Category Archives: Jewellery Care

What to Ask Before Handing Over Your Memories

Beyond the monetary value, your jewellery contains memories of people, places and life experiences. Remodelling can be a valuable way of making sure your special pieces continue to be worn instead of lying around in a draw, unused and forgotten.

But while the prospect of owning a new, bespoke jewellery piece is exciting, the idea of your fond memories being melted down with your old gold, can raise a few questions! Having a clear idea of the process, and how the sentiment of your jewellery can be preserved and even enhanced, can help you feel more at ease about remodelling your jewellery.

So, what should you ask before handing over your memories?

Q. My jewellery is precious to me. How do I know it will be safe?

Let’s be upfront: while it is highly unlikely that your jewellery will be damaged in the process of remodelling, there is always a possibility. Sometimes, old stones may chip or crack. We take the utmost care, however, we are unable to accept responsibility for any materials that may become damaged in the process of remodelling.

Q. Can I keep some parts of the old design?

Yes / possibly. This can be a great way of retaining a more obvious connection to your old jewellery piece and the memories associated with it. Often, people choose to keep the stone setting intact and we incorporate it into the new design. Each transformation is different and we are happy to discuss the various options that could work with your unique pieces and design direction.

Q. What metals can be reused?

We can remodel gold (of any carat and colour) and platinum. We don’t reuse silver, titanium or tungsten carbide. While Silver melts well, it has a low value compared to labour costs required to transform it. Titanium and tungsten carbide are unsuitable for remodelling.

Q. Can I reuse gemstones?

Yes! But bear in mind that some gemstones are more fragile than others and old stones may break easier if they’ve been knocked around a bit. Diamonds and sapphires are the best for remodelling because they are hardy stones.

Q. How much does it cost?

Some custom jobs may cost as little as $500, while others may be a few thousand. Some people may have enough gold or platinum to credit their job without going into extra cost. Rest assured that any design option we present you with will fit within your own budget guide.

Q. How long does it all take?

The whole process, from initial contact and consultation through to the completion of the product can take anywhere from 3 weeks – 3 months. This is influenced mainly by the complexity of the design and the processes involved in making it.

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^ Sue created this stunning ring by reusing diamonds and a topaz that she had inherited.

Want to know more? Request our free eBook or email us for more information.

 

 

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Pearl Care FAQ’s: How to Look After Your Pearl Jewellery

People often ask us how to best care for their pearl jewellery and whether it is safe to wear pearls on a regular basis. The good news is that if you give a pearl care and consideration, it can be a treasure that lasts for generations!

But what should you be mindful of when caring for your pearl jewellery? Here are our responses to your 5 frequently asked pearl care questions:

 

1. How fragile are pearls?

Pearls rank at 2.5 on the Mohs hardness scale, which measures how easily a material can be scratched by another. This means they are very soft and can be easily scratched or ground down by contact with other surfaces.

While pearls usually have a good toughness, they may become more fragile due to aging, dehydration or excessive bleaching that may have occurred during the initial processing of their formation. Pearls may also experience discolouration, cracking or splitting if they are exposed to high levels of heat. While pearls are usually stable when exposed to light for short periods of time, the heat from intense sunlight may cause them to dehydrate or develop a cracked nacre (their iridescent, outer coating). Long-term exposure to sunlight may also cause your pearls yellow.

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This custom-made ring features a light grey Tahitian pearl, which is more rare than darker, black pearls. It is encased in a net of white gold and subtly complimented with 18ct rose gold. A very striking result!

2. Does perfume damage pearls?

Yes. Pearls are vulnerable to the chemicals found in perfumes, hairspray, cosmetics and even the PH levels of our perspiration. Any kind of acid – whether it’s fruit juice or cleaning products – is also damaging and should be rinsed off in lukewarm water immediately. While the lustre of pearls can be enhanced by the natural oils of our skin, direct contact with perfume and other skincare products should be avoided. Consider applying perfume in an area that won’t come into contact with your jewellery.

Remember the golden rule of pearl care:  “pearls should be the last thing you put on and the first thing you take off.” Style your hair and put on your perfume, makeup, and clothing before you put on your pearls. Always remove your pearl jewellery before exercising or conducting any hands-on activities.

This delicate 9ct rose gold pendant from our ‘Forbidden’ range sits comfortably against the body with the 10mm grey drop pearl acting as a counterweight to the angle of the wire. Suitable for everyday wear, it includes a 45cm 9ct rose gold chain.

3. Can I get my pearls wet?

Plain water does no harm to pearl itself – they were born in it! However, be wary of any chemicals that may be in the water, such as chlorine. Also, if your pearl is attached to metal, it’s best not to place it in hot water or immerse it in any water for too long, since this may melt the glue used to attach the pearl. If your strand of pearls get wet, allow it to dry completely before wearing it to avoid warping or stretching the cord.

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What a thoughtful and unique gift! Daniel had this brooch custom-made of silver and pearls and presented it to Rebecca for Mother’s Day. It also celebrates 10 years of marriage together. Congratulations!

