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    Everything You've Ever Wanted to Know About Sterling Silver

    Everything You've Ever Wanted to Know About Sterling Silver

    Gold, silver and platinum are the metals of choice when you're looking for quality jewelry. They simply have an elegant look for any occasion. In fact, they remain stylish for decades at a time. If you're particularly interested in sterling silver, there's an encyclopedia of information just waiting to be discovered. Sterling silver or STG silver is one of the most versatile metals used in handmade jewelry today. Take a tour of the STG-silver world with Natural Reflections Jewelry. You'll feel confident about your next purchase as a result.

    1. What is STG Silver?

    When it comes to making jewelry, pure metals are often sought after by jewelers and consumers alike. Wearing pure silver must be better than STG silver. This thought process, however, isn't correct. In fact, jewelry made of pure silver will never last.

    STG silver is an alloy or mixture of silver and copper together. The fact that it's a mixed metal doesn't degrade its value. In reality, STG silver tends to be more attractive and valuable because of its copper ingredient.

    On its own, silver is incredibly soft. Jewelry in the form of a chain or pendant will show signs of damage after only a few uses. The copper component adds a level of durability to the item. You can still enjoy the silver's pure color, but with the copper influence being limited to structural integrity only.

    You'll find STG silver for nearly every type of jewelry you might want in your collection. From earrings to necklaces, STG silver matches almost every outfit.

    2. 925 Silver Versus STG Silver

    You've probably seen many descriptive terms in association with STG silver, including satin finish or brush texture. However, the term "925" is often noted with the STG-silver industry. There must be differences between these two terms.

    Every woman should know that 925 silver is just another term for STG silver. There's absolutely no difference between the two descriptions. The 925 designation refers to the silver content.

    For a piece of jewelry to be designated as STG silver, it must have exactly 92.5-percent silver and 7.5-percent copper. This metal mixture gives the jewelry a silver appearance but with copper's strength.

    If you're unsure about your metal's quality, most jewelers mark their work with "925" or "Ster." Simply examine the item before you purchase it. Both of these markings indicate pure STG silver. Leaving out the "925" doesn't mean anything in the long run.

    3. The Benefits of STG Silver

    The main benefit of STG silver is beauty. It's simply a gorgeous color and reflects light in almost any setting. Consider the other benefits that should be weighed before you purchase a pendant, necklace or chain.

    a. Creative Designs

    There are almost no boundaries when it comes to creative styles with STG silver. A jeweler can use several strategies, such as the lost wax method, in order to create a shape. This particular method involves liquid metal poured into a shape that forms a cast. Practically any shape, from a heart to a rabbit, can be created for your jewelry.

    b. Low-Cost Luxury

    Unlike gold or platinum, STG silver isn't expensive. The material tends to be budget friendly for most people. The pricing simply varies when you add in design intricacies and size.

    c. A Precious Metal

    STG silver is a precious metal, so it can be given as a special gift on most occasions. Graduations, birthdays and other milestones can be accented with a STG-silver gift. The items themselves can be as ornate or simple as you desire.

    d. Perfect for Sensitive Skin

    STG silver is hypoallergenic, which means that it won't irritate your skin. If you tend to react to metals, such as gold, STG silver is a perfect alternative.

    4. Discovering the Beauty of STG Silver With Stones

    STG silver on its own is a glorious piece of jewelry, but you may want a bit more detail to your look. Consider items that are handmade with semi-precious stones. From agate the quartz, these stones bring gorgeous color to the simple silver foundation.

    Gemstones can be cut into almost any shape. Dragonflies, water droplets and daisies are just a few of the shapes that might draw your interest.

    Many of these handmade pieces also have gold overlay as an accent piece. There's no reason why you can't have a mixture of metals on your STG silver. They'll only offer a unique twist to the design that reflects your personality.

    Browse through our inventory to see our semi-precious stones and STG silver. It might be difficult to choose just one piece.

    5. Exploring Handmade Sterling-Silver Jewelry

    The best way to introduce yourself to the STG-silver world is by accenting your look with items from Natural Reflections Jewelry. Our stunning Tori Bunny will capture your heart. She rests on a swing created from pink mother of pearl shell. This character has so much personality woven into her features that you may not want to go without this treasure for even for one day.

    Start a conversation with a ring that's essentially a silver honeycomb shape. A curious bee dances on this design, which we call the Scarlett Bee ring. Every piece of handmade jewelry always has slight differences that gives them unique features for each buyer.

    Treat yourself or a loved one to STG silver handmade jewelry. The gift-giving memory will stay with them forever.

