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Meet Diana Lee of San Diego

Meet Diana Lee of San Diego

*Article featured on SD Voyager*

Today we’d like to introduce you to Diana Lee.  

Hi Diana, can you start by introducing yourself? We’d love to learn more about how you got to where you are today.

Sure! My name is Diana “Yoyo” Lee and I am the creator of STUDIYO Jewelry where I make architectural jewelry inspired by my background as a commercial interior designer. I’ve always been an artsy/crafty kid that was always drawing, crocheting, or making way too elaborate things for school projects and I think that I always wanted to be some sort of artist. But, like a lot of kids, was told at a young age that being an artist would never be a viable career. So, I went to college and studied Interior Architecture and Product Design.

After college, I started working as an interior designer at an architecture firm, and immediately, the big difference in my life was that I was no longer making with my hands. In school, I always had “studio” and was constantly making models, creating prototypes, and making in the wood shop. Once I entered the working world, everything was mostly digital. I found myself on the computer all day and missed the physical feeling of making, to the point that it was causing me to feel empty inside. I started teaching myself how to make jewelry in 2017, pretty much only a few months after starting my job, and taught myself how to sell online. It started out very slow and grew alongside my progression as a designer at my firm. I had the opportunity to work on many interesting commercial projects with fun clients in the Seattle area like The Pokémon International Company, Google, and Indeed, and had a constant source of inspiration in my job as an interior designer while also having an outlet that was entirely mine. Having a full-time job while I was learning about building a small business took the financial pressure off and I was able to have this hobby that, at a minimum, paid for itself for many years.

My coworkers were my first models and my jewelry started catching on with other designers from different firms. I was told that my jewelry was something that reminded them of a trip to Barcelona or Italy, earrings became great gifts for architects, and the feeling of other designers and my peers wanting to wear my jewelry was very validating, exciting, and addicting.

The last couple of years have really forced myself, and many others I believe, to really think about what lights us up and what we really want to be working on, and I decided to start transitioning from only working on my business at night and on weekends, to part-time, and now finally taking the leap and working on STUDIYO Jewelry full time. Together with my partner and 2 cats, we just made the move from the Seattle area to San Diego, and am so excited to build STUDIYO Jewelry up here!

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way? Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?

Haha oh my goodness, definitely not. When you go to college for a specific job type that you hope to get after school, there are many expectations for you to stay in that career. Whether those expectations come from family, your partner, friends, coworkers…etc. When I first started, I was super quiet about it and never wanted to tell people that this is what I was doing. It took many years of quiet persistence to convince the people around me that this was something that I would be continuing to pursue, regardless if it was paying the bills. And mentally that can be really hard. Luckily my partner was one of the first people to be convinced that this is something I want to do and once I had him on board, it really made me feel more validated and open about this business. Not everyone who starts a small business has a good support system and that period of time can be really difficult and lonely. 

Then on top of the mental gauntlet, you wear all the hats in a small business if it’s just you. You design the product, make the product, market the product, design the packaging for the product, and ship the product yourself. It’s a ton of work and when you first start out, you’re not really making a paycheck so it can be very exhausting. 

To be honest, I don’t know if running a small business is ever a smooth road. (At least I haven’t experienced that yet.) There are crazy ups and downs, it’s a little unpredictable, and I’m always learning something new every day. I think I will always feel like I have more to learn but that’s also what makes it fun and exciting! 

Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your work?

Yes, so in terms of jewelry-making, I am completely self-taught, and my pieces are a combination of graphic design, architecture, and art. All my designs are inspired by the sleek hard-working women I am constantly surrounded by in the design field. My pieces take snapshots and details found in the architectural world and abstracts them in a way to create modern and unique pieces that are easily wearable with your favorite go-to outfits. My recent collections including the Tracery Collection, MOD Collection, and Luminaire II Collection were inspired by cathedrals, mid-century modern furniture, and light fixtures.


Because my background is in interior architecture, I feel like my design process thus far has definitely been influenced from making paper models. This process translates pretty seamlessly to flat sheet metal, which is what the majority of my designs are made from.



I really enjoy using industrial metals like brass and stainless steel in my pieces and recently have started creating more with stainless steel because I really dislike cleaning tarnish off my jewelry. I found that I can leave stainless steel out and not have to worry about tarnish for much, much longer than any of my brass or sterling silver pieces. I also love that it’s such a tough and industrial metal that is for sure harder to work with, but also makes my lightweight and delicate pieces more durable.

