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What you should know about Jewellery and

Gemstones...

Crystal Elegance specialises in personal adornments in the form of  such as a necklaces, brooches, pendamts, earrings, crystal gifts etc  for those that appreciate style and quality. Our items are made from gemstones or precious metals as well as other material.  Our designs are often appreciated by our customers  because of geometric or other patterns, or meaningful symbols.  Jewellery making is 100,000 years art which first started off with raw natural materials such as animal teeth, wood, stone.  With time jewellery became symbolic of someone’s social status and even identity. Some people like the Pharaohs were even buried along with their jewellery.  Jewllery need not be expensive if it is in art form where design and creativity is prized above material.

How is Jewellery made?

As mentioned gemstones such as rubies or diamonds are often cut into small or large shapes  and placed into precious metals.  These metals are often a mix of different metals known as allows such as bronze, for example, was common in Roman times. Today fine jewellery usually includes silver, gold, white gold, platinum etc. Gold is probably the most popular of to days jewellery metals.  In fact this gold is really an alloy of Gold and its purity (concentration) is given in Karats (K). There are minimum requirements of this concentration required for gold to be classified as such.  In the USA gold must have a minimum of 10K while in the UK the level is 9K.  This is about 37%- 42% gold.  Most modern gold jewellery is made up to a maximum of 18K. Any higher Karat gold is considered too soft for jewellery although in Africa and Asia 18K+ jewellery is widely used. That is why it is rare too find jewellery which is 100% pure gold.

Other commonly used materials include glass, enamel,  wood, shells, bone,  ivory, plastic and even clay.  However the one metal that is considered harmful to ones’s health is lead.  Jewellery containing lead is harmful and its inclusion in Jewellery illegal in the EU. Glass jewellery was developed over time by techniques pioneered by Murano and Venetian glassmasters who developed crystalline glass, milk-glass (lattimo) and imitation gemstones made of glass enamelled glass (smalto), glass with threads of gold (goldstone), multicoloured glemstones. These were very popular in the 13th century.As early as the 13th century.

The methods used by Goldsmiths (gold makers) and Silversmiths include casting, soldering welding, carving,  cutting, and  also using adhesives, staples, and rivets to assemble parts (known as cold-joining).

  • Diamonds- the hardest material known to man.

Diamonds are a carbon based gemstone and is the hardest material known to man which is why only diamonds are used to cut diamonds. Diamonds are considered the mother of all gems and a woman’s best friend!  Diamonds were first fully appreciated in India where they were first mined thousands of years ago. Now 80-90% of all diamonds are polished in India but the majority of Diamonds are now mined in Africa (Southern and Central Africa).

The sale of diamonds is dominated by a famous company known as theDe Beers.  The De Beers are based in  South Africa and London, England. The De Beers have bought hugh diamond mines in countries such as Botswana where a single mine pit can produce between 13 to 16 million carats of diamonds per annum.  However the diamond capital of the world is undoubtedly Antwerp where 85% of rough diamonds, 60% of cut diamonds and over 60% of all cut, rough and industrial diamonds combined are processed. The biggest company in the diamond industry is  The Diamond Trading Company which is also owned by the De Beers. Other companies have also now emerged such as BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto Group, etc. When buying a diamond be sure to look out for imperfections in the stone.  The price of your diamond with depend on factors such as  the cut of the diamond, the clarity of the diamond as well as the diamond colour so be sure to research these before parting with your money!

What about gemstones?

Amber

Amber is an ancient organic gemstone  made of tree resin.  This resin has hardened over  millions of years.  He colour Amber is associated with this stone.  It is not tree sap as many people incorrectly believe.  When buying amber stone (jewellery) remember that the more clear and transparent the stone,  the more expensive.

Amethyst

This a  quartz based stone and as its name suggests it is purple in colour.  The Greeks believed this stone acted as a deterrent to drunkenness.  In fact the Greek word for amethyst means 'not drunk'.  It is extensively found in Brazil as well as South Korea.  It is not a very valuable gemstone but all the same beautiful and mythical.

Emerald

Emeralds, Rubies and Sapphires are considered a family for their colour range(from emerald green, ruby red to blue sapphire). Emerald was first mined the the ancient Egyptians 4000 years ago. Emeralds can be very expensive.  When buying these gems one must assess the Colour, Cut, Clarity and Crystal.  The more transparent, clear and greener the emerald the more valuable it is.  The finest quality emeralds are known to come from Colombia and Brazil.

Jade

Jade is known as the ‘stone of heaven’ in Far Asian culture, history, and tradition.  It is generally a green gemstone and is often synonymous with any green colour based rockstones.  As such it is very difficult to obtain real jade as its definition varies in the far east.

Jasper

Jasper is often characterised by brown or beige in colour and is opaque.  It usually has swirls on it. It is not an expensive gemstone.

Quartz

These are a range of crystallised gemstones of various colours and sizes. An example of members of the quartz family are Amethyst, rose quartz, Citrine or Rutilated quartz.  Again these are not valuable gemstones but can be extremely stunning.

Ruby

Rubies can be extremely valuable and are known as being the king of gemstones.  It is an intense red in colour but can also come in pink.   The finest rubyies are a vivid medium-dark toned red. With a purple  hue which complements  the red making it appear intense and rich.  They are mined all over Asia, Africa and South America.

Sapphire

Sapphire is probably the most affordable of the high value gemstones.  It is a high saturated blue colour stone which can also come in other colours (such as pink).  Again th value will depend on the colour, cut, clarity and the geographical location where it was mined.  Generally speaking the more blue the sapphire (as opposed to shades of purple) the more fine and valuable it is.  The best Sapphires are thought to come from Myanmar, Madagascar and Sri Lanka.

Turquoise

Turquoise is only found in the southwest United States. It is an intense medium blue or greenish blue in colour. — and its ancient heritage. Turquoise is used in a great variety of jewellery styles. It is not particularly expensive but often used to make slick modern jewellery.

 
 
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