About our jewellery
To help you better understand the terms used in item descriptions I have created this page with a brief explaination of my most commonly used materials.
Metals and findings
Copper and Brass - Copper is a metal that has a beautiful brown red colour. Jewellery made with copper can be made from pure copper or more often a copper alloy or plating. Copper has been thought to have therapeutic benefits and to help with arthritis. Basic brass is an alloy and has approximately 67% copper and 33% zinc, making it stronger and more durable than copper. Both add a really unusual design element to jewellery, and can give a antique, vintage feel to the piece. They can both however, have the unfortunate effect of staining the skin in contact with the metals green due the chemical reaction with sweat, although this is completely harmless.
Gold or silver plate - Plating is a method of depositing a thin layer of gold or silver onto the surface of another cheaper metal by chemical or electrochemical means in order to give it a gold or silver like appearance. Jewellery, especially those pieces worn daily, tend to take a substantial amount of wear. Due to the nature of plating, the layer over jewellery products is thin and it is likely to become worn in spots over time or wear off completely revealing the base metal beneath. That being said it is a great alternative to solid silver or gold for costume jewellery mainly for its affordability and strength.
Gold filled - Gold-filled jewellery, also known as "rolled gold" is composed of a solid layer of gold that is bonded with heat and pressure to a Base metal such as Brass. Most high quality gold-filled pieces have the same appearance as 14 karat, being less brassy and bright than normal gold plating. Gold-filled items tend to be 50 to 100 times thicker than regular gold plating! Gold filled is much more valuable and tarnish resistant. If taken care of gold filled items should last for years as it tends not to flake off, rub off or turn colours. Generally anyone who can wear gold can wear gold filled without worries of any allergic reaction to the jewellery as the gold layer is so much thicker than plating. I always use gold filled earrings hooks for all my gold coloured earrings.
Sterling silver - 100% pure silver is too soft to use in jewellery, so it's mixed with other metals to create a more robust metal. One popular silver mixture is known as sterling silver. This alloy contains at least 92.5 percent pure silver and 7.5% of another metal, generally copper. It is often marked as 925 silver. Sterling silver is known for its excellence and durability which lends its self to making high quality jewellery and cutlery. It never wears off like cheaper plated silver, leaving a exposed base metal that can cause skin irritation. As such it is a great choice for people with sensitive skin as most people find it non allergic. Sterling silver may need polishing though, as it does tarnish. The outside layer reacts with the oxygen in the air and darkens the metal to a black/brown tone. This is a natural and harmless reaction and items can be polished to regain the bright silver colour. I often deliberately oxidise silver jewellery pieces as it can add a really nice distressed/antique appearance to items.
Tibetan Silver - Tibetan silver is similar to pewter; it is an alloy of copper, and sometimes tin or nickel, with a small percentage of pure silver. Its overall appearance is of aged silver, but it can be polished to provide highlights on complex castings, making it perfect for charms or pendants. As it is an alloy and not plated, tibetan silver does not wear off or change colours like plated silver. It is affordable alternative to sterling silver that has a huge range of unusual shaped beads and charms. I always source Tibetan silver items that are lead and nickel free, to minimize allergic reactions.
Beads and stones.
Crystal beads - A top-quality glass that contains a minimum of 10% lead which adds to the lustre. Swarovski is considered the finest brand in the world. Beautifully sparkly and finely machine cut, crystal often has a diamond like appearance. Available in hundreds of colours and finishes.
Czech glass beads - Czech glass has its roots in the Czech Republic and dates back as far as the 11th century. Czech glass is a glass that is renowned for the fine quality, superior cut and the beautiful fade resistant colours. Beads are generally fire polished and faceted to give a brilliant sparkle and shine, with a smooth silky finish.
Freshwater pearls - Freshwater pearls come from freshwater mussels or clams. Due to the way they are formed they tend to be irregular in shape and have a silky soft sheen. They can come in many different colours (often dyed) and have always been very desirable in jewellery. More natural looking than glass pearls, the colour won't flake or peel like glass beads but they can get scratched due to their soft surface.
Faux/glass pearl beads - Made from a clear glass bead with a plastic pearlised outer coating. Swarovski pearls are made from a crystal bead and pearlised outer coating. They are known to be the best quality faux pearls. They can become scratched or flake over time, but they offer a cheaper alternative to freshwater pearls. They are a regular round shape and come in much larger sizes than natural pearls.
Semi precious gemstone beads
A gemstone is a piece of attractive mineral stone which, cut and polished, can be used to create stunning beads and jewellery.
Some rocks (like amber, or jet) are not actually minerals and are made from organic material, but due to their desirability they are often considered as gemstones too.
Semi precious stone tend to be less rare and cheaper than precious stones, but this is no reflection on their beauty or quality as they are just as pretty when used in jewellery.
Some of my favorite stones are;
Agate - Agate is a variety of chalcedony formed from layers of quartz which usually show varicolored bands. Agates are found in all colors of the rainbow, although green and blue are quite rare. Legend says that Agate improves memory and concentration, increases stamina and encourages honesty.
Amethyst - A violet/purple variety of quartz. Often with a "misty" appearance. The name comes from the Ancient Greek, a reference to the belief that the stone protected its owner from drunkenness. It is the birthstone for February.
Aquamarine - Aquamarine is a member of the beryl family and ranges in color from an almost colorless pale blue to blue-green or teal, it is often opaque. Since early times, aquamarine has been believed to endow the wearer with foresight, courage, and happiness. It gets its name from Latin words meaning water and sea and is the birthstone for March.
Carnelian - Carnelian is a form of chalcedony, a member of the quartz family, carnelian is a rich orange/reddish brown color. Folklore suggests that carnelian was used protect the traveler after death and guard against evil and it has been used for centuries to carve beautiful cameos.
Garnet - A family of crystals whose name is derived from their resemblance to red pomegranate seeds. A semi-precious stone, usually a reddish-brown colour; can range from true red to violet- or blackish red, often semi-opaque. It is the birthstone for January.
Labradorite - A type of translucent feldspar which displays strong iridescence when viewed from different angles and exhibits vivid colors of bright aqua, golden yellow, peacock blue, reddish orange, greens and red. Said to bring forth each person's strengths, originality, aids sleep, relate to others.
Onyx - A semi-precious stone composed of chalcedony (a variety of quartz) found naturally in white, red, brown, green and black. A very popular stone in the Victorian times,Black onyx became fashionable in jewellery after the death of Prince Albert. The name comes from the Greek word onyx which means nail of a finger or claw.
Peridot- A gemstone variety of the mineral olivine. Formed during volcanic eruptions, its colour ranges from yellowish green to dark lime-green. It was thought that peridot brought power and influence to its owner and is the birthstone for August.
Turquoise - An opaque, blue-to-green mineral stone. Often with veins or inclusions running through the stone. Turquoise has been used since around 4000BC, it is thought to bring good luck and is the birthstone for December.
Howlite - A white to grey stone that has erratic streaks that look like cracks. These lines are often brown, grey or black. Howlite is a silicate and is often dyed to imitate Turquoise or other gemstones.