What makes you happy?

Oof. This is a deep question. I mean, this is what everyone is searching for right? 

I think part of starting this business was my search for this elusive “happiness”. For me, I think it boils down to freedom. Whether that is creative freedom with no constraints, physical/locational freedom, or freedom of time. Creating what I enjoy making, on my own schedule, and experiencing places that are different from where I grew up is what feels like happiness to me. 


  • Range of about $40 – $200 with most pieces in the $60 – $100 range

Contact Info:

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6 Easy Ways to Support Small Artists and Businesses

Other than buying their products, are there any other ways to support small artists? If you’ve ever asked this question, you’re not alone. There is definitely more than one way to show your support of an artist or small business.

Here is a list of a few unique ways to support your favorite artists without breaking the bank and sometimes even earning extra money from it!

1. Shop directly from their online store if they have one

Platforms like Etsy used to be great for some artists but they tend to take a large commission from their orders, force small artists to offer free shipping, discounts, and can make it difficult to be seen on their platform. Because of this, many small businesses have created their own websites where you can buy their products directly from them. Ordering directly from artists’ online store gives them a much larger percentage of the sale, even if you use a coupon code. 

2. Write a review

Yes, the thing that almost no one ever does unless it’s bad. If you’ve had a positive experience purchasing from an artist, make sure you go back to see if you can leave a review! Not only does this often make their day, and drives them to create more amazing things, reviews can also give small businesses more credibility to future customers to help them grow as a business.

Even if you did not have a positive experience, let the artist know and give them an opportunity to make it right. Feedback is so important as artists continue to improve and grow in their businesses.

3. Shop from a physical shop that carries their items

Many small artists sell to other local shops in their area! You can often find where you can find their products in person on their website under a Find Me page, or a Retailers page. While the artist may not receive 100% of the sale, you would be supporting two businesses with one purchase. The physical retail business and the small artist. Two in one! 

Bonus: Make a friend date out of it! Grab a friend and mark out local shops and restaurants you want to hit up within a certain walking radius. Walk, shop, eat, and support local, all while catching up with your favorite bestie!

4. Spread the word

Word of mouth really is underrated but so many small businesses rely on customers like you telling your friends and family about their businesses. The best part is, it doesn’t really cost you anything! Snapping a quick photo and sharing it on your Instagram story, tagging the artist in a TikTok, or just telling a friend or coworker over a meal. Some small businesses even offer rewards for sharing photos that you can apply to future orders!

Getting in front of the right people can be such a hurdle so telling a friend whom you think might also love their art is immensely helpful to small artists!

5. Become an Affiliate

Not all small businesses will offer this program but some definitely do! What is an affiliate program, you ask? It’s when a business offers you a commission for referring a sale from your own website, blog, newsletter, or social media page. Even if you only have a small following, if you love an artist’s work, you can earn some extra money doing this!

Not only does this help the artist because you are spreading the word about them, but you also get to earn a little passive income as a reward for your help. 


6. Gift small business items or gift cards to your friends and family

Have a birthday, anniversary, or special holiday like Mother’s Day coming up? Check out small businesses first for unique gifts that they won’t be able to buy themselves on Amazon. Many small businesses will often have gift cards available or even curate gift sets that are pre-selected to make gift giving even easier!


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Sterling Silver vs. Stainless Steel Jewelry

Sterling Silver vs. Stainless Steel Jewelry

Silver-toned jewelry! 2023 trends indicate that silver colored metals are coming back in style but which type of silver-toned jewelry is right for you? Sterling silver or stainless steel? You might be wondering what the differences are and which type of metal is better for you. 

The most common questions center around...

‣ Is stainless steel hypoallergenic?
‣ What is sterling silver made of? What is stainless steel made of?
‣ Is sterling silver waterproof?

    Let’s go through these questions.

    What does hypoallergenic mean?





    Hypoallergenic simply means that something is unlikely to cause an allergic reaction. The general rule is that less than 10% of the material contains an allergenic material. So jewelry that contains less than 10% of a reactive metal, like nickel and copper, is considered hypoallergenic. Both sterling silver and 304 stainless steel are considered hypoallergenic.

