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Do You Know Mohs?Posted: 08/09/2017In order to properly clean and care for your jewelry, it's essential to understand the components that make up the piece. The hardness of the gemstone dictates what type of cleaning formulation is safe to be used. Most
consumers have a vague idea that some gems are harder than others. It's pretty common knowledge that diamonds are hard and that pearls are softer. But how can you determine how hard other stones are?
If you ask your jeweler that question, she will likely reference the Mohs scale. The Mohs scale of mineral hardness characterizes how scratch resistant various minerals are. Minerals are compared by their ability to scratch the surface of other minerals. The scale is named for German geologist and mineralogist Friedrich Mohs, who created it in 1812.
Ten minerals make up the scale, and all other minerals fall on the scale based on the hardest mineral that mineral can scratch. The Mohs scale minerals range from softest (talc) to hardest (you guessed it - diamonds). The scale does not measure absolute hardness, but rather the relative hardness of one mineral to another.
What does that mean for cleaning your jewelry? You need to be cautious of the type of jewelry cleaning formulation you use for different types of jewelry.
• Most fine jewelry cleaning formulations, with or without ammonia, are safe for gems on the harder end of the scale, such as diamonds, amethyst, rubies, sapphires and topaz.
• Jewelry cleaners marketed as "gentle" or "delicate" may be safe for use on softer, more porous gemstones. You should read the directions on the jar or check with your jeweler to be sure. The Kingswood Company's Gentle Jewelry Cleaner has been fully tested and is safe for all jewelry, including pearls, treated diamonds, treated rubies, doublets, emeralds, opals, beads and fashion jewelry.
• Despite being made of all-natural ingredients, natural jewelry cleaning formulations may still be too harsh for softer gemstones. Again, you should read the jar or talk to your jeweler for guidance.
• Silver jewelry cleaners are formulated to remove tarnish from sterling silver jewelry and should not be used on gemstones or even silver with designer antiquing. Follow instructions on the jar or from your jeweler.
So now you know Mohs!
Then & NowPosted: 07/19/2017In our modern world, with so many technological advancements, it's interesting to ponder how things used to be done. Rather than spending
cold, hard cash, most of the time people use a debit or credit card or even a payment app on their phone. No one uses the card catalog at the library; you can Google anything (and Google is even a verb). And when was the last time anyone you know used a typewriter?
We are always finding new and better ways to do things, and jewelry cleaning is no exception. When you read about how people cleaned jewelry in the early 1900s, you will be very glad that safe, at-home jewelry cleaning options are available!
In a publication from 1913 called The Boy Mechanic, people were encouraged to clean silver, gold, bronze and brass using a saturated solution of cyanide of potassium. Whether dipping the piece into the solution or rubbing the metal with a saturated cloth, individuals were warned that “cyanide of potassium is a deadly poison, [so] care must be taken not to have it touch any sore spot on the flesh.” Goodness, this does not sound like a safe plan at all. Imagine the warning labels that would have had to go on that product today!
The New York Tribune in 1918 shared a silver cleaning technique, designed to save women from “wasting [their] time and energy — and, incidentally, [their] silver plate — through a vigorous use of [their] polish and elbow grease?” As it happens, an offshoot of this technique still makes the rounds on the internet. The electrolytic process involves bringing water with baking soda and salt to a boil, then adding aluminum or zinc. The silver piece is introduced and must be in contact with the aluminum or zinc, which removes the tarnish. “It is best to base the silver entirely covered with the cleaning solution and to allow the solution to remain at the boiling temperature. In a very few seconds, the tarnish on the silver will disappear as by magic.”
While this technique may remove tarnish, it is dangerous to place your silver pieces in boiling water, as the heat can cause the metal to become misshapen. At-home tarnish removal products and polishing cloths offer a much safer alternative today.
