Ashpendants with a soul

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Q: How long have you been in business?

A: Since 1986

Q: Where are you located?
A: In The Netherlands, in little village called Bergen, it became famous because artists were inspired by the environment.

Q: Can we use the "FREE" E-Mail addresses when placing an order?
A: Yes, but expect a delay in processing as this is another factor used to screen out fraudulent orders. If we can not contact you, for any reason, the order will not be processed! If you do not receive an acknowledgement of your order, check the E-Mail address used.

Q: What if I do not receive any order confirmation?
A: This usually means that you used an improper E-Mail address or that your mailbox is blocked. These orders may be cancelled or rejected as this is another factor we use in screening orders. If we can not contact the credit card holder, the order will NOT be processed. We usually will make "one" attempt at calling you using the phone number given. If the phone number fails, or no phone number has been given us, the order will not be processed.

Q: Do you offer catalogs?
A: No, the industry is moving away from printed catalogs, which are usually out of date very quickly, and are very costly to produce and mail. The Net is an electronic medium, and not printing catalogs allows us to pass on large savings to you.

Q: Do you sell wholesale?
A: No, but we do offer a dealer's discount for "authorized" businesses. And we have our own area for this purpose HERE. Pricing depends on many factors, please contact us from the site. This area is not intended for large scale retailers, although we will not refuse anyone who is qualified.

Q: Can we return items?
A: Yes with in 15 days. We have a liberal return policy and we ask that you not take advantage of this. We do want you to be happy with your purchase and we will try to do our best to ensure this. Please let us know ahead of time if you are returning an item. At our option, we may refuse to accept an unauthorized return.

Q: How are your items priced?
A: We discount everything that we sell. The amount of discount will vary according to the margins built into the list price. If the margins are high, we offer a more generous discount.
Our aim is to be fair and we feel that we are very competitive on an "exact" item comparison.
We will not attempt to match those who sell for a few dollars over true wholesale.
These businesses will come and go as they can not afford the cost of service which you deserve.

Note: if  the price sounds too low, maybe the product quality and service is too.

Q: Do you sell, or otherwise release, your customer's information or E-mail addresses?
A: Never!

Q: Is this a secure shop?
A: Yes, the checkout area of the Cart is very secure. The Cart itself does not need to be secure. No problems have ever been reported.

Q: Do you add new items often?

A: Yes, constantly. We travel to gift and jewelry shows and add those items that meet our requirements. We also remove items if we find a good justification to do so.

Contact us if you have a question that was not found here.
If you have any queries about the order process, an order you have placed, or about the site in general please contact us by email at or by any of the methods given in 'Contact"

Here you will find a conversion of ringsizes.


Please read all instructions carefully before filling pendants.

1. Locate the pendant opening. Depending on the piece, this can be the bail itself (the loop that the chain goes through) or a small, flathead screw somewhere on the pendant.
2. Unscrew the pendant and place the provided funnel into the opening.
3. Fill the pendant about 90% full, making sure to leave room to replace the screw. A toothpick can help guide the remains into the opening.
4. To permanently seal the pendant, first ensure that the inner threads are clean and clear of ash. Apply a tiny amount of the provided sealant to the threads on the screw, not the inner threads, and quickly replace the screw.
5. When replacing the screw pay close attention to the position of the bail, so the pendant will hang correctly when restrung on the chain or cord.
Please note that the sealant will dry quickly. If it dries before rethreading, it will not thread properly. If this occurs, soak the screw in acetone (fingernail polish remover) to remove the sealant and try again. We recommend waiting 24 hours before wearing your pendant to ensure the pendant has been completely sealed.
If you are having difficulty filling your pendant, please feel free to mail us at anytime for advice.

What is the difference between "High Polish" and "Brushed/Satin" finish?
It is basically like it sounds. "High Polish" is a very shiny, high metallic look. It is polished and very smooth allowing the steel in the piece to really shine. It is the more classic look of the two. "Brushed" is just the opposite. The matt finish look gives more dimensions to the piece and a more industrial feel. You will find many of our designs combine both finishes.
I have an allergic reaction to most of my jewelry, including gold. Can I wear stainless steel?
Absolutely! Stainless steel is the most biocompatible (hypoallergenic) element known to man and will not irritate even the most sensitive skin. This is a blessing for pierced products. Unlike other jewelry materials, stainless steel does not need other alloys to harden the material. Many alloys create negative reactions with our body chemistry. Stainless steel can be safely and comfortably worn by everybody.