    6. Wearing STG Silver

    Wearing STG silver is certainly a fashion statement. The shimmering metal stands out whether you're wearing a pendant or ring. You can wear several pieces of jewelry at once, and the look still appears classy and elegant.

    A unique aspect to wearing STG silver is its purported health benefits. This metal is an element found in nature. The human body tends to work harmoniously with natural elements.

    Many cultures across the world will use silver as an antimicrobial tool. It purportedly fights off germs. Some women have even noticed a change in their skin around the silver items if they wear them on a regular basis.

    Many health claims haven't been scientifically proven, but you can make your own decision on the subject by trying a few pieces of jewelry from our collection. Adorn yourself with a bunny or honeycomb design to see what the excitement is all about.

    7. How to Care for STG Silver

    Your STG silver can practically last a lifetime with the proper care. In fact, caring for sterling silver is relatively simple.

    On a regular basis, take a microfiber cloth and wipe it down. A gentle hand on the item is how any tarnish or fingerprints will disappear.

    Take a good look at your jewelry before going any further with the cleaning process, however. The item might have semi-precious stones or gold overlay. Always use a gentle rubbing action on these items. Avoid any abrasive elements at all times.

    Nature Reflections Jewelry suggests that wearing your items is one of the best strategies when it comes to caring for sterling silver. The item is only coming into contact with your skin and no other objects. Any friction against the metal is minimal.

    If you want to give the jewelry a bit more cleaning action, try mild detergent mixed with water. Wash away any grease or debris with a gentle hand and rinsing.

    Discover our small treasures at Nature Reflections Jewelry today. Our STG-silver inventory is full of characters with personalities that rival their future owners. Express yourself with a necklace or earrings made of this high-quality metal. It'll become a family heirloom in no time.
    About the Author
    Theresa Touhey is the owner of Nature Reflections Jewelry, an online store that focuses on Nature Inspired Jewelry from Sterling Silver or Natural Stones. 

    The Blissfulness of Wearing Natural Stones

    The Blissfulness of Wearing Natural Stones

    There are hundreds of different stones that are incredibly attractive in their own right. Whether you're marveling at stone carved out of majestic hillsides or gazing at gemstones in a jewelry shop, women everywhere are often mesmerized by these substances for various reasons. In fact, there may be primal reasons why women want to touch and wear natural stones even today. Discover the blissfulness of wearing these stones, from dramatic onyx to captivating sodalite.

    1. The Natural Hum of Stones

    There are many reasons why women are attracted to natural stones. The human body shares some of the same minerals that make up these stones. It's possible that the energy within your tissues and the stones are familiar on a primal level.

    The idea of crystal healing and feeling the hum of nature around us might originate from the fact that stones aren't just inanimate objects. Crystals grow and break apart just like human tissues. Finding solace and energy in stones as exotic as agate and labradorite is simply natural.

    2. Gracing the Neckline

    Try on blissfulness at first with a subtle piece of jewelry, including nela-citrine malas. Try them on your neck at first. Hold the stones in your hands, and wrap them around your wrist. With the stones touching your skin, feeling the energy just takes a bit of concentration.

    Simple jewelry allows you to incorporate these pieces into your wardrobe without making too much of a social splash. You want to enjoy the jewelry on a personal level at first.

    3. Dangling at the Wrist

    Bracelets encourage the eyes to look at your graceful fingers, rings and manicure. For a simple look, natural stones in rounded shapes are great for the everyday outfit. When you want a more dramatic appearance, try a wide band that's filled with crystal accents.

    Natural stones can be cut into almost any shape and arranged into bracelets that captivate the mind. You might find yourself staring at your own jewelry when certain styles grab your attention.

    4. Defining the Ear

    Incorporate some of the finest natural stones into your wardrobe when they dangle from your ears. Quartz, agate and other stones can be cut into unique shapes, including butterflies, so that they can adorn your lobes. As they shimmer and dance, you'll feel their movement and sense their energy.

    Earrings are smart accessories to round out your outfit. Choose from brightly colored stones to practically transparent varieties. Your style is defined by the stones as you enjoy their energy that's shared with nature surrounding you.

    5. Draping Down for Dramatic Effect

    When you're looking for a dramatic look, pull out your mala and drape it over your neck. Long malas might reach to your waist. The natural stones, including citrine and jasper, become a focal point. Complement the mala with this jasper and onyx bracelet set too.

    Think about wearing this elaborate necklace and bracelet with clothing that has a solid color. Completely black or white outfits allow the stones to stand out.