4. How should I clean my pearl jewellery?

Wipe your pearls with a very soft, slightly damp cloth after each wear. Clean them occasionally with warm, mildly soapy water. Rinse thoroughly and place them on a soft towel to dry. Again, if your pearls are strung, the cord should be completely dry before wearing. If you wear a string of pearls regularly, it should be restrung every year or two.

Never expose your pearls to ultrasonic cleaner, steam cleaning, powder cleaners, baking soda, bleach, or detergents. Don’t use a toothbrush or any kind of abrasive surface to clean your pearls.

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Fiona was the winner of our 10 Year Celebration: Win a Ring competition! We designed this ring especially for her! It features a stunning freshwater pearl, which is softly supported with a wave of 9ct gold.

5. How should I store my pearl jewellery?

Whether wrapped in fabric or kept in a pouch or a box, pearls should be stored separate from other hard objects (such as other jewellery pieces) that they may rub against. Since pearls require a little moisture, it’s not a good idea to store them in a very dry room or a safety box for a long period of time. Never store pearls in a plastic bag since they can be damaged by the chemicals emitted by plastics, causing them to deteriorate over time.

But don’t store them away for too long! Pearls will improve their glowing lustre if you wear them regularly, albeit mindfully.

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Pearls come in all shapes, sizes and colours! What kind of pearl would you pair with our ‘Forbidden’ pendant?

Platinum vs White Gold? How to Choose the Right Metal for your Wedding Ring

Choosing the right metal for your wedding ring can be a confusing process! Platinum or white gold? 9ct or 18ct? What about palladium? You’ll soon realise that not all metals are created equal, and each has its pros and cons. Just because one metal is more expensive than another, doesn’t necessarily mean that metal will be more suitable for your jewellery needs or your lifestyle.

So what metal properties should you look for in a wedding ring? Obviously, you’ll want something that will go the distance. But you may also want to consider factors such as colour, price, finish, weight, or whether your ring will be suitable for swimming.

Of course, if you already have an engagement ring, we recommend matching metals. Check out some of our engagement and wedding band combinations.

Here is our metal guide to help you break down the right metal choice for you!

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The design for this set of complimentary wedding bands was based on the concept of hearts and arrows. The 18ct yellow gold interior of the groom’s ring echoes the gold heart pattern in the bride’s ring, while the exterior is 18ct white gold with a polished finish. This custom set is an adaptation of our ‘Echo’ design range.

What is an alloy?

Alloys are created because pure metals don’t always have the qualities needed for a particular task. So two or more elements are mixed together, one of which is a metal, to create a more useable material. Pure gold, for example, is too soft to use in jewellery as it more easily bends, dents and scratches. So it is mixed with other materials, such as silver or palladium, to make it harder. As a result, jewellers have a wide range of metal properties to work with to ensure they have the right material for the job!

 

Silver

Silver is a very affordable and malleable metal. Sterling silver is alloyed with a base metal, such as copper, with a ratio of 92.5% silver and 7.5% copper.

However, since it is softer than gold, silver may wear out more quickly and become damaged if worn every day – particularly if a piece is thin or delicate. Silver can oxidise or tarnish if it is unworn for a long period of time or exposed to chemicals such as chlorine, bleach or ammonia. But don’t worry,  it is easily cleaned with soap and a toothbrush, silver jewellery cleaner or a polishing cloth.

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Our momento range marks your special date in roman numerals. Choose from a range of styles and metals.

 Gold

Yellow gold wedding bands look timeless and classic. Rose gold offers a subtle and contemporary alternative, complementing most skin tones. White gold is fresh and bright with rhodium plating, All are valuable with a rich, luxurious appearance.

When considering whether gold is the right metal for you, the most important thing to think about is the carat weight (ct). Since pure gold is quite soft, it is mixed with other metals to make it harder. And this creates a few points for variance:

  • The higher the gold content (or carat) the richer the colour will be.
  • The higher the carat, the heavier the gold will be.
  • Price increases with carat weight because of the higher gold content and the higher quality of the materials used to create the alloy.
  • 9ct gold can sometimes tarnish, while 18ct is tarnish resistant.
  • 9ct rose gold can react when swimming in salt water or chlorinated pools, due to its copper content. 14ct may not react. 18ct is safe.
  • While it is commonly believed that 18ct gold is less durable than 9ct, this isn’t necessarily the case. 18ct gold is mixed with higher quality materials, such as palladium, while 9ct gold is mixed with silver. 
  • 18ct gold is better for stone-setting.
  • Some people love the look of natural white gold, which has a slightly yellow tinge. Otherwise, it will need to be rhodium plated for a bright, polished finish, which should be maintained annually (on average, depending on wear), at the cost of around $100. If the ring is thinner, the wearing of the rhodium plating will be less obvious.
  • Anything higher than 18ct is impractical for daily wear due to the softness of the metal and its need for constant polishing to maintain an adequate finish.
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The 18ct rose gold in these wedders and was reused from some pieces our client already had.

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A pair of classic, custom-made 9ct yellow gold bands.

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The wedding band we made for Cassie matches the 18ct rose gold of her engagement ring. Matt wanted to match Cassie, so his ring is made with an 18ct rose and white gold combination with a matte finish.

