The following are questions that I’ve received from clients. All opinions held within the responses are based upon my education, research and professional experience (scroll to bottom for details). If your question or concern is not addressed in the list below, feel free to message me here. I will continually add to and update this post as new questions come in. Thank you!
Q. I love your work, how can I place an order?
A. For Keepsake pieces I am currently doing "shop openings" for purchasing. About once a month my shop will be "open" for orders. At that time, anyone can place an order for a custom Keepsake piece of jewelry. During the other 3 weeks of the month I am fulfilling orders and my shop is "closed" for new orders. Please feel free to message me with any questions or join my mailing list to be notified of my shop openings.
My A La Avra Collections and Signature Collections are always available for purchase on this site.
Q. Are there any risks to the wearer or second-hand risk to a child if they handle soldered jewelry? Do you use soldering techniques in your jewelry?
A. NO, soldering techniques do not present a risk to the wearer based upon the soldering techniques I utilize on Ruth Avra jewelry. This is one of those myths based upon an outdated understanding of the current soldering techniques used by professionals. In the early to mid 1900’s solder was made with dangerous materials such as lead and cadmium, however, the solder used by modern jewelers is void of those hazardous elements. The actual dangers that do exist with modern soldering are limited to the metalsmith during the process of heating metals above 1000F. As a professional, I know how to mitigate those risks and practice a safe working environment within my own studio. I do use soldering techniques in my jewelry as it creates the strongest bond (stronger than the silver itself) and is a basic staple in the jewelry making profession. Without it, pieces have a tendency to come apart, especially with extended wear.
Q. Does your jewelry contain dangerous chemical residues?
A. NO, the metals that I work with are non-porous. As a safety precaution, all Ruth Avra jewelry goes through a 3-step process that thoroughly cleans any and all residue off the jewelry. All professional jewelers utilize a similar processes but it is important to ask this question anytime you work with a new jeweler.
Q. Are there any dangerous alloys in your jewelry?
A. NO, I source all of my material from one of the most reputable suppliers that uses recycled material, smelted in the U.S. The purity of their metal is guaranteed and verified through internal testing. It comes with a certification of purity that contains a full analysis of the material composition. For more information please visit: www.riogrande.com
Q. Do you ship international?
A. Yes, I do ship globally and have had the pleasure of sending my pieces to every continent…except Antarctica…does anyone know a penguin looking for a new belt buckle? Please message me for a shipping quote to your country. Just please note that each country has its own customs guidelines and any customs charges that may be incurred are the sole responsibility of the purchaser. Thank you for your understanding.
Q. Are you the original designer of the style of links you use in your jewelry? I’ve seen similar styles used by other artists, you’ve been making jewelry for almost 20 years does this mean they are copying you?
A. NO, The types of links used in the jewelry most commonly seen in association with babywearing and nursing are the basics in chain making, which is usually the very first thing taught to beginning metalsmithing students. Whether fusing or soldering, these links - in all shapes and forms - have been made by artists since before any of us were born. Visit your local museum, the antiquity section, and you’ll see familiar hammered links made hundreds of years ago! Alexander Calder (1898-1976), a very famous metal artist, made fabulous jewelry whose hammered links look quite similar to what is seen around your neck and between your little ones fingers! And, fun fact, my son is named Calder. No coincidence there ;)
Q. What's the best way to clean my Ruth Avra jewelry?
A. Visit my shop page for the most detailed cleaning instructions on all your jewelry: http://alaavra.bigcartel.com/care
Q. What is your policy on re-creating custom pieces?
A. It's pretty simple, if I designed it, I can remake. If you designed it, it will not replicated. Let me explain exactly what that means... A mama contacted me recently about making a custom cutout using drawings done by her son. That train cutout I made based on her sons drawings will never be used again in any of my pieces, technically speaking it was designed by her son and as far as I am concerned the design belongs to her. I may make other train-shaped pieces when a client requests it, but none will be exactly like that one. When it comes to my designs, a mama once asked me about making a bunny. I sent her three different options for a bunny and she immediately fell in love with one of them and wanted that as her cutout. That was a bunny I designed and I may use that design again as it belongs to me. Another mama saw the original bunny necklace I did for the first client and wanted the same bunny (in a very different layout) so I made it for her. If you have any questions about this I urge you to contact me before purchasing. These are two great examples, but some projects may require a case by case analysis. If you only want a one-of-a-kind piece, that must be agreed upon by both parties before proceeding with payment as it may be subject to an additional fee.
Ruth Avra is a Professional Metalsmith, practicing her trade for 17+ years. She attended the University Of Wisconsin-Madison, obtaining a Bachelor of Science in Art with a specialized focus on Art Jewelry. Ruth Avra instructed students in a studio workshop environment for 8+ years at the Art Center of South Florida, Lincoln Rd., Miami Beach, FL. Since 2003, Ruth has had a successful career as a business owner, designing and creating one of a kind, custom jewelry pieces at Avra, Inc, www.RuthAvra.com. All statements made within this FAQ document are solely the opinion of the artist and are based upon her professional experience, research and education. All statements regarding the safety of products are solely the opinion of the artist; ultimately it is your responsibility to be the judge of what is safe for you and your child. Photo credits to Anna-Liisa Nixon Photography: https://www.facebook.com/annaliisanixon?fref=ts