The Great Earth Lore FAQ – Part 3: Jewelry


Silver Jewelry

One of the things we are most proud of, and choosiest about, is our jewelry selection.  Choosing semi-precious stone jewelry is somewhat different than precious stone or solid metal pieces because there is so much variation in (not to mention an ever-changing variety of) semi-precious stone material.  Many of the pieces we carry contain either ususual stones, esoteric symbols, and sometimes both.  For these and many other reasons, we get a lot of questions about the jewelry.  In this edition of the Great Earth Lore FAQ, I will attempt to clarify some common inquiries concerning the jewelry we carry.

Q: The pricing on your jewelry is a little erratic.  Some pieces are much less expensive than I would expect, while some are a little more.  Occasionally I will even find two identical items marked different prices.  Why is this?

A: There are many reasons why this kind of thing happens in our business.  You see, all of the pricing is mathematically based on what we can acquire items for.  Because we deal with so many importers and distributors to find what we have in stock, our prices are subject to the changes that occur in the world import/export market, the value placed on items by domestic distributors, and the changing base price of precious metals (silver, specifically).  On top of this, we must remember that the value of any kind of semi-precious stone is based on its availability, which can change at any time.

Q: Your silver chain and charms are so inexpensive that I question the quality of the silver.  How do I know that what I’m buying is even real?

A: I have heard this one many times – and despite my generous offer to raise our chain prices to a more comfortable level, people are still skeptical. The plain truth is that most places that sell silver are grossly overcharging for it because the majority of people have no clue as to what it is actually worth, only what they see it sold for. Because our prices are figured mathematically (see previous question), we don’t engage in the the ‘whatever the market will bear’ philosophy of many businesses.

All of the silver we carry is Sterling Silver, or 92.5% silver.  This is the best grade of silver you are likely to find in jewelry, because pure silver will gradually recrystallize and become soft unless it is alloyed.  Luckily, you can verify the quality of almost any kind of silver by inspecting it closely for a very small ‘925’ or ‘STERLING’ stamped into it, usually on the back of a pendant or inside a ring band.  It’s actually illegal to stamp any precious metal contrary to its actual content, so unless you’re buying a unique piece from a silversmith always look for the stamp.

Q: I saw this silver pendant here last month, and now that I’ve come back to get it you don’t have it anymore. Will you get another one? Can you order it for me?

A: Because we are so choosy about our jewelry, much of what we have is hand-picked from importers and manufacturers and thus we have no way of getting additional pieces until we make another acquiring trip.  It is, unfortunately, the nature of the beast that jewelry styles are subject to change pretty frequently, and so we do not special order pieces as a rule either.  The upshot of all this is that, if you see something you REALLY can’t live without, you should probably pick it up or take advantage of our Lay-Away policy.

Q: Why don’t you carry gold?

A: Aside from the high cost of gold, we have found that most semi-precious stones (which is the majority of our jewelry) are not set into gold by jewelry manufacturers. I suspect (though I do not know) that because the price of the setting would so far outweigh the price of the stone, most jewelry designers decide to not use it at all for that purpose.

Q: How fast will silver tarnish?  How do I clean it?

A: For most people, silver that is worn regularly will need little or no polishing – this is because contact with your skin and clothing tends to rub off the minute bits of oxidization as it forms. This being said, it bears mentioning that some people’s body chemistry seems to have adverse effects with certain metals. If you buy a silver ring or chain and find that it is turning grey on black within a couple weeks of wearing it, your skin oils could be to blame (assuming the silver is real). Swimming in chlorinated pools or being around certain harsh chemical vapors can also potentially blacken your silver.

To clean, we reccomend, use, and sell (for $2.95 each) a chemical-soaked ‘polishing cloth’.  Just open it up, rub your silver down with it, and unless you have actually chemically changed the composition of your silver, it should turn bright and shiny again.  The cloths get dirty pretty fast, but will continue working long after they turn black with tarnish. Some stones are chemical sensitive, however, so always be careful about excessive contact with set stones.

