We have created the perfect consumer guide to buying jewellery. This section contains some of the basic information you should know before you begin purchasing your jewellery; including how to buy a diamond, the Four C's, birthstones and gem stones, caring for your jewellery and the different types of metals that we use to create our special pieces. This content sharing will not only help transform you into a jewellery expert, but it will give you the knowledge and confidence to choose, evaluate and purchase that perfect piece of jewellery.
For jewelers, gold's softness and natural beauty have always been appealing, as well as the fact that it doesn't corrode or tarnish. Pure gold is so soft, in fact, that it's rarely used in jewellery. Instead, it's mixed with another metal to make a stronger gold alloy (mixture of metals). The quantity of gold in a given alloy is expressed in carats (ct). Pure gold is 24ct, and 75% gold is 18ct. At lower carat values, the metal can become more durable, but less yellow. So lower carat gold is sometimes plated in high-carat gold to enhance the colour. There's nothing wrong with this, but keep in mind that gold plating will wear off with time, and your jewellery may need to be re-plated.
When buying gold jewellery, look for the 'hallmark' (the manufacturer's registered trademark), a standard mark telling you the carat value, and a guarantee mark, which shows that a third party has tested and warranted the quality.
Before you start shopping around for that perfect diamond you need to have an understanding of what you are buying. We have put together this simple guide to assist you when choosing that special diamond purchase. There are four main criteria to consider when buying your diamond these are cut, colour, clarity, and carat weight also referred to as the 4C's - This will enable you to select your diamond based on the same criteria jewellers use to grade them.
Transforming a diamond from its natural, rough state into a perfect, glittering jewel is a very fine art. Cutting and polishing them can take weeks, even months, of painstaking work. The cut of a diamond determines its brilliance, dimensions and finish. A diamond that's cut to good proportions handles light better, creating more brilliance and sparkle, therefore commanding a higher value.
Since the quality of the cut is directly responsible for the stone's beauty, the precision with which the facets are arranged is of prime importance. The 58 facet round brilliant is the most common cut, but there are an array of other shapes as well. Some of these include marquise, pear shaped, heart shaped, the rectangular emerald cut, the square princess cut, and the cushion cut.
Diamonds come in a range of natural colours and shades, from light yellow to totally colourless (which are the rarest and the most valuable). Diamonds that have a natural colour, such as pink, blue or green, are also extremely rare and therefore very valuable.
The alphabet is used as the grading scale for colour, starting with grade 'D', which denotes colourless, and moving through the alphabet as any colour becomes more and more visible.
Clarity is graded based on the number, location, size and type of 'inclusions'. These are nature's birthmarks and are sometimes referred to as 'flaws'. Most diamonds contain minuscule inclusions that make each and every one unique.These inclusions neither mar the beauty nor endanger the durability of a diamond, although a stone will sparkle more the fewer and smaller the inclusions are. The clarity of a diamond is denoted by a letter with F for flawless, IF for internally flawless, VVS1 for Very Slightly Included and so on till I3 for obvious inclusions that can be viewed by the naked eye. The less the flaws or inclusions, greater the clarity and higher the value.
Like all precious stones, diamonds are denoted in carats. 1 carat is equal to 1/5th of a gram. . A carat is further subdivided into 100 points ( 0.01 carat = l point ). All other things being equal, larger the size of a diamond, the greater its value.
The pearl, symbol of purity, virtue and modesty, is also one of the most precious types of jewellery. A pearl is formed when an irritant, such as sand or a parasite, becomes lodged in the shell of an oyster. The oyster deposits layers of a semi-translucent crystalline material called "nacre" around the intruder, building the layers up for years, and creating a pearl. Natural pearls take many years to develop and often have irregular shapes, ranging from slightly off-spherical to twisting, bulging shapes.Ever since the ancient Egyptians started creating pearl jewellery, pearls have become one of the highest regarded gemstone. Even today pearl still hold their value due to its rare availability. Today most pearls are cultured pearls as the natural pearls are very rare and difficult to find. Following are the qualities that define a fine pearl.
Colour describes both the main colour (usually white, black or yellow) and the undertone (often pink, rose, or even green.) Pearls can also be dyed any shade according to personal preference.
This describes how many imperfections are found on the pearl's surface. All real pearls - natural or cultured - will have some imperfections, but the fewer and less noticeable they are the better.
In general, spherical pearls are the most prized. However, it is common to find small imperfections of shape, which can sometimes be desirable as long as they are symmetrical. Teardrop-shaped pearls, for instance, are often used in earrings and pendants.
Cultured pearls are sold by diameter, measured in millimetres. In general, larger cultured pearls are rarer and more costly. But you should also consider how well matched pearls are when combined in jewellery, such as on a necklace or in earrings. Look for pearls that are essentially the same size, colour, shape and lustre. Keep in mind that the better matched pearls there are in a piece of jewellery, the higher the cost. That's why pearl earrings cost more than two individual pearls.
When you buy cultured pearls, remember they're fairly soft gems. They can easily be scratched if they bump into things, or by other jewellery. Keep them separate from harder gems in your jewellery box.