Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Vacation Gemstone purchases

Coloured gemstones, sometimes called semi-precious stones add life to your wardrobe.
Since they are less expensive than diamonds and the big three, sapphire, ruby and emerald, they can come in large but affordable sizes and interesting shapes.
If you shop for stones while on vacation please remember that you are not guaranteed genuine stones when purchasing in a foreign country, especially from a mat in a market - no matter what the nice person selling says! So please ask yourself these simple question:
Do you like it?
Can you afford it?
Is it a great souvenir?
Is it alright if its not genuine?
If you answer yes to all the questions then buy, you will have a great story to tell when you get home. Happy Holidays!
14k yellow gold and sterling silver earrings with Carnelian

Monday, March 24, 2008


...is a skill separate from making jewellery, it is the colorful result of fusing powdered glass to metal. Its an art I have been interested in but never found my style - but I think I have finally figured out En Grisaille and you can expect more of it in the future!
enamelled brooch 3 x 3.5 cm

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Switched Diamonds.

"When I was in my Teens I took a pendant into the local jeweller to have an extra ring put on the bail. When I got it back I was sure they had switched my stone, but now I realize that I just didn't recognize it clean!"
I have switched stones, but only when asked to by customers, usually we call this 'replacing a chipped stone with a new one'. The term 'switching' is saved for when Jewellers take a good stone and replace it with one of lesser value or in the case of a cubic zirconia, no value at all.
But lets imagine that I am unscrupulous, and look at your risk levels;
- Nobody (smart) steals a 1993 Honda Civic for its resale value, and the same goes for a diamond under 30 pts, its not worth my effort - why risk my business!
- Nobody (smart) steals a neon pink Smart car - too easy to spot. Same for stealing an unusual diamond, I couldn't find a pink princess cut of lesser quality that would fool the customer into thinking it is their original stone.
- A car with a good alarm system is less likely to disappear. Larger diamonds (over 50 pts) these days usually come with a laser engraving on the girdle, the numbers are recorded in your Appraisal. When you get the stone back from me, walk into another jewellery shop and get them to confirm the registration numbers using their microscope.
- Do you let just anybody work on your car?? I recommend that you build a relationship with your Jeweller, one based on trust. And to do that you start by not trusting them and get an Independent Appraisal done on all work. After a few interactions in which the Jeweller's work and the Appraiser's info are copacetic, you can start to trust.
Mona's 18k Palladium gold pendant.

10k, 14k & 18k?

What do those numbers really mean?
Lets start with 24k that's pure gold, 100%.
So 18k is 18/24s pure gold or better put 3/4 or 75% pure gold.
14k is 14/24s pure gold, so just over half gold or 58.5%.
10k is 10/24s pure gold, so less than half gold or 41.7%
A piece of jewellery can also be stamped with just the percentage number, so it may say 750, 585 or 417 instead. All jewellery for sale must be stamped with the metal content and a trademark which shows who made it.
So what is the non gold part? Its usually a mixture of copper and silver in yellow gold and nickel or palladium in white gold.
The K stands for Karat which is a unit of fineness in gold. Don't confuse it with Carat which is a unit of weight for gemstones!
Pendant design and face by Rob Chaplin, 18k yellow and white gold metalwork by me.