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Gemstone & Metal Guide

Gemstone & Metal Guide

Understanding Materials and Origins

GEMSTONES

People have treasured gemstones for thousands of years, sometimes they were valued and worn for their rarity, sometimes becasue of their ties with the land, mythology and legends and even sometimes as a form of medicine as many were seen to have special powers to heal or protect. Gemstones have had a colourful history, from Ancient Egypt, the Roman Empire, Inuit tribes right through to modern day.

This is at the heart of everything we do. We are proud to work with genuine minerals, we never use glass or paste in place of real semi precious gemstones. Designers Sarah and Alexander have been lucky enough to travel during the journey of their design work – this has taken them to various parts of the world where different gemstones are found and as their love for gemology has grown they have added more unusual and rare stones to their ever growing portfolio of gemstone materials. Their collections now includes over 50 different natural gemstones, some as well known and loved as Rainbow Moonstone and Labradorite compared with some unique and scarce minerals such as Tourmaline Tourquoise, Chrysocolla and Prehnite.

The gemstone designs are crafted in India where the studio specialises in hand cutting the array of semi precious stones and setting the individual pieces by hand. The process starts when stones are individually hand selected first before cutting to find the pieces with the most stunning colour, pattern and clarity to ensure the pieces that you select can look their very best. We work with many styles of stone cutting (including cutting with facets for high shine, rough cut to show the natural beauty of the stone and cabuchon cut for a curved, dome shine). Finally all stones are hand polished and hand set in our designs by experts to ensure the best quality of setting.

As well as working with natural gemstones we design beautiful creations set with the highest grade Zirconia Crystal. Zirconia Crystal although man made is classed as a crystal – the high end grade we use is made up of Zirconium dioxide with yttriume, magnesium and calcium. This means they are essentially the best possible quality simualted diamonds – called a triple A rated stone. This gives them a hardness rating stronger than Swarovski crystals and a brilliance and perfect clarity without any inclusions or imperfections.

PRECIOUS METALS

We work hard to make sure that only the best materials are used to create our beautiful jewellery peices. As well as the array of stunning natural gemstones that we set in our designs, the precious metals used are just as important to us. So we explain below the different metal types we use and what is special about them.

STERLING 925 SILVER

Silver has been used to craft fine jewellery since ancient times and was once considered more precious than gold. But what is 925 silver? The purity of silver is rated on a scale based on 1,000, and for silver to be classed as Sterling Silver it has to have a rating of 925 (meaning purity of 92.5) Pure silver is classed 999 but unfortunatley pure silver is very soft and not hard enough to be used as a jewellery metal. Solid Sterling Silver being of a high purity but with strength and beauty has a lifetime of durability – making it the perfect choice for designing jewellery and for everyday wear.

RHODIUM

Rhodium is a precious metal only more expensive than gold. It is actually the most expensive of all precious metals because it is so very rare in nature and is part of the Platinum family of metals. Rhodium is highly resistant to scratching and has a bright mirror like finish which does not tarnish. We use Rhodium plating over our 925 silver for designs where we want a high shine look or a darker silver effect as Rhodium like Platinum has an antique silver look.

GOLD VERMEIL

The process of Gold Vermeil plating was first developed in the 17th Century in France. It involves plating over 925 Sterling Solid Silver with a thick plating of Gold. In modern times this type of jewellery has become greatly popular as it looks stunning but is far more affordable than buying pieces of solid gold jewellery. To be Vermeil (pronounced Vermey) the Gold needs to be plated on solid 925 grade Silver, be a thick layer of plating rather than flash gold plating and the gold needs to be 14k in purity or higher. For our gold pieces we employ this method as the effect is beautiful – jewellery pieces look like solid gold designs but will not set our customers back the same amount.

ROSE GOLD

We use exactly the same process as with the Gold Vermeil but using 14k Rose Gold over Sterling Silver instead of yellow Gold. Rose Gold has grown in poularity for its warm, blush tone being so complimentary to so many skin and hair tones as well as providing a beautiful setting against the natural gemstone palettes.

BRASS

Whilst the vast majority of our jewllery is fashioned using Sterling 925 Silver, a small proportion of our designs are made using a good quality base metal of brass. Usually this is because we need the metal to be more flexible or strong down to a partciluar design or becasue so much metal is needed in the design that if solid silver was used the price would be prohibitive. Brass is a very versitile and dureable metal – it is made up of copper and zinc and being slightly stronger even than 925 silver we can create intricate designs which might be more problematic in other metals. We still plate our brass base with Rhodium, 14k Gold or 14k Rose Gold. Any jewelley design made with brass as a base metal instead of silver clearly states this in the description on the product page.

SOURCING

We work hard with our sourcing and partnerships around to world to ensure ethical materials are used. Our gemstones are sourced only from reputable partners who have undergone Smeta Audits to ensure safe working conditions, best practices and fair wages. The same compliance applies to our precious metals and we are proud that we work with a partner in Thailand where 10% – 15% of the silver used is recycled / reclaimed giving it a second life and assisting sustainability.