Pivot. Seems to be the word of the year, for just about everyone. These last few weeks and months have been far from normal, you don’t need me to tell you. Our lives have been disrupted, and we’ve all had to pivot and change the way we do pretty much everything from work, to shopping to raising our children. It’s difficult, and sometimes discouraging, for so many people, myself included. Part of pivoting has to do with our mindset, and not just with the practical day-to-day adjustments of pandemic life. Pivot to focus on what we CAN do. Pivot away from what we can’t do. Pivot. Pivot. Pivot.

In the early days of the pandemic, I tried to stay positive, and look towards the future. But it was hard. I mean, it was REALLY hard. It felt like my world came to a screeching halt, and I stayed stuck for a day or two. But that was getting me nowhere, so I pivoted. I shifted my focus to what I could do, instead of what I couldn’t. I scoured my studio for pieces I had set aside, that maybe just weren’t working out the way I had hoped. And I looked at these pieces with a fresh set of eyes, and re-envisioned them in different ways. Forcing myself to be resourceful, I remembered my old methods of fabricating, and tried them again, with a new attitude. The results? Pretty amazing. And I’m not just talking about the new pieces, but also about my new outlook.

crystal ball pendants and other silver crystal jewelry

I’ve also been looking around my house with a clean mindset, making a list of all the “projects” I need to tackle. More time at home means more time noticing what needs to be cleaned, fixed or improved. My closet? Seriously in need of cleaning out. My studio? Well, let’s just say it hasn’t been cleaning itself. Even my own jewelry is in need of some TLC. Silver jewelry, as beautiful as it is, gets dirty, even if you’re not wearing it. Over time, when exposed to oxygen, silver starts to darken and lose its shine. This is a natural oxidization process. Not to be confused with intentionally darkening a piece for effect.

Jewelry designers, myself included, often darken sterling silver to enhance a texture and to add depth to a piece. This is called a patina. It’s essentially a chemical reaction caused by liver of sulfur. Alternately, oxidation is a process that occurs naturally over time, when metals are exposed to oxygen. The end result may look similar, although a patina is an intentional design technique, whereas oxidation is not.

To limit the amount of cleaning you’ll have to do, be sure to properly store your pieces. Ideally, keep pieces separated from each other, stored in small zip locked bags or cloth pouches. This protects each piece from rubbing against other pieces, and getting scratched. It also limits exposure to oxygen in the air.Either way, periodically cleaning your pieces will keep them looking amazing, and will also protect your investment. I’ve put together a quick jewelry care guide, just to get you started:

  • Never use abrasives to clean your pieces. This can alter to look of the piece, cause damage or scratches and remove intentional patinas.
  • Use a soft cloth and mild liquid soap to gently clean each piece. You can wipe dry, or allow to air dry. *Secret Tip* I love using an old toothbrush to really get into the piece and use this as a finishing step as well*
  • Only when the piece is completely dry, return it to a protective zip lock bag or cloth pouch.
  • If you’re ever concerned about caring for a piece, or have any questions, contact me [link] and I can walk you through the steps, or address any specific concerns.

Pivot. The word for 2020, I think we’ll all agree in hindsight. And maybe the changes are for the best anyway, and some will stick. More downtime. More time at home. More introspection and less judgement. All good things, depending on your mindset. I don’t know when, but eventually we’ll go back to something resembling normal, but for sure it will look different. Our “new” normal will still require a positive outlook and the willingness to pivot. Of this I’m sure. So maybe we decide to hold on to our new practice of pivoting for the better. It will serve us well, long beyond the pandemic.




May 27, 2020 — Alex Camacho