    By making the stones the center of attention, you draw in curious people and exude fine energy. Breaking the ice at a gathering, for example, can be much easier with natural stones as a talking point.

    6. Diving Into Chakras

    You may have heard the term "chakra" before. It comes from ancient times when natives were trying to explain humans in regards to emotions and physiological reactions. Some people believe that they can use natural stones placed on the seven chakras to unblock them and lead a happier life.

    Consider this practice as a form of meditation. The chakras line up from the top of the head and down to the base of the vertebrae. Place natural stones on the skin in each of these seven positions as you remain motionless on your back. It's thought that the stones' energies can invigorate your mind and body after a meditation period.

    7. Meditating on a Personal Level

    Women don't have to subscribe to a particular belief system to enjoy meditation. Calming the mind has an immediate effect on high blood pressure, stress and other negative reactions across your body. Meditating with a mala, including a 108-bead design, is a clever way to stay focused.

    Close your eyes, find a quiet space and place your fingers on a single bead. Repeat a word to yourself. It can be any word that you desire. Move your fingers to the next bead as you repeat the word a second time. Continue with this meditation practice until you reach the 108th bead. Your mind is now clear with natural stones as your clever tool.

    Continue on your journey by trying different jewelry styles every day. Feeling and looking spectacular can improve mood and define your personality. Be a unique individual with natural stones to calm and excite you in today's modern world.



    Theresa Touhey is the owner of Nature Reflections Jewelry. Nature Reflections focuses on jewelry inspired by Nature with a focus on Natural Stones and Unique Sterling Silver Designs. 

    Helpful Ways To Reduce Stress for Women Over 50

    Helpful Ways To Reduce Stress for Women Over 50

    Women who're entering their 50s have often achieved many milestones, from career promotions to seeing their children graduate high school. Most of these experiences are positive in nature, but they aren't without their stressful times. In fact, stress is a part of everyone's lives, including the middle-age years. Explore the most helpful ways to reduce stress for women over 50 years of age. This time of your life can be extremely rewarding and fulfilling.

    1. Exercise Outdoors

    This stress reliever works for every age, but it's particularly helpful for women over 50. Fight off menopause's effects, such as weight gain and bone-density loss, with exercise. Take your exercise to the outdoors whenever possible. Breathing in the air around trees and other plants will fill your body with extra oxygen. Scientific studies have shown that exercising in the outdoors improves both the body and mood.

    Walk, jog or bike outside several times a week. Any stress experienced afterward won't feel so overwhelming.

    1. Put More Green Into the Diet

    Women over 50 are dealing with hormonal changes that can drastically affect their weight. You don't have to go on an extreme diet to maintain your figure, but consider the addition of more fruits and vegetables. A plant-based diet gives you the vitamins and minerals necessary to fight off many menopausal symptoms, including mood swings and bloating.

    Buy flash-frozen vegetables for a quick side addition to your dinner, for example. The vegetables make you feel full, which curbs any cravings for unhealthy foods.

    1. Join Support Groups

    You may be encountering some serious challenges in life, including empty-nest syndrome or loss of a parent. Don't hesitate to talk about your feelings at an appropriate support group. There are organizations for almost any age and life event. Searching for a group near you with the Internet's help is possible. 

    Many of these support groups work through social-media accounts. If one group doesn't suit your needs, try another one. Fifty-year-old women have the wisdom to know when they're not receiving the care that they need. Be confident about your choices when it comes to emotional health.

    1. Seek Out Phytoestrogen Foods

    It's a fact that women over 50 will have declining estrogen levels. This hormone is important to many balances within a woman's body even after the childbearing years. Consider natural solutions to low-estrogen levels. A few soy-based foods can make key differences in your well-being.

    For example, seek out foods that have phytoestrogen substances, such as soy or tofu. Eating these foods on a regular basis can elevate natural estrogen in the body. You might experience fewer menopausal symptoms or calm some of the more severe types, such as hot flashes.

    1. Schedule Downtime for Yourself

    Women schedule doctor's appointments, time with friends and hours of work around the home. Don't forget to schedule time for yourself. This concept may seem foreign in this fast-paced world, but it's extremely important to take time out for reflection.

    Take a bubble bath, go to the movies by yourself or venture out to a favorite park. Allow yourself to focus on nature and how you feel inside. Bring a book to write down any feelings that come up. Mental health is just as important as your physical well-being.

    1. Connect With Grown Children

    Your children may be off to college or careers of their own, but that fact doesn't mean that connecting with them isn't possible. Use text messages, phone calls and video chats to keep in contact with your family members. These social connections are incredibly important to women at age 50 and beyond. Grown children may not realize that they still need these connections too.

