Get to Know
Carasmiths studio is located on the Delmarva Peninsula. Our passion is creating unique, handcrafted art jewelry and home goods from metal, glass, found items...anything and everything.
Thank YOU for shopping our store! Here are some FAQs and details about things you might want to know about, the raw materials used in jewelry and home goods and how to take care of them:
GLASS by Carasmiths that highlights some of our work starts off as either a cool glass rod or special sheet glass. Our glass preferences are Moretti and System 96, but we're always working with new things, like recycled glass. Glass is a liquid, and when it's carefully heated in the flame of a torch or in a kiln (think of those brick ovens the ceramic makers use?) the glass works up to a point where it gets very hot. Depending on the temperature, it flows like honey or fuses with other glass. So things get hot, up to 1600 degrees hot!
Some pieces are then slumped or draped, meaning after they are fused together and slowly returned to room temperature, they are heated once again, but this time at a lower temperature so that they can take the shape of a ceramic mold, like a plate or bowl. Might sound like many steps--it is!--and time consuming, but we hope you agree, so worth the effort! Most important to you is the durability of these treasures. Bringing the glass back to room temperature and making it strong requires the use of a kiln (and experience) to anneal and "protect" the glass.
Carasmiths glass is slowly kiln annealed at appropriate temperatures for your long wear and enjoyment. We carefully inspect our work before it comes home to you, but of course, glass is glass:
~ Dropping it on the floor will most likely result in cracks, especially if done repeatedly. You'll be sad! Avoid this by bejeweling yourself away from hard floors and counters.
~ Wiping glass beads with a soft damp cloth will keep your beads shiny, no need for and please don't use harsh detergents or cleaners.
~ Hard wear of glass beads is not recommended. Wearing your beads while engaging in contact sports or intense activities doesn't work well for glass.
~ Dishware is safe to eat from, and although *usually* dishwasher safe, we don't recommend it. Your piece is an investment: ornate, custom shaped or fused from recycled glass (example: wine bottle cheese trays) so you'll want to wash items by hand. And of course, art glass and ovens and microwaves aren't recommended.
METALS used in our designs are clearly described on each piece featured. As metalsmiths, we prefer using .925 sterling silver for jewelry, as well as bronze and copper.
Sterling Silver can last a lifetime if stored properly, with minimal cleaning required. The sterling standard refers to .925 grade of silver containing 92.5% pure silver and 7.5% other metals, usually copper. The copper keeps your silver in shape and adds strength...no worries, you don't see the copper in .925 sterling.
Even though sterling wears really well, the do's and don'ts include:
~ Storing your sterling silver in the open air and humidity for extended periods of time can cause it to tarnish quickly. Tarnish first appears as a gold/brown type hue and then turns dark...you might like it this way, and we actually force many of our pieces to achieve this look with darkening agents. Oxidization is normal and comes from the moisture in the air, the sun, and multiplies like rabbits if you wear your silver to the beach.
~ To keep tarnish to a minimum, store your silver in a cloth pouch separate from other metals. Tip: Those little silica packets often found in shoe boxes are great to keep in your jewelry box or pouch to minimize tarnish...of course you know that these should not get into the paws of children or pets!
~ Placing your sterling silver directly on wood surfaces can mar the finish--we've learned this, so you don't have to. Also, know that other metals rubbing against it over time, even rubber can cause tarnish.
~ To remove light dirt or tarnish, use a small amount of mild liquid detergent added to a 1/2 cup of warm water and rinse thoroughly with water. Harsh cleaners could damage the polish on stones or glass beads, so stay away from these. Before storing, dry completely with a soft cloth.
~ Polishing cloths, inexpensive and available at drug stores and such, are great for quick shines. Never EVER dunk, dip or lather your silver with silver cleaner. Doing so will remove any purposely placed oxidation (that cool black highlighting in your jewelry that was put there for you) and possibly ruin stones and/or beads.
~ Don't stretch your jewelry. Sterling is resilient, but if you yank your bracelets or earring out of shape or are consistently hard on your treasures, eventually they'll snap or break. Bracelet bangles should be twisted from side to side just a bit prior to placing them on the side of your wrist from the thinnest point (vs. just pulling the bracelet open over the top of your wrist) to ensure longest wear.
~ Bejewel yourself after the lotions, hairspray, make-up, and perfumes are dry. Remove your jewelry before undressing, swimming, and other activities where it doesn't belong.
Hopefully you've found this information helpful. And thanks again for stopping by.
Carasmiths. Life Celebrated