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Happy Winter Solstice! This is an astronomical phenomenon marking the shortest day and the longest night of the year. The days now begin to get longer 🙂
1. There is a coloured diamond matching each personality and taste, whether you are a woman or a man. Unlike white diamonds, natural coloured diamonds exist in over 300 colours and countless numbers of hues and nuances. Polished, they come in numerous shapes, but some rough natural coloured diamonds are also just perfect when set in a jewel in their natural shape. Each natural coloured diamond is unique, just like you.
2. It’s the ‘it’ Diamond: Hollywood stars and royal figures rather wear natural coloured diamonds than white diamonds. Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, Victoria Beckham and Portia de Rossi all wear pink diamond rings, as well as the very hype Ecclestone daughters. Over the last few seasons, natural coloured diamonds with colours such as chocolate, yellow, and black have made their way into the Haute Couture jewellery collections, in fashion houses such as Louis Vuitton, Dior, and Alexander McQueen. And recently, Jessica Simpson and Cate Blanchett have been seen on the Red Carpet wearing champagne diamond jewels.
3. It’s a collector’s item. The resources in extremely fine, intense or vivid colour diamonds are becoming very limited. The only mine that produced pure blue diamonds has dried up and Argyle, the Australian mine producing 90% of the world’s pink diamonds, plans to end production in 2018. Red and green diamonds, by nature the two rarest colours, have always been highly sought-after collector’s items. Natural coloured diamonds also come in unexpected colours, some of them change colour like chameleons, and some come as bi-colour diamonds with two colours in the same stone. This, and the fact that each natural coloured diamond is a one of a kind miracle of nature, makes them perfect for collectors.
4. It is an investment: for more than 20 years, the value of natural coloured diamonds has only gone up. As an example, the value of pink diamonds from Argyle has increased over a hundred times in 25 years.
“Pinchbeck” is a form of brass, an alloy of copper and zinc, mixed in proportions so that it closely resembles gold in appearance. It was invented in the 18th century by Christopher Pinchbeck, a London clockmaker. Since gold was only sold in 18-carat quality at that time, the development of pinchbeck allowed ordinary people to buy gold ‘effect’ jewellery on a budget. The inventor allegedly made pinchbeck jewellery clearly labelled as such. Pinchbeck jewellery was used in places like stagecoaches where there was a risk of theft. Later, dishonest jewellers passed pinchbeck off as gold; over the years it came to mean a cheap and tawdry imitation of gold.
Let us start with white gold.
You’ll find no white gold in the Bank of England’s gold reserve. Pure 24 carat gold is always yellow. There is no such thing as gold that is white.
But jewellery is rarely made from pure gold because it is really quite soft, and pretty expensive. Engagement rings, wedding bands and other jewellery are usually made from an alloy of gold plus other metals.
9 carat gold is 9/24ths gold and 15/24ths other metals
18 carat gold is 18/24ths gold and 6/24ths other metals
22 carat gold is 22/24ths gold and 2/24ths other metals
At the risk of over simplifying things, if the “other metals” in the alloy are copper or silver, the gold remains yellow; whereas if the “other metal” is palladium, it has a “bleaching effect” and the mixture becomes whitish, i.e., “white gold” (or a whiter shade of gold).
Coloured Gold: Gold can take different colours depending on the metals it is mixed with. The different gold hues are generally for the purpose of jewellery. To give you a quick idea here are some different types of gold colours and how they are made:
Rose, Pink, or Red Gold: Gold can take these colours when mixed with copper. The more copper in the alloy, the darker the tone of red that will surface. A common rose gold alloy composition is 18 carat (75% gold) mixed with 25% copper, while a 50/50 mix of gold (12 carat) with copper results in what we would call red gold.
Green Gold: Green gold, otherwise known as electrum, is a natural forming alloy which combines gold and silver. The greenish colour varies depending on the exact mixture.
Blue Gold: 46% gold, 54% indium.
Purple Gold: Also called amethyst gold and violet gold this is made from 80% gold and 20% aluminium.
Black Gold: 75% gold, 25% cobalt.
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When it comes to running a successful jewellers, it’s not just about buying cheap and selling for a hugely inflated profit. If you wanted to do this you’d open a high-fashion bead shop, and everyone in the trade knows that silver has pretty much no value any more and you’re just paying for the name.
If you don’t mind dealing with hundreds of complaints every week maybe you should think about a franchise, or opening a so-called high street “jewellers” with their “fake” discounts and closing down sales. You don’t have to travel far on the internet to find out what people have said about their purchases from the high street. Just do a quick Google search.
Independent jewellers are the only place you should be buying your jewellery because they have THE knowledge required to buy quality jewellery and diamonds at the best prices and don’t have the overheads of a chain store or franchise, and so pass these pieces on at a fraction of the price without having to offer a discount. Because of the knowledge the independent jewellers possess they can control every item they buy and turn away the flawed items the high street jeweller would buy in bulk.
Without blowing our own trumpet, our experts at Bond Jewellers have more knowledge than most. It’s not just about reading on the internet about the current price of gold or the latest fashion trends, or going to mediocre fairs in and around the UK. Knowledge is about who you know, where the knowledge comes from, and by visiting the right places like the Bangkok Gem and Jewellery Fair in Thailand (which our experts visit twice a year). We regularly speak to our friends in Belgium who cut our diamonds from the rough, and we have contacts throughout the modern world ready to share their knowledge straight from the frontline.
Visiting fairs like the one in Bangkok give us insights in to not only the latest cuts of diamonds but the latest equipment used to do this. We speak to the dealers and cutters at the forefront of design and find out what we need to be doing to stay professional and ahead of the competition.