What is Stainless Steel?
Stainless steel contains chromium, and other alloying elements that keep them bright and rust resistant in spite of moisture or the action of corrosive acids and gases. Because of their shining surfaces, architects often use them for decorative purposes. Stainless steels are used for the pipes and tanks of petroleum refineries and chemical plants, for jet planes, and for space capsules. Surgical instruments and equipment are made from these steels, and they are also used to patch or replace broken bones because the steels can withstand the action of body fluids. In kitchens and in plants where food is prepared, handling equipment is often made of stainless steel because it does not taint the food and can be easily cleaned.

Nickel Exposure
Nickel is often mixed with other metals to produce an alloy. Gold jewelry of 14 karats or less may contain enough nickel to provoke a reaction. Even though pure sterling silver contains no nickel, it is often coated with it. White gold alloy often contains nickel.
Stainless steel contains nickel but its structure is such that the nickel is unable to escape or to be leached out by perspiration or moisture.

The word hypoallergenic may be misleading on some jewelry. The posts may not contain nickel but the jewelry might.

Besides jewelry, nickel may be found in belts, clothing hooks, eyeglasses, hairpins, metal buttons, watches, and zippers. Also consider cigarette lighters, cupboard handles, doorknobs, handbag catches, keys, key rings, kitchen utensils, lipstick holders, needles, paper clips, pins, pens, pocket knives, powder compacts, razors, scissors, silverware, thimbles, toaster, tools, and vacuum cleaners as potential sources of nickel.

Does It Contain Nickel?
There are kits available to test items for nickel content. The kit consists of two small bottles of clear fluid; one contains dimethylglyoxime and the other ammonium hydroxide. When mixed together in the presence of nickel, a pink color results. Ask your doctor or pharmacist where you can purchase one of these kits.

Contributing Factors
Factors that contribute to nickel contact dermatitis may include sweat, humidity, temperature, the general condition of the skin, and occlusion (e.g. by gloves).

Should Foods Containing Nickel Be Avoided?
There is disagreement within the medical community, whether a nickel-sensitive person should avoid dietary nickel. A nickel-restricted diet may be prescribed for highly nickel sensitive people for a few months to see if there is any improvement in symptoms.
In this instance, the foods to avoid include acid foods cooked in stainless steel utensils, baking powder, beans, buckwheat, canned fruits, canned vegetables, cacao & chocolate, dried fruit, figs, green beans, kale, leeks, legumes, lentils, lettuce, licorice, linseed, millet, nuts, oats, onions, oysters, peas, pineapple, prunes, raspberries, salmon, shellfish, soy powder, spinach, rhubarb, sprouts, sunflower seeds, tea, tomatoes, wheat bran products, and multigrain breads.

There is no way to desensitize a person with nickel allergy with shots, pills, or any other method. Avoiding use of nickel containing products is the key in treatment. Often times a rash can be stopped by applying a cortisone cream or lotion.
For more information on nickel allergy, please refer to the collected Internet links.
Nickel salts may cause a primary irritant reaction of the skin, but the main effect of dermal exposure to nickel is allergic contact dermatitis. Contact dermatitis is the most common of the health effects associated with exposure to nickel, and it has been seen in both non-occupationally and occupationally exposed individuals.  

Contact allergy is never inborn, although there may be some genetic factors that play a role in the development of the allergy (Menné and Nieboer, 1989). An individual must first become sensitized. Sensitization and subsequent allergic reactions to nickel require direct and prolonged contact with nickel-containing solutions or items that are non-resistant to sweat corrosion. Nickel-containing alloys and materials that do not react to sweat will not cause contact dermatitis. There are many such alloys, the most important of which are various forms of stainless steels. Although it is possible for certain high-sulfur grades of stainless steel to undergo corrosion in sweat under adverse conditions, such circumstances are uncommon and most stainless steels are not of these grades (NiDI, 1992).  
Other factors related to nickel sensitivity include humidity, temperature, occlusion (e.g. by gloves), and the general condition of the skin (i.e. the susceptibility of the skin to permeation by irritants and/or sensitizers).  