In the late 1800s and early 1900s, jewelry lovers could purchase a Jewelry Cleaning Casket, which contained a cloth, soap bar and brush, and a box or sawdust. Instructions indicated that jewelry should be cleaned with the brush, after wetting it and creating a lather with the soap. Once the jewelry was cleaned and rinsed with water, the user was to lay it in the sawdust for drying. This precursor to our Jewelry Care Systems was the start of a good idea, though it seems that drying the jewelry with sawdust rather than a soft cloth or polishing cloth was pretty much defeating the purpose. Wouldn’t the jewelry be covered in sawdust and need cleaning all over again?
Clearly people have always wanted their beautiful jewelry to be sparkling, and tried some pretty interesting tricks to keep it that way. Luckily, much safer and far more user-friendly options are available for routine jewelry care today. Visit our website for more information on how we can help you create a modern-day jewelry care line, exclusive to your store.
Cleaning Lord Stanley's CupPosted: 06/28/2017This month, the Pittsburgh Penguins repeated as Stanley Cup champions, meaning Sidney Crosby and his teammates will get a second shot at one
of sports' greatest traditions. Each member of the winning team gets one day to spend with the iconic Lord Stanley's Cup. Stories abound of the myriad ways hockey players enjoy their day with the Cup. From guzzling of adult beverages to baby baptisms, the Cup has seen a little of everything. It gets filled with beer (holding 14 12-ounce bottles), champagne, babies (apparently more than one sans diaper has left a little something behind), soup, ice cream and more. It's gone for swims and mountain climbs and trips to visit old coaches and teachers.
Due to its busy schedule, the Cup has a minder: Philip Pritchard, the Keeper of the Stanley Cup. He travels with the Cup year-round, not just during visits with NHL players but to special events where fans line up to see this piece of history. Interestingly, it is the actual Stanley Cup that goes out on the road, with a replica staying behind at the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto.
"It is the actual artifact that people get to see and interact with. It's not just sitting in a museum,” said Pritchard "But that's what gives the Cup its personality. Hockey shares the Cup with the people, and it has evolved into this bigger-than-life story. It demands attention."
And attention is what it gets. Whether it's a day with a player and his friends and family or headlining a special event, the Stanley Cup gets pretty dirty, covered in everything from fingerprints and lipstick to beer and ice cream residue.
"I have to clean it every day to remove fingerprints, oils and dirt,” explained Pritchard. "The trophy is 125 years old this year, and we are dedicated to keeping it in good condition. We want people to enjoy it for another 125 years."
Pritchard uses a mild detergent with warm water and a soft cloth for daily cleanings. He explained that the Hall of Fame's silversmith has warned them against frequent polishing, which removes some silver and would eventually make the names on the Cup hard to read. The names are stamped into the trophy, rather than engraved, so the markings are more shallow. The Cup is then professionally cleaned twice a year by the silversmith in Montreal, who takes the Cup apart to remove tarnish and polish each level separately.
"We take the cleaning very seriously," added Pritchard. "We are preserving history."
The average non-hockey player can keep her silver jewelry and household items clean using professional jewelry care products from her local jeweler. Professional polishing cloths and mild tarnish removers can be used on a routine basis, and fine jewelry should be inspected and cleaned professionally at least once a year.
Packaging MattersPosted: 05/03/2017Do your products belong under the sink...or on the counter with her cosmetics?
Your jewelry care line is an extension of your brand and should represent your store's elegance and sophistication. Yes, the products are cleaners, but there is a notable difference between Mr. Clean and CLINIQUE Rinse-Off Foaming Cleanser. Both perform a cleaning task, but they mean different things to their consumers. One represents a task; the other a certain luxury.
When you choose packaging for your jewelry care line that reflects your brand with sophisticated, cosmetics styling, your line has an appeal that is fitting for a luxury product like jewelry. Women may shop in the cleaning aisle at Target, but they aren't really drawn there. But they are drawn to the cosmetics counter at their favorite department store. They like to browse the beautiful products at the CLINIQUE, Bobbi Brown and Chanel counters. And they will be drawn to your jewelry cleaning products when they are packaged with a similar aesthetic.
