minutes long. Thus two and a half nazhigais constitute one modern hour which was known as horai or hora. Hours in a day are divided into different yogams - Amirdha, Dhanam, Uthi, Laabam and Sugam are good and Rogam, Soram and Visham, should be avoided. 
Within any given day, there are also certain time periods that are inauspicious. Two of these are Raahu Kaalam and Yama Gandam. The scriptures say that it is ideal if we can use these times totally for worship and not for material activitiesIt is recommended to avoid inauspicious times while starting something new or important because even with your best efforts, the results may turnout unfavourably. A lot of people  light lamps for certain deities during these hours. There is also a time period called "Muhurtam or muhurat or nalla neram" which means auspicious time when new beginnings are favoured. Weddings, house warming ceremonies, naming ceremony, engagements, baby showers, and even some pujas like the Lakshmi puja for Diwali are observed only during Muhurtam times.

panchang pendant resin jewelry
Usually for blog hops I create finished pieces of jewelry, but this time I couldnt. So here are two pendants that I made using paper and resin. I tried to show the concept of time as a physical dimension with the space as the background. I used suspension style shimmer paints in the background so the pendants are super glossy and super hard to photograph with the resin on top of them. The Panchang pendant is a lovely wine with three lines of rhinestones each depicting Vaaram, tithi and horai concepts. The center teardrop stands for the muhurtam or auspicious time.

raahu kalam pendant resin jewelry

In the second pendant I have used a dark blue background with gold and copper splashes and two kinds of rhinestone chains depicting the Raahu kalam and Yama Ghandam which are both 90 minutes each and occur everyday. Raahu (north Lunar node depicted with a man's head and serpent's body) is depicted in dark blue and so is Yama (the god of Death). Yama ghandam's literal translation means the "time of death" but it doesnt mean actually dying. It is the period when one has stop and rest to take stock of the work already completed so that we can spot the errors committed and rectify them. So I have used the gray and white rhinestone chain to show intermittent stops in a process.

As with any science, even astrology is and can be manipulated to serve the needs of certain people. There are people who follow timings religiously everyday and there are those who follow it during festivals, weddings or while starting a new venture or a new job or before travel. Does it have any "real quantifiable effect", I dont know, maybe there is and maybe there isn't. As with any belief it is upto us to figure out the degree to which we follow everything. Like my mom says "Moderation is the key"!

Superstition Blog Hop
Do visit Tammy at Paisley Lizard and hop on to the various participating blogs to read about different superstitions and how they affect the way we live. You can also view their work on this Pinterest board. Do tell me in the comments, if you have any such beliefs in your culture and how you embrace them

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Here is a good site to learn more about Indian Almancs and how time is calculated 
* Different regions/communities in India follow different panchangs and system of time calculation. The system that I have written about is what is followed in my state - Tamil Nadu

I hope you found it interesting 
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Bridal party LOTD with Silk jewellery

South Indian weddings are usually a riot of colors. The only "Color theme" I have ever seen at a wedding is "multicolor". Infact people gazing or "saree gazing" to put it not so elegantly is a favourite past time at weddings, where women (and sometimes men) check out the sarees and jewelry worn by other women. People gape with their mouths wide open or stare when you are well dressed and go all "tut tut tut" when you are casually dressed. Your status, your father's or husband's status and sometimes your character is also judged by how you dress at weddings. So Indian women prepare for weeks before they attend a close friend's or a family wedding.
I personally, am not in favour of wearing very grand clothes and dont really own anything embroidered or embellished. But I more than make up for them by wearing deep colors and bold accessories which is coincidentally the "In fashion trend" this season".

Silk thread jewellery  
 A very close friend of mine got married last week and it was a great reunion for four of us friends, who met for his wedding reception. For this wedding I chose to wear a plain deep blue silk saree with a matt border (no zari) and paired it with a hot pink 3/4th blouse that I got made for an official function. Being a very traditional color combination and completely plain I was worried that I might make me look too old. so I decided to come with some semi traditional accessories in silk thread that would fit with the look but still make me look young.

