Care & Materials
Every piece of Men Up North jewellery is of the highest quality. If you treat them well, they will be with you for the rest of your life and can be passed on to your children. Treating them well means taking them off when there’s a risk of coming into direct contact with water, soap, perfumes etc.
Men Up North utilizes all manner of modern technology such as 3D modelling, printing and scanning, computer-assisted routing and milling, modern casting facilities etc. Each piece is still, at its heart, manufactured – and not least, finished – by hand, however. There will be minor variations and traces of machines and craftsmanship.
This is an intrinsic part of the jewellery-making process – we consider it a feature, not a bug. The subtleties of how we reach the final result, is our signature, and it makes each piece unique.
TAKING CARE OF JEWELLERY
Jewellery set with stones, wood, bones etc. should be kept in a closed box at regular room temperature. You should be aware that leather, certain adhesives, water impregnation chemicals etc. can cause silver to oxidize and blacken, make some stones change color, and cause wood to dry out. To prevent this do not store silver items in contact with leather for extended time, and use containers designed for jewellery. Most Men Up North items are delivered with their own dedicated case.
Here’s how you care for the various types of materials found in the Men Up North collection.
For our silver pieces Men Up North uses 925 silver, which is an alloy of 92.5% silver and 7.5% copper. Sometimes, to add that high silver shine, and to make the surface less susceptible to oxidation, a .999 pure silver plating may be added.
Silver can become tarnished. In chemical terms, silver isn’t actually that reactive, but over time even pure silver will react with pollutants in the environment to create a dark layer of silver sulfide. In order to prevent this, you should keep your silver jewellery clean – wipe it off with the supplied cloth and keep it in a jewellery box when it’s not being worn.
Don’t store silver in direct contact with leather for extended time, as this can sometimes speed up tarnishing. All Men Up North leather is tanned in a vegetable-based process, and is therefore not prone to this – still, if you know you won’t be wearing your North Bead bracelet for a while, you should probably still store it unattached.
We use 18-carat yellow gold unless another gold alloy is custom-ordered for those products where this option is applicable. Being quite a malleable metal even in alloy-form, gold can be scratched and dented by a hard object, so you should be a little careful with it – remove gold jewellery if you’re doing something vigorous.
Bonus gold fact: Since gold doesn’t deteriorate, most of the gold mined through human history still exists, and much of it gets re-melted and reused many times. There could theoretically be gold from the Inca kingdom, the ancient Rome or a Viking’s necklace, in a piece of modern gold jewellery.
Unlike most other metals, gold doesn’t tarnish; it’s almost completely chemically inert, and thus impervious not only to oxidation, but also to most acids. Still, though, don’t use strong solvents on your jewellery. The gold items can be polished with the supplied cloth, and can be cleaned just fine with a mild dish soap and soft brush.
Our white diamonds are lab-grown and are therefore completely conflict-free as well as environment-friendly. We, human beings, has reach a point where science can actually imitate nature in ways of heat and pressure. Because of that, we can create a diamond in a laboratory. A lab-grown or Man-made diamond holds all the same physical and optical properties as a mined diamond, but we don´t have to dig deep holes in our earth and we don´t have to worry about blood diamonds or conflict diamonds. In the future we hope that factories making lab-grown diamonds will use green energy and then be an actual “green” diamond.
Is it still romantic? Yes absolutely! In our opinion the romance starts with lab-grown diamonds. We don´t really find it romantic to exploit our earth any more than strictly necessary. We actually find that mankind’s constant striving to achieve new scientific results, is way more romantic.
Whether you prefer earth-mined or lab-grown diamonds, it is a fact that lab-grown diamonds are physically and optically identical with the diamonds you dig out of the ground. In fact, you need a machine to know the difference. Even that can be a challenge.
The characteristics of diamonds are laid out by “The Four C’s”: Cut, Clarity, Color and Carat.
We mostly use the popular and beautiful brilliant cut, the classical round/triangular shape which really lets light play in the facets of the stone. Our white diamonds are of VS-1 clarity and TW or “Top Wesselton” color. For certain designs we use black diamonds, which are dyed that way – for some things, this just brings a little more rock’n’roll.