    Break it Down - Metal Alloys

    Sterling silver and stainless steel are both metal alloys which means that they are made from a mixture of different metals.

    Sterling Silver is most commonly made with 92.5% silver and 7.5% copper. Because the presence of copper is below 10%, sterling silver is considered a hypoallergenic metal and non-reactive to most people with sensitive skin.


    Stainless steel on the other hand, has a more complex mix and can come in various types. The two most common types found in high quality jewelry are 304 and 316L. (A quick way to tell if your stainless steel jewelry is not made with these types of stainless steels is if they are magnetic)

    These stainless steels are made with a combination of chromium, nickel, molybdenum, and a mix of iron, manganese, phosphorus, and nitrogen. This combination of metals makes stainless steel harder, more durable, and resistant to corrosion.


    As you can see, the biggest difference between these two types is the amounts of nickel and the presence of Molybdenum, which make it even more corrosion-resistant. Though these metals have nickel in their chemical composition, these metals typically do not release enough nickel to cause nickel dermatitis, even in nickel-sensitive people.


    Haudrechy, P., Mantout, B., Frappaz, A., Rousseau, D., Chabeau, G., Faure, M., & Claudy, A. (1997). Nickel release from stainless steels. Contact dermatitis, 37(3), 113–117.

    Still, those with known nickel allergies might try 304 stainless steel pieces. Of the two, 304 has a much lower nickel content and is even less likely to cause a reaction. 

    STUDIYO Jewelry uses 304 stainless steel for the majority of our stainless steel designs. Earrings that are made from one sheet of metal like the Catena Earrings and Neutra Hoops are made entirely of 304 stainless steel. Some attached parts like earring posts and chains, are made of 316L stainless steel and are indicated in the product descriptions.

    How these metals react to your surroundings

    What happens when sterling silver and stainless steel come in contact with oxygen and water?

    A chemical reaction occurs when both sterling silver and stainless steel come in contact with oxygen. In the case of sterling silver, oxidation occurs and a visible barrier of rust starts to form to protect the metal from further corrosion. Stainless steel on the other hand reacts with an invisible barrier that protects the metal from corrosion. This is because of the chromium and molybdenum present in the metal and is why sterling silver tarnishes easily and stainless steel does not.

    While both metals are safe to wear in plain water and in the shower, moisture in the air when storing your jewelry can speed up the rate of tarnish on sterling silver whereas it can have little to no effect on stainless steel. It's always best practice to thoroughly dry your pieces before putting them away. 

    Sterling Silver Pros and Cons

    Pros of Sterling Silver

    Precious metal that is more affordable than gold or platinum
    Generally considered hypoallergenic
     Easy to clean with soap and water or a jewelry cloth
    ○ Wearing your silver jewelry more often actually keeps it from tarnishing. Your body's natural oils create a barrier on the surface of the metal and the friction of wear keeps your jewelry shiny!
    ○ Sterling silver can be refined and retains its value over time

      Cons of Sterling Silver

       Tarnishing is a natural reaction for this metal
       Contains small amounts of copper which can cause an allergic reaction if you are hyper-sensitive
       It is a purer metal alloy which means that it is a softer metal that scratches and bends more easily
      Tends to cost more

        Stainless Steel Pros and Cons

        Pros of Stainless Steel
        ○ Tarnish resistant
        ○ Does not react to water and moisture
        ○ Harder and more durable metal
        ○ High-quality 304 and 316 stainless steel is considered hypoallergenic
        ○ Highly recycled metal 
        ○ Not a precious metal so prices can be lower

          Cons of Stainless Steel

          Contains a small amount of nickel (304 has lower nickel content than 316) and can cause an allergic reaction if you are hyper-sensitive
          ● Fairly common metal so will not retain a high resale value

          Whether you lean towards the timeless elegance of sterling silver or the modern durability of stainless steel, remember, there's no wrong choice. It all comes down to your unique style, your skin's preferences, and what makes you feel your absolute best. At STUDIYO Jewelry, we offer both options because we believe that beauty is diverse and so are your preferences. Whichever metal you choose, rest assured that your jewelry will not only adorn you but also tell your story, standing the test of time as a cherished part of your journey. So go ahead, explore, and find that perfect piece that resonates with you – because when it comes to jewelry, there's no one-size-fits-all; there's only what makes you shine.




