Clay Jewelry Care

 

There are many questions that arise when considering clay jewelry, so I thought it would be helpful to write a quick guide on durability and care for Little Clay Studio's wearable art.

 Our infinity-bound necklace in Flamingo.

Our infinity-bound necklace in Flamingo.

Durability

When we learn that a piece of jewelry is made from porcelain we might think of dinnerware we've dropped and the torment of it shattering into pieces.  Commercial dishware is typically mass-produced and single-fired to keep manufacturing costs low, which makes for fragile products that can easily chip and break.  A single-fired piece is just that: clay that has been dried, glazed, and fired in a pottery kiln one time.

Single-firing ceramics is common practice for quick production, but clay is strengthened with each fire.  When clay is single-fired, it compresses only once in the kiln, and is perfectly fine for use, as long as the clay has been vitrified.  Vitrification occurs when clay is fired at its appropriate cone (kiln temperature), maturing the clay and making it water impermiable. 

 Little Clay Studio's beads that are ready to unload from the kiln.

Little Clay Studio's beads that are ready to unload from the kiln.

Little Clay Studio's ceramics are twice-fired, which increases the strength and durability of each piece.  This process involves many steps: drying, decorating and sanding, bisque-firing, glazing, then glaze-firing (learn more about the process here).  Each fire reduces the clay piece in size, thus strengthening the clay with each compression.

There are additional variables that increase the durability of clay pieces, including thickness and surface space.  A thin, flat piece of fired clay will have weak tension spots, which can cause cracking if hit against an object.  

 An assortment of Little Clay Studio's beads.

An assortment of Little Clay Studio's beads.

Little Clay Studio's pieces are lightweight and tested for optimal size and thickness to withstand daily use and the chance that it's dropped.

Kiln-fired clay is essentially man-made stone.  Consider the hardness of a rock.  It is strengthened by exposure to temperature and compression, and ceramic pieces, like stone, will last for thousands of years.  (Check out The New York Times article on the oldest known pottery found.)

Care

CLAY CARE

Little Clay Studio's jewelry ranges from unglazed to glazed, and overglazed pieces (overglazes include mother-of-pearl and gold accents).  Contrary to popular belief, pottery is not "painted" as there is no paint involved.  Rather, glaze (which generally includes silica to create a glass layer, and oxides for colorants) is brushed on, or applied to the clay in a variety of ways.  The glaze on Little Clay Studio's pieces will not wear off with regular use, and can be cleaned with a damp cloth. 

 Tinted black porcelain beads with mother-of-pearl overglaze.

Tinted black porcelain beads with mother-of-pearl overglaze.

COTTON CARE

Little Clay Studio creates artistic statement pieces using vegan-friendly practices, and cotton cording is added to many of our necklaces.  The cotton cording can also be spot-cleaned with a damp cloth, and the cotton tassels (or vegan feathers, as I like to call them) can be wetted and combed to detangle as needed.

 Cotton cording used in Little Clay Studio's vegan-friendly jewelry.

Cotton cording used in Little Clay Studio's vegan-friendly jewelry.

VEGAN SUEDE CARE

"Vegan suede" cording is actually a microfiber and is a durable alternative to leather.  Like real suede, contact with water should be avoided.

 Vegan suede, a porcelain toggle bead, and cotton tassels on our Desert Moon necklace.

Vegan suede, a porcelain toggle bead, and cotton tassels on our Desert Moon necklace.

Enjoy

 Little Clay Studio's marbled porcelain earrings in black and white.

Little Clay Studio's marbled porcelain earrings in black and white.

Take a look at the collection

 
Little Clay Studio