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Here is My Blog, I hope you enjoy these snippets of information and insight into my work!

Fold formed earrings

So what do you need to do when taking care of your silver jewellery?

Sterling silver is 92.5% silver and the rest is copper. As a result the copper in the jewellery oxidises when in contact with the air, this can give your jewellery anything from a dull appearance to an ugly grey/black coating!

So how do we to resolve this? Firstly it’s important to store your jewellery properly. By eliminating contact with the air (longer term) you can reduce the tarnish, so store your stuff in air tight bags, you know the ones with the seal running along the top. You can buy large ones of these, say like foodie bags, or smaller ones for your individual pieces.

Another consideration when taking care of silver jewellery is where your storing it short term. Don’t leave it in the bathroom, all that steam from your lovely hot showers will tarnish it without a second thought! And don’t throw it in a box with lots of other nic-nacs where it will get scratched!

So you’ve got the idea how to store your stuff, so what do you do when it does tarnish? The first thing to do is clean your jewellery using warm soapy water (not hot!!!), all that grease and grime does it no favours! An old soft tooth brush will do, just give it a gentle brush in soapy water (washing up liquid is fine) and bobs your uncle any gemstones you may have suddenly start to sparkle! Then dry your jewellery (totally dry!!!). You can buy special jewellery polishing clothes that have impregnated chemicals that allow you to polish away any tarnish stains. This is the next step in the process. Be careful if you have delicate stones and claws in your jewellery, don’t pull the claws open! Once you have used your cloth store it in an airtight bag.

Some of you may be tempted to buy silver dip. Well this is OK on some jewellery, especially if its all silver and it is really badly tarnished. But here is the word of caution. Some silver dips can eat at your lovely gemstones especially malachite, so caution is the word!

So now you know that taking care of silver jewellery is not difficult so come on give yours a polish and add a little sparkle to your life!!!

Emerald birthstone

Birthstones, what’s yours?
So just to clarify, a birthstone is traditionally seen as a gemstone associated with the month of a persons birth. This tradition started several centuries ago. By 1912 the National Association of Goldsmiths standardised the list of Birthstones for Britain. And here they are:

January – Garnet
February – Amethyst
March – Aquamarine, bloodstone
April – Diamond, rock crystal
May – Emerald
June – Pearl, moonstone
July – Ruby, carnelian
August – Peridot, sardonyx
September – Sapphire, lapis lazuli
October – Opal
November – Topaz, citrine
December – Tanzanite, torquoise

The butterfly pendant shows emeralds for May and the stud earrings below show garnets for January. Both were birthday commissions.

Garnet stud earrings

Garnets for January

My birthstone is amethyst, which I love. I’m a bit of a purple freak too, if you didn’t notice, so it sits well with me. There are many ladies who still have their birthstone as part of their engagement ring which is really nice, perhaps I should have done that too. I could be wearing purple almost everyday! So next time a loved one has a birthday think about which of one of the birthstones is for them!!!

Diamond ring

Jewellery repairs aren’t as expensive as you may think! Many of us have old sentimental pieces of jewellery that are just sat in their boxes because there is a broken clasp or chain, or an ear post has snapped off or a stone is missing from a ring or bracelet. Whatever the reason jewellery repairs is one way of bringing a new lease of life into an old piece.

So what are the does and don’ts when considering a repair? Anything that has gemstones set in it is up for serious scrutiny! If a setting that is holding a gemstone has a claw missing then I need to be absolutely sure about what type of stone that is. Any gemstones such as amber, turquiose, pearl or malachite will disintegrate if any heat is applied near the stone, that wouldn’t make for a happy customer! Diamonds are excellent when it comes to tolerating heat and make for easy repair work. This ring shows the damage before it was repaired.

Ring repair

Diamond Ring needs repair

Some pieces of jewellery are Rhodium plated to make them look more silvery, this will be removed if heat is applied, and some pieces look silver and they are just plated cooper, so caution with all things.

Wedding rings seam to cause lots of problems as the years roll by. They get battered and scratched, loose their shape, become to big but most often become to small. All these things can be repaired. Below is a ring being repaired showing a gold insert just soldered in. This ring was originally a size J and needed to be enlarged to a size 0.

Ring repair

Ring being enlarged

Gold ring repaired

Gold ring repaired

So whatever your jewellery repairs please contact me and put some new life back into your sentimental pieces!!!

Do you ever think of getting cash for gold? If you have old jewellery that’s sitting in your jewellery box doing nothing you may well be very tempted to cash your gold in. But think again! Most people have jewellery that they don’t wear for several reasons; the jewellery is dated or broken, it was left by a family member but is not what you would want to wear, or you have got divorced and you don’t want to wear your wedding rings again!!! Whatever your reasons gold prices are extremely high and if you’re wanting new jewellery then don’t cash them in have them remodeled into something new. Gemstones can be removed and the gold melted down and re-cycled into a new design. Gemstones can be reset and a unique piece of jewellery can be made. Check out your jewellery box and see if you have any pieces that could be recycled and so no to cash for gold!

