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Jewellery History & Traditions

In Roman times, the wearing of jewellery was common, even by the lower orders of society. But by the 8th century AD, the wearing of jewellery had become confined to royalty and the church. In the 12th century, the first goldsmiths’ guilds were formed to serve noble families and the church. These guilds served as […]  Continue Reading »


January garnet February amethyst March aquamarine or bloodstone April diamond May emerald June pearl, alexandrite or moonstone July ruby August sardonyx or peridot September sapphire October opal or tourmaline November topaz December turquoise or lapis lazuli  Continue Reading »

Traditional Anniversary Gifts

1 Paper 2 Cotton 3 Leather 4 Linen 5 Wood 6 Iron 7 Copper 8 Bronze 9 Pottery 10 Tin 11 Steel 12 Silk 13 Lace 14 Ivory 15 Crystal or glass 20 China 25 Silver 30 Pearls 35 Coral or jade 40 Ruby or garnet 45 Sapphire 50 Gold 55 Emerald or Turquoise 60 […]  Continue Reading »

Jewellery Measures

Gemstones Gemstones are measured in carats, abbreviated “ct” (and not to be confused with karats, with a “k”, used for gold purity). A carat is one fifth of a gram – or 200 milligrams. A point is one hundredth of a carat – or 2 milligrams. As an indication, a one carat round diamond would […]  Continue Reading »

Biedermeier Jewellery

The Napoleonic Wars caused such a financial crisis in the Austro-Hungarian Empire that the Emperor Franz 1 decreed that all gold and silver objects should be turned over to the State. As a result, iron came to be used for the manufacture of jewellery. Fine craftsmanship often transcended the austerity of the material. As well […]  Continue Reading »

Cameo Jewellery

A cameo is a layered medium in which a design is carved in relief. The lighter coloured layer is used for the figure. The reverse process, with an incised image, is called intaglio. The Ancient Romans used intaglios as seals as well as for decoration. During the Renaissance, cameo brooches and rings were worn by […]  Continue Reading »

Micro Mosaics

Micro mosaics are tiny mosaics, usually in the form of jewellery, boxes or picture frames. They were first made by Giocomo Raffaelli in 1775 for tourists visiting the newly discovered ruins of Pompeii and Herculaneum as souvenirs of the ancient Roman mosaics in those sites. As a result, they were at first known as “archaeological” […]  Continue Reading »

Costume Jewellery

Towards the end of the 19th century, art nouveau designers, including Rene Lalique, began producing jewellery which focused on the artistic effect of the design rather than the intrinsic value of the materials. Their jewellery incorporated materials such as amber, mother-of-pearl, ivory, coral, jet and glass. This use on non-precious materials by leading designers opened […]  Continue Reading »

Early Plastics

Ebonite The first semi-synthetic material was ebonite. In the early 1840s, Charles Goodyear manufactured a very hard, black rubber compound, also containing sulfur and linseed oil, called “ebonite”. (The material was once also called “vulcanite” but that name is now reserved for the mineral vulcanite.) Some uses of the material included fountain pen bodies, combs, […]  Continue Reading »

Gemstones – Agate

Agate is formed when silica gel dries and hardens over a long period of time into a form of quartz, coloured by impurities. Agate is usually found in pastel colours but almost any colour or pattern is possible. Patterns include banded agate, moss agate which is white with what looks like a black, brown or […]  Continue Reading »

Gemstones – Amber

Amber is a wonderful substance that has been popular since the dawn of time. Is is a resin which came from prehistoric coniferous trees and is now found around the world in deposits dating back 85 to 100 million years. The largest known deposits of amber are from the Baltic Sea in Europe. Amber varies […]  Continue Reading »

Gemstones – Amethyst

Amethyst is a translucent purple variety of quartz. It is often streaked and heat of strong light will cause fading. Amethyst was believed to prevent drunkenness and to bring peace of mind. If the sun or moon was engraved on an amethyst, it was believed to prevent death by poison. Amethyst jewellery available now(Clicking on […]  Continue Reading »

Gemstones – Aquamarine

Aquamarine is a form of beryl. Aquamarine is a clear and brilliant gem which ranges from light blue to bluish green and deep blue. Deep blue aquamarine is considered the most desirable. Aquamarine was thought to bring love and affection. It was a symbol of youth, hope and health. Aquamarine jewellery available now(Clicking on an […]  Continue Reading »

Gemstones – Bloodstone

Bloodstone, or heliotrope, is a variety of quartz. It is dark green in colour with specks of red throughout. The most valuable bloodstone is less dark with pronounced, round red flecks. Bloodstone was believed to stop bleeding, cure snakebites, prevent sunstroke and headache and protect the wearer from the evil eye. Bloodstone jewellery available now(Clicking […]  Continue Reading »

Gemstones – Carnelian

Carnelian is a form of quartz which is usually reddish orange, although it can range from orange to ruby red. It varies from opaque to brilliantly transparent. Carnelian was believed to give courage to speak boldly and well. It is particularly revered by Muslems because Mohamed wore a silver ring set with a carnelian. Carnelian […]  Continue Reading »

