How To Take Care of Jewellery in Summer


Summer is here (although the sun seems to be hiding in Dundee) and many if you will be jetting off to warmer climates over the next few weeks, calendars filling up with pool days, beach trips and outdoor activities. To help you get holiday ready,  I've put together a short guide on how to take care of your jewellery over the summer months and keep your pieces sparkling all summer!



As with anything valuable take care when packing your jewellery. It's best to leave anything especially sentimental or of high value at home and only pack pieces you are likely to wear.  When packing, store your jewellery individually, use cloth pouches, padded jewellery boxes or store pieces separately in a jewellery travel roll to keep your them safe and reduce the risk of tangling and scratching.  Kirsten Manzi Jewellery pieces are all packed in a foam padded jewellery box with an anti-tarnish square and polishing cloth. If you'd prefer a soft cloth pouch or need any extra boxes, let me know.




On the whole, wearing solid gold and diamond jewellery at the beach shouldn't do too much damage.  However, gold is an alloy, with many different metals making up the mix, so chemical or mineral residue from chlorine or salt water could react with these metals causing jewellery to discolour. For example, prolonged exposure to saltwater and salty sea air can be especially harmful to rose gold or copper jewellery. Sea salt and sand can also be very abrasive and may, over time wear off the surface of things like gold–plating, rhodium–plating, vermeil and softer gemstones. 
If you do wear your jewellery to the beach or the pool, rinse it in lukewarm water afterwards to remove any residues and dry thoroughly away from direct heat.  You can also pack a polishing cloth and give your pieces a gentle buff after rinsing to bring back the shine and lustre. When not being worn, store your jewellery individually in a soft pouch or jewellery box.


It's also very common for people to lose their jewellery while swimming. In cold water, our hands shrink making it easier for rings to slip off and other jewellery like necklaces can get caught and come undone while swimming. To protect against the summer elements and ensure you don't lose anything, avoid wearing your jewellery at the beach or take it off before you swim. To be on the safe side, make sure any valuable jewellery is insured and check that your travel insurance covers lost or stolen jewellery.


While getting ready, be careful with loose clothes and try to keep your jewellery away from any beauty products.  The chemicals in things like sun cream, deodorants and perfumes can cause jewellery to discolour while creams, soaps and lotions can coat the surface and reduce the shine of your pieces. To avoid this jewellery should be the last thing you put on and the first thing you take off.


Of course, it's easy to forget all of these things, especially when you're busy enjoying your holiday! Don't worry,  at the end of summer, or after your holiday you can always get in touch to have your jewellery cleaned professionally.  I can clean, polish, re-plate and re-oxidise your jewellery pieces to bring them back to life.

Dundee Design Parade

Last month I spent some time away from the bench to work with Dundee UNESCO City of Design, in the run-up to Dundee's first Design Parade.  The parade was organised as part of Scotland’s Year Of Young People and celebrated Dundee's place in UNESCO's global Creative Cities Network. In preparation for the Parade, I traded my workbench for a high school classroom, community centre and church hall where I met and worked with three wonderful youth groups in Dundee: LGBTYS group Allsorts, Police Scotland Youth Volunteers (PSYV) and pupils from St Paul's Academy.  Each group was matched with another UNESCO City of Design from around the world and given objects or messages of inspiration from that city to help them create work for the parade.

Dundee Design Parade PSYV


PSYV Juniors took inspiration from UNESCO City of Design, Montréal. Montréal sent a selection of "mini hockey sticks in all colours to entertain the little and big sportsmen" by the city of Montréal.  Des Enfantillages designed the sticks as part of Code Souvenir Montréal, an initiative that promotes the Montréal's creativity through a catalogue of items symbolic of the city. The mini hockey sticks are extremely popular, especially amongst kids and can be used inside while on your knees.


Since Montréal is a hockey city, with almost everyone in Montréal playing hockey on the streets, at home or in an arena the group chose to stay with the ice hockey theme and made their very own ice hockey helmets! We made the helmets using papier-mâché  and decorated them with designs inspired by both the Canadian and Montréal flags as well as Montréal’s vibrant street art.

Allsorts Dundee Design Festival


Young people from LGBT Youth Scotland group, Allsorts were inspired by the city of Brasília in Brazil. Brazil’s Carnival known for its over-the-top costumes, extravagant parades and week-long street parties, is celebrated not only in Brazil but all over the world.  It is believed to have originated as a food festival in the early 1600s when followers of the Roman Catholic Church would indulge in food, fun and alcohol on the last day before the start of Lent.

