I make bridal jewelry. My biggest concerns are how to ensure I use the best quality materials and how do I keep my silver pieces from tarnishing?
My advice on ensuring you have only the best quality materials is to buy from a reputable company who has always stood behind their products and to buy the best you can afford.
Working with precious metal findings--sterling silver, "vermeil" and 14Kt and 18Kt gold--is always a great place to start, but there are also very good quality 14Kt gold-filled, gold-plated and silver-plated findings available. For bridal jewelry, pearls and Swarovski crystals are also a safe bet.
When working with precious metals, it is exposure to the air that causes tarnish, so limiting the exposure is key. I recommend storing your loose findings and beads in plastic containers or zip-top bags. Doing so will not only prevent tarnish from building on your metal, it will also help keep you organized--something I struggle with every day!
After assembling your jewelry, store the finished designs in suitably sized plastic zip-top bags or in a container that allows little exposure to air, such as our organizers.
Here is an anti-tarnish strips to further prevent tarnish, keeping your pieces gleamingly perfect.