FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Do you do custom work?
Yes! Custom work makes my day. Please email Lola@ZyscovichJewelry.com and we can start to work out the details of your perfect piece. There are no custom fees for already existing designs. If working on a design of your own, a new design for you, or with your own stones, custom design fees are on a case by case basis.
Is your jewelry ethical?
Yes, I source everything from ethical suppliers, the rundown is below.
Precious Metals: Only conflict free metals are used, much of which is recycled. These are sourced from a solar-powered company in the US. All scraps are saved. First I try to use them without melting and re-milling them, then the remaining tiny scraps are melted down to be re-used. I re-use everything that I can in my shop before resorting to sending it to a refinery.
Gemstones: I use both lab-grown and natural gemstones.
Lab-grown are physically the same as precious gems. This eliminates mining and the environmental impact it causes, plus you get a large gem with excellent color and clarity at a reasonable price. They are more durable than natural stones since there are no inclusions.
My natural gemstones are all ethically sourced. This means the miners and gem cutters get a living wage, they are conflict free, and the effects of mining are minimal. I use untreated gems whenever possible, and will include any treatment in the item description. You will never find surface coatings, cavity fills (glass fill, resin etc), bleaching, dying or impregnation. These treatments do not make for long lasting quality, which is what I strive for. Any gemstone treatments will be the type that doesn't change over time. Please feel free to email me if you have any questions about a specific gemstone.
Ebony: I only source my Ebony from Lacey Act compliant mills. They are also improving forest management in Cameroon (where this Ebony is sourced) to ensure that ecologically and socially responsible harvesting practices remain in place and to maintain a steady supply into the foreseeable future. New trees are planted and fruit trees are given to participating farmers to supply food, and as an incentive to plant trees that won't be able to be harvested for 60-200 years. In previous years, Ebony that wasn't dark enough was left on the forest floor to rot, but now new uses for these 2nd grade woods are found so every tree is utilized. I also save all of my scraps until I find the perfect jewelry piece to utilize them.
Pearls: I use only un-dyed, natural cultured pearls. Pearl farms are good for the environment. Oysters and mussels need clean water and a healthy ecosystem to thrive, plus they filter the water and make it cleaner than before they were there. They create havens for small fish, increasing biodiversity. There is also no glue used in my pearl jewelry, as opposed to most that is readily available.
Production: Everything is hand-fabricated made by me, Lola Zyscovich in Oakland, CA. Hand fabrication is the process of building every part by making it out of sheet, wire or scrap metal. I don't do casting, each piece is individually made resulting in high quality work that lasts a lifetime. I rarely use powered tools, most processes are done with hand tools and a torch. Since I hand fabricate everything, my hands and eyes are constantly inspecting each piece as it's made. There are rarely any faulty bits that escape my attention.
What is Argentium Silver?
Argentium is a special silver alloy that is tarnish-resistant and hypoallergenic. Compared to sterling silver, it has more pure silver, less copper, plus the added metalloid germanium, which is what makes the magic happen. Argentium basically tarnishes to white/clear. If kept clean it will stay bright and shiny with minimal care. Tarnish resistant doesn't mean tarnish proof though! I still suggest to remove jewelry before doing heavy physical activity, bathing, swimming, applying products etc. Residue from products contains things that can cause a chemical reaction resulting in dark or yellowish spots. Hot tubs and pools contain chemicals that cause tarnish, beaches have salt water and minerals.. it's best to take off all jewelry before enjoying the water. When in doubt, wash it off. Most of the time any discoloration is from water spots or residue on the surface.
How do I clean Argentium Silver?
Simply wash in mild dish soap with a soft toothbrush, or can also use rubbing alcohol on it (not on pearls, opals, emeralds or wood) which really brightens it up. Make sure you wash jewelry away from a drain or block the sink drain before you start! Get a small dish, fill with warm water and a little dish soap, soak the jewelry for a few minutes before gently scrubbing it. Make sure you rinse and dry thoroughly with a lint free cotton cloth to avoid water marks.
I recommend Goddard's Silver Polishing Cloths for cleaning as well. If you use a polishing cloth like a sunshine cloth (which has abrasives) wash it well afterwards since these cloths has oils to bind the abrasives.
Is your jewelry nickel free?
Everything is 100% Nickel and Cadmium free. If you have any questions about the composition of a specific alloy, please feel free to email me.