Your private-label jewelry care line has your name on it. Do you want your name on something your customers hide under the sink with their Scrubbing Bubbles? Or do you want it on a beautiful jar, cloth or gift set that your customer keeps out on her bathroom counter or make-up table? Your mother may have told you not to judge a book by its cover, but the truth is that packaging does matter. It says something about the product on the inside and the store whose name is on the outside. In your customers' home, is your brand-name product more Mr. Clean or CLINIQUE?
Do Try This At HomePosted: 04/05/2017Tis the season for spring cleaning, and there are definitely some cleaning projects best left to the professionals. From carpets to windows to upholstery, there are times when the pros just have the right equipments and expertise to
ensure the cleaning is done well and safely. Jewelers do offer professional cleanings to their customers all the time, and without a doubt that is a wonderful service. But jewelers should also be telling their customers, "Do try this at home." Routine home cleaning and care of jewelry is essential to keeping jewelry sparkling on an everyday basis. And when your customers' jewelry is sparkling, they are wearing it, enjoying it, and telling people where they got it!
You can help make it easy for your customers to care for their jewelry at home. Offer information on your website or on a reference card educating your customers on how to safely clean their jewelry. Offer a variety of cleaning formulations and products, as well as guidance as to what is safe for various types of jewelry. You can also emphasize the importance of an annual jewelry inspection and professional cleaning, clarifying how that differs from at-home care. This all serves to reinforce your expertise as a jeweler and the value of the services you offer.
A "Don't Try This at Home" warning seems justified when it comes to certain activities in the age of DIY, such as changing a watch battery, restringing pearls, soldering a broken prong, or even bending a misshapen ring or earring back into place. But there is no good reason for your customers not to clean their jewelry at home when given the right products and information. This spring, encourage your customers to try jewelry cleaning at home.
Meet Scott SpencerPosted: 03/15/2017Periodically, we like to introduce you to a member of our staff whose hard work is so integral to the outstanding products and service The Kingswood Company offers. This month, we'd like you to meet Scott Spencer, a Screen
Printer who has been part of our staff for more than 20 years!
Screen printing is vital to the beautiful products we produce for our customers, and it differentiates your private-label jewelry care products from others in the marketplace. The superior look of our jars is achieved through screen printing. While other manufacturers use stick-on labels, a screen-printed jar offers a high-end, cosmetics-style look. Next time you are at the cosmetics counter, you'll notice that all of the best brands, from Aveda to L’Oréal to Chanel, use screen printing rather than stick-on labels.
How long have you worked for The Kingswood Company?
I started working here in February of 1996. I was new to screen printing, but I thought I would give it a try. It turned out that I love it, and I've been here ever since!
With 20 plus years of experience, you are now a very skilled craftsman. Can you talk about the silk screening process? What expertise do you have that helps you make sure each order looks perfect?
There is a lot of technical expertise behind each jar. There is so much that goes into the process to make it look good, before the ink even hits the jar - the design and layout of the logo, how the screen is shot and built, how the ink is mixed to get the right consistency.
Screen printing is really more of an art. There are lots of different looks we can achieve, depending on what our customer is looking for. We can make small adjustments each time that can have big impact. Depending on what the customer wants, there are different looks and effects. We are always tailoring our production to meet the different private-label options that our customers want.
What do you love about your job?
I love bringing new ideas to life!
Over the past few years, we've added a lot of new products. I've gotten to work with our product development team on the new ideas they've come up with, which is really exciting. They keep pushing us into new directions to bring new concepts to our customers, so we have to come up with new ways to do things.
Our new, luxury, wide-mouth jars needed new tooling, but we worked hard and the end result has been amazing! And when we added our new foamers, we had to work with new suppliers and try some new ink finishes. But they turned out really great.