Silk thread necklace
I always get requests from clients who want to match my jewelry with their special occasion outfits and get something made, but I rarely do it for myself. However this time I thought "well let me make something for myself for a change". As Silk thread jewelry is now in trend, I opted for silk thread bangles in pink and blue (made by Shobana of Theekshana creations). I was just getting over my typhoid then (yup second time in a year)  so I asked her to make pink jhumkha bases too. However, due to some miscommunication it ended up being blue which wasn't what I had in mind. and it looked rather plain, So I used some golden topaz stones and wrapped pink thread to create stripes. As a result, the earrings looked a rich purple, exactly like the saree which was pleasant surprise.

Silk thread jhumkas

 For the necklace I used a store bought pendant as my focal and created a silk thread base for it. I added some blue crystal beads and pipe beads to a chain that I already had. I used the mango shaped studs that came with the set to complete my earrings
Here is my Bridal party LOTD with Silk jewellery

So how do you like it?  Since I have never worn anything like this before, it was a new experience for me to make and wear them. Do tell me how do you select what you are going to wear for your best friend or a family member's wedding? I am curious to know about it.

I am so happy to finally finish writing this post as I have been sick for nearly a month with continuous infections and just couldn't bring myself to write a word between my jewelry orders and hectic day job. So if its Friday when you get here for the "Superstitions blog hop", just bear with me and come back in a couple of days time, it will be up :) 

I hope you found it interesting
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Navaratri 2015 - Heaven

My last couple of weeks were completely consumed with Navaratri - 9 days and nights of celebration with dolls, decor, music, art and dance and hence I have been absent from my blog. Usually my golus (display of dolls) are part mythological and part social; but this year I wanted to do something different. I wrote a short story based on the eternal questions like- what is heaven? Does it exist? If it does where is it? and created a display for the same. I hope you enjoy it.
PS: as the place was light up with numerous lights of many different colors, the photographs just dont do any justice to the set up.
For those uninitiated in Hindu mythology, here is a brief glossary of terms
14 lokas - list of 14 worlds from netherworld to heaven and beyond
Swarga loka - hold the gorgeous city (Amravati) of Lord Indra where all the demi gods live 
Satya Loka - Comprises of 4 worlds and is the residence of Lord Brahma & Saraswati (the God of creation and Goddess of knowledge)
Devi Loka residence of Goddess Durga (feminine power)
Kailasa - residence of Lord Shiva (the God of  destruction) & his family
Paarkadal or Ksheer sagar (Milky ocean) - Dark primordial waters resembling a mother's womb where Lord Vishnu reclines on a snake. From his naval, a lotus flower sprouts with is the Satya loka. All the 14 lokas spring from the lotus vine connecting the naval and the flower
Vaikunta - Land of bliss, the highest heaven where a soul can be truly free and happy in the company of the almighty 
 ~ A Short story to follow ~

What is Heaven?

On a beautiful day, friends and family members of Mr. Rama, a famous entrepreneur, get together to celebrate his 75th birthday. After the traditional homam (offerings to the fire) and pujas, his family gathers around him discussing his life. His Granddaughter asks him " Thatha, Thata (Grandpa, Grandpa), tell us how you became so rich and famous". He smiles, thinks back and talks about a life altering experience that made him who he is today.
37 years ago, Rama, was an ex-sales clerk who had lost his job when he fell awfully sick. His family life too was troubled as his children fell frequently ill and he couldn’t afford monthly expenses and was fighting constantly with his wife.. He would put on his suit every day, go off to interviews, only to be turned away by a “No Vacancy board”. His life in a nutshell was hell. 
One day, as frustration gets better of him, and he decides to walk into a jungle instead of coming back home. As night approaches, he sees a coyote and realizing  that could very well be the last night of his life, screams to God " Govinda, please take me with you into heaven for my life is hell. I have been righteous, kind and honest my entire life, so please, I beg you to grant me this boon, at my life's end" and falls to the ground.


He opens his eyes to freezing winds and 2 women in white who he decides must be angels and asks them the way to Swarga. The angels, at the North Pole ask him “which heaven he would like to go to as there are 14 worlds with many different interpretations of heaven.” He chooses swarga loka and climbs Mt. Meru passing by the Bhuvarloka, the abode of stars. He recollects the many achievers born in these stars and feels ashamed that he has not done anything worthwhile in his life. 
Amravati is the land of his dreams, with ramba and urvashi dancing on a waterfall while menaka and thilothama looked on. Rathi looks resplendent in her floral gown and the Kalpakavriksha is magnificent.However his desire to stay there is cut short with Indra giving him the boot saying that only Demi Gods can stay in Swarga loka and advices him to seek out the Trimurthi (Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva).



