Fine jewellery

Rose gold jewellery returns..

Vintage 9k 9ct rose pink gold chain bracelet jewelry hallmarked

9k rose gold triple chain bracelet

Also known as pink gold, rose gold jewellery has made a subtle comeback over the past few years, and it’s popularity is set to soar as people re-discover its breathtaking beauty.

Vintage black enamel rose pink gold chain bracelet jewelry

Vintage 1970s rose gold and black enamel chunky chain bracelet

Solid gold is soft yellow metal, so all gold jewellery has to be alloyed (ie, mixed with other metals) to strengthen it for normal use (you can find out more about gold colour alloys here). Rose gold is made by mixing pure gold with copper; the more copper used, the stronger the pink colour.  All colours of gold (even the fancy ones such as green gold, blue gold and purple gold) come in the normal finesse’s – 9k, 14k, 18k and rare 22k gold, which is known as crown gold.

While rose gold has never completely disappeared from the fine jewellery world, it does have a habit of coming into fashion and then falling out again. It was at its most popular during the Victorian era (where it was sometimes known as Russian Gold due to the influential Russian aristocracies love of it), but then was gradually replaced with a trend of white gold/ white precious metals by the 1920s. Though produced throughout the 20th century, rose gold never seemed to catch on in quite the same way again.A look at the latest fine jewelers collections reveals interesting amounts of rose gold in their creations. It began with rose gold accents in watches a few years ago, and seems to have gradually filtered into the rest of the jewelers designs. Will it be a fad? Or is rose gold back to stay?

Vintage Russian white yellow rose pink gold chain bracelet bangle tri color band jewelry

Russian style tri-colour bangle, made with white, yellow and pink gold tone metal.

Vintage 1980s rose gold pink drop earrings clip on jewelry

Vintage rose gold clip on chain drop earrings


Blue John…..England’s very own gemstone!

Blue john gemstone England earrings info jewelry

In the United Kingdom, people are often surprised to learn that we have an abundance of minerals and gemstones right here at home. Agates are found in Scotland (renowned for their variety and colours), we  have varieties of quartz such amethyst and citrine, and jasper can be found here too. Take a walk along the beaches to the east of the country, and you may even be lucky enough to discover a washed up piece of amber!

The UK is also home to a unique type of fluorite, known as Blue John. Derbyshire in England is the home of this striking gemstone, and it’s only extracted in small quantities each year.

What gives Blue John its uniqueness in the gemstone world is the sublime colouring, which is a distinctive blue-purple, with areas of bright cream and yellow flashing through its veins. This creates a stunning visual effect, and is what makes Blue John so desirable to gem connoisseurs around the world.

vintage blue john quartz silver drop earrings

Blue John & sterling silver earrings

Like many gemstones, Blue John can be cut and made into jewellery. It can also be made into other objects too, such as vases, bowls and paperweights.

Recently, a newly discovered gemstone seam in China has revealed fluorite with a similar characteristics to Blue John. However, only the distinctive purple-blue-yellow fluorite mined in Derbyshire can correctly be known as Blue John.

Once you see this wonderful gemstone in real life, you’ll never forget it vivid colouring and beautiful banded patterns – it’s a real gem in ever sense of the word!


Further reading:

Blue John article on Wikipedia

Check out my Pinterest board featuring Blue John


Palladium metal – the new platinum?

We all know the big three in fine jewellery – gold, silver and platinum.

But now there’s a new kid in town. You’re going to be hearing a lot about this up and coming precious metal over the next few years.

The name?


So what exactly is this metal, and why is has it caused so much excitement in the fine jewellery world?

Palladium  is a member of the platinum family, and just like platinum, it’s a white metal. Palladium doesn’t tarnish, is harder than gold/ silver, does not need over-plating (unlike white gold always which needs platinum and rhodium plating to give it that perfect finish) and it’ completely hypo-allergenic.

Palladium is also cheaper to buy in than platinum, and because it is less dense,  it is easier to work and experiment with;  it’s becoming an increasingly favoured choice for many of the worlds top fine jewellery designers.

It is also rarer than gold.

Now, can you begin to see why I’ve a feeling palladium might become the must have precious metal?

Since 2009 the Assay Offices in the United Kingdom have been hallmarking palladium over 1g on a voluntary basis.  As of the 1st of January this year (2010) it’s now compulsory to have all palladium over 1g hallmarked (in accordance with the UK Hallmarking Act 1973).  The finesse amounts are 500, 950, and 999.

You can find out more about Palladium, and how to identify it, by visiting the Birmingham Assay Office website.