I am very picky about the final product, and our customers demand that. Our quality control is excellent, and I am proud to be part of that. Our company has come a long way in the last 20 years. I know that our products meet the high standards of our customers, and I believe we are right up there with the best cosmetic brands out there in terms of high-quality packaging.
Tell us the truth. Why is screen printing the best?
Laughs. I don't like label printing! Labels peel. They get wet. They can be crooked. They can be wrinkled.
When you hold a screen-printed jar, you know there is a lot of art and skill that went into it. There is so much work that goes into that kind of product packaging. It's a lot more involved that just sticking on a label. It's kind of like with jewelry, where there is so much that goes into making a beautiful ring. You can't just take a stone from the ground and put it on someone's finger.
And I know that our screen printing looks really, really good!
What do you like to do in your free time?
I really like to spend as much time as I can with my Dad. Plus I also spend a lot of time with my kids.
What is the last good movie you saw?
I watched Split with my kids. That was pretty good.
March Madness starts today. Who's your pick to win it all?
I picked UNC to win it all in our office NCAA pool.
The Plumb Club Welcomes Two New MembersPosted: 03/13/2017The Plumb Club is pleased to announce its newest members, The Kingswood Company and Color Merchants Inc. Both companies will be
exhibiting in the Plumb Club pavilion at JCK Las Vegas, June 5-8, 2017. A premier anchor of the show, the pavilion includes 43 Plumb Club members exhibiting this year.
The Kingswood Company and Color Merchants complement and enhance the extensive offerings The Plumb Club provides as a unique coalition of important suppliers spanning all facets of the jewelry, diamond, and watch industries. They join The Plumb Club at an exciting time as it launches a new strategic plan designed to expand the organization’s reach year-round, broaden its retail community, and increase its influence in helping to shape the future of the trade.
“The addition of these two members supports our new strategic plan and ongoing commitment to provide all jewelry retailers a single resource of important and responsible suppliers that can help them increase business opportunities, not only at the JCK show, but throughout the year,” says Lawrence Hess, executive director of The Plumb Club.
The Kingswood Company is the industry’s leading supplier of private-label jewelry-care products. Based in Columbus, Ohio since 1956, the company offers turnkey product line development for merchants looking for unique packaging and design options with time-tested, proprietary cleaning formulas, supported by world-class customer service. Both its products and business practices reflect a dedication to environmental sustainability and community improvement.
“Our company has experienced tremendous growth the past five years, and joining The Plumb Club was a logical next step,” says Kristie Nicolosi, president and CEO of The Kingswood Company. “The Plumb Club is a premier destination for sophisticated retailers that understand the benefit of a private-label jewelry care line and how it can enhance their retail environment and benefit customers.” In today’s rapidly changing B2B environment, Nicolosi believes The Plumb Club’s updated mission offers great opportunities for members. “We are thrilled to be part of The Plumb Club today and its plans for the future.”
Color Merchants is a leading supplier of diamond and color gemstone jewelry. Founded in 1987 in New York City, the company is well known for creating highly marketable collections, from its classic birthstone styles to its signature brand of beautiful diamond fashion jewelry, Brevani. Among its claims to fame are unparalleled insights into what sells, with a vast inventory and efficient customer response for retailers to always keep those products in stock.
“The Plumb Club has been on our radar for years,” says Keven Peck, founder and president of Color Merchants. He says the timing was right to become a member as his son, Jordan, and daughter, Allison recently joined the company. “I want to make sure they’re in the right circles to help move the company forward.” He hails The Plumb Club as a proactive group of companies that promote each other. “The energy is very positive.” He also cheers the pavilion as a comfortable setting to do business. “We’re excited to be in The Plumb Club, which offers retailers one-stop-shopping in the variety of vendors it represents.”
To view the article, please click here.
For information about The Plumb Club, its new strategy, becoming a member, and more, contact Lawrence Hess, executive director, at 201-816-8881 or visit www.plumbclub.com.
