Purity\r\n\r\nThe term ‘carat’ is used to describe the purity of gold, which consists of a total of 24 parts. Pure gold is 24 carats (100% gold) and can be identified by the lustrous yellow we are all familiar with. Gold, in its purest form, is a very soft and malleable metal which is why it is not often seen in the Jewellery market – it is simply too soft to withstand every day wear.\r\n\r\nTo give gold its strength and durability, it is alloyed with a mixture of metals like silver, copper, palladium and zinc. With 18ct gold (75% gold), 18 of the 24 parts are pure gold, while the remaining 6, are other metals. 18ct gold is the ideal alloy for long lasting precious Jewellery.\r\n\r\n9ct gold (37.5% gold) is 9 parts gold with the remaining 15 being a mix of any of the abovementioned metals.\r\n\r\nColour- The colour of the gold is determined by both the type and amount of metal alloys used.\r\n\r\nYellow Gold: the natural and true colour of gold is yellow.\r\n\r\nWhite Gold: to produce white gold, white metals are added to counteract the natural yellow of the gold. Palladium and silver are most commonly used together with pure gold to create white gold. However, depending on the metals used, the colour of white gold may still have a slight yellow hue. To enhance the whiteness, white gold may be plated with rhodium. Rhodium is a very hard bright white metal which may eventually wear away with time. Re-plating will easily restore it to its original lustre.\r\n\r\nRose Gold: gets its colour from the addition of a larger proportion of copper in the metal alloy. This gives the gold a beautiful rose/pink colour.
Platinum is a beautiful silvery-white metal, when pure, and is extremely malleable and ductile. It is also one of the most expensive alloys on the market. Because of its beautiful bright colour and rarity it compliments diamonds perfectly and is usually reserved only for the finest jewellery pieces.\r\n\r\nPlatinum is a naturally occurring metal and belongs to the same family as palladium and rhodium. It is most commonly discovered in Columbia and certain western American states.
Titanium Being of an exceptionally light weight and acting as a strong alloy, Titanium is primarily used in the aerospace industry. Weighing 60% less than steel but being just as hardy, Titanium can also withstand extreme levels of heat.\r\n\r\nThe use of Titanium is relatively new to the world of jewellery, however, its low density, great strength and easy fabrication makes it an interesting and creative addition to fine jewellery.
Iron makes up the bulk of stainless steel; however, in its natural state, iron will rust and corrode. Chromium and nickel are added to iron to prevent corrosion, and it is this combination that produces the alloy known as stainless steel.\r\nStainless steel is exceptionally hard and much lighter than sterling silver. Its ability not to scratch or tarnish the way a softer metal might, makes it a very wearable and durable material for jewellery.
Sterling silver in its pure form is known as fine silver. Fine silver, however, is relatively soft, very malleable and easily damaged, so it is commonly combined with other metals to create a more durable and wearable material known as sterling silver. Sterling silver consists of 92.5% pure silver and 7.5% of another type of metal, usually copper. Copper is the preferred additive as it enhances the strength without diminishing the bright and natural colour of the silver.
DiamondDiamonds are the hardest known natural mineral. On a scale of one to ten, diamonds have a hardness value of ten. The way a diamond refracts and disperses light, accounts for its extraordinary brilliance and luminosity. Diamonds are available in nearly any color, though yellow and brown are by far the most common. They are commonly judged by the ‘four Cs’: carat, clarity, color, and cut. Many of world’s diamonds are currently found in Africa; it is the rarity, durability and brilliance that make diamonds the most valued of all gems.\r\n\r\nBirthstone: April
EmeraldThe emerald with a hardness of eight, usually a striking green, belongs to the beryl family. Following diamonds, emeralds are considered one of the world’s most valuable gems sometimes rivaling a diamond in value. Emeralds are frequently found in Columbia and can also be traced to a number of other countries including Brazil and South Africa. It is said that an emerald brings good-luck and well-being to its wearer; it also represents a love of nature and is the colour of life and springtime.\r\n\r\nBirthstone: May
The aquamarine also belongs to the beryl family. Usually a pale blue in colour, it has also been discovered in a variety of golden yellows, pinks and oranges. Aquamarines are generally found in Madagascar and Brazil. The light blue of the Aquamarine’s evokes feelings of sympathy, trust, harmony and friendship, and is also the symbol of lasting friendships.\r\n\r\nBirthstone: March
The ruby is considered one of the most valuable gemstones on earth. It has everything a precious stone should have: magnificent colour, excellent hardness and outstanding brilliance. Considered one of the four precious stones, together with sapphires, emeralds and diamonds, it is an extremely rare gemstone with a colour gamut ranging from light pink through to blood red, which is the most valuable. Burma is famous for producing some of the world’s greatest rubies. Unsurprisingly, the ruby represents love, as well as vivacity, passion and power\r\n\r\nBirthstone: July
