Category: Jewellery Education (Page 1 of 4)

Your Guide to Choosing the Perfect Pearl

Whether they’re natural or cultured, pearls are a beautifully versatile and timeless gem with a wealth of beauty to offer a wide range of jewellery settings. It can be easy to get lost on where to begin when it comes to finding the perfect pearls for gifting or yourself.

Here are our top five factors to consider when choosing the perfect pearl:

1. Lustre & Orient

A pearl’s ability to reflect and refract light is known as ‘lustre.’

Lustre creates an underlying play of colours within the pearl known as ‘orient’, which gives a pearl its unique inner glow.

The higher the lustre and orient, the finer the pearl is considered. The best way to judge the lustre and the orient of a pearl is to assess how bright the “reflections” are from the surface of the pearl, then review how the strong the “rainbow colours” surrounding the reflection appear. If both of these boxes are passed with flying colours, you can consider your pearl a keeper in this department!

2. Colour

There are two factors to consider when assessing the colour of a pearl: body colour and overtone.

The body colour of a pearl can be considered white, yellow or black. The overtone of a pearl refers to the slight tint that may be present in the depth of this base colour.

As a general rule, very white pearls with a rose-coloured tint are the rarest and most expensive. The creamier the colour becomes, the less valuable the pearl.

Cultured pearls are available in many colours that would be incredibly rare or impossible to find, including: gray, black, pink, blue and gold.

3. Size

As with most precious gems, larger pearls are generally more valuable than their smaller counterparts. The typically small size of an average oyster influences the difficulty of cultivating large pearls, while natural pearls of considerable size are even more rare.

Size isn’t everything, though – a slightly larger pearl with poor lustre and orient may be more valuable than its smaller counterpart; and two pearls of the same size may be valued differently under the same considerations.

4. Blemishes

Blemishes and imperfections on the surface of a pearl are another thing to consider when choosing your perfect pearl.

The cleaner the surface of a pearl, the better – small blisters, spots and cracks can all diminish a pearl’s value and cost point.

5. Shape

In general, more symmetrical pearls have a higher value than misshapen pearls.

While perfectly round pearls are extremely rare, nicely proportioned round, oval and tear-shaped pearl are all highly valued. Irregularly shaped pearls like Baroque pearls have a lower price point but hold value for the unique look their shape can lend to jewellery pieces.

Choosing the right pearl piece can seem daunting, but with this helpful guide and the expert advice of your nearest Showcase Jeweller, you’ll find the perfect gift in no time.

Find your nearest Showcase Jewellers store with our store locator today.

The Difference Between Natural, Cultured and Synthetic Pearls

Pearls have been treasured as one of the most beloved gems amongst many circles of people for generations, with Grace Kelly famously saying “pearls are the gem of queens and the queen of gems.”

Despite their popularity, confusion over the distinction between natural, cultured and synthetic pearls is an enduring factor for anyone looking to start or expand their collection of pearl pieces.

Let’s have a look at the key features that define each type of pearl.

Natural Pearls

As their name suggests, natural pearls are formed naturally and without human intervention prior to the moment of their harvest. A natural pearl is formed within a mollusc (oyster, clam, mussel or scallop) when an external irritant makes its way inside the shell. When the mollusc is unable to expel the irritant, it coats it in a layer of nacre – the same iridescent substance that coats the inner lining of the shell – and then repeats this process until a stunning, lustrous pearl is formed.

Natural pearls are exceedingly rare, informing their higher price point comparative to cultured pearls.

Cultured Pearls

Cultured pearls are formed the same way natural pearls are, but with human intervention throughout the entire process. Pearl cultivators manually introduce an irritant inside the shell of a mollusc, aiding the uniform growth of the pearl from beginning to end.

As a result of this careful process, cultured pearls have all the depth of lustre that natural pearls do, yet are often more consistent in shape and size. These qualities and a lower price point make cultured pearls highly suited for pearl strands and other jewellery pieces that require consistency of size and shape.

Synthetic Pearls

As their name would suggest, synthetic pearls are not genuine pearls. These manmade alternatives to the real thing are usually glass or plastic beads coated in a pearly finish. Due to the overall difference in size, weight and depth of lustre, synthetic pearls are relatively easy to distinguish from real pearls, and are typically used for children’s jewellery and decorative purposes.