 Rama proceeds on the Lotus vine to meet, Lord Brahma who points out to him that he has blessed him with intelligence and capacity during his birth to fend for himself according to his destiny and thereby cannot interfere with it by offering him a place in Satya Loka.Disappointed that there is “No vacancy” for him in Satya Loka, he moves towards the luminous Devi Loka and from there on to the pale blue Kailasa. Lord Shiva offers him residence but Rama asks him if this is “heaven”. Shiva replies that Kailas was his (Shiva’s) heaven and  Ramas’ too if he chooses so. 

As the human desire to "want more creeps" in, Rama takes lord Shiva's permission to check out Vishnu Loka too before accepting a place at Kailasa and journeys forward to see the Garbhodakasayi Vishnu reclining on Adhishesha in the Paarkadal. Lord Vishnu welcomes him and says “You called out to me in the moment of desperation so I rushed forward to help you. You have followed the path of Dharma even during suffering and for that I will grant you a place, with me, forever Rama, in Vaikunta. 

Overjoyed, Rama reaches Vaikunta. The Dwarapalakas there, Jaya and Vijaya enumerate the qualities of Vaikunta as being a ‘highly blissful place where there is no sorrow, no anger, no hunger or pain’. A place where one can be happy forever’. Rama is utterly delighted at the thought and thinks with his eyes closed– “how wonderful will it be, if only my wife and children were here with me?”
The very next second, He opens his eyes to find himself, near the forest right next to where he started his journey. Thoroughly disappointed, yet having understood his love for his family, he walks home. To his surprise, however his house, resembles a colourful fort with a sign board "Heaven". 

Curious, he opens the door and hears a message. “Heaven is not where we go, but how we live”. 
So what is heaven?
Heaven is getting to spend time at a beautiful place with the one you love. Heaven is enjoying a tasty yet nourishing meal. Heaven is sharing thoughts with like minded friends. Heaven is having company in old age. Heaven is in sitting on the windowsill, reading a book while listening rainfall and enjoy a hot cup of tea. Heaven is in practicing God given talent for self-pleasure without expecting any reward or fame. Heaven is opening your mind to other perspectives through travel. Heaven is in being able creating something good with your hands and converting that into your profession
“Heaven is not a place to be found, we create it by the choices that we make in Life”

Rama goes home, restarts his life by starting out a small business which goes on to become successful. He cherishes his time with him family and develops his interests to lead a blissfull life.

In Ramayana Sita asks Lord Ram the same question “What is heaven?” to which Ram replies – “Whenever we are truly happy, we are in heaven and when in sorrow we are in hell”. 

I wish you all, my readers, eternal happiness and a heaven of your own. Thank you for reading
I hope you found it interesting 
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DIY silk Thread jewelry

When you create a design with silk—whether it is in the form of fibre, yarn or fabric—it elevates the status of the product making it unique, exclusive and worthy of the person using the product. That’s why silk crafts are crowd pleasers.
"Silk" as a material is associated with prosperity, newness and purity in India . It is the material of choice during festivals and celebrations. Silk thread however, is the commercial name for Viscose - polyester embroidery thread as I discussed before in my silk thread jewelry post earlier. In the last year, the popularity of Silk thread jewelry have gone up steadily in India and I have made quite a few pieces myself.  Here are 2 such designs along with DIY tutorials (originally written for and published in the favecrafts blog) for you. For Silk cord based OOAK jewelry, Take a look at my Romani range 

Inspired by the Argentinian Tango–a sensual ballroom dance in which synchronized movements are used to convey romance and intimacy–these tango earrings scream oomph and flair. The Tango is all about connection; there is an element of togetherness even in separation. In these earrings, you can note that though they are two different discs, they connected by wire providing a sense of continuity and fluidity. Saree ribbon and silk thread jewelry is all the rage now, making these silk thread earrings a must-have for your wardrobe.

