I’ve been in the business for many years, but everything about jewellery still excites me.
From sourcing antique jewellery, silver and stones, to re-designing old jewellery so they become more wearable pieces. Even supposedly mundane jobs like re-enamelling damaged jewellery and objects d’art, or cleaning and repairing jewellery, silver and watches gives me pleasure, as I help restore old pieces to their original splendour. And it’s always a thrill when I get a customer a better price selling their unwanted jewellery and silver than they were expecting.
But my greatest joy is when I surprise and delight a customer by finding them a jewellery piece that they fall in love with.
If you want something special consider a gemstone
I’m frequently asked by my customers to get them something individual.
That means more than finding or creating a stunning piece of jewellery. It also has to somehow be unique to them, or to someone special they want to give it to.
One idea I often suggest is to consider a birthstone.
These are precious stones that relate to a particular month or a sign of the zodiac are a tradition that go back thousands of years to the time of the bible. And the idea is that the stone has special properties that somehow links to the time of a person’s birth. So picking a stone to match a birthday, or an important date, is a great starting place.
Every gem comes in so many different shapes, sizes and colours that there are literally thousands to choose from.
But by talking to a customer and finding out what they like – and, just as important, what they don’t like – I can help find them a gemstone that they’ll treasure forever.
There’s one gem stone for every month. What’s yours?
Here below are gemstones matched against each month.
Normally there’s only one stone for each month however some months are associated with two or, in the case of December, even three stones.
As we are in June now, let’s take a closer look at pearls and rubies (July’s gemstone)
January Birthstone: Garnet.
February Birthstone: Amethyst
March Birthstone: Aquamarine
April Birthstone: Diamond
May Birthstone: Emerald
June Birthstone: Pearl or Alexandrite
July Birthstone: Ruby
August Birthstone: Peridot
September Birthstone: Sapphire
October Birthstone: Tourmaline or Opal
November Birthstone: Topaz or Citrine
December Birthstone: Tanzanite, Zircon or Turquoise
June’s birthstone is the pearl.
Of course, it’s also Alexandrite too. However I don’t want to focus on that here, because this comparatively recently discovered gemstone, first unearthed in the Ural mountains in 1834, is exceedingly rare and extremely expensive. If those features make it particularly desirable to you, then please message me privately, and I can help you more. But for most people, pearls are a more accessible choice.
The pearl. Unique in many different ways.
Pearls have been around so long that that they have become part of our language.
Someone who’s a pearl is a very precious person.
And the bible warns us not to cast them before swine.
Pearls are also unique among gems, as the only gems created by living creatures.
Molluscs, such as oysters or mussels produce pearls inside their soft tissue to wrap around and protect themselves against a foreign body. They are also the world’s oldest gemstone, with the Romans and Egyptians prizing them as decorative items as far back as the 5th century BC – although Chinese records mention them even earlier.
Diving used to be the only way that pearls could be sourced, and hundreds of oysters had to be opened to find a single pearl. However, since around the turn of the 20th century oysters have also been cultivated, by introducing a tissue implant inside shells that causes a pearl sac to form.
What to look for in a pearl?
Because of their rarity, pearls that occur spontaneously in the wild are more valuable than a cultured or farmed pearl from an oyster or mussel, although the pearl needs an X-ray examination to discern the difference.
Other ways to spot value are more obvious.
Ideally a pearl should be perfectly round and smooth. Plus the bigger the better.
The best pearls also have a metallic, mirror-like lustre created by the layers in the pearl.
The mollusc that produced the oyster is another factor.
For example, Black Pearls from the Pacific islands are valuable, but the larger South Sea pearl are the rarest of all.
Not just pearly whites
Pearl colours vary too, with for example white and silver pearls coming from Australia, and golden ones more prevalent in the Philippines and Indonesia. There are also natural pinks, blues, champagnes and even purple pearls. But be warned – if you want to create a string of mixed rare colours but similar size pearls, it could take you years.
Pearls range enormously in cost too, from the relatively inexpensive to fabulously dear.
Pierre Cartier bought the Fifth Avenue mansion that is now the New York Cartier store with a matching double strand of natural pearls valued at 1 million US dollars in 1917.
Don’t be fooled by imitation pearls
Some imitation pearls, or shell pearls, are made of the inner shell material found in some molluscs called nacre or mother of pearl. Others are made of coral or conch shell, or from glass that’s been coated with a solution containing fish scales called essence d’Orient. Although they might fool an untrained eye, imitation pearls lack the weight, smoothness and lustre of a real pearl, and a jeweller can tell them apart easily.
Pearls have never been out of fashion
People have been wearing pearls as a fashion item since their first discovery.
In China in 2500 B.C. pearls were strung on chains together with beads of carnelian and pottery. The Romans pierced pearls and hung them by gold wire on earrings. Over a thousand years later Charles 1 and Walter Raleigh were wearing pearl earrings too. Audrey Hepburn immortalised them in Breakfast at Tiffanys. And today celebrities from Harry Styles and Scarlett Johansson to Michelle Obama and the Duchess of Cambridge wear them with style.
Just what you’ve been looking for
Whether you prefer pearls in a necklace, as earings, in a bracelet a brooch, a ring or tiara, or your own creation, if you seek something truly special, I can help you find it.
If you’d like to discuss your requirements with me, whether you have something precise in mind or you want to see a variety of options, please email me.