Find out more from an expert jeweller at your nearest Showcase Jewellers store through our store locator.

How to Care for Your Jewellery

Learn how to keep your jewellery and watches looking like brand new with this blog.

Investing in stunning watches and gorgeous jewellery helps to add glamour and shine to your everyday look, but there is a certain level of care that goes into ensuring these pieces remain as precious as the day you purchased them.

Different metals, gems and pearls require slightly different methods of cleaning, but these are a few of the most important elements to keep your prized possessions safe and in top condition:

  • Always follow any care instructions included with the item.
  • Never expose your jewellery to strong chemicals, such as household cleaners.
  • Use soft brushes when removing dirt patches from diamonds – using anything tougher may damage the gem.
Keep your diamond pieces as sparkling as these gorgeous rings from Passion8 Diamonds.
  • Clean pearls individually using a light, damp cloth dipped in a solution made up of two cups of warm water and a few drops of mild dishwashing liquid.
  • Although cleaning at home is a good option, it is important to have your pieces professionally cleaned at least once a year to bring them back to their original state. Your local Showcase Jeweller can assist in you in keeping your jewellery looking as good as new.
  • When storing jewellery, hang your items neatly and keep them separate from one another. Tangled necklaces are not only a pain to separate but can also break easily, especially if fine.
Prevent necklaces from getting tangled by carefully hanging them up.
  • Partner your jewellery with the right activity. For day-to-day wear, avoid large rings that may get caught or damaged. Save your statement pieces for events and dinners.
  • The National Association of Goldsmiths suggests that you service your watches every year or two to ensure there are no issues. Waiting until something breaks can result in more costly or time-consuming repairs.
  • Apply make up, perfumes and lotions prior to putting on jewellery. The oils and liquids in these items can have a tarnishing effect on your accessories.

If you follow these steps, you should find your jewellery remains bright, intact and stunning for years to come.

Buying Diamonds: The 4 C’s

Considering buying diamonds for yourself or a loved one? This blog will teach you the 4 C's of diamonds.

When it comes to buying the perfect diamond jewellery for a loved one or yourself, whether it be a ring, necklace or earrings, you’ll no doubt want to do a bit of research to ensure you’re purchasing a piece that will stand the test of time. Enter the four Cs of buying diamonds: Cut, clarity, colour and carat.

You’ve no doubt heard these terms thrown about before, but what do they really mean? Find out with this overview.

Cut

A diamond’s cut largely determines its brilliance – the brightness that exudes from the heart of the diamond. The cut includes its angles and finish, all of which contribute to the stone’s ability to handle light.

The cut has less to do with the shape of the diamond, and more to do with its proportions. A correctly cut stone is one with angles corrected so that light enters and is dispersed properly through the top facets of the stone. A diamond with a cut too shallow or deep will allow light to escape through the bottom of the diamond, meaning some of its brilliance is lost.

Stack of diamond engagement rings from Passsion8 Diamonds.
Gorgeous engagement rings by Passion8 Diamonds

Colour

Diamonds come in a huge range of colours, but it is the colourless stones that are the most desirable. This is because they allow the most light refraction, giving the stone its sparkle. Off-white diamonds are less popular as they absorb light.

Diamonds are graded in terms of colour from totally colourless to light yellow.

Clarity

The number and location of flaws on a diamond determines its clarity. Those with few flaws are more brilliant and therefore fetch a higher price.

Diamond ring
Stunning diamond ring

Diamonds are viewed under 10-power magnification to be awarded a clarity grade from Flawless to Imperfect 3.

Carat

Diamonds are measured in carats, a unit of weight. As heavier, larger diamonds are much rarer than small ones, the price of these more prized jewels rises exponentially to match its size.

A Glossary of Jewellery Terms

Like any industry, jewellery is packed with jargon and terms that may as well be in another language for most people. Unlike rocket science or evolutionary biology, many will be really interested in knowing what these terms mean!

Here’s a quick list of the essentials you might come across next time you’re shopping for a stunning pair of earrings or a brand new ring!