Why don't you do gold plating?
Plating rubs off, always. I only use solid metals, with the exception of gold and sterling bi-metal, which has a much much thicker layer of gold than any plated or gold-filled products. Plating is also extremely toxic! Besides wanting to provide you with jewelry you can wear forever, I also don't want to damage my own health, the air quality outside, or wherever the waste chemicals are disposed. Plating involves vats of chemicals that are very toxic and require heavy ventilation. There is also usually a layer of nickel underneath gold plating, nickel is an allergen and all of my jewelry is nickel free.
Do you have a quality guarantee?
I stand behind my work. Since everything is individually hand-fabricated by me, any structural issues are usually discovered long before a piece is finished. If somehow a quality issue has escaped me, I will repair it free of charge up to 6 months past the purchase date. This is for defects in production, not for if someone accidentally stepped on it and crushed it etc. Please email me if there is a quality issue, or if you need a repair.
How do I care for pearls?
Wear them often, pearls like a little love. Take them off before showering, swimming or heavy exercise and put them on after applying anything such as lotion, perfume or hair products. Pearls can be scratched, store them separately from your other jewelry. They are a natural gemstone, the nacre stays in good condition when worn often. The chemicals, oils and alcohols in products can affect the luster. If something gets on them, wash them off right away and dry thoroughly.
How do I clean my pearl jewelry?
Pearls are delicate but easy to clean. Soak pearl jewelry for a few minutes in warm (not hot) water with mild dish soap. If it needs a scrub, you can use a soft natural bristle brush (like a clean makeup brush) or delicately twist a cotton swab. Don't push hard, just gently wipe them off. Rinse in clean water and dry with a soft cloth to avoid water spots. Never put pearls in an ultrasonic cleaner. Ionic Cleaners are ok for my pearl jewelry (not for strung pearls) and are my recommended choice for deep cleaning silver and gold jewelry with pearls.
How do I keep my jewelry from tarnishing?
Wipe jewelry with a lint-free cloth after wearing, skin oils and product residue can tarnish it quicker. Store your jewelry in an airtight container such as a plastic bag if you're not wearing it on a regular basis. If jewelry is stored on the bathroom counter for instance, the humidity will accelerate tarnishing, especially if they aren't clean. It's good to clean your jewelry every once in a while. For silver and gold, wash with a mild dish soap and a soft toothbrush. Make sure to rinse it thoroughly and dry it well. Keeping jewelry clean (lotions, sunscreen, soap residue etc) helps it stay bright and shiny without having to polish it. If you have ebony or oxidized mixed metals jewelry, don't wash with water, simply wipe it down, you can use a polishing cloth on the metal portion.
How do I care for ebony jewelry?
Ebony is a great wood for jewelry. Since it is so dense and has an abundance of natural oils it doesn't need a finish. All my ebony pieces are hand-polished without any compounds to keep it natural. Ebony doesn't need much care, simply wipe it with a soft cloth if it needs cleaning. Do not submerge it in water and try to not get it wet. Wipe with a cotton swab (damp is ok) if you need to get into the recesses.
Since ebony is a natural wood, it can crack if dropped on hard surfaces. I've dropped mine countless times on a tiled floor by accident and they haven't broken, but in the unlikely event something does happen to your ebony jewelry, do not try to repair it yourself. Keep all the pieces (don't handle them too much or it can affect the repair) and send a photo to firstname.lastname@example.org, it is most likely fixable.
Is your packaging sustainable too?
I only use sustainable packaging. My boxes are made from a mix of recycled and FSC certified cardboard, which means that any new paper comes from FSC certified forests, where no more wood is cut down than the forest can reproduce. This means better protection for the animal and plant life, and all foresters have proper safety equipment, training and a proper wage. My branded boxes have no tarnishing accelerating compounds (like many boxes and fillers have), so you can feel free to store your jewelry in them safely. Even the foam inside the boxes is made from a by-product of the paper making process.
Can I pick my order up if I'm local to the San Francisco Bay Area?
Sure, the easiest way is to contact me prior to placing your order (and I'll send you an invoice instead of the normal ordering process), since I don't have an option for local pickup in checkout. If you do wind up doing it after the fact, I can refund your shipping fees. Since I don't have a store front, we will need to make an appointment time. Pickup at any of my events during show season (early summer through dec), see my Events page for the current show schedule.