Valerie's Gallery

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26 State Street, Newburyport, MA 01950
(978) 499-8444

117 Market Street, Portsmouth NH 03801
(603) 766-3737

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Beautiful... Unique... Handmade
American crafts, artisan jewelry, and local art

Product Care : Jewelry Care : FAQ

Product Care

Janna Ugone Lamps - Fingerprints sometimes will start showing as black smudges on the copper stems. The easy solution is to use a dry scotch brite pad and rub in a vertical direction. This will take care of the problem and remove small scratches and fingerprints.

Wood pieces - Have you ever noticed that cherry sometimes fades? We have. It’s good to keep your fine wood pieces out of direct sunlight and away from heat. Water also is not good for wood, so don’t soak wood bowls or use them in a dishwasher. To clean a wood piece, dust with a soft dry cloth. To remove fingerprints or bring a bit of a shine back, it’s okay to use a bit of spray polish on the cloth.

Wood clipboards are treated with a varnish and maybe need a little lemon oil on a clean cloth.

Wood salad bowls and cutting boards will likely have a food safe mineral oil finish and should be re-oiled occasionally to prevent cracking.

Jewelry Care

Sterling silver - Sterling silver is 92.5% silver and 9.5% other metals such as copper. These other metals are what tarnishes or discolors. Most often sterling is either shiny or matte. To keep shiny, use a polishing cloth. Occasionally we pour a little liquid Tarn-X in a Tupperware container and immerse the piece of jewelry. (Don’t dip any non-silver parts such as gems, gold-filled.) Rinse with water. We also suggest using a little baking soda with the water rinse as this helps neutralize any remaining chemical action that the Tarn-X may still be doing to your piece. For matte silver finishes, use a bit of baking soda with water as a paste and rub gently with your finger or old toothbrush. This will keep the matte finish. If you use a polishing cloth on a matte finish, you will shine up the finish instead of leaving it matte. I have a beautiful matte ring that over time becomes shiny. I get the matte finish back by using a green scotch-brite pad and gently brush in one direction. Doesn’t take more than a couple of passes to create the matte finish again. To keep sterling from tarnishing to begin with, we have read many recommendations for storing jewelry in airtight ziploc type bags. We have been using little black carbon-based papers from 3M as well which absorb the sulfur in the air that causes tarnishing. They last about six to nine months we’re told.

If you misplaced a jeweler's care information, we've got it here:

Philippa Roberts -- "Every piece of philippa roberts jewelry that you buy is hand made. we love the look of the matte silver and hope that is part of what appeals to you. you can clean the silver with a polishing cloth, but be warned this will make your piece shiny. what we suggest is to use toothpaste and a toothbrush, this will clean any tarnishing while maintaining the matte finish. always avoid any harsh cleaners on the pearls."

Elizabeth Garvin - "Cleaning instructions for DZ pieces: (Cubic Zirconia) - Step 1. Wash piece with soap and water, using a bristle brush to clean satin surfaces and stones. Step 2: If Satin silver is tarnished, clean with liquid tarnish dip applied with a cotton swab. Step 3: Wash again as above, brushing hard-to-reach interiors carefully. Polished surfaces can be cleaned with a polishing cloth. Never use a polishing cloth on matte, satin or vermeil surfaces."


Q: What kind of shop are you?

A: Well no one actually asks us that, but I hear people saying "oh, they have the most beautiful jewelry," or "I love this store; they have great gifts" or they walk by saying "it's a gallery" or they tell their little ones, "oh we can't go in there; it's all glass." We are definitely a mix of all those things. I used to work at the Sharon Arts Center in Peterborough and went to a lot of League of NH Craftsmen Fairs, so I love it all. So, we are all those things. Our mission is to have handmade American craft and art, so we carry work from glassblowers, potters, jewelry designers, people who work in wood and design and cast in pewter. In addition, we love art so there's a selection of printmakers, painters, and lots of local photography.

Q: Are all your artists local?

A: I guess local is a relative word. Definitely all American handmade, and heavily from New England. We have a number of artists from eastern and western Massachusetts.

Q: Can I use pottery in an oven?

A: Most of our functional pottery can definitely be used in an oven. The key though is they don’t like a big temperate change, so if you put the dish in the oven early on while the oven is still preheating it should be fine. It just cannot go from room temperate to an oven that is 350 degrees; that kind of temperature is prone to cracking your piece. Most pottery is also dishwasher safe, and microwave safe.

Q: I've lost an earring - can you help me?

A: Most likely. Many of our jewelry artists are happy to re-create a match for a lost earring. Often we'll need the earring sent back to us to assure as good a match as possible. Please ask or bring in your single earring and we'll find out for you.

Q: I love your jewelry but it's too small, or too big.

A: Many of our jewelry artists can definitely re-do a design to fit your needs. Jill O'Reilly and Thomas Kuhner for example regularly do this for our customers. Jewelry is usually designed for an "average size" which works for many customers, but we want it to fit YOU beautifully

Q: Does your store stay open year round?

A. Yes, in Newburyport most shops are open year round. There is a slow season, for us anyway, in the winter, but things start picking up for Valentine’s Day and then again later in the spring. We are open six to seven days a week year round.

Q: Do we make all this?

A. We get this question from time to time, so I thought I would expound on this a moment. No, we don’t make all this. We represent a number of different artists working in all kinds of media: pottery, jewelry, glass, etc. For example, in blown glassware, we represent Janet Zug, Salamandra Glass, Bruce Cobb, Little River Hot Glass and Tom Stoenner -- all from New England and New York by the way. Each artist is a specialist in their own type of design and how they create their work. It would be impossible for one person to do all the varied styles of glass not to mention then create pottery, jewelry, woodwork, etc. We usually have the works of over 50 artists at any time.

Q: How do you find new artists?

A. Artists approach us, customers tell us, we go to craft and art shows, etc. If you are an artist, we have a submission page which will answer more questions.