Blemish: Like a pesky spot, a blemish is a mark or irregularity on a gem or pearl. In some cases it will give the item an interesting quirk, in others it will be seen as a flaw.

Brilliant: A type of gemstone cut, this is the most common type of diamond cut on the market with a stunning 58 faces.

Carat: One of the Cs of diamond quality, this is a measurement of the weight of a gem stone. One carat is 200 mg, or one-fifth of a gram.

Diamonds of various shapes and carats
Diamonds are available in various shapes and carats.

Carat: Confusingly, a carat is also the term used to measure the purity of gold. In American English, this is called a karat to avoid confusion.

Clean: The word used to describe a flawless gemstone.

Facet: A face, or flat surface, found on a cut stone or glass.

Lapidary: The job title of someone who cuts and polishes stones for a living.

Lustre: Refers to how reflective the surface of a gem or mineral is.

This Malaya Garnet and Diamond ring has plenty of lustre.
Malaya Garnet and Diamond Ring

Mohs scale: How to tell how hard your gem is on a scale from 1 to 10. This will give you an idea of the scratch resistance of an item.

Paved/Pavé: When a series of stones is set close together without any space separating them.

Rough: When a stone, such as a diamond or emerald, is in its uncut form. Some jewellery trends leave gems rough to show their natural beauty.

Solitaire: A type of setting in which a gemstone is mounted by itself.

Choosing memorable jewellery for Christmas

It’s the Christmas season which means it’s time to pick out some truly memorable gifts for your loved ones! And what’s more special than a carefully selected piece of jewellery?

Jewellery is a timeless gift that’s always appreciated – who doesn’t love a shiny new ring to add to their collection?

There are a lot of different ways to customise jewellery as well so you can make it a more personal and memorable Christmas present.

So what exactly should you keep in mind when selecting the perfect Christmas present?

1. Do your research

Doing a little bit of spy work will go a long way when it comes to selecting the perfect jewellery piece this holiday season. Ask yourself a few key questions:

  1. What accessories do they wear on a regular basis?
  2. Do they have certain staple jewellery items? What are they?
  3. Do they seem to prefer gold or silver?
  4. Are their jewellery selections usually bold or minimalist?

All of this information will help you select a present they’ll truly enjoy. Obviously, there’s no point in buying someone a necklace when they never wear one. Do the research now, it’ll pay off later.

2. Make it personal

Nothing can be truly memorable if it’s not selected with the gift-receiver in mind. Sure a shiny diamond will make them smile but a gemstone similar to the one their great grandmother always wore is something they’ll never forget. Take the time to think about what would be meaningful for your loved one, it will make all the difference.

3. Determine what you’re trying to say

Jewellery holds meaning, it’s part of the reason it’s such a memorable gift. Different styles indicate certain types of symbolism. Gems can portray a meaning in themselves. Ring shapes take on a message of their own. Whatever you want to say can be said without words through your jewellery selection.

Jewellery holds meaning, it’s part of the reason it’s such a memorable gift.

For romance, consider an infinity piece, symbolising your everlasting love. For friends, try selecting charms or pendants with unique birthstones matched to them. No matter the message, jewellery is the most memorable medium.

4. Find your local Showcase Jewellers

Helping you find the perfect piece of jewellery is our passion. Every Showcase Jeweller is highly skilled in pinpointing the perfect gems, style and designs to create a truly memorable gift for your loved one.

To secure the perfect Christmas gift, locate your nearest Showcase Jewellers today!

Why should you choose two toned jewellery this Christmas?

Two toned jewellery, defined as the fusion of different coloured metals in the same piece, has been a popular choice among jewellery lovers for quite a while now.

It’s not difficult to see why. Two toned pieces are versatile, unique and timeless. When it comes to these jewellery staples, the sky is truly the limit. You can combine any type of metal you fancy, from a classic mix of yellow gold with platinum to a trendy rose gold and silver pairing.

Let’s have a look at just why two toned jewellery should be your choice this Christmas.

1. It goes with everything

Arguably the best thing about two toned jewellery is that it goes with almost everything. Whether you’re heading off to your office Christmas party or a brunch with your best friends, these pieces are the perfect addition to your outfit. It doesn’t matter what other accessories you’re wearing, a two toned piece will blend effortlessly!

