Much of the following is common sense and there are countless variations which work well for many. Remember, the one constant is, everybody is different.
Please keep in mind the use of Organic Jewelry in particular and Natural Materials can affect individuals differently and you should understand any potential risks before you choose your jewelry.
Natural materials are usually not the right choice for moist areas of the body & new piercings or stretches. On the flip side, if you have metal sensitivities, natural jewelry can be the best thing you have ever worn. However, if you are the type of individual who reacts to everything in the world, start slowly with different natural materials. Irritation, tissue loss, infection, or allergic reactions are always a possibility with ANY material. Know your body & respond appropriately if you react to a new material. Discontinue wear, put in an Implant Grade Jewelry or Glass and treat like a fresh piercing. Handle natural materials with clean hands and wash jewelry periodically with a mild, non-chemical soap such as Dr. Bronner’s liquid soap & water even if not being worn. Clean with tea tree oil if something stronger is desired, but do not leave tea tree oil on your jewelry. Make sure you do not have an allergy to tea tree oil by first performing a patch test on your skin.
Care of Natural Materials
To care for your jewelry, oil wood, bone and horn periodically (monthly or as needed) & before insertion. Oil with either jojoba, mineral or Vitamin E oil. Food grade oils are not appropriate for oiling, they may break down with heat & time. Be sure to wash natural jewelry often & reapply oil as necessary. Apply just a drop of oil, use oil sparingly and never over oil. Use a micro fiber cloth to remove any excess oil. Frequent applications of oil may cause the material to darken.
Natural materials are sensitive to changes in heat, humidity and water. Thus, autoclaving, hot tubs, pools, saunas, blow dryers, etc, should be avoided or used with caution. Long exposure to direct sunlight (such as on a windowsill or inside a hot car) is not suggested. All these circumstances may cause the material to crack, warp , split or the grain to lift.
Natural materials may react to and or absorb chemicals & water. These chemicals can then be released into the skin, causing irritation or allergic reaction. This includes, but is not limited to: cleaning & sterilizing agents, soaps, lotions, antibiotic ointments & hair products. Please keep natural jewelry away from contact with chemicals of any kind & become aware of what types of chemicals are in the products you use for any reason.
Natural materials can be brittle, especially Stone & Amber neither takes kindly to being dropped, bitten or otherwise mistreated. Store your jewelry in bubble wrap or a padded jewelry box or case so it can't be knocked over and broken easily. Amber is particularly sensitive & may soften, crack or even melt in contact with certain chemicals or with extreme heat. Stone should never be oiled, dropped or mistreated. Do not wear Stone or Glass in the shower as soap or shampoo can make your skin slippery enough for the jewelry to fall onto the tile floor.
Special caution should be taken when exposing plugs with inlays ( bone dust ) or overlays (silver caps & dyes ) to moisture as they obviously are not waterproof. Do not oil inlays, just oil the wear space.
Certain metal jewelry may cause reactions in sensitive individuals & may include nickel allergies or discoloration of the skin. Silver jewelry may tarnish & metals containing copper, including bronze, may develop a greenish patina. This may be removed with a hand polishing cloth or with a buffing wheel. Brass, Copper and Bronze Jewelry if wiped down daily with a microfiber cloth before wearing will keep them from leaving a greenish hint on your skin.
- Brass is generally an alloy of Copper and Zinc.
- Bronze is generally an alloy of Copper and Tin.
- Copper is essential to all living organisms, yet lends its germicidal properties to Brass and Bronze.
- All three of the above metals have been used in/for jewelry for ages.
Species of hardwoods which are not very dense & generally those lighter areas of the wood grain may require occasional refinishing to keep them feeling smooth & performing their best. Wood forms the circulatory and support system in trees. The grain you may see running up & down in hardwood plugs is what the tree used to transport water. When the plugs get wet, they may try to absorb the water, the cells that form the grain can swell or "lift". This can make the wearing surface feel less smooth than when new. The plugs are sanded, then washed, then sanded again after they dry to take off any of the cells that are going to swell up when in contact with water. This process is repeated several times during manufacture. However, with use, wear and exposure these cells may try to do their job again.
It is suggested that all hardwood jewelry be sanded periodically-especially Maple & Chaktekok; frequency depends on how often they are worn, where they are worn & how often they come in contact with moisture. Give them the following attention when they feel a bit textured.
Sand gently with a dry piece of 400 or 600-grit sandpaper, then polish with a piece of cloth. The idea is to remove the swelled grain, not just push it down. Wrap the sandpaper around your finger or a pen to sand the inside of flared or drilled plugs. Wash the plugs with water and a mild non-chemical soap to eliminate any residue & re-oil prior to insertion.
Thank you to Erica S. of Organic Natural Body Jewelry for letting us share your information.