The sapphire is a member of the corundum family, with a hardness of nine. Although the most precious and valuable sapphire is a velvety cornflower blue called ‘kashmir’ blue, sapphires, though found in numerous shades of blue, also come in shades of pinks, purples and yellows. The most prized sapphires are produced in Kashmir although Australia has been known to produce some very beautiful sapphires. Sapphires are said to symbolize indestructible trust. They have come to represent the qualities of loyalty, reliability, sympathy and harmony.\r\n\r\nBirthstone: September
Opal It is the play of magnificent flashes of colour and light that give opals their allure and value. A black opal or an opal with a dark coloured background and bright flecks are the most precious. The more common ones are a milky pale white with subtle flecks of colour. Australia is currently the main producer of the most brilliant opals. With a hardness of six, opals are believed to have strong healing properties, and are said to help alleviate depression and help its wearer find true love.\r\n\r\nBirthstone: October
Jade is made up of two distinct and unrelated types of rock mineral; Jadeite and Nephrite. Jade is a soft easily carved stone and is found in a broad range of greens. The finest jade (Jadeite) is produced primarily in Burma; while the lesser valued jade (nephrite) is found in a number of locations, particularly New Zealand.\r\n\r\nJade is known as the symbol of ‘good’ and the symbol of female erotica. It is said to embody the virtues of wisdom, justice, compassion, modesty and courage.
Topaz is available in a large array of colours, usually pale blue (which due to customer demand is often achieved by heat treating the yellow or clear shades of topaz), as well as yellows, browns, oranges and even greens and pinks. Topaz is a very durable gem with a hardness of eight. It is said to protect against enemies and is a symbol of beauty and splendor.\r\n\r\nBirthstone:\r\n\r\nBlue Topaz: December\r\n\r\nYellow Topaz: November
Quartz, with a hardness of seven, is the most diverse of the gem family. It is a colourless gem, and it is the traces of chemical impurities that dictate what colour the quartz will become. Quartz is found in many different rock types which is why it is found in such abundance, particularly in Brazil, Madagascar, Japan and throughout America.
Amethyst ranges in colour from mauve through to deep purple; the iron oxide in the quartz gives it this hue. It is most commonly found in Zambia, Sri Lanka and Mexico. The amethyst is said to protect its wearer against seduction.\r\n\r\nBirthstone: February
In shades that range from pale to dark yellow, citrine quartz is frequently mistaken for the more valuable topaz. It is the combination of iron and a specific heat that determines its colour. Citrine is the least common of all the quartz family and is often found in the same places as amethysts. In mysticism, the citrine is said to have a ‘cooling’ effect. It is also said to dispel sadness, anger and nocturnal fears.\r\n\r\nBirthstone: November
Smoky quartz is most commonly seen as a smoky grey; however it can vary in colour from almost black through browns through to a smoky yellow. It is believed that radioactivity gives smoky quartz its colour, rather than a dominant impurity. Being quite a common gem it can be mined where most quartz is found, and in particular in the Swiss Alps and Scotland.
Traces of titanium within the quartz account for the shades of soft pink through to the bright reds that determine the colour of rose quartz. The deep flawless red varieties are particularly rare and therefore valuable. Brazil, Madagascar and south West Africa are known to produce these rare varieties.
Turquoise is usually found in the form of small veins traversing decomposed volcanic rocks. The finest turquoise comes from Persia, America and Chile. In earlier times, turquoise was believed to ensure the material well-being of the wearer. Turquoise is also often seen worn around the neck or wrist as protection against unnatural death, and has therefore become iconic to those working in high risk occupations.\r\n\r\nBirthstone: December
The term ‘garnet’ refers to a group of closely related subspecies. As a result a garnet may not only be red, but may also be found in shades of brown, yellow, green, black and even white. The green varieties of garnet are particularly rare and can be as valuable as some of the best sapphires. Czechoslovakia, South Africa, Burma, Brazil and Australia are the best sources for the most common red varieties.\r\n\r\nBirthstone: January
While amber may not be a mineral and therefore is not technically a gem, it is natural and does hold an important place as an ornament. Amber is a fossilized resin – a resin exuded from pine trees many millions of years ago which has hardened through oxidization and a lengthy burial.\r\n\r\nCognac (transparent) amber is the most common variety, however, it is also available in what is called butterscotch (bright opaque yellow), green and black amber which is also transparent with a black burnt look to it. Most of the world’s amber can be found in Poland, the Czech Republic and the southern coast of the Baltic Sea.