The Cleanest Stars
Shine Brightest on the
Red CarpetPosted: 02/27/2017As we anxiously await the beginning of spring, awards season arrived to brighten the winter
gloom with Hollywood glitterati! Things wrapped up last night with the granddaddy of them all: The Oscars. But the Golden Globes, the SAG Awards and the Grammys also gave us looks to remember. Here are some stars that shone, along with tips on how to clean your own pieces.
There may have been an envelope mix-up, but there was no mistake when it came to Oscar jewelry. Gorgeous diamonds were in abundance, see Charlize Theron's Chopard 26-carat drop earrings and Karlee Kloss' stunning Nirav Modi floral choker, among others. But Ruth Negga's ruby headpiece and earrings from Irene Neuwirth stood out in the crowd and were a stunning addition to her Valentino gown.
Many rubies are heat treated to enhance their color or to heal fissures, while others are filled with lead glass, altering their chemical make-up in a way that makes them more easily damaged. While rubies are a harder gemstone, due to the various treatments that may have been used, it is best to clean them with a non-ammoniated cleaner as recommended by your professional jeweler. Simply immerse the piece in the gentle cleaner for a couple of minutes, rinse it carefully and blot it dry.
The Golden Globes
Tracee Ellis Ross, who won Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series for Black-ish, showed that she is from the "more is more" school of thought. Some runway looks are subtle and minimal; Ross said, "To heck with that!" She accessorized her beautiful silver strapless dress with rings. Lots of rings! Twelve in all, making sure nary a digit felt left out. The dazzling diamond rings were from Noudar, L'Dezen by Payal Shah, Yeprem, and Kavant & Sharart, and she loved showing them (and her hardware) off!
Cleaning Diamond Jewelry
Diamond jewelry, especially rings, should be cleaned routinely, even every day. Rings tend to get dirtier than other pieces of jewelry as they are exposed to lotions, soaps, oils and general dirt and grime. Soak the piece in a fine jewelry cleaning formulation for a couple of minutes, and brush the settings and mountings with a small jewelry brush as needed. Rinse and blot dry. Be sure to take your fine jewelry to your professional jeweler at least once a year for an inspection and professional cleaning.
While a classic strand of pearls might be part of a more subdued look, Sienna Miller didn't really play it quite that way. Her lustrous strand of pearls and pearl bracelets paired beautifully with her white dress, but all subtlety was lost with the dress's cut-out detail, which showed off her ripped abs. Sweet but sassy, for sure.
Cleaning Pearl Jewelry
Because pearls are such a soft gemstone, they require special care. Wipe them down with a cloth after each wearing. If they require more attention, dampen a soft cloth with a gentle jewelry cleaning formulation as recommended by your professional jeweler, and wipe pears. Do not soak pearls in a cleaning solution. Pearls should be professionally restrung annually.
The Screen Actors' Guild Awards
Statement pieces (and political rhetoric) were the talk of the night. Emily Blunt's Lorraine Schwartz pink sapphire earrings were tremendously gorgeous, playing off the bits of color in her largely nude Roberto Cavalli dress. While Kirsten Dunst's layers of antique diamond necklaces provided some oomph to her somewhat bridal look, a ruffled Dior gown with glittery straps. The 15-carat rose-cut diamond drop earrings didn't disappoint either!
Sapphire jewelry, like diamond jewelry, can be safely cleaned in a fine jewelry cleaning solution. Soak the piece in the cleaner for a couple of minutes, and brush the settings and mountings with a small jewelry brush, as needed. Rinse and blot dry. If your sapphire piece is set with other stones, be sure to ask your professional jeweler whether the other stones require a more gentle cleaning formulation. Always use a formulation safe for the most delicate element in the piece of jewelry.
