FAQ's - Frequently Asked Questions - Information - John S. Brana - Distinctive Jewelry

Do you have a physical store?

www.johnsbrana.com is an Internet based store with a working studio. I do not have a traditional brick and mortar store. Since my customers are unable to physically visit me, I make every attempt to make your shopping experience on my web store as close to the "real thing" as possible.


Do you offer custom design services?

I am happy to incorporate slight variations as to sizing and choice of gemstones into existing designs. However, since I design and manufacture all featured jewelry myself, I no longer offer concept to production services.

If you have your own stone, and would like to incorporate it into one of my designs, in most cases I would be happy to accommodate your request.

Do you repair jewelry?

I guarantee all of my jewelry free from defects and will repair at no cost to you if a repair is needed due to a fabrication error.

If a repair is required due to wear, I would be more than happy to make necessary repairs at reasonable rates.  If you need a pearl necklace re-knotted, I can refer you to a trusted specialist.

All items damaged after receipt by the customer or through normal wear may be returned for repair or replacement with authorization.

Return shipping to John S. Brana is not credited, but we will pay return shipping to you. Repairs may take up to four weeks from the time we receive the item until we return it. Please let us know if the repair is a rush, or if it needs to be back to you by a certain date. In some cases, discontinued items returned for repair may not be able to be repaired or replaced, as findings and beads/gemstones become unavailable.

Can a ring be re-sized?

Generally, no.

 I can sometimes make a ring slightly larger (about ¼ of a size) by removing metal from the inside of the ring.  It really depends on the thickness of the ring. 

All wire sculpted rings cannot be re-sized, so a new setting would have to be fabricated if a re-sizing is required.


What metals do you use in your jewelry?

www.johnsbrana.com exclusively features handcrafted jewelry in fine (pure) silver, sterling silver, 14K gold filled wire, 14K - 24K yellow gold, aluminum, stainless steel, nu gold (brass), and 24K heavy-plated Sterling Silver (commonly referred to as Vermeil). 

What is Fine Silver?

Fine Silver is 99.9% pure silver, and is known to tarnish eight times slower than Sterling Silver due to its lack of copper.  The general rule is that as the purity of silver decreases, the problem of tarnishing increases.


What is Sterling Silver?

Sterling Silver is 92.5% pure silver hardened with another metal alloy of no more than 7.5%, usually copper.

Why not use either Sterling Silver or Fine Silver exclusively?

It really depends on the look and functionality I am seeking to achieve.

Without work-hardening (usually by hammering or tumbling), Fine Silver would be too soft to use in most jewelry.  I use Sterling Silver solely in my Sonoma Collection for its strength and smooth shiny look it gives to chainmail.  The textured hammered look of the SoMa Collection

lends itself solely to the malleable properties of softer Fine Silver.

What is Gold Filled, Vermeil, Gold Plated?


What is Gold Filled, Vermeil, Gold Plated?



Estimated Durability in Years**

Minimum Gold Karat


Gold Filled

5 – 400 +


10K -24K

Goldfilled, Gold-Filled, Gold Filled ( abbreviated g.f.) is wire or sheet that has a layer of gold 10K gold (or higher) mechanically bonded under heat and pressure to one or more surfaces of a supporting base material (usually brass). It is then rolled or drawn to a specified thickness or gauge.  The FTC (Federal Trade Commission) regulates the labeling of gold filled products by requiring wire manufacturers to mark or tag gold filled as 10, 12, or 14K Gold-filled. Karat measurement of gold content must be part of the marking or designation when sold to the public. The jewelry industry standard regarding the quantity of gold in gold filled must be at least 1/20th (5%) by weight of the total product.


2.5 or Greater


14K -24K

Vermeil is Sterling Silver that has been heavily electroplated with at least 2.5 Microns of fine gold (at least 14K, usually 22K - the karat of gold should be stated). The layer of gold may be either electroplated or mechanically bonded.

Gold Plated

.5 or Greater


14K -24K

Patented in 1840, electroplating is a process by which a thin layer of gold, silver, palladium, and other metals are deposited onto a conductive object to enhance its appearance and value. Utilizing an electrical current, positively charged metal "ions" travel through a liquid solution known as an "electrolyte", and are deposited onto a negatively charged metal object.  The result is a very thin layer, only a few microns, which is likely to wear much more quickly than gold filled.