2. It highlights ring jewellery design

It might surprise you just how well the combination of white and yellow gold or white and rose gold can highlight the shape and design of your ring! In other words, it simply adds an interesting twist to any piece of jewellery.

We’ve all seen single toned rings with lots of small stones where the shapes and designs seems to be lost. Two toned can be used to combat this by distinguishing separate parts of any ring or simply accenting curves and halos.

3. It covers your bases

Not sure if your partner prefers gold to silver? Or rose gold to white platinum? Just get both! You can gift your loved one with a unique piece of jewellery and be confident that the piece takes their preference into account!

4. It never goes out of style

This is more than a trend, it’s a timeless choice for any of your jewellery. Two toned jewellery is not only one-of-a-kind and flattering, it is versatile and exciting! A piece in two toned gold is truly a sophisticated keepsake for women and men at any age.

Two toned jewellery is not only one-of-a-kind and flattering, it is versatile and exciting!

Ready to purchase two toned jewellery?

Two toned jewellery retains a perfect balance of wearability and classiness. This style is sure to remain a classic for years to come.

Whatever tone combination your prefer, Showcase Jewellers has you covered. With such an extensive and exquisite range at all of our independent stores, you can be sure that your next two toned purchase won’t disappoint.

Uniquely You – Custom and Bespoke Pieces

The design and creation of bespoke jewellery is about more than creating a statement piece; it should be the process of defining something that is representative of your individuality.

A great custom piece should demonstrate quality workmanship, a design that has been perfected for you, and as a result, it should be more than unique. It should have a quality about it that transcends other pieces of jewellery. Whether it has a subtlety all of its own or stands out as a bold challenge to the world, nobody should be able to deny that when they describe your bespoke piece, they are describing you.

Jewellery can be unique without being of a high quality. Bespoke design doesn’t necessarily mean a good or aesthetically pleasing design. Therefore, before work begins you should give consideration to the process you are about to go through, and how to make sure the end result is perfect
Remember, you are an expert on what you like, and how you live. Your jeweller is an expert on stones, precious metals and how they can best interact. The design process is most effective when you both allow each other to lead the way in your areas of expertise. Your jeweller should not try to define your taste or dictate what is in fashion at the expense of your preferences. Their job is to help you understand what is practical and possible, and work with you to define and realise your vision. Likewise, your job is not to relentlessly pursue avenues that are impractical or impossible. Jewellers work with tangible materials that adhere to the laws of science – some things simply cannot be done.

At the core of this is the relationship. Don’t underestimate the importance of each of you being able to communicate your expertise. A bespoke design appointment should never be rushed and the conversation should be one of openness and honesty rather than one of either of you trying to make a point. Come to your designer with examples ripped from magazines, drawings on napkins and pictures of stones that you love. Tell them your perfect scenario so that they can work with you to make it happen. Most importantly, don’t assume that they can read your mind and that something is, “common sense.” There is a time and a place for assumption and custom jewellery design is not one of those times.
Unique jewellery is hard work for everyone. Unlike traditional pieces which are destined for display cabinets and locked boxes, a bespoke piece is made with a person in mind. There is a level of accountability and an awareness of the trust that has been placed on the jeweller’s shoulders. Likewise, the prospect of trying to take an image in your head and communicate it to, even the best designer, is a confronting and exhausting one.

But when you try on a piece of jewellery that no one else in the world has ever worn before, you discovered that custom jewellery is a reminder that you are unique, and anything unique is worth the effort.

Pick up the peridot – August’s beautiful birthstone

We’ve all been there – wandering aimlessly around a crowded shopping centre in a futile hunt for that perfect birthday gift. It’s not supposed to be easy, but your options are markedly broadened if you’re on the hunt for a sparkling piece of jewellery. Even so, with all those different types, cuts and designs to choose from, selecting that special stone is no easy task – so let Showcase Jewellers lend you a helping hand.

August babies will make others green with envy with peridot as their gemstone.

You can immediately narrow the field by going for a glittering gift from your lucky recipient’s birth month – and August babies will make others green with envy with peridot as their gemstone. That’s right – birthstones make for a beautiful birthday gift. Let’s take a look at three sweet reasons you should pick up the peridot for that perfect present.