Gemstones – Coral

Coral is a semitransparent to opaque form of calcium carbonate. It occurs in a variety of colours including white, pink, orange and black. The rarest, and most expensive, variety is blood coral which has a deep red colour. Another valued variety is called “angel skin”; this is white in colour with a faint tinge of […]  Continue Reading »

Gemstones – Diamond

Diamond is an exceptionally hard form of carbon. Colourless diamonds are the most popular but they occur in a wide range of colours, mostly pastel but red, blue and even black diamonds do exist. Pink, light green and lavender diamonds are rare; deep pink diamonds are particularly rare. It was believed that possessing a diamond […]  Continue Reading »

Gemstones – Emerald

Emerald is the green form of beryl. The finest emerald has the colour of green grass with a very faint hint of blue. Flawless emeralds are very rare. Since early Greek times, emeralds have been boiled in oil. This hides some of the flaws, which are actually tiny cracks, because they become filled with oil […]  Continue Reading »

Gemstones – Garnet

Garnet is a crystalline silicate. Although the best known colour of garnets is red, they can be found in almost every colour except blue. Green garnet is similar in appearance to emerald but more brilliant and more durable. Red garnet can be confused with ruby and yellow garnet can look like topaz. There is also […]  Continue Reading »

Gemstones – Lapis Lazuli

Lapis lazuli is a composite mineral which has an intense, brilliant, deep blue colour. It sometimes contains gold or silver coloured flecks which are pyrites (fools’ gold). The finest quality lapis lazuli has a deep, even blue with no flecks. Lapis was associated with capacity, brilliance, success and divine favour. When worked in the form […]  Continue Reading »

Gemstones – Moonstone

Three different varieties of felspar are cut and polished as moonstone. It is a milky, milky white gem which shows a delicate pearly opalescence. Adularia moonstone which has a bluish sheen is most highly prized. Moonstone is so named because it was believed that a small white spot appeared in the stone at the new […]  Continue Reading »

Gemstones – Onyx

Onyx is a banded, semi-translucent or opaque form of quartz. It occurs in a variety of shades of red, orange, apricot and brown with bands of white. Red and white banded onyx is called sardonyx; grey and white onyx is called chalcedony. Onyx was believed to create disharmony, bring bad dreams and broken sleep and […]  Continue Reading »

Gemstones – Opal

Opal is a form of silicon dioxide in which many colours, caused by reflections from microcrystalline silica spheres, may be seen when it is turned in the light. Opal is divided into two types – black or white – according to the background colour of the stone. It’s value is determined by the brilliance of […]  Continue Reading »

Gemstones – Peridot

Peridot is a brown or greenish-yellow form of chrysolite. Peridot may be transparent or translucent and has an exceptionally rich colour. Peridot was believed to free the wearer of envy and to aid friendship, to cure diseases of the liver and, if worn on the left arm, to give protection from the evil eye. Peridot […]  Continue Reading »

Gemstones – Ruby

Ruby is the red form of corundum. It ranges in colour from bluish red to yellowish red. The finest rubies are a vivid, pure red with a faint hint of blue. The star ruby is a translucent variety which produces a six-pointed star effect when cut as a cabochon (dome). Ruby is the symbol of […]  Continue Reading »

Gemstones – Sapphire

Sapphire is the blue form of corundum. Yellow, pink and green forms of the gem, know as “fancy sapphires” also exist. The finest sapphires have a brilliant, deep, velvety blue colour. Like the star ruby, the star sapphire is a translucent variety which produces a six-pointed star effect when cut as a cabochon (dome). Sapphire […]  Continue Reading »

Gemstones – Topaz

Topaz is a clear, crystalline form of aluminium and fluorine silicate. It exists in a variety of colours including white, yellow, yellow-brown, orange, light red, light blue, light green and (rarely) violet. Topaz is a symbol of love and affection and was believed to aid sweetness of disposition. Many stones sold as topaz are in […]  Continue Reading »

Gemstones – Tourmaline

Tourmaline is a hard, glassy crystalline form of boron and aluminium silicates. It exists in various colours with two or more colours often appearing in the same stone. It was not known as a gem in ancient times.   Tourmaline jewellery available now(Clicking on an item of interest will open a new window)  Continue Reading »

Gemstones – Turquoise

Turquoise is a form of copper aluminium phosphate ranging in colour from blue to yellowish green. It is the most valuable of the opaque stones with intense blue being the most prized colour. Turquoise is a symbol of courage and success. It was believed to protect from poison and to change colour as a warning […]  Continue Reading »

Indian Jewellery

Prior to European colonisation, India had two distinct cultures, Hindu in the south and Islamic in the north, and two distinct styles of jewellery. Hindu men wore specific jewellery to show that they had passed through various stages of life. The Hindu woman’s jewellery was her dowry and passed down from generation to generation. Hindu […]  Continue Reading »