          For more benefits of stainless steel jewelry, read the 7 Surprising Facts About Stainless Steel Jewelry

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          Seattle Handmade Gifts

          Seattle Handmade Gifts for Archi Lovers & Friends

          There are many talented artists in the Seattle area that sell goods but it can be difficult to search and find them. Here are a few local, small businesses in the Seattle area, run by women that I have a huge crush on! If you've been looking for small businesses to shop from this holiday season, here is a list to help get you started!

          Bespoke, Handmade Clothing: A.Oei Studio

          Website: | Woman-owned | AAPI

          Modern silhouettes and clean lines. There are so many amazing styles to choose from, and I have so many favorites including the Kimono V neck, the Bell Cheongsam Top, and the Windbreaker in Rust! Specializing in made to measure, bespoke clothing made from beautiful fabrics, Angeline even offers redesigning your wedding dress into modern pieces!

          Sustainable Handbags: Sea + Pine

          Website: | Woman-owned | AAPI

          Made from vegan leathers including cactus leather! Beautiful, clean lined designs that are useful and multi-functional. Jenny’s designs are super versatile like this backpack that is also a tote! Currently crushing on the Modern Traveler Backpack, Executive Tote, and the Modern Caryall Tote.

          Unique Architectural Jewelry: STUDIYO Jewelry

          Website: | Woman-owned | AAPI

          Modern pieces made of stainless steel make these sleek designs waterproof! Local designer Diana draws inspiration from architecture and interiors and uses recycled metals to make her ultra lightweight pieces. I might be biased but current faves include the CATENA Earrings, GALA Earrings, and the Tools Charm Necklace!


          Modern Minimalist Ceramics: Jennifer Spring Ceramics

          Website: | Woman-owned 

          Gorgeous, mostly black and white, small batch ceramics. Meticulously hand carved pieces with yummy textures that are made to match your home decor. Jennifer releases pieces in small batches every 4-6 weeks so make sure to check her website regularly!

          By the Fire: Bookends Quilting

          Website: | Woman Owned

          Perfect for snuggle weather, these quilts give all the geometric, cozy feels. Steph’s handmade quilts not only look super comforting but are also so aesthetically pleasing! I also hear she might be releasing patterns next year!

          Literal Fire: Lulumiere

          Website: | Woman Owned | AAPI

          If you are someone who always needs a candle burning like I do, check out Linda's candles! She has an amazing assortment of candles and shower steamers and her packaging is so cute! She just opened a physical brick and mortar store that I am dying to visit. Currently crushing on the Aloha Signature Candle!

          Plant Things: Hemleva

          Website: | Woman-owned | AAPI

          For my indoor plant lovers! If you live in the Seattle area and haven’t heard about Hemleva, I’d be surprised. Samantha makes the cutest and most gorgeous pins, air plant mobiles, and rainbow suncatchers. She also offers a wealth of knowledge in plant care and genuinely seems like the nicest person!

          Speaking of Plants: Fringe

          Website: | Woman-owned

          Walking into Taylor's store is like walking into an interior designer's indoor jungle! Her shop in Belltown is always stocked full of beautiful plants, objects, and the space is so aesthetically pleasing. Plus, she usually has her friendly dog, Gwen with her!
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          Girls Garage x STUDIYO Jewelry

          This Saturday, I am releasing an all new charm necklace! It is my very first collaboration and it's with Girls Garage, an organization that I have been donating to since the end of 2020.

          Girls Garage is a women-led organization that offers free and low-cost programs in carpentry, welding, architecture, engineering, and activist art to a diverse community of girls and gender-expansive youth. They provide a supportive and safe environment for girls as well as career and academic advising! 82% of teen girls and gender-expansive youth identify as girls of color and all teen participants attend the program at no cost to their families.

          There is nothing more empowering and inspiring to me than an independent woman. I was raised by a single mom, and she has been an amazing role model, showing me first hand the ability and strength of women. Then in college, I was lucky enough to live with 4 fiercely independent women, all in architecture school, who taught me how to think and fend for myself, problem solve, and that everything is often figure-out-able if you try. I remember once the door frame to my room in our house warped due to the heat and my door became jammed, trapping me in my room. Instead of calling the landlord or a handyman as I panicked, they calmly handed me tools through my window and talked me through how to take the door hinge pins out and simply remove the door.