Fascinated by Brazil's carnival culture, they created vibrant carnival costumes. With an explosion of colour and glitter, Allsorts brought Carnival to Dundee by designing and making colourful headpieces, masks and giant feather wings!



Inspired by the city of Kobe in Japan, pupils at St Paul's Academy designed Japanese theatre style masks. In Japanese theatre, stylised masks and thick makeup help to convey emotions. In Kabuki theatre, actors use elaborate makeup and symbolic colours to indicate a character's age, gender, and class as well as their moods and personalities.  In Noh theatre, intricately carved masks are used to represent ghosts, women and children.

While some of the pupils made masks inspired by traditional Japanese theatre designs, others opted to take inspiration from Kobe's giant robot statue, Tetsujin 28.  Tetsujin-28 is a 59-ft statue honouring the 15th anniversary of the Great Hanshin earthquake. The figure acts as a symbol to commemorate the strength and resilience of the communities affected by the hurricane. The pupils created an incredible range of individual masks each taking something different from Japan's diverse culture.



On Saturday 26th May, alongside 500 young people from more than 30 youth groups across Dundee, my three groups showcased their work in Dundee's Design Parade. The parade was a celebration of the young people of Dundee and was an incredible opportunity for them to showcase their talents and creativity.  I had a fabulous time working with each group and it was such a joy to see them proudly showing off their artwork during the parade. Hats off to everyone involved!

Dundee Design Parade

Dundee Design Parade
Cairngorm Quartz Engagement Ring - Commission Feature

9ct White Gold Cairngorm Quartz Engagement Ring

Last year, I was commissioned to make this gorgeous 9ct White Gold, Cairngorm Quartz Engagement Ring.  My client wanted an elegant ring with a Scottish/English theme, perhaps using some Scottish and English stones to represent where the couple are respectively from. I love commissions, especially engagement rings and stone set pieces as they take me out of my comfort zone and give me a chance to practice my stone setting skills. This ring was particularly interesting as I ended up learning a lot about gemstones and got to meet my suppliers in person, which was lovely.


After an initial discussion with my client, I made up some mood boards and sent a few sketches via email, to give an idea of how styles and colours would sit and began looking into the different types of stones available. It was important to use gemstones that we could trace back to Scotland in England.  We found Scottish Amethysts, Cairngorm Quartz, Elie Garnets as well as Tayside Agate but didn't have much luck with English stones. We thought about Hematite or Whitby Jet and found out that the Middle of England is apparently famous for Fluorite, but decided that these weren’t quite right for an engagement ring.

Map of Precious Scotland by Holyrood Partnership & Alistir Wood Tait.

In the end, the client decided on Cairngorm Quartz. Cairngorm is the traditional name given to  Scotland's national gem: quartz from the mountainous regions of Scotland.  Cairngorm Quartz has been well documented from the medieval period onwards and was considered to be a sacred stone. A quartz crystal was owned by many Highland clans, the gem was seen as talisman holding magical, healing properties.  We decided on the Cairngorm Quartz since it is found here in Scotland and available in a wonderful range of earthy “Scottish” tones which are all completely natural. I was also able to source Cairngorm Quartz locally rather than online, from suppliers who found the raw stone themselves, meaning there as full traceability from stone to supplier.


I managed to source a 6mm round Cairngorm Quartz from a supplier in Edinburgh- a beautiful Smokey Quartz with grey/brown hues, found by the suppliers themselves from Highland Perthshire.  Originally we wanted three round stones but struggled to find the right size, so to sit alongside large round quartz, I sourced two gorgeous, smaller oval quartz from a lovely supplier in Fife, who again had found the raw stone himself in the highlands of Scotlands. The smaller stones were a clearer quartz, with champagne hues which reflected the light beautifully. 

The finished ring

To complement the stones we went for a classy, elegant 9ct White Gold band and setting with a bit of a vintage feel. Something simple which would show off the Quartz. Since we didn’t manage to tie in the Scotland/England theme with the stones I tracked down a wonderful vintage ring box from a jewellery shop which was around in Leeds in the 1920s, a nod to where the couple now live together.

I love the way the stones reflect the light, the colours and the hues are forever changing. The white gold band has been left it’s natural colour rather than rhodium plated which I think looks lovely and ties in well with the earthy tones of the Quartz.


Not only was this an interesting commission in terms of learning about stones, it was also, probably one of the biggest secrets I have had to keep. The ring was made for one of my best friends, who said yes by the way, and I can’t wait to make the wedding rings this year!