Dermatitis may first appear as a papular erythema of the areas that have prolonged contact with nickel; lesions become eczematous in the chronic stage (Sunderman et al., 1986). The underlying immunological mechanism is one in which the nickel ion penetrates the skin and combines with a high molecular weight protein giving rise to an antigen. The antigen is transmitted through Langerhans cells to T-cells that then migrate to regional lymph nodes where they proliferate and differentiate into memory and effector cells that circulate to all tissues. Future recognition and response to the nickel antigen is thereby guaranteed (Menné and Nieboer, 1989).  

Nickel dermatitis may occur in sensitized individuals following contact with nickel-containing items such as jewelry (particularly pierced earrings), zippers, buttons, and other objects; by nickel leaching from implants and prostheses; and following occupational exposures. Hypersensitivity to nickel is more prevalent in women than in men. This prevalence is probably due, in large part, to the continuous exposure that women receive upon first piercing their ears and inserting sweat-corrosive, nickel-containing posts into the open wound. It is estimated that 8 to 15 percent of the female population is nickel sensitized; estimates for men range from 0.2 to 2 percent (Sunderman et al., 1986; Menné and Nieboer, 1989).  

Although most nickel sensitization results from non-occupational exposures, nickel dermatitis has been observed in the workplace. Historically, in workplaces where continuous contact with soluble nickel was high, risks for nickel dermatitis were likewise high. For example, nickel dermatitis was common in the past among nickel platers. Due to improved industrial and personal hygiene practices, however, reports over the past several decades of nickel sensitivity in workplaces, such as the electroplating industry, have been sparse (Fischer, 1989). Further, evidence suggests that dry, clean operations with moderate or even intense contact with nickel objects will seldom, alone, provoke dermatitis (Fischer, 1989).  

While reports of nickel dermatitis are now rare in most workplaces, there are occupations for which hand eczema has been reported in higher proportion than the general populace. These include cleaning (where wet work is involved), hairdressing, and hospital wet work (Fischer, 1989). In such circumstances, the eczema may be aggravated by contact with nickel. Wet working, particularly hairdressing or where detergents are used, may cause deterioration of the skin, allowing penetration by irritants or sensitizers, including nickel.  

Experimental challenge via oral exposure to nickel has been shown to trigger dermatitic flares in nickel sensitized individuals. However, the clinical significance of this is somewhat controversial (Veien et al., 1990). Review of the literature on this topic reveals that a single dose of < 1.0 mg soluble nickel sulfate produces few flares of dermatitis, whereas 2.5 mg causes reactions in 50 percent of the patients tested and 5.0 mg nickel causes reactions in 75 percent of those tested. Some investigators have also seen reactivation of nickel patch test sites following oral challenges with doses of 2.5 to 5.0 mg nickel. As these doses are considerably higher than the average daily intake of nickel from food (0.15 mg) and have been administered as single doses of nickel salt, the significance of these findings for nickel sensitive individuals is questionable. Other studies have found no reaction in nickel-allergic patients exposed to doses ranging from 2.5 to 4.0 mg nickel (Burrows et al., 1981; Gawkrodger et al., 1986).  
The difficulty in evaluating the role of oral challenge in nickel sensitive individuals is due to the confounding factors that can influence the amount of nickel that actually reaches the target cells, including the type and amount of food present in the gut at the time of nickel ingestion, the patient's degree of nickel sensitivity, and the bioavailability of the nickel compound. Thus, within the medical community, there is disagreement as to the value of restricting dietary nickel intake in nickel-sensitive persons. 

Q: Why am I allergic to some gold jewellery?
Every year we get a few customers who believe that they cannot wear gold jewellery because they get an allergic reaction to it. Some believe that they are allergic to gold. We have never yet known anybody who was allergic to pure gold.

The most common cause of allergic reactions to jewellery is nickel contained in the alloy. Nickel is, or was, frequently used in white gold alloys because it is inexpensive, hard, and has a strong whitening effect. Better quality white gold alloys use palladium, which has excellent properties but is more expensive.

