FAQ & Materials

Our mission at Grayling is to create versatile, unique jewelry in a wide range of prices, while adhering to strict quality standards with a strong commitment to U.S.-based manufacturing. We stand behind what we make, and every piece of our jewelry is backed by a 2-year Limited Warranty. 

I have sensitive skin. Can I wear your jewelry?

YES! 98 % of people can wear every single item we make with little to no risk of irritation. We adhere to strict metal quality standards and we do not use nickel as a base metal, nor do we plate with nickel silver. Typically, nickel becomes an issue when the nickel content in plating is of a significant percentage. Our chains are free of nickel in the plating and in the base metal. Our ear wires are completely free of nickel and are safe for sensitive ears. 

Are your ear wires nickel free?

Yes. Our ear wires and posts are free of nickel, from the plating to the base metal. Our hypoallergenic earrings can be worn by everyone, without a risk of irritation.

I usually wear sterling silver or gold because I get a rash from other metals. Can I wear Grayling?

Our designer, Katy, is allergic to several metals, and she created Grayling specifically for people with sensitive skin like hers. None of our metal finishes contain nickel, lead, or harmful chemicals! Our alloys are tested and are guaranteed to be 100% nickel free. Our advice is, give it a try -- you might be pleasantly surprised. Learn more about nickel free jewelry here.

My skin turns black or green with jewelry sometimes. What's up with that?

What you're referring to is often called "staining". Good news: staining isn't caused by allergies, it's actually a reaction between the metals used in jewelry and our skin. When jewelry touches areas that perspire, the PH in our skin can reacts to the metal it touches. Then, our skin can turn black or green. Our jewelry doesn't have nickel and is hypoallergenic, but sometimes the copper can cause skin to temporarily discolor. The earrings or ring you're wearing might not have much copper, but it might have enough copper to cause a reaction. It depends on your individual skin and body chemistry. For some people, jewelry will stain even when a small amount of copper is present. For others, jewelry will never stain. Think of how a copper penny turns green and tarnishes over time -- the same thing can happen to your skin. Luckily, it's not dangerous, but it can be annoying!

At Grayling, we see this most commonly with our antiqued brass jewelry, and occasionally with other finishes. Brass is a nickel-free, hypoallergenic alloy which contains copper and zinc. When copper touches skin, the skin can stain temporarily (again, it's not an allergy, but a chemical reaction). Sterling silver also contains 7.5 percent copper, so it is possible to see skin turn black or green from silver. Gold under 18K can also contain copper, so those metals can cause skin to discolor. Some women find they can only wear 18K gold or higher because their skin is so prone to staining. How can I keep my skin from turning black or green?

You could try coating earring backs or the insides of rings with a light layer of clear nail polish. Clean your jewelry with liquid soap and water and dry well between wears. Try wearing your jewelry for shorter periods of time. NOTE: You should never wear jewelry in the shower or while exercising! Moisture, perspiration and temperature wreak havoc on jewelry in general, but especially plated jewelry.
Where is your jewelry made?

Our jewelry is handcrafted and assembled entirely in the U.S.A., in Portland, Oregon. We source as much of our raw material as possible from domestic suppliers. Our exclusive partnerships with several family-owned chain makers and plating houses within the United States assures you a high quality, unique product, while simultaneously investing in the United States economy. We are extremely proud to manufacture our jewelry in the U.S.A. You can find our handmade jewelry online, in our Portland jewelry store, or in one of our many retail partners across the U.S.

Who makes Grayling Jewelry?

Every piece of Grayling jewelry is proudly made in small batches by highly skilled jewelry artisans in our jewelry store in Portland, Oregon. Each artisan is a highly-skilled craftsperson. Every member of our staff is paid fair wages and has access to lunches and breaks. Members of management are offered health insurance compensation and other benefits. We treat our staff like family, and we feel the commitment to our employees is evident in our finished product.

What are your metal finishes?

We utilize the finest electroplating and anodizing technology to plate (or color) our metals. All jewelry, with the exception of our brass pieces, is plated. Our electroplated and anodized finishes offer an alternative to extremely expensive, high-karat metals you’ll find at a typical jewelry store. We utilize nickel free finishes whenever possible. Gold and silver jewelry styles are electroplated with a nickel-free gold or a nickel-free silver plating on a nickel-free brass base. Brass is naturally free of nickel. Electroplating is when a layer of gold or silver is deposited onto an base metal that is conducive to electricity. We use an industrial grade electroplating process. Our items are not “dipped” in gold or silver. Gunmetal jewelry styles are anodized with a nickel-free gunmetal plating over a jeweler’s grade aluminum. Our gunmetal items have a blackish appearance and the finish is extremely durable. Aluminum is naturally free of nickel. Anodization is specific to aluminum, and is a similar process to electroplating. The finish on our brass jewelry is oxidized, or “aged” (not plated). The process begins with pure, raw brass which has a shine to it. The brass is naturally oxidized (or exposed to air) to achieve our signature distressed look. Brass is naturally free of nickel. If you're shopping for nickel free jewelry online, Grayling is the place!

