925 Sterling Silver
Silver, often associated with success or wealth, is one of the most popular precious metals. It is ductile and malleable. This is a positively ideal way of making all types of jewellery because it can be drawn into write or beaten into sheets.
Silver has been used throughout all of history because it is brighter than other white metals and extremely fashionable. Silver is also extremely versatile, whether it is plain, engraved or stone set, and is the perfect metal to complement other jewels.
The term ‘sterling silver’ refers to an alloy, made up of copper and 92.5% pure silver, and this reflects in the 925-sterling silver hallmark stamp. Slightly harder than pure silver, sterling silver is the most popular alloy used for manufacturing jewellery and silverware. Less common but with a higher purity is Britannia Silver UK, which is also made up of copper but contains 95.8% silver, with a hallmark stamp of 958.
Silver articles weighing less than 7.78 grams are not required to carry a hallmark.
Available in 18karat, 14karat & 9karat
Yellow gold is viewed as a timeless classic metal with some amazing properties. Whilst most other pure metals are grey or white, gold is naturally shiny yellow.
Historically, it’s always held a high importance. Ranging from Ancient Egyptians featuring gold in art to Ancient Greeks who believed it was crafted from water and sunshine. Its stunning quality has kept it’s worth in jewellery for over 6000 years. In today’s market, this is more relevant than ever before. Our reliance on gold as a commodity is as strong as ever because of all the Central Banks such as the Bank of England holding Gold Reserves. This association with currency began with the introduction of the gold ducat in Venice in 1284 and has been used in Great Britain since 1377.
With such importance placed on its value, gold’s authenticity has been verified by the assaying process since the 13th century. Gold jewellery may carry a hallmark stamp, to ensure it conforms to the legal minimum standards of purity. Pure gold is referred to as 24 carat gold, but this is too soft to be used for jewellery, so it is combined with stronger metals to create an alloy. The ratio of pure gold to other metals in an item is defined by its ‘carat’.
Gold makes for a great investment that you can pass down the generations. It truly is timeless.
Available in 18karat, 14karat & 9karat
White gold is beautifully elegant and fashionable. Portraying a shiny and silvery tone, it makes a lovely alternative to both yellow gold and other white metals such as silver, platinum and palladium.
Gold is naturally yellow and too soft to be crafted into jewellery, so it is mixed with other more durable metals to make a stronger alloy and possibly an alternative color. To create a silver tone, white gold is alloyed with gold and one (or more) white metals. Nickel, magnesium and palladium are the most common combinations. White gold jewellery is an affordable alternative to platinum and is tarnish free, making it an ideal material to complement diamonds and other gemstones.
The color of white gold is dependent on the amount of pure yellow gold and other metals used to create the alloy.
The contemporary version of white gold is often enhanced by rhodium plating. Rhodium is a metal from the platinum group that is naturally silver and beautifully bright. Almost all white gold is electro plated with rhodium to hide any staining or browning from the alloying process and to ensure white gold always has a shiny white, polished finish.
Depending on the type of jewellery, over time rhodium plating can wear away or scratch if it is repeatedly in contact with other hard items. Earrings, for example, are unlikely to come into contact with anything which will wear the plating, but rings may show signs of wear.
If you find your rhodium plating has worn away slightly, you can arrange for it to be replated. Madewear can advise on recommended UK specialists. Even when white gold is rhodium plated, white gold will still be hallmarked in the same way as other gold, ensuring its purity and fineness.
Available in 18karat & 14karat
Rose gold is a striking metal alloy of gold mixed with copper. The result of this creates a delightful rose tint in the finished material. Rose became fashionable around the turn of the 19th century, particularly in Russia. Since then, rose gold has been used as a stylish and elegant alternative to yellow and white gold.
Its colour is suited to more skin tones than yellow gold and sets off other metal colors well; therefore it makes a complimentary addition to any jewellery collection. All Madewear pure rose gold will be tested and stamped with a hallmark at THE GOLDSMITH’S COMPANY assay office. This is done to clarify its purity and authenticate its gold content just like yellow and white gold.
Birthstones are precious or semi-precious gemstones that are associated with each month. Each month has a different stone, for instance, April’s is a diamond. This dates back to the breastplate of Aaron which contained twelve gemstones representing the twelve tribes of Israel. The current list dates back to 1912 with only one addition since then – the tanzanite was added to December. According to many legends, birthstones (particularly when worn during it’s assigned month), have healing and therapeutic powers.
There are four precious stones: diamonds, rubies, emeralds and sapphires. Sometimes you will can see that a pearl, an opal or a jade are listed as a precious gemstone, but more often they are considered semi-precious. Traditionally, these four precious stones have been the most expensive and sought after stones.
Every other gemstone that isn’t one of those four is considered to be semi precious. The list goes on and on, but some of the more common ones are: alexandrite, agate, amethyst, aquamarine, garnet, lapis lazuli, moonstone, opal, pearl, peridot, rose quartz, spinel, tanzanite, tourmaline, turquoise and zircon.
This separation between precious and semi precious has no real scientific backing. For example, emerald is a variety of a beryl, so are aquamarines. Emerald is precious while aquamarine is semi precious. When this categorization came about, it was mainly due to the value and rarity differences between the 4 precious gemstones and the rest. Today some semi precious gemstones can be worth much more than a precious stone. As an example, many natural pearls garner huge prices, often worth more than a low quality precious diamond, ruby, emerald or sapphire. Spinels are another example. Additionally, many semi precious stones can be more rare than some of the precious. Demantoid garnets or tsavorite garnets and many other semi precious gemstones are hard to find, harder to mine and produced in much lower qualities than the precious gemstones.
Cubic zirconia is a man-made product with no natural counterpart. The name “Cubic” refers to the crystal symmetry and “Zirconia” is the chemical composition (zirconium oxide). Cubic zirconia is not to be confused with the gemstone zircon. The only thing they have in common is that they both contain the element zirconium.