Platinum & Palladium

If you prefer a white coloured metal, you may consider a platinum or palladium ring. Both are considered pure metals, being at least 95% platinum, and have a natural white colour that doesn’t require rhodium plating. Platinum is a rare and valuable metal and is more expensive than gold, primarily due to its weight per gram. It is also a good option for people who react to other metals, as its purity means that it is extremely unlikely that someone will react to platinum. Platinum also develops a natural patina as it ages, creating a slightly darker, antique-looking surface. Some people love this because it sets of any diamonds that are set. Otherwise, a polish will see it restored to its original finish.

Palladium is of the same family as platinum and shares similar properties of colour and hardness, except that it is less dense. This means that it weighs less and costs less than platinum, which is the heaviest metal option for jewellery.

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This palladium custom-made mens wedding band is hammer textured between two smooth rims.

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Time to freshen up? We clean and refresh your wedding and engagement rings so they look brand new! Here’s a platinum set we polished up while also crafting a new knife-edge eternity band (middle) to match the engagement and wedding band.

So what’s the right metal for you?

Much like marriage, carefulness and timely maintenance is essential for making sure you get the best out of your wedding ring. Regardless of metal and carat weight, we’ve noticed that the biggest factor in the durability of a wedding ring is the way it is treated.

Selecting the right metal for your wedding ring depends largely on your own preferences and the style of your ring. Of course, the design and surface area of your ring will also make a difference as to the overall durability of your ring and the way that it ages over time.

The designs in our Bilingual collection can be made in any of the abovementioned metals.

Contact us for a free consultation to discuss your wedding band ideas!

Sand, Salt, Sweat and Shrinkage: Summer Jewellery Guide

fun_summer_safe_jewellery_australia_bilingual_designIt’s summertime in the Southern Hemisphere and for many Aussies, that means weddings on the beach, cocktails on the beach, lazing on the beach, sport on the beach, holidays on the beach and just a lot of beach time, generally. Unfortunately, many of us have had experiences where our jewellery didn’t make it through this summertime ritual unscathed. But when we want a bit of extra glam for that social event or simply want to jazz up our cossie, how can we avoid ruining the pieces we love so much? What jewellery can stand against the onslaught of the elements?

The trick is to find jewellery that can handle the 4 summer S’ (specifically,  salt, sand, sweat and shrinkage), and to be aware of the pieces what won’t fare so well.

Here are a few things to consider…

SALT AND CHLORINE

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Salt air and water can have a long–term effect on any jewellery, but soft or absorbent materials (such as wood, coral or turquoise) are particularly vulnerable since they absorb the sea salt and air, which eventually wears them down. Salt is particularly harmful to rose–gold because of its copper content. Chlorine can also discolour your jewellery, particularly silver. Pearls do not fare well with any kind of prolonged water submersion as water wears away the solvent and loosens the pearl.

In salt-air environments, it is important to store jewellery in a cool, dry and well ventilated place.

SAND

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Sand is highly abrasive. It can wear down plating and scratch softer stones like quartz, amethyst and citrine. So opt for solid metals and harder gemstones in your summer jewellery, like diamonds, sapphires, or rubies, which will survive unscathed.

SWEAT AND SUN CREAMS

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Have you ever worn a piece of jewellery that has turned black? This can be caused by the chemical reaction that occurs when metal – particularly silver – is exposed to the sulfur dioxide that comes out through our skin. Many foods, such as garlic, feta cheese and olives will produce higher levels of sulfur and cause our jewellery to react more to sweat.

While sun creams and tanning lotions are non-corrosive and won’t harm metals, they can cause damage to string and thread, so be very careful with strung jewelry.

SHRINKAGE

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Did you know that your fingers shrink in cold water? They do! Treasure troves of rings have been lost in the ocean so unless your ring is super tight, it’s best to take it off before you jump into the water.

SUMMER JEWELLERY CHECKLIST:

– Choose durable materials like platinum, titanium and yellow or white gold. Silver is generally okay too, for short periods of time, but not in chlorine. Avoid exposing rose gold to salty environments.

– Opt for diamonds and other hard precious stones over porous materials or softer stones.

– Take your rings off before going in cold water.

– Remove all jewellery in chlorinated water, including pools and hot tubs.

– Check your jewellery for any loose stones or faulty clasps.

– Avoid getting sun cream or lotion on strung jewellery.

– Clean your jewellery with warm soapy water and a toothbrush after a day of sun and sand.

BILINGUAL RECOMMENDS:

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Bilingual’s top summer jewellery pics from left to right:

Cradle Pearl ring in white gold – perfect for a beach wedding!

Open ring in sterling silver – inspired by oyster shells, this ring uses a twist-motion to lock securely to your finger.

Milestone pendant with diamond in 9ct  yellow gold

Cradle ring in white gold with Australian sapphire – a stunning and hardy ring for all occasions!

Keshi rings in a variety of metals and finishes – moulded from keshi pearls, these stackable rings embody summertime

Act Un ring in yellow gold

Lunar earrings in white gold with sapphires – beautiful beach-proof earrings for a special occasion!

Wisdom pearl pendant in yellow gold