What base metals do you use?

Three different base metals are used in our jewelry: brass, aluminum and steel. Each one is incorporated into the line for different reasons. Brass is the most widely used material in the line, and you’ll find it in our delicate to medium size chains. Brass is more expensive than steel and is used on many of our higher end pieces. It is heavier than steel and gives chains a very nice weight. Aluminum is used for the majority of our larger chains, because it is lightweight (and therefore comfortable) yet still offers a “chunky” look. We use a 1350 grade (or jewelry grade) aluminum. Aluminum is 3 times lighter than steel and keeps hefty pieces comfortable for all day wear. Steel is used as a base metal for a handful of our smaller components, for instance, when we need a very strong bond on a tiny scale (such as a jump ring to secure a clasp).

How long will the metal finish last?

Our finishes are very durable, however they are susceptible to wear depending on the conditions they are subject to. Some of the worst conditions are presented by lotions, perfumes and sweat all of which are acidic, and will deteriorate the finish at an accelerated rate. Showering and swimming will also affect how a finish wears.

Will my jewelry tarnish?

Some finishes will tarnish more easily than others, with the most susceptible being antiqued silver. Protectants are applied to all our finishes to help prevent or slow this process, but tarnishing may still happen depending on what you expose your jewelry to. You can clean tarnish off your jewelry with a soft dry cloth. Minimizing exposure to lotions, perfumes, sweat, and water, as well as cleaning your jewelry after every wear, will help protect the metal finish. Do not sleep or exercise in your new electroplated jewelry. See below for cleaning instructions.

How should I clean my Grayling Jewelry?

It is very important that abrasive jewelry cleaners are NOT used on plated items -- that applies to all plated items, no matter where you get them. As an example, the cloth used to clean sterling silver has an embedded mild abrasive in it, and it will remove and score (or abrade) all plated products. PLEASE DO NOT USE JEWELRY POLISHING CLOTHS. The best way to clean the metal on plated jewelry is with a simple cleaner (like Mr. Clean) or mild liquid soap and dry with a cloth. Be careful not to use cleaners on your stones or crystals. They should be cleaned with a dry cloth only.

What are the gemstones?

We utilize the highest quality machine cut and polished crystal for a luxurious look and feel, and much of our crystal is sourced from Swarovski in Austria. Our crystal is cut and polished with precision facets and has a high optic quality. Opulent semi-precious stones including genuine turquoise, natural agate, pyrite and natural quartz are inspected for brilliance before being hand-strung into our necklaces, bracelets and earrings. Gemstones and crystals come to us from all over the world with origins ranging from Botswana to Spain and China. We’ve partnered with several U.S.-based suppliers and we work with domestic sources whenever possible.

What kind of pearls do you use?

All pearls used by Grayling jewelry are genuine Swarovski crystal pearls from Austria. They feature a solid core of Swarovski crystal, which is then covered in layers of innovative pearlescent "nacre" to create a flawless surface that resists cosmetics, chemicals and perfumes. Quality is strictly controlled to ensure each crystal pearl is perfect, resulting in pearl jewelry that's like no other.

Does your jewelry come with a warranty?

Every Grayling design is made to exacting standards of fine craftsmanship. Each crystal and component is hand inspected. All new jewelry has a two-year limited warranty against manufacturing defects when purchased from Grayling or from an authorized dealer. Breakage due to improper handling and changes in finishes due to wear and tear are not covered under warranty. However, we will do our best to repair your item at a nominal fee. Rest assured, we stand by our product 100% and will do everything humanly possible to rectify the problem. Please see our customer service page for additional information.

Do you sell birthstone jewelry?

We do not specifically manufacture birthstone jewelry. However, this list will be helpful when shopping for birthstone jewelry:

  • January: Garnet (red)
  • February: Amethyst (purple)
  • March: Aquamarine (lt. blue green)
  • April: Diamond (clear)
  • May: Emerald (green)
  • June: Pearl (white)
  • July: Ruby (red)
  • August: Peridot (green)
  • September: Sapphire (blue)
  • October: Tourmaline (pink)
  • November: Topaz (honey)
  • December: Blue Zircon (lt. blue)
I want to make a purchase but I’d like some assistance. Is there someone I can speak with?

Absolutely! To speak with an expert member of our staff, please call (503) 548-4979 or email info@graylingjewelry.com. We would love to help!