DIY silk Thread jewelry

This Silk Cord Necklace is interchangeable and can be customized to particular outfits by adding or subtracting rings from the cord. Being a bold, tribal style statement necklace, it goes very well with simple solid colored shirts, tunics or dresses. The client whom I made this for, matched it with a variety of soft sarees.  It makes a great gift, as the receiver can mix and match it as they like. My Instagram Followers would surely recognise these. Not yet found me on Instagram? Look for @jewelsofsayuri

DIY silk Thread jewelry


DIY silk Thread necklace

Both versions were custom made for the same client. What to say, she really loved the first one and wanted more variation.  In the second version, I experimented with ring thickness and different yarn textures. The first one had more traditional (Indian) color combinations and the second one is more rustic with neutral colors like gray, brown and black. 

How do you like these designs? Have you ever worked with silk thread or would you like to try it?
I hope you found it interesting

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How to: Clean Mixed Media Jewelry

From Romani style beads and baubles, silk threads and silver accents to textured fabrics, epoxy clay, and brass sheeting - there’s really no limit to the materials you find used in mixed media jewellery today. Moving away from the typical delicate accessories and edging towards bolder costume jewellery, mixed media pieces are fun, quirky, and are fast becoming the hottest jewellery trend.

However, there are still a few people who are a little nervous about trying out mixed media jewellery. Not because of the bold styles, but because this trend can make cleaning jewellery more difficult.
With silver jewellery, it’s simple - you look up tips on how to clean silver. With beaded jewellery, it’s simple - you look up tips on how to clean beads. But how do you clean jewellery that contains a wide range of different materials, and how do you ensure that you don’t damage the piece?
If you love mixed media jewellery, here’s everything you need to know about keeping it in good condition

How to: Clean Mixed Media Jewelry

Cleaning Mixed Media Metals

If your mixed media jewellery has a silver chain, you may find that it begins to become dirty over time. It may also darken in colour. This is completely normal, but it can leave your jewellery looking a little dull, rather than shiny and sparkling. You may have heard a lot about how to clean silver, but what are the best methods? Many techniques recommend using toothpaste or baking soda, but due to the soft nature of silver, these products can easily leave marks or scratches.
Silver cleaning solutions usually do a great job but are not without their problems either. You normally dip your jewellery into these cleaners so that they are fully covered and this means that any parts of your mixed media jewellery that are not silver will also be put in the liquid. This can cause damage to more delicate parts of your jewellery and even ruin the item of jewellery. Cleaning solutions may cause beads or gemstones to become loose. Alternatively, liquid could become trapped in your jewellery and weaken it.
For mixed media jewellery, the best tip for how to clean silver is to simply use a soft polishing cloth designed to remove dirt but protect the surface of the metal. If your silver jewellery is in very bad condition then you can find more great tips on how to clean silver at Cleanipedia. It’s the same for any wire that might be included in your jewellery - wipe it regularly with a cloth to remove any elements like soap, salt water, and chlorine that might create damage or cause the wire to change colour. 

Cleaning Mixed Media Fabrics & Fibres

Silk cord, ribbon, cotton, wool… whatever fabrics and fibres you have as part of your mixed media jewellery, there’s nothing to worry about. These materials are all commonly used for clothing - clothing that gets washed regularly - so they’re able to withstand a little soap and water. However, remember that more delicate fabrics, like silk and wool, need a little extra care and attention.
If your fabric cords or material accents are beginning to look a little dirty, fill a bowl with some warm water but not too hot as this could cause the fabric to shrink. Add a normal amount of soap - either hand soap or a sprinkle of washing powder - and dip as much of the material as you can into the solution.

How to Clean Mixed Media Jewelry
Be careful to keep any beads, gemstones, or settings away from the liquid and gently rub the material with your hands. Allow to dry naturally. 

Care & Prevention
While it’s actually very simple to keep your mixed media jewellery looking bright and vibrant, you’ll notice that some of the more intense cleaning treatments aren’t recommended for jewellery that contains settings, beads, gemstones, and so on. This is why it’s so important to try to protect your pieces as best you can to prevent them from becoming very badly dirty or darkened.

 Remember to take your jewellery off when showering and sleeping, and store your pieces well. Here’s a handy hint - a simple piece of chalk near your silver jewellery can help absorb moisture in the air and keep your jewellery looking great for longer! Also air your pieces for a while before your store them after use.
  How to Clean Mixed Media Jewelry

~ This post with a lot of useful tips was written by John Brasington who deserves a warm welcome to Jewelsofsayuri. John is a veteran of unsavoury household arrangements and learned to clean in the trenches of student living. Now he writes about cleaning and whatever else takes his fancy.~

I hope you found it interesting 
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