          This can-do attitude and willingness to research allowed me to do things like order, replace, and install the side mirror on my car by myself after a drunk biker had smashed into it. It may seem small, but not only did it save me a lot of money, I also felt so damn accomplished afterward.

          The design of this necklace includes 5 charms that represent typical tools that Girls Garage teaches their girls to use. For me, the necklace also represents how I got started making things and tools that I first learned how to use. Every time you learn how to use a new tool, it opens your eyes to a world of possibilities and new ideas. It’s so empowering.


          All 5 tools are basic yet powerful tools that are the foundation of many projects. Each charm was drawn digitally, then carefully cut out of paper to create prototypes. Together with Girls Garage, we went back and forth to decide scale, length, and tools, and after a few iterations, landed on this intricate design. Every charm is made of thin stainless steel with tool details etched into the face.

          With this limited edition collaboration, 20% of every necklace sold will be donated directly to Girls Garage to support their mission of providing more guidance and technical skills for girls to create a real impact in their communities and build the world they want to see.

          The 2022 TOOLS CHARM NECKLACE is available now!

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          Maker Spotlight: STUDIYO Jewelry

          Maker Spotlight: STUDIYO Jewelry

          Pictured wearing the MOVIMENTO Earrings


          Last month, STUDIYO Jewelry participated in our first virtual market with Full Moon Market and they did a little Q+A with me! You can find the original article here:

          Q+A With Diana

          How did your small business start? Who or what inspired you to start your business? How long have you been in business/been creating?

          “My business started back in 2017 pretty much immediately after I started working at my first full time design job after college. I suddenly found myself working almost solely on the computer and craved making with my hands like I was doing constantly in school. I started by experimenting and cutting sheets of shrinky dinks on my cricut and making plastic and resin jewelry and as I started learning and teaching myself more, I gradually shifted to sheet metal. My inspiration naturally comes from my day job as a commercial interior designer as well as my travels.”

          How would you describe your work?

          “Understated modern jewelry designed by an introverted troublemaker.”

          What/who inspires you now?

          “Women like Simone Giertz who make a living by being a maker of whatever she can think of. Like she made a name for herself by being the queen of shitty robots. Why not?”

          What do you hope to convey to the FMM community through your business/craft/art? What impact would you like to leave on the FMM community?

          “One of the foundations that I donate to is Girls Garage because one thing I am passionate about is empowering young girls to learn to build and make, give them valuable physical skills, and show them alternative career paths. As a kid, and still to this day I think, people have told me that I would never be able to make a living as an artist, and it not only makes me sad but also drives me a little nuts. I love the sentiment of Girls Garage because they're tagline is "Fear Less, Build More" and I think that sums up how I feel. I think we deserve to choose the path we want to take in life even if it looks drastically different than the people around us and try not to get bogged down by other people's fears.”

          What are some new lines/products/concepts we can look forward to?

          “I just released the Luminaire II Collection which is inspired by light fixtures. I always find myself looking at lighting and thinking that it is the jewelry of interior design. I'm actually so proud of this collection that I might add more pieces to this collection later this year ;) Another focus is stainless steel jewelry. I love low maintenance jewelry and tarnish is a bit of a pet peeve. I love the strength and non tarnishing qualities of my new collection so much that I think moving forward, all new designs will be stainless steel for that durability and ease to care for.”

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          7 Surprising Facts About Stainless Steel Jewelry

          7 Surprising Facts About Stainless Steel Jewelry

          Have you recently heard about stainless steel jewelry and want to know more about this relatively new jewelry material? You’ve come to the right place! Here are 7 surprising facts about stainless steel jewelry that you might not know about!

          1. Stainless Steel Jewelry is Waterproof

          Yes! Finally jewelry that is super low maintenance. Accidentally wear it in the shower? No problem. Leave your earrings out on a damp bathroom counter? No problem! Stainless steel is inherently rust and tarnish proof. The presence of chromium in its chemical composition creates a barrier that prevents tarnish from building up, making it super easy to care for.

          2. Stainless Steel Jewelry is Hypoallergenic & Won't Turn Your Skin Green

          This is one that seems to be up for debate on the internet so let’s clear it up. First, hypoallergenic is defined as jewelry that contains little to no potentially irritating alloys. Typically, the threshold is that if the offending alloy is present but less than 10%, it will not bother the wearer. This usually refers to nickel as this is the most common metal allergy.