The Grammy Awards
Whether you loved her performance or not, there is no question that Beyonce's golden, gorgeous, goddess ensemble was the look of the night. It was impossible to take your eyes off of her, resplendent in a custom Peter Dundas gold dress complete with a golden headpiece and striking jewelry from House of Malakai. Her most talked about accessory, though was her babies bump, which gave the look a fertility goddess effect.
If your gold jewelry has become coated in dirt and oils, you can use a fine jewelry cleaner to clean things up. Dip or soak your piece for up to two minutes in the cleaner, rinse and blot dry. For pieces that have become dull or have fingerprints and smudges, a polishing cloth will come in handy. You can use the inner white polishing cloth to remove dirt and tarnish, and buff with the outer cloth to achieve desired luster.
Photo Credits: Tracee Ellis Ross - Getty; Sienna Miller - popsugar.co.uk; Emily Blunt - hollywoodreporter.com; Kirsten Dunst - people.com; Beyonce - usmagazine.com; Ruth Negga - usmagazine.com; Charlize Theron - harpersbazaar.com;
FAQ: What Can I Clean with Natural Cleaner?Posted: 02/01/2017As our Natural Jewelry Cleaner grows in popularity, we are frequently asked a simple question with a somewhat surprising answer.
If you are carrying Natural Jewelry Cleaner in your store, or are considering adding it to your jewelry care line, you'll want to familiarize yourself with the answer to this important question.
If it's an all-natural cleaner, that means it's safe to clean anything, right?
While a bit counter-intuitive, the answer to that question is actually no. Yes, the ingredients are natural. At the same time, the trade-secret blend of botanical ingredients combines to create a unique formula, with a strong cleaning action. As a result, our Natural Jewelry Cleaner is not safe for use on soft or porous gemstones such as emeralds or turquoise, as well as on certain metals such as aluminum and brass. Our proprietary method of combining organic materials into an effective cleaning formula is changing the way our customers clean much of their jewelry, but not all of it. In the same way that ammonia is both common in nature and at the same time caustic, even hazardous in its concentrated form, not all natural cleaning products are safe for all applications.
As you consider which formulations are a good fit for your store or line, this is an important factor to weigh. Our Natural Jewelry Cleaner has proven popular with customers who are eco-conscious, including many millennials. But if your store sells primarily softer gemstones, beads or fashion jewelry, our Gentle Jewelry Cleaner might be a better fit.
Pearls Pop For SpringPosted: 01/11/2017Spring will be here before you know it, and the fashion forward among us will be pulling out the pearls. Vogue announced in October that "Girls with Pearls" were IT on the spring fashion runways. And, Sienna Miller stunned at the
Golden Globes, pairing a pearl necklace and bracelets with a show-stopping midriff-baring dress. You can also check out the popular movie, Hidden Figures, in which a strand of pearls serves as a symbol of recognition for the main character, an African-American woman working as a mathematician for NASA at the start of the space program. Pearls, once considered the staid accessory of grandmothers and librarians, have been reinvented, ready to tell a new story.
Whether wearing a new pearl piece or giving new life to a strand of pearls you received for your Sweet Sixteen, pearls require special care. Their luminescence is more subtle than a diamond's sparkle, so perhaps fittingly they are more fragile as well. Pearls do not react well to chemicals, like those found in perfumes, hairspray, lotions, cleaning agents or pools. Therefore, it is best to put your pearls on at the end of your beauty routine, and to remove them before cleaning or swimming.
Even with careful wear, pearls will become dirty from body oils and everyday grime. Due to their delicate nature, pearls must be cleaned with a gentle, non-ammoniated jewelry cleaning formulation. For non-strung pieces, like rings and earrings, soak the piece briefly in the solution and pat dry with a soft cloth. Strung pieces should not be soaked, which can damage the string, but can be wiped down with a soft cloth that is dry or has been dampened with a gentle cleaning formulation. Strands of pearls should also be restrung by your professional jeweler as often as annually, depending on frequency of wear.
Photo Credit: Telegraph.co.uk
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