Know Your Bling :: Silver Jewelry

Today we’re continuing our educational series “Know Your Bling” with an in-depth look at silver jewelry. When selecting pieces for your personal collection, it’s important to remember that not all “silver jewelry” is created equal. There is variety in levels of actual silver content – or purity – and some metals that look silver are not actually silver at all. Here’s a run down of the different types of “silver jewelry” you may encounter, from highest purity to lowest.


Fine Silver refers to items that are made from 99% pure silver. While it is especially lustrous, fine silver is not appropriate for most jewelry because it is not very durable, bending easily due to its softness. For this reason, it is not commonly used in jewelry that will be worn on at least a semi-regular basis.


Tiffany & Co.’s famous toggle necklace is sterling silver

Sterling Silver comes next in terms of silver content. It has a composition of 92.5% pure silver and 7.5% copper or other base metal alloy, with these proportions set by law. Sterling silver is often considered the standard among jewelry makers because it offers greater durability than fine silver while maintaining its high level of quality & beauty. It is the best option for those with metal sensitivities, and many of our bridal earrings have sterling silver posts (even the gold ones!) due to this fact. You can often identify sterling silver pieces by looking closely for a tiny “.925″ stamped somewhere on the piece.


These cubic zirconia earrings from our bridal collection feature sterling silver posts & elements.

Sterling Silver Filled items are made by combining a durable outer layer of sterling silver and a copper-alloy core. To qualify as sterling silver-filled, and item must be made of at least 10-20% sterling silver. It receives an anti-tarnish coating at the end of the fabrication process to preserve the beauty of the metal. Sterling silver-filled items are often cited as being a more affordable alternative to sterling silver without sacrificing quality, but I have noticed in my own use that these items tend to patina (or look “antiqued”/lose their pure color) about as quickly as silver plated metals. For this reason, much of the silver jewelry in the J’Adorn Designs shop is either sterling silver or silver plated.


This bridesmaid’s jewelry features silver plated components. Many of our bridal clients opt for silver plated jewelry in their bridesmaids’ gifts because it is both beautiful and affordable.

Silver Plated metal is made up of a base metal alloy core with a fine silver outer layer. This is the most cost-effective alternative to fine silver in its more solid forms that still contains actual silver. That being said, the layer of plating does wear off with use, usually within 6 months in my personal experience.

Silver Finished, also called “silver toned” or “silver colored” jewelry does not actually contain silver, but rather is a base metal that’s been plated with a different metal that has a silvery color. This is typically the type of “silver” jewelry components you will see at crafts stores such as Michael’s, JoAnn’s, and A.C. Moore.

Platinum wedding band from Tiffany & Co.

Platinum wedding band from Tiffany & Co.

Other “silver” metals vary widely in terms of quality and use. For instance, platinum is a favorite among connoisseurs of fine jewelry because it is extremely rare, holds up well, and is more valuable than gold or silver, but looks like silver in color.

Rhodium is another silver-colored metal that is often used in fine jewelry for plating purposes; its most common use is in white gold (which is really just yellow gold with a rhodium plating overtop).

Other metals like aluminum and nickel look similar to silver in color but are less expensive options with different levels of shine, color depth, and brightness.  They are often used in alloys to create less durable but inexpensive jewelry, such as much of the mass-produced fashion jewelry found in chain stores.

Although gold and rose gold are gaining popularity at the moment, silver has stood the test of time as a favorite in jewelry making since ancient times. It looks like silver is here to stay! Hopefully you’ve learned something new from this post and you’ll be a bit more confident next time you walk into a jewelry store or reach out to us with a custom design project.

DIY Necklace Workshop with Capitol Romance


flower pearl necklace headerWe are pleased to announce that we will be leading Capitol Romance’s August DIY Workshop! Join us at the Hill Center at the Old Naval Hospital in Washington, D.C. on August 2nd at 2:00pm. Attendees will learn tips and tricks from J’Adorn Designs’ owner & designer, Alison Jefferies. Each attendee will also learn how to create their own pearl & flower necklace to take home.
Grab your tickets here, and get ready for a great afternoon of crafting & learning. Workshop ticket prices include all tools and items needed to create the craft, snacks and beverages provided by local vendors, and a sponsored favor! More information is available here.


Custom Wedding Jewelry :: Brittanie + Ryan, Part 2

As promised in last week’s post, today we’re taking a look at the attendants’ jewelry we designed for Ryan and Brittanie’s wedding. Working with Brittanie to envision these pieces was a pleasure for me as a designer because it was so evident that her focus was on honoring the women who had stood by her all the way up to the aisle. Talk about inspiring! From her bridesmaids to her day-of coordinator, this bride wanted a thoughtful gift for each of her attendants, and the resulting jewelry suite was beautiful. Here’s a close-up look at the full collection:CollisonBM6



Brittanie’s older sisters were her matrons of honor, and they wore sterling silver necklaces with gemstone pendants and Swarovski crystal accent beads to complement their royal blue dresses. These necklaces were a theme of the bridal party jewelry, with 5 of the 7 women wearing a variation of the necklace. Each one had a different pendant to create a matching but varied look that incorporated all of Brittanie’s chosen colors for the event. We varied the lineup of bridesmaids by giving a coordinating pair of earrings to the maid of honor, and a bracelet to another bridesmaid. Brittanie staggered the lineup of jewelry for well-coordinated mixture of styles that suited each of her best girls.