          Now, why do some people say stainless steel is hypoallergenic while others say it absolutely is not? There are two common alloys of stainless steel used in jewelry!

          304 STAINLESS STEEL is categorized as a hypoallergenic metal. It is made of 18-20% chromium, 8-10% nickel, and iron alloys. Nickel allergies are the most common in earring wearers, yet because stainless steel contains less than 10% of nickel in it's composition, it is considered hypoallergenic and a very safe option.

          316L STAINLESS STEEL which is ironically nicknamed "surgical steel", contains 10-14% nickel to increase it's corrosion resistance. Unfortunately surgical steel may cause irritation in wearers with nickel allergies because the presence of nickel tends to be higher than 10%.

          STUDIYO Jewelry uses 304 stainless steel for all our stainless steel jewelry. I have found over the years that I personally may be slightly allergic to copper which is found in 14kt gold, 14kt rose gold, and in ultra low quantities, in sterling silver mixtures. Wearing high quality 304 stainless steel earrings have made my ears feel so much better. It’s worth a try!

          3. Stainless Steel is Highly Recycled

          Stainless steel can be infinitely recyclable! This means that it can be extracted and reformed without losing its physical and chemical properties and is currently recycled more than glass and paper. Most stainless steel objects made today have at least 60% recycled steel in it. The sheet metal that we use always has 65-75% recycled content in it and 100% of the scrap sheet metal used to create my pieces are recycled as scrap metal to be melted and reformed into something new!

          4. Stainless Steel Jewelry is Light and Durable

          Stainless steel is an alloy that blends chromium, titanium, and nickel.  Because of this, stainless steel is durable which is why we often use it in manufacturing and for kitchen utensils.

          On the Mohs scale of hardness, it has a hardness of 4, compared to sterling silver and gold, which both have a hardness of about 2-2.5. Because it is stronger, we can create more delicate and detailed designs that would easily warp and break if made of brass, silver, or gold.

          5. Most Stainless Steel Jewelry is Made Overseas

          This is an interesting one that you might not know. Traditionally, jewelry is made and reproduced through casting melted metal. Did you know, that it is extremely rare and virtually impossible to find a jeweler in the United States willing to work with stainless steel? Believe me, I’ve gone down the rabbit hole. The reason I've learned, is that stainless steel has a much higher melting temperature than other metals typically found in jewelry like sterling silver, brass, and gold. This renders the casting process of stainless steel to be pretty dangerous. Large scale manufacturers that are willing to work with stainless steel are more often found in different countries abroad, like China. Many of the companies you see selling stainless steel jewelry in the United States these days, very likely manufacture abroad. They can sell them at lower prices because they mass produce such large quantities allowing them to make them for cheaper.

          Not wanting to create a large carbon footprint by mass producing and shipping overseas, I chose to make STUDIYO Jewelry's stainless steel jewelry by cutting flat pieces of metal. Stainless steel sheet metal is a very common material used in residential and commercial construction so sourcing the material in the US was a lot more abundant and made a whole lot more sense for a small US-based business than sourcing from a different country. I love this medium because it can be very similar to paper cutting, which is something very familiar to me from years of making paper models for architecture school. I love the idea of transforming something so industrial into something delicate and personal.

          6. Stainless Steel Jewelry is Unique

          There aren’t a ton of options for stainless steel jewelry...yet. Stainless steel jewelry is still considered relatively new on the market. It’s gained popularity in the last few years but prior to that, the jewelry that was on the market was designed primarily for men. Of the most common were stainless steel wedding bands and stainless steel bracelets. There currently are not as many varieties of options for stainless steel jewelry (that are not mass produced) for women out there, but lucky for you, STUDIYO Jewelry just came out with a new collection of earrings for you to choose from!

          7. Stainless Steel Jewelry is Crazy Adaptable

          Last but not least, you can wear stainless steel jewelry to virtually any occasion. In it’s non plated state it has the appearance of silver and when plated, the appearance of gold. You can wear it every day, dress it up or down, and wear it with countless outfits!

          If you are looking for new stainless steel jewelry, check out the MCM CollectionLuminaire II Collection, and Tracery Collection!

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          Spring Cleaning: Your Jewelry Care Guide

          Not very often, but once in a while, you might find that your jewelry needs a little clean. Here are some simple care tips for all the different metals we use at STUDIYO Jewelry to help you keep your pieces looking it's best!


