Q. Isn’t 22 karat gold too soft?
A. This is a common misconception. The root of this idea lies in the fact that most high karat gold jewelry people encounter is very thin and light weight and therefore is easily damaged. Our jewelry is crafted to a much higher standard. Our pieces are substantial and have a luxurious heft that lets you know you have a quality piece of jewelry. The alloy that we use is as durable as sterling silver and because our pieces are fabricated, not cast, the molecular structure of the gold is stronger.
Q. The description of the piece I want lists both 22 karat and 18 karat gold. What does this mean?
A. A majority of each of our pieces are constructed using 22 kt gold. This includes, but is not limited to all the settings for the gemstones, all of the granules and all of the decorative wirework surrounding and supporting the granules. 18 kt yellow gold is used for most ring bands, ear wires, posts and links.
Q. Where does your gold come from?
A. The gold we use is recycled. We buy direct from a metal refinery here in Portland which means all of our pieces are made from gold with a minimum of 95% post-consumer content.
Q. What is the difference between “One-of-a-Kind” and “Limited Edition”?
A. All of our work, regardless of designation, is made by hand, one piece at a time. We alloy and mill our own sheet and wire and make all of our granules (all twelve sizes of them!) None of our work contains cast or mass-produced elements (the only exception are ear nuts and omega clips).
One-of-a-kind pieces are just that – uniquely designed pieces. There might be pieces similar in style, but the choice and arrangement of gemstones and the use of granulation is always different. Even our basic granulated hoop earrings always have unique granulation patterns.
Limited Editions are pieces that we make multiples of for a limited period of time. This means we might make anywhere from two to twenty of a particular piece. You may purchase singles or multiples of any piece in the line.
Q. What is the Etrusco line?
A. Etrusco is our limited edition line of jewelry. Each piece is primarily crafted in sterling silver that has been forged, textured and oxidized. All decorative elements are in 22 kt gold and 18 kt gold is used for ear wires, posts and links. Pendants are available with a sterling silver chain that we have oxidized to match.
Q. What makes the silver in the Etrusco line black? Will it fade?
A. We use an environmentally-friendly chemical process to oxidize the silver black. The oxidation is a semi-permanent surface treatment that will not rub off on clothing, but will gradually wear over time. Because the black will remain in the crevices and wear from the top surfaces, you can look forward to the texture of the jewelry becoming more apparent over time. If you desire, the oxidation can be re-applied.
Q. How do I care for my new piece of Zaffiro jewerly?
A. When not wearing your jewelry, store your pieces separately in soft pouches. This means keeping earring separate from each other, taking pendants off of a chain, etc. Wait to put your jewelry on until after you have applied perfume, lotion and hair products. Take your rings off when you wash your hands. All of these practices will help keep your jewelry clean and prevent any possible permanent damage to porous gemstones, like pearls.
Most of our care advice however is about our rings. You have purchased a wearable piece of art – don’t wear it rock-climbing! We also wouldn’t recommend kite-boarding, weight-lifting or even gardening. Basically ask yourself: am I doing something high impact or really dirty or both? If so, take off your ring. And finally, take your ring off when you go to bed. Your hands swell at night causing your ring to restrict blood flow to your finger. You risk developing arthritis in that finger joint unless you remove your ring nightly.
Q. What do you recommend using to clean my jewelry?
A. Soak in a warm, non-ammonia cleaning solution (we like Mr.Clean), using a soft toothbrush to loosen any debris or oils. Rinse well and repeat, soaking longer, if necessary.
Q. I need my ring sized. Can I take it to my local jeweler?
A. We always prefer that your return your ring to us for sizing. Have your finger properly sized at your local jeweler, but send the ring to us. Because many local jewelers aren’t familiar with sizing granulated jewelry, they could inadvertently do irreparable damage to your ring.
Q. What about other potential repairs or alterations?
A. This is where we must have some “fine print”: We guarantee our jewelry against defect in manufacturing. In order to maintain this guarantee of craftsmanship, all repairs, alterations and/or sizings must be performed by Zaffiro. If you choose to have any repair, alteration and/or sizing performed by anyone other than Zaffiro, we subsequently relinquish any liability for that particular piece of jewelry.
Q. Do you do custom designs?
A. We welcome custom commissions. In fact, we’ve dedicated an entire section of our website, the Archives, to provide you with inspiration for your bespoke piece.
Q. Can you create a custom piece with my stone?
A. Yes, let us repurpose your unworn jewelry into a piece that you will love to wear.
Q. What quality of diamonds do you use?
A. All of our white diamonds are untreated and VS1/F in quality. Our cognac diamonds are also natural color and our black diamonds are heat treated for color uniformity. All of our diamonds are certified conflict free.
Q. You use types of stones I’ve never heard of before. Are they natural? Are they precious or semi-precious?
A. All of the gemstones we use are natural. We do not use any assembled or manufactured gems. We do not like the term “semi-precious” because it’s misleading and it suggests some types gemstones are always inferior to others. In truth, all colored gemstones that we use have value. Their value is based on their relative rarity and the quality of that particular gemstone. For example, a majority of the sapphires and rubies that are widely available are not of high enough quality to be used in our jewelry. Conversely, some varieties of tourmaline and garnet command higher prices per carat than a comparably sized sapphire.
Q. I know there are many treatments done to colored gemstones. What possible treatments could I find in the gemstones used in your jewelry?
A. Many of our gemstones like garnets, moonstone, boulder opal and spinel are never treated. However, some enhancements, like the heating of sapphires or using beeswax on turquoise, have been used for centuries. Zaffiro maintains a commitment to full disclosure of any treatment. If it was not provided for you on your invoice at the time of the sale, please contact us. If you would like more information on enhancements in general, the American Gem Trade Association has an informative brochure that can be downloaded as a PDF document from their website.