Diamonds are well-known to be extremely hard, but this doesn’t mean they’re impervious to damage. If you knock a diamond-studded piece of jewellery against a hard surface with enough force you can, in fact, chip it. In the case of chemicals, there aren’t many things that can damage a diamond, but many common chemicals – such as soap or greasy products – can leave a residue on the stone which can reduce its luster and shine.
To clean a diamond use hand-warm water, dish soap and a soft brush, like an toothbrush or even a makeup brush. Afterwards, polish the piece with the supplied cloth.
Mpingo wood is one of the world’s hardest, heaviest and most expensive wood species. Mpingo is also called African Blackwood and it takes 70-100 years to achieve a circumference of 1 meter. The tree is typically used for instruments and therefore also has the nickname Tree of Music. The tree is certified by the Forest Stewardship Council, or FSC, to ensure it hasn’t been obtained through illegal logging or other unsavory methods. This means that the tree has been grown and harvested in a sustainable and responsible manner, with respect for nature and the local area.
For Men Up North, it is crucial to take good care of our earth, and we therefore we have purchased the wood from FSC-certified suppliers who get the wood from areas that stand for responsible and sustainable cutting and afforestation. Men Up North supports the non-profit organization “Forests of the World” in their work to protect endangered rain forest areas and to ensure sustainable forestry.
Wood can be treated using a few drops of acid-free oil, to help the surface repel moisture and dirt. It also gives the material a deeper color and more lustrous appearance, and keeps it from drying out, which could cause it to crack. Most natural organic materials are susceptible to heat, so keep them away from things like boiling water or open flame, which can seriously damage them.
Mammoth tooth is a kind of ivory but where ivory from elephants is undesirable, unethical and definitely excluded, mammoths have been extinct for a long time and their tusks, which may be up to 10,000 years old, are typically excavated in Russia where there are large deposits but where permafrost and inaccessibility makes it difficult to obtain.
Men Up North buys mammoth tooth with selected professional dealers who, at our request, issue a certificate of origin and authenticity. Even a small piece of mammoth tooth is quite expensive, and we use it only in designs where the use of the piece of mammoth we have bought is optimal. We believe this is the case with White Square, where we cut out regular, straight pieces without unnecessary waste of mammoth tooth. The remains that may be left, we use in either unique specimen jewellery or hand away to local jewellery designers.
Bone can be treated using a few drops of acid-free oil, to help the surface repel moisture and dirt. It also gives the material a deeper color and more lustrous appearance, and keeps it from drying out, which could cause it to crack. Most natural organic materials are susceptible to heat, so keep them away from things like boiling water or open flame, which can seriously damage them.
All of our leather is sourced from European hides and are processed in accordance with EU regulations. Tanning is done using a vegetable-based process, classifying the result as “eco-friendly leather”. The process is gentle and results in a high-quality product. Manufacturing into products all takes place in Denmark, combining craftsmanship with modern production techniques.
Before using a leather product, it’s always a good idea to apply a thin layer of leather grease or “dubbin”. Let the grease soak in for a while, then wipe away excess grease with a soft cloth. Repeat this procedure a few times a year – it will help preserve the leather and prolong its life. Leather is still susceptible to moisture, however, so getting it wet (or soaked, even) can change its appearance. Also, be aware that wet leather can stretch, and will not contract back into shape again if that happens.
While a certain amount of wear and patina often only adds to the character and style, sometimes you might want to have an item repolished. We recommend finding a local, skilled jewellery craftsman – both because it’s generally easier, and to support the craft.
If you can’t find one, Men Up North offers a repolishing of any item acquired from us. We can’t guarantee in advance what the result will be, specifically, e.g. certain scratches may be too deep to completely remove.
A price for this is quoted on a case-by-case basis – inquire at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As with repolishing – and assuming we aren’t talking about warranty repairs – we suggest finding a local skilled craftsman. Again: Support the craft!
But if, say, you have a broken cufflink and you’d like to have it fixed, or a ring that needs resizing, and nobody around where you live can handle it, we’ll do that for you, too.
Inquire at email@example.com for a preliminary estimate – send pictures of your item if you can, that makes it easier for us to tell you what’s what.