CollisonBM5ABrittanie’s flower girls were her beloved nieces. They each got one of these delicate floral cuff bracelets, customized to fit their toddler-sized wrists. CollisonFGThe day-of coordinator, Kiley, was one of Brittanie’s mentors (as well as the wife of the ceremony officiant, who was a mentor to Ryan!). Brittanie wanted to be sure Kiley was honored just as much as her other attendants, so she gifted her a pair of these earrings from our shop. They were the perfect match to Kiley’s vintage-inspired dress and multi-stranded pearl necklace. CollisonKiley2


Congratulations to Brittanie and Ryan on your new marriage, and thank you for choosing J’Adorn Designs to create your custom wedding jewelry!

Want to see some of these pieces listed in our shop? Let us know in the comments section!

What to Wear to a Summer Wedding

70sKeyholeDressCollageShop: Dress, Earrings

The J’Adorn Designs office is closed for the second part of the week while we’re away at a family wedding, so we’ve asked our friend Carolyn Thombs to keep things rolling here on the blog with a guest post. Carolyn is a talented makeup artist and photographer, and she also has a fashion blog called Lipstick & Chiffon. She’s put her knack for pairing adorable frocks and accessories to use with this fashion guide for summer wedding guests. Leave her some love in the comments, and enjoy her selections! Take it away, Carolyn…

It is always a super hard decision-making process when you have a wedding to go to and it is hot and muggy out and every dress in your closet feels like it is just going to attract all of the heat to your body. Here are some great silhouettes to stick to and some beautiful jewelry options from J’Adorn Designs to keep you chic and cool during the ceremony and dancing the night away.

For a Casual Day Wedding: For a day wedding you can be a bit more casual; this is also the hottest part of the day. Try to choose something short and loose so that all your limbs can breathe. A pattern also helps with camouflaging any sweat that may start to drip in the hot summer heat.

LotsOfDotsCollageShop: Dress, Earrings, Bracelet, Bracelet

WarehouseBirdCollageShop: Dress, Earrings, Necklace

For a Semi-Formal Affair: A semi-formal wedding has the most range for choosing your dress. You can choose something more structured but with a fun pattern and still on the shorter side, or choose something with more embellishment. You still want to find something that won’t be too hot, so opt for a strapless or sleeve-less.

RoseBandeauCollageShop: Dress, Earrings, Necklace

LetsReminisceCollageShop: Dress, Earrings, Necklace

For a Formal/Evening Wedding: Formal attire weddings are usually later in the evening when the weather has had a chance to cool off a bit. With slightly cooler temperatures a long dress won’t trap too much heat in around your legs. Even just having a tea length dress can keep things cool – and then you won’t have to worry about the length while you’re dancing!


PleatYouToItCollageShop: Dress, Earrings, Necklace

MirrorToMyHeartCollageShop: Dress, Earrings, Bracelet

Which look is your favorite? Tell us all about it in the comments!

Custom Wedding Jewelry :: Brittanie + Ryan, Part 1

Today we’re sharing the first of two posts showcasing the full jewelry suite we designed for Ryan + Brittanie’s wedding in Havre de Grace, Maryland, earlier this month. The colors of the day were royal blue and cream, with accents of champagne, goldenrod, burnt orange, and light pink. This wedding was a stunner so buckle up and feast your eyes on these photos of Brittanie’s Swarovski crystal and pearl set and the complementary mothers’ jewelry we designed to match.


IMG_6045editFor bride Brittanie, we created a custom lariat-style necklace with Swarovski crystals and pearls in ivory, champagne, and royal blue. We made a pair of coordinating stretch bracelets for her to wear featuring the same elements as her necklace. The effect was a classic look that really tied the bride’s outfit together with the rest of the bridal party.

IMG_5419editTo honor her beloved mother, Brittanie asked us to create a Swarovski pearl stretch bracelet to match hers. Karon was thrilled to wear something in common with her youngest daughter on her wedding day.


For the mother of the groom, Brittanie chose a pair of classic earrings from our shop and requested that they be made with silver elements instead of our usual gold to match everything else in the jewelry suite. These bow earrings made the perfect accessory for Ryan’s mom, Sara, who looked beautiful in a royal blue dress. SaraSullivanCollageWe loved creating custom jewelry for Brittanie + Ryan’s special day and it was so fun for us to bring Brittanie’s detailed vision to life. This bride had a clear picture of what she wanted and she was giddy to show her love for all the women who played a role in her wedding & life leading up to it.

Love what you see? These pieces from Brittanie’s wedding are now available in the J’Adorn Designs Shop! Shop using the following links:

Brittanie’s Necklace, Brittanie’s Crystal Bracelet, Karon & Brittanie’s Pearl Bracelet, Sara’s Bow Earrings

This is only about half of the jewelry we made for this awesome couple, so be sure to check back next week when we highlight the the attendants and their custom J’Adorn Designs jewelry!