There are also liquids on the market that clean silver, but many of these are very harsh and abrasive to the metal (which can cause it to tarnish faster in the future).  One of the cool things about silver is that after tarnishing naturally inside the detailed parts of the piece where a polishing cloth can’t reach, it gains that ‘antiqued’ silver appearance. Before using liquid or cream polishes, question wether you really want the whole piece to gleam or just the highlights.

Well, that’s about all the most frequent questions I can think of concerning jewelry. Hopefully this has been educational for some of you!

Welcoming Summer

Summer SolsticeSummer Solstice has been a period of great tribal gatherings since ancient times.  These people of the old path believed that the Summer Solstice signified the Goddess manifesting as Mother Earth and the God manifesting as the Sun King.  It was a time of powerful abundance, and balance between male and female energies.  The Summer Solstice will soon be upon us, June 21st to be exact!  This is the zenith of the sun, the longest day of the year, and the perfect time to do spells, prayers, or meditations for abundance and prosperity.  Summer Solstice, also known as Midsummer, Litha, or St. John’s Day, is a time of celebration, energy, balance, and new beginnings…how do you want to start your summer?  What do you want to manifest for the rest of your year?

Here are some ideas for you to add excitement, joy, and abundance to the new season:

  • Decorate your space (or yourself) in the Summer Solstice colors of yellow, green, blue, and gold.
  • Find a Solstice festival to attend, or create your own at home with a few close friends!  If possible, prepare a bonfire (feast optional!) and exchange songs, stories, or gifts.
  • Stay up all night on Solstice Eve and welcome the rising sun at dawn.
  • Make a pledge to Mother Earth of something that you will do to help create a better environment.  Make a concrete plan of action that you will carry out.
  • Keep an I-Ching coin in your pocket for the month of June to promote abundance and good fortune.
  • Stop in and say hi to the Earth-Lore crew: Jen, Marilyn, Grant, Ben, Angie, Leo, and Angus.  We don’t have hot dogs or bonfires, but we have plenty of gold candles and love to go around!
  • Create a new ritual for abundance, say your prayers or meditate outside as much as possible this month (especially during the day time when you can soak up the warmth and energy of the sun!).
  • Spread Yarrow flowers and Bay Leaves around the perimeter of your house during mid-day and say a prayer for protection and prosperity in the new season!

Have a beautiful June!

A Smudge a Day (Keeps the Anger Away!)

Smudge Stick

Smudge Stick & Abalone Shell

It’s no big secret that our society is not built for us to enjoy peace, meditation, reflection, and moderation on a daily basis. It seems we are continuously being bombarded with all things “bigger, better, faster, more”. This seems to be a theme hanging out in the background of our conversation on what it means to be alive, and to be happy. On a personal note. One of my biggest struggles is this issue of time. There never seems to be enough time to do all the things I need to accomplish in a day. There’s certainly not enough time to relax! In the last couple months I’ve grown tired of the constant cycle of hurrying, grumbling at traffic, huffing at my professors, shoveling down my dinner, and then apologizing to my boyfriend for being in such a bad mood. Pretty dramatic, and silly, eh? Well, I found my anger and nasty mood relief in the simplest of things, one of nature’s greatest gifts: sage. I want to share with everyone who’s reading now, my 5 minute morning ritual that has made a huge difference in my daily life, and peace of mind! Please try it and let me know how it works for you!

  1. Find a quite space in your home.
  2. Light a some White Sage, or a White Sage smudge wand and run the smoke around your entire body. Be sure to go over your head, and under your feet, and get every Chakra cleansed in smoke too!
  3. Take several slow, deep breaths. Don’t be afraid to breath in the Sage smoke, it’s very healing. Breath in through your nose and out through your mouth.
  4. You may also recite any affirmation of your choice when you are done deep breathing. Choose something that excites you, that inspires you. I usually say “I own my day” 7 times, slowly. This reminds me that I get to say how my day, and my life goes.
  5. Put out the Sage and take on your day!

Note: If you have a few extra minutes, put on some relaxing music. My favorite is The Heart of Reiki, a cd we carry regularly at Earth-Lore. Come check it out!

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