Gold Tone

.175 or Greater

1 or less

14K -24K

A short plating cycle (less than 15 seconds) that is used for color or thin deposits. A flash allows the plater a quick and inexpensive way to have a variety of gold colors (14K. to 24K) as a final finish.

Gold Washed or Gold Flash

Less than .175

1 or less


Flash is a means used to just cover the object with enough gold to give it a uniform color.


* U.S. Gov – F.T.C. regulations
**Durability based on normal and reasonable wear parameters and applications. 
125 microns = thickness of human hair


What is Italian Mesh Ribbon?

Italian Mesh Ribbon is extremely fine brass wire that is loosely woven and is anodized (bonded) with an enamel and is available in 28 colors.  The ribbon I use is imported from Italy and is the highest quality available on the market.  This unique tubular wire mesh ribbon is nickel-free, waterproof, and heat resistant.

What kind of pearls do you use?

I use Tahitian, Akoya, Keishi, and cultured freshwater pearls. The type of pearl used is noted in the description of each piece of jewelry.

What is the best way to care for my jewelry?

Precious Metals

Sterling Silver will tarnish and gold will oxidize with exposure to air. To minimize oxidation, store silver and gold jewelry sealed in a plastic bags.  Most of my designs are crafted in Fine Silver (99.9% Pure), therefore tarnish up to 8 times slower than regular Sterling Silver.  You should never use abrasive silver or metal polish on precious metal jewelry nor should you use toothpaste.  The abrasives will  wear away some of the metal and if the piece has had patina applied, totally remove that too.

The best way to remove tarnish or oxidation is by using a Rouge Cloth (special jewelry polishing cloth), or by cleaning in an ionic or ultrasonic jewelry cleaner. Ultrasonic cleaners are not safe for most gemstones.  A jewelers cloth such as a Rouge Cloth can also be used for cleaning gold, silver, copper and brass jewelry. When using a Rouge Cloth, rub the surface to be polished with medium pressure.

The cloth retains its special polishing and cleansing action until the cloth is completely darkened and it lasts for years. At this point it should be disposed of. Do not wash the cloth.  You also can  organically clean sterling silver, fine silver, brass, and copper by soaking the item in balsamic vinegar for about 10 minutes.  This method should only be used on bare metal jewelry (without attached gemstones or gem settings).

Colored Patinas

Many of my Fine Silver rings have had a patina applied in order to  achieve variations in color. It is important to note that the patina will slowly darken over time from exposure to the air and other elements in the environment. Using a metal cleaner will remove the patina and change the look of the piece and may cause damage to the silver or gold. Use either a Rouge Cloth or a soft cotton cloth for light cleaning. When precious metal jewelry requires a more thorough cleaning, gently finger wash in lukewarm water with a tiny drop of mild liquid soap. Allow the jewelry to air dry thoroughly before polishing and storing.


Pearls are porous and require special care. Never use jewelry cleaners, since this might turn light colored pearls black.  Instead wipe your pearls gently with a damp cloth. As a preventative measure, put your pearls on last to minimize direct contact with perfume, cologne, hair spray, lotions and make-up. The best way to care for your pearls is to wear them. The oils from your skin will help prevent the pearls from drying out. Do not store pearls in zip-lock baggie’s because moisture can build up inside a sealed bag and damage your pearls.  Instead, wrap your pearls in a jewelers tissue, tissue paper, or a soft cotton cloth, and store directly in a soft jewelry bag.


Precious and semi-precious gemstone beads are made of natural minerals and are quite porous and will chip if not cared for properly. When wearing your beads, be careful to not knock them against hard surfaces. As with Pearls, apply cosmetics and perfume before putting on your jewelry. Cosmetics and perfumes may contain substances that will discolor your beads or damage the protective outer layer. Do not wear or leave your jewelry exposed to high temperatures. Remove your jewelry before entering a sauna or when you plan to spend long hours in direct sunlight. Do not wear your jewelry while swimming, as both salt water and chlorine will damage them.  Most gemstones should not be cleaned in an ultrasonic cleaner.