An EC directive is due to come into force soon which will regulate the use of nickel in any articles including jewellery, and restrict its use to very low proportions.
The directive has two components:-
To be considered nickel-directive compliant, an article must contain no more than 500 parts per million of nickel. This applies to articles which may be in contact with broken skin, such as ear-rings.
This applies to all articles which may be in close and prolonged contact with skin. The release rate calculation is not simple, but items must not exceed 0.5 micrograms nickel per square centimetre of surface per week. The rate applies to all new articles, and they must remain compliant for at least two years in testing.

Commonest Causes
The next commonest cause of allergies for jewellery wearers appears to be detergent or other chemicals which lodge between the jewellery, usually rings, and the skin. Hairdressers are often affected. Rinsing well can help, but it is probably best to remove rings before using any troublesome chemicals, and use a barrier cream.

Other Causes
A few jewellery wearers still seem to be slightly allergic to yellow golds, nickel cannot be the cause because it is not used in yellow gold alloys. In most cases sufferers only experience problems with low gold content alloys such as nine carat, so upgrading to a better alloy such as eighteen carat usually solves all problems.

Higher Carat Gold
The other common components of nine carat gold alloys are copper, silver and zinc. Zinc is usually very well tolerated, it is used in many medical preparations. Silver and copper do not usually cause allergic reactions, but both will form compounds with atmospheric pollutants which may be the cause of some reported problems. When copper and silver are present in high carat alloy such as eighteen or twenty two carat, they are more resistant to attack by chemicals, because they are bound more closely with the gold content, and this will explain why high carat alloys cause fewer problems.

That itchy rash you get when you wear earrings might not be because you bought them from the sales rack; and the redness on your finger when you wear your wedding ring is not a "sign" that your marriage is in trouble. You may be one of the million of individuals who have allergic contact dermatitis. Look around you and at what you’re wearing. You may find the cause of your discomfort: you may have a metal allergy.
Speaking at the American Academy of Dermatology’s 2003 Annual Meeting in San Francisco, dermatologist Joseph F. Fowler, Jr., MD, spoke about allergic contact dermatitis and the various metals that can trigger it.
"Allergic contact dermatitis accounts for a significant number of visits to a dermatologist's office and is usually caused by substances that come into contact with the skin," said Dr. Fowler. "Metal is one of the most common culprits of allergic contact dermatitis especially due to the popular trend of body piercing which can lead to irritation and rashes in not only the earlobes, but upper portions of the ears, lips, nose, tongue, navel, breasts and genitalia as well."

After poison ivy, metal allergy is the most common form of allergic contact dermatitis. In the past, women have been more susceptible to metal allergy than men due to the amount of jewelry worn, but the numbers of males wearing jewelry is increasing and so is the incidence of metal allergy in this population.

Symptoms of metal allergy usually occur between six to 24 hours following exposure and will dissipate if exposure to the allergen is eliminated. The affected skin may become red, swollen, and blisters often appear, which may break, leaving crusts and scales. Later the skin may darken and become leathery and cracked. The rash is generally confined to the site of contact, although severe cases may extend outside the contact area, especially if the allergen is on your fingers and then transmitted to the face, eyelids or genitals.

"It’s important to note that allergic contact dermatitis, such as metal allergy, can be difficult to distinguish from other rashes," stated Dr. Fowler. "However, dermatologists can determine clues about the nature of a rash based on its location on the body and the patient's lifestyle and work habits."
Another way dermatologists can discover the source of an allergy is through patch testing. During patch testing, small amounts of possible allergens are applied to the skin on strips of tape and then removed after two days. An allergy shows up as a small red spot at the site of the patch and a dermatologist notes what the patient is most sensitive to.

The most common of all metal allergens is nickel, which is found in costume jewelry, clothing ornamentation, such as zippers, buttons and snaps, and virtually all common metal objects. Approximately 16 percent of all individuals who are patch tested for allergies turn out to be allergic to nickel. Because sweat allows the metal ions to be better absorbed into the skin, areas on the body where nickel is present and where sweating may occur can see an increase in the severity of the dermatitis.