The image shown is a gorgeous diamond ring recycled from old jewellery. The ring is 18ct gold with a diamond set in 22ct bezel. Smaller diamonds are them flush set along the shank. All made from old rings. So what are you waiting for!

Hallmarking. So what don’t you know about hallmarking regulations? Ask yourself this; you have a silver ring with a 925 stamp on the inside, is this a hallmark? You have a ring with 18ct stamped inside, is this a hallmark? The answer is no! A hallmark is a collection of stamps awarded by an Assay Office. There are 4 Assay Offices in the UK, Edinburgh, Birmingham, Sheffield and London. A jeweller hallmarking their work will need to be registered with one Assay Office, I’m registered with Birmingham. The Assay office test the metal item and award the corresponding hallmark which is made up of at least 3 stamps. 1 is the assay office mark, 2 is the metal mark for example 925 is sterling silver and 3 is the sponsors mark for example mine is ARK. Then the jewellery can request extra stamps as part of the hallmark such as the year and any commemorative stamps, last year there was the queens head available for the diamond jubilee.
So to recap there should be at least 3 stamps that make up a hallmark, not 1. So be careful out there and always ask whoever you buy your jewellery from about hallmarking, don’t be fobbed off with just one stamp!

Diamond testing

I can now offer diamond testing to test your jewellery to make sure that you do have diamonds in them! Why I hear you ask, well the normal procedure is to look at diamonds with a jewellers loupe and with training jewellers learn the qualities of a diamond, including cut, colour, clarity and carat. However there are occasions where diamond testing can prove invaluable such as when carrying out repair work! When presented with a gemstone ring that may need sizing up or down or a claw needs retipping then it is vital to know that your diamond really is a diamond! The process of repair means that considerable heat has to be put on to the ring, and all its gemstones, in order to repair it! Now diamonds will withstand the heat, as long as it is not had any previous damage, and fake stones may not! So in order to keep everyone happy diamond testing is the answer!

Well a year’s gone by and soon we’ll be welcoming in 2013! It’s been a very busy and productive one with many new changes. On reflection it’s been a fabulous year, working on my business full time has allowed me the freedom to express myself. With a new logo and design work earlier in the year this brought a new website and associated business materials. I have worked on new techniques such as hydraulic pressing and with that new and unique jewellery designs. Commission work has been very varied with many requests for very personal and bespoke jewellery, which is great and allows me to add my personal touch. Attached is just one of my Christmas commissions, a large sterling silver cross set with tanzanite, just as was commissioned, simple and understated, just lovely!

So on to another year, 2013, bringing with it more experimenting on new techniques and new designs. Look out for these in the coming months! My work will be showing in the Williamson Art Gallery in February and I aim to have more galleries showing my work in 2013. In May I will be celebrating 5 years in business, a good achievement in these financial times. I would like to thank everyone who has supported me and my business this year, a big thank you to all my customers, old and new and would like to wish everyone a very happy New Year, lets fill it with hope and happiness.

gift voucher

I have just received my newly printed gift vouchers so that you can now buy them for your loved ones! Treat them to receiving tuition with me in my workshop and make some truly bespoke jewellery. You can also buy gift vouchers to buy or contribute towards pre-made or commissioned jewellery! The vouchers will be sent to your address of choosing and will make a fantastic gift not only for Christmas but for all year round. So what are you waiting for, the gift vouchers are now on sale on my online shop!

Struggling for a unique gift? Then look no further for your Christmas gift ideas! Be bespoke! Commission a unique gift of handcrafted gold or silver jewellery for a totally stunning surprise! A unique Christmas gift idea can be a reality as we can work together to fulfill your design requirements including stones for birth months and for star signs.

Handcrafted earrrings

You can also consider a piece of jewellery that’s already been handcrafted, still bespoke these beauties all sit on my online shop and can be ordered via the internet. Special delivery services means that your beautiful gift can be with you in just a day or two, so go on have a think and who can you surprise this Christmas?

Hi folks I thought I’d tell you about my day. Today I taught a lovely lady silver jewellery making, her name was Evelyn who at the age of 84 was brilliant! Sharp as a whistle and very funny too she was a pleasure to teach. Evelyn made a solid silver brooch and a silver wire angel covering many basic techniques such as sawing, filing, soldering and polishing, we did the tricky brooch back with its pin and rivet joint and I even had Evelyn pulling silver wire through a draw plate to make it thinner! So it just goes to show you are never to old to keep on learning! Rock on Evelyn!

Silver Brooch