Wet Specimens in alcohol

-I use medical lab glass, which is designed not to break easily. Of course there may be freak accidents in which breakage may occur but these are not meant to break with normal use. My laboratory floor is tile and I drop these vials all the time and have never once broken one.

-Your specimen has been processed in formalin. Formalin is toxic however your specimen has been given a salt-water bath to cleanse the outside tissue in case your skin comes into contact with the specimen due to an accident. As long as your specimen is not swallowed it cannot harm you. But I highly recommend not touching your wet specimen. 

-As long as your specimen is kept covered in alcohol it will be preserved forever.

-Alcohol is a tricky substance. Unless sealed in a vacuum it will always manage to evaporate. It may take months or in some cases years to notice but when you do notice simply unscrew the cap and refill with 70% isopropyl alcohol (regular rubbing alcohol from the store). Do not use 90% as it may cause damage to the tissue. 

-Since your specimen is kept in alcohol it is not safe to store or wear in direct heat for long periods of time. For example: You can wear it in the sun but if you are going to go sun bathing in which you lay in the direct sunlight for an hour don't wear this item. Another example: you can wear this on a very hot day because I'm assuming you will be in and out of shade. But do not leave this in your car on a very hot day for over an hour. 

-If your specimen is a display it can sit in a spot where the sunlight touches it for several hours of the day but it is not good if it is actually sitting at a window where it is directly under the sunlight with no shade for extended periods.

Wet Specimens in Glycerin (Diaphonized/Botanical Specimens)

-These specimens need no after care except its never a good idea to have any kind of art created with a once living specimen in direct sunlight for extended periods.

Dried Butterflies/ Moths/ Bees/ Flowers 

-Your specimen will remain the same beautiful color if you keep in mind these facts. For example, I have specimens from the 1920’s that look perfect. 

-UV rays deteriorate color pigment. This means that if left in direct sunlight for extended periods, the color will begin to fade. The specimen can be in sunlight with no harm as long as it’s not in it directly for more than an hour daily. So feel free to wear your jewelry containing these specimens on a sunny day and if your display is at a window that receives some sunlight but it’s not direct sunlight, that’s totally fine. Just imagine the specimen like your skin. You can be next to a sunny window or out on a sunny day, but you wouldn’t want to be where the sun is touching your skin constantly for over an hour on your skin without protection. 

-If your specimen get’s moist then mold will grow on it. So do not wear your jewelry under water, such as a bath, pool, sauna, etc. If you accidentally do something like that and you begin to notice moisture is building up in your item, do not panic. Just leave it in a sack of rice or in a closed box/Tupperware with some silica gel overnight and by morning the moisture will be gone and your specimen saved! If you live in a humid area store your jewelry with some silica gel (name brand damp-rid) or a sack of dry rice when you’re not wearing it.

-Mites can also eat your specimens. They are tiny so unless your item is air tight it is susceptible to mites. *Most of the sculptures and jewelry I create ARE air tight. But here are some tips anyway, to help with any oddities you might acquire that are not: To prevent mites just make sure to keep your item in a well lit room or area for at last half the day. Mites do not like light. If your item is kept in a dark drawer or room with little to no light for most of the time it may develop mites. Mites are natural and are everywhere.  They are not harmful to humans but they can ruin your clothes and carpets. They are many types of mites but a common one in California is known as a carpet beetle because it can eat wholes in your carpet as they can live off of all kinds of fiber.  Regular vacuuming and lots of light help to keep mites away but if you have a large insect or unprocessed dead things collection in your home it might be best to store them with moth balls or pieces of “no pest strip”.