          First, let's discuss the most common reason why your jewelry might need a clean. Tarnish. What is tarnish exactly? Tarnish is a natural chemical reaction that occurs when a metal comes in contact with elements in the atmosphere. This just means that the top layer of the metal is undergoing a chemical reaction and creating a protective barrier on the outside to protect it from corrosion. Lots of things can attribute to a piece of jewelry tarnishing ranging from your personal chemical composition to the oxygen in the air. It can make your jewelry look darker and duller and can look like a thin grey or black film. It is also commonly referred to as oxidization and patina. Metals that are prone to tarnish include, brass, copper, bronze, and silver.

          The next reason why your jewelry might need a clean is daily build up. Jewelry can get a build up of dirt, makeup, sweat, and chemicals (like sunscreen) that you may interact with on a day to day basis. It’s best to remove these from your jewelry when you can to prevent your piece from tarnishing or getting dull.

          I’m breaking these cleaning tips down into two sections, “solid base metals” and “laminated metals” because the cleaning and care tips are quite similar for pieces in these categories.


          includes brass, sterling silver, copper, and bronze

          Brass jewelry requires a little bit of maintenance, only because it requires an occasional clean if you prefer bright shiny brass. The MOD Collection pendants are all made of brass and gold filled ear wires. Brass tarnishing is a natural reaction and something that you can’t really stop. As soon as it touches the air, the chemical reaction has begun. How quickly it tarnishes really depends on the elements present in the atmosphere. When left out, brass jewelry usually takes on a darker yellow-brown color and can look duller over time. The good news is, it’s easy to clean!

          This is a popular precious metal that if not worn, will tarnish and darken over time. It tends to take on a grey film that ranges from grey to black. The interesting thing is, the oils on your skin will help prevent tarnish so the more you wear it, the less tarnish it will have!
          HOW TO CLEAN SOLID BASE METALS: Both brass and sterling silver pieces are solid metals all the way through so it is safe to use a cleaner that is a little more abrasive. Polishing cloths have an abrasive compound that will buff out the top layer of your piece and work incredibly well for brass and silver. Another easy way is to use some Bar Keeper’s Friend and some water to create a mixture and use your fingers to gently rub the tarnish off your piece. Rinse well and dry thoroughly. It doesn’t take much and your jewelry will look brand new in no time!

          I have a video here to show how to do this super easily!


          includes gold-filled and gold plated stainless steel


          I consider gold-filled pieces to be pretty low maintenance. Gold-filled generally means that there is a thick layer of gold bonded to a brass core. These can be worn and taken care of just like real gold. I use 14kt gold-filled and 14kt rose gold-filled ear wires, and chains on all my jewelry because these are parts that rub against your skin the most and I want them to be long lasting! Depending on your skin’s chemistry, and your surroundings, gold-filled jewelry can tarnish. It doesn’t happen nearly as quickly as brass or sterling silver and is much more subtle. If it does happen, don’t panic, it’s easy to clean!

          The gold pieces in the Luminaire II Collection, Tracery Collection, and MCM Collections pendants are all made with a stainless steel base, gold plated, and then coated with a nano ceramic coating. Stainless steel resists tarnish extremely well so these pieces will not tarnish on you. These pieces are super low maintenance and rarely require any cleaning or buffing.

          CLEANING LAMINATED METALS: These metals will not require cleaning as often as the base metals. Because these metals are not solid and have a layer of gold on the outside, you’ll want to avoid abrasive cleaners. Soak your piece in some water and a drop of mild detergent and use a soft cloth to remove any dirt, sweat, and makeup. Make sure to dry your piece thoroughly before you store it away. Polishing cloths and Bar Keeper’s Friend can wear down the gold layer on your piece over time so definitely use sparingly or (preferably) not at all. Do not use an ultrasonic cleaner to clean your gold plated jewelry. The ultrasonic waves can cause the gold layer to debond from the base metal and cause a peeling effect.


          For any piece, it’s usually best practice to store your jewelry in a dry and moisture free environment when not being worn. Ziplock bags and jewelry boxes are great for protecting your piece from moisture and sulfides in the air as it reduces airflow. Every STUDIYO piece comes in a box that is perfect to store your pieces in and travel in! It can go a long way to care for your piece and ensure that it lasts for years to come!

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