    1. Get Enough Rest

    Remember that you need between seven and nine hours of rest each night. Try to create a bedtime routine so that you can adhere to these recommended times. During deep sleep, your body reverts to its healing processes. You want to take advantage of this time as much as possible. Waking up and feeling rested tells you that last night's sleep was ample enough for a full day ahead.

    1. Try Natural Beauty Products

    Stress might seem to float away if you feel good about yourself. Consider natural beauty products to bring out a glow in your skin and hair. Conditioning the hair with argan oil or rubbing cocoa butter onto the skin are two ideas that offer nutrients for these tissues while making you feel gorgeous. Pampering yourself at least once a week is a smart goal to set. Life is full of responsibilities, but you can take at least an hour out of each week to focus on yourself.

    1. Treat Yourself

    Let the stress go by treating yourself after a particularly difficult day. This treat can come in many forms. A small piece of chocolate, heading out to the movies or calling your best friend are just a few examples of treats that will brighten any woman's day. Giving yourself these rewards after dealing with errands or work will create motivation to keep the momentum going. Everyone needs a break from the norm at times.

    1. Accept What You Can't Control 

    There are many situations in your 50s that you cannot control. Ailing parents are an example of a stressful situation. They might be dealing with chronic illnesses or limited mobility. You may be deciding between home care or a nursing home. It's easier to deal with each small decision when you understand that there are only a few things that can be controlled in life. Certain decisions as a family may not be correct in your mind, but let these issues go. You'll feel better when you accept and move forward with positivity in mind after any decision.

    Life will continue to throw its curve balls at every woman, but learning to take on the challenges comes with age. Enjoy the golden years, your successful children and future plans with retirement. Stress only gives way to laughter and acceptance as you tackle every task.

    Sharing The Best Places to Visit with Your Dog from Reviews.com

    Sharing The Best Places to Visit with Your Dog from Reviews.com

    It’s the end of the summer and you want to get away. However, you don’t want to leave your furry friend at home. So, where are the best places to go with your pooch in the US? Reviews.com reached out to Nature Reflections in response to our blog post Have Car, Have Dog, Let’s Have an Adventure with a great article on places to travel with your dog. Not only does their article explore the top 10 places but they do a deep dive of the most dog friendly towns throughout the US. It is a must read for any dog lover that likes to travel with their companion.


    The Best Places to Visit with Your Dog

    By Jackie NelsonFeature Writer


    The U.S. is full of incredible places to visit, but if you’re planning to take along your furry family member, there are some important things to consider. Outdoor recreation, lodging, and even dining take on added importance when planning a trip with your dog. It’s also safe to say a dog-friendly destination would have some type of doggie daycare and good access to veterinary care in case of emergency.

    Overall, having good amenities for your pup can make or break your entire experience. We spent over 150 hours researching what makes the best vacation spot and came up with 100 top locations out of 567 possible destinations to visit with your dog. And why did we do all this? Because we want to help people research and find the best places to visit that don’t require leaving Fido behind.

    The Research

    We determined the top cities to visit with your dog by scrutinizing and cutting from a total of 1,000 of the biggest tourist destinations across the country according to TripAdvisor and Touropia. Using population density, we were able to filter out highly populated metropolitan areas full of traffic, concrete, and crowds – definitely not conducive to a doggone good time.

    Next, we graded the frontrunners against seven crucial criteria that would helped a city rank higher on our list. These factors included: number of dog parks, availability of dog trails, amount of dog-friendly restaurants, options for dog-friendly lodging, nearby dog-friendly beaches, availability of dog daycares, and nearby veterinarians or emergency clinics. Based on this research, we grouped those factors into two different city scores: amenities and outdoor activities.

    We also talked to three experts who provided additional information about traveling with your dog:

    What We Learned

    In our research, we discovered a majority of our most dog-friendly destinations are in the southeast United States. If you’re traveling in the summer months, Darling recommends limiting time outside and making sure your pup has plenty of water.

    We awarded honorable mentions for the most dog trails, most dog parks, the most dog-friendly beaches, the most dog daycares, and the most dog-friendly restaurants. We also had to figure out just the right approach to weighing certain aspects of a destination against another. For example, we determined outdoor activities to be a significant factor for those considering where to visit with their dog. This resulted in a place like Nantucket, Massachusetts, earning an overall high score (and making the top 10) despite having relatively few pet-friendly amenities, since it does have such great outdoor activities.

    View the Top 10 Places (Click on the link to continue reading the article on Reviews.com)