The most common location of nickel dermatitis is on the earlobes from earrings containing the metal. This reaction may start with the needle used to pierce the ears and continue as individuals begin to change their earrings daily. Dermatologists suggest that individuals with an allergy to nickel wear only nickel-free or plastic earrings.
Trace amounts of metal are found in food and people with sensitivity to metal can experience dermatitis.

In particular, beans, lettuce and whole-grain foods are high in nickel, but most people do not ingest enough of them to develop a serious rash.
"While nickel dermatitis is associated most often with costume jewelry or watchbands, which have a high concentration of nickel, it can occur with finer jewelry which is usually worn for prolonged periods, for example a wedding ring," said Dr. Fowler. "If sentimental reasons prevent you from not wearing an item on a daily basis, the best way to prevent the reaction is to have it plated in a non-allergic metal, such as platinum."

Cobalt is also a common allergen that is found in many of the same items that contain nickel, thereby making this allergen difficult to pinpoint. It is also found naturally in soil, dust and seawater. In the home, it is most often found in the blue pigments in porcelain, glass, pottery or ceramics, as well as blue and green water color paints and crayons. In the workplace, cobalt is found in cement, bricks and mortars.
"Combined allergic reactions are not uncommon and represent simultaneous specific sensations to each individual metals as opposed to being reactions to the combination," stated Dr. Fowler. "Whenever possible, patients are encouraged to avoid the allergen, use plastic or wooden items, such as kitchen utensils or scissors, and wear protective clothing and a face mask at their workplace."

Chromate is another dermatitis-causing metal, which is also found in cement, but more commonly used as a leather tanning agent. "Shoe dermatitis" may result from leather containing chromates and patients should change their shoes and socks throughout the day especially if they are allergic or if there is excess perspiration.

In addition, some matches contain chromates and touching unlit matches can contaminate fingers. The fumes from a lit match and the charred match head also contain small amounts of chromate.

"When a metal allergy is suspected, it's important for people to seek the medical advice of a dermatologist especially since nickel, cobalt and chromate can all be found in some common metal objects that people may touch every day," said Dr. Fowler. "If avoidance of an item isn't possible, your dermatologist can recommend some other treatment options and lifestyle changes that can help patients live and work without the itchy rash of allergic contact dermatitis."

Titanium is a natural element which has a silver-greyish-white colour. Titanium is the hardest natural metal in the world. It is very strong, three times the strength of steel and much stronger than gold silver and platinum and yet is very light weight. Pure titanium is also 100% hypoallergenic which means that it if safe for anyone to wear as it will not react to your skin.

Pure titanium is 100% hypoallergenic and allergy free and will not produce skin irritation or discoloration. 

Pure titanium does not react to sunlight, salt water or anything that the body emits. This is why we only offer pure titanium to our clients. We do not use other metal alloys with our titanium to ensure only the purest and safest titanium is used in our rings. We use pure titanium with confidence knowing that everyone can wear it without the concern of an adverse reaction to your body.

Titanium is the fourth most abundant structural metal in the earth's crust and is the ninth industrial metal. No other engineering metal has risen so swiftly to pre-eminence in critical and demanding applications.

Availability in all forms
- Comparable cost to other high performance materials
- Ready weldability and machinability
- Weight saving - as strong as steel, but half the weight
- Fire and shock resistant
- Favourable cryogenic properties
- Bio-compatibility and non-toxicity

Cleaning titanium
Simply use a soft cloth and warm soapy water to clean your titanium rings. Do not use strong detergent or chemicals and never use toothpaste to clean your jewelry. For polished natural colour titanium rings, we suggest that you have your titanium ring polished about one or twice a year. This will help to keep the ring looking great.

Titanium is absolutely immune to environmental attack, regardless of pollutants. Where other architectural metals exhibit limited lifespan, titanium endures. It withstands urban pollution, marine environments, the sulfur compounds of industrial areas and is failure-proof in even more aggressive environments. Because it is the most noble metal, the coupling of titanium with dissimilar metals does not accelerate galvanic corrosion of the titanium.

Ash pendants
"Pendants with a soul"
"Jewels, who remind you to your love ones and keep them alive"
"A memory to keep and wear close to you"



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