1. An awesome alternative

We all know how much you guys love a glittering piece of gold or superb slice of silver, but when you’re looking for something that little bit more unique, peridot is the way to go. It was called the ‘Gem Of The Sun’ by the ancient Egyptians, according to the Gemological Institute of America. Those guys reckoned it would keep evil spirits at bay and even prevent the wearer from suffering nightmares – though we can’t guarantee that peridot does such things, it’s reason enough to give it a chance!

peridot-jewellery
Peridot was believed by the Ancient Egyptians to have mystical powers.

Peridot is a known for its deep, green hue, and this can vary from stone to stone. Sometimes, that colour is pale, almost opaque, but peridot can also come in a gorgeous, deep green akin to emerald. It’s of a moderate hardness (6.5-7 on the Mohs scale), so is pretty robust and easy to care for – what’s not to love? 

Peridot is a known for its deep, green hue, and this can vary from stone to stone.

2. Making the extra effort

Picking peridot over the more traditional gemstones will show that you’ve gone the extra mile when perusing your local Showcase Jewellers store. You’ll be giving a thoughtful, timeless gift that’s personal to the recipient and their story, and can be worn for many a special occasion. These white gold peridot oval studs are sure to go down a storm at any wedding, high school reunion or formal business meeting, delivering a certain elegance without being too overstated.

3. Colour me green 

We’ve already waxed lyrical about the grandiose green associated with peridot, the hue caused by the iron content within the stone. Pretty much any shade of green will work with a veritable rainbow of colours, especially itself – and with that in mind, pairing the aforementioned studs with this exemplary peridot oval pendant is a great idea and a boon to any jewellery collection. The matching set would make for an sumptuous gift, which can instantly enhance any outfit and help the wearer feel a million proverbial dollars.

Of course, we at Showcase Jewellers are about more than simply peridot, no matter how much we might love it. We’ve got a jewellery collection for every month of the year, so whether you’re shopping for a March maiden or an April angel, we’ll have something for you. Be sure to contact our expert team to find out more – and make August awesome!

Yellow, white or rose? A guide to shopping for gold jewellery

Will-you-choose-yellow-white-or-rose

There’s something about gold jewellery. Whether it’s on your fingers, around your neck or dangling from your ears, gold pieces capture the imagination with their timeless elegance and classic appeal. 

However, not all gold jewellery is created equal so you might find yourself wondering which type of gold jewellery is best for you. To make things easier, we have put together a few tips on how to choose gold jewellery.

Choosing between yellow, white and rose gold

One of the first things to decide is which colour you want. As well as your personal taste, you can consider which type of gold best matches your skin colour

Yellow

Pure yellow gold is 24 carats – fewer carats mean the gold has been mixed with other metals like copper or zinc. Yellow gold looks particularly beautiful on people with warm olive or darker skin tones. 

yellow-gold-ring

White

White gold is an alloy of gold and other white metals such as manganese or nickel. It is ideal for people with fair skin and a great option for anyone who wants the look of platinum without the higher price tag. White gold is typically stronger than yellow gold, so isn’t as susceptible to scratches.

The only downside with white gold is that the nickel it contains can cause allergies in some people. In these cases, yellow gold might be a better option.

diamond-halo-ring

Rose

Rose gold is a mixture of yellow gold and copper. It is an excellent choice for jewellery as it suits most skin tones, however it can emphasise reddish undertones on paler people. 

rose-gold-halo-ring

Purity and strength

Golds with a higher carat are more pure and tend to be more expensive, so choosing the purity of the gold you want could come down to your budget. However, you should also think about how strong and durable you want your piece to be. As such, lifestyle factors can also play a role in the purity you choose. 

For example, if you are shopping for a gold ring but you know it will get banged around because of your job, you might want to choose a stronger gold. Pure gold is softer, so for a more durable option you could choose a lower carat gold that will be able to withstand more knocks.

Engagement rings, for example, are often between 14 and 18 carats. For a special item that you will only wear occasionally, you may want to choose a higher carat as you know it won’t suffer as much stress. 

Choosing the perfect piece of jewellery can be tricky. Why not pop into one of our stores where our expert team can help you decide? 

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