Category Archives: Lifestyle

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10 Year Wedding Anniversary Ideas

Coming up with the right wedding anniversary ideas to celebrate 10 years of marriage can be a difficult task! Thankfully, our Momento Date Jewellery collection gives you some great options! You can symbolise your 10 year wedding anniversary with Roman numerals in a range of jewellery designs, all custom made to suit you and your partner.

Here are our most sought after 10 year wedding anniversary ideas:

Wedding Anniversary Pendant Set

Commemorate your milestone 10 year anniversary with a range of pendant options for men and women. Best of all, these timeless designs will suit everyday wear.

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Our client selected this Silhouette Pendant & Momento Pendant in sterling silver to celebrate their wedding anniversary. Even though the designs differ, the Roman numeral date links them together.

Wedding Anniversary Ring set

Include some new additions to your wedding ring set! Freshen up your look with a new metal or maybe even add some sparkle with gemstones.

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Rose gold can offer a contemporary addition to a wedding set due to its subtle colouring which suits most skin tones and therefore pairs beautifully with white gold. The above design also includes a subtle sparkle with three bezel-set diamonds within the special date.

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The dual dates on this gold ‘Momento’ ring celebrate the wedding date and a special anniversary date. So you might even consider adding your child’s birthday!

Wedding Anniversary Jewellery Set

If you’re after some wedding anniversary ideas with a point of difference, why not mix it up with some earrings or cufflinks? Choose from our standard Momento or Milestone ranges or customise them with your own choice of gemstones.

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Do you have jewellery that you would like to reuse? To create these ‘Milestone’ stud earrings, we reused the gold from a diamond ring that our client had and sourced a second diamond to match! So reusing some of your old jewellery is a great alternative.

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These stunning silver ‘Momento’ cufflinks are a great gift for a special occasion! Your wedding date can be featured in roman numerals in a subtle way around the outside face. You can further personalise these cufflinks with engraved initials on the front face.

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These custom-made silver ‘Momento’ cufflinks also feature engraved initials and hammer-set diamonds. A very special gift indeed! How would you customise your own Momento cufflinks?

Want More Wedding Anniversary Ideas ?

Either see more wedding anniversary ideas from our collection, here. 

Or our Bilingual Anniversary Guide has wedding anniversary ideas for every milestone year of marriage!

 

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!

How to Buy a Conflict Free Diamond: Making Ethical Jewellery Choices

So you’re about to take the plunge and buy a diamond – but how do you know that you’ll buy a conflict free diamond?

At Bilingual, we guarantee the suppliers we use are legitimate and so you can rest easy when we source diamonds and other gemstones for your custom jewellery piece. But if you’d like to find one yourself, how should you go about it? How do you know what to get or where to get it from?

Here are our tips for how to make more ethical jewellery choices when shopping for a diamond.

1. Do your research.

Unfortunately, there’s not quick way about it. If you want to have peace of mind that you’re making ethical jewellery choices in buying a conflict free diamond, you have to do your own research.

A few points to consider…

  • Educate yourself about ‘conflict diamonds’ and ‘blood diamonds’, where they are sourced, and which companies are known to deal in them. Look up human rights agencies, like Amnesty International, to find out which countries are linked to human rights abuse in their diamond mining practices or use the profits of mining to fund conflict. Avoid buying diamonds that come from these countries.
  • Instead, look to buy diamonds that come from countries that follow environmental standards and protect human rights, such as Australia or Canada. Not all diamonds from Africa are linked to armed conflict and human rights abuse. Namibia and Botswana enforce strict labor and environmental standards and seek to create jobs through small-scale miners and large-scale industry, leading to the development of their countries.
  • Find a company that has a good reputation for sourcing their stones from reputable mines and has good employee and environmental policies.
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This breathtaking pear-cut cognac coloured diamond hails from the Argyle mine in the Kimberley region of Western Australia, which is the largest single producer of diamonds in the world. Yet to be set, here it is pictured in a gemstone ring holder… What setting could we design for you!?

2. Consider synthetic diamonds.

Have you thought about synthetically grown diamonds? This can make it easier to buy a conflict free diamond that also employs more ethical and sustainable methods of using the earth’s resources.

While possessing the same sparkle, physical and chemical characteristics as natural, ground-grown diamonds, synthetic diamonds (AKA man-made or lab-grown) are also less expensive.

Just don’t confuse them with “fake” diamond simulants (such as cubic zirconia), which are not of the same substance of diamond.

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Synthetically-grown diamonds are not the same as “fake” diamonds. They possess all the same characteristics as naturally-grown diamonds, just the process occurs in a lab instead of the ground.

3. Don’t buy a new diamond, reuse one!

Consider re-using a family heirloom or buying vintage or antique diamonds. We can refashion the setting for you and reuse the stone. Though you may not know where the stone has come from originally, reusing a diamond enriches sustainability and puts less pressure on mining demand.

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To create this ‘Milestone’ ring, Charlotte reused this diamond she inherited from her grandmother. The bezel setting also makes the stone appear larger – no complaints here!

4. When you buy a conflict free diamond, make sure it’s certified.

Opt for a GIA (Gemological Institute of America) certification. which is the most respected laboratory and provides the highest standard of diamond grading. They are well-reputed for their incredibly consistent grading and have no financial stake in the sale of diamonds.

If you already have a diamond, you can send it off to GIA for certification.

EGL (European Gemological Laboratory) and IGL (International Gemological Institute) also provide certification, but are not as highly reputed as GIA and may use a weaker grading system.

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5. Get personal

Buying online can be convenient, and there are some  reputable online dealers that can help you buy a conflict free diamond. But you don’t really know a diamond until you see it with your own eyes. The way it sparkles, the colours it throws – these things need to be experienced in real life and can’t be properly understood through a screen – no matter how good the photograph or video clip!

So if you do choose to buy a conflict free diamond online, make sure you check out the returns policy before you commit.

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To create their wedding bands, our clients came to us with diamonds they had sourced themselves from overseas. 

The upside to all this research and hard work is the peace of mind you’ll have while enjoying an ethical gem that you love!

Check out the gallery of pieces we’ve made from diamonds that our clients have reused.

 

 

Create Your Own Family Heirloom

 

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For many of us, the Christmas – New Year period is a time for touching base with loved ones, full of afternoon lunches, camping trips and family photos. During this time, we can be reminded of the similarities shared between family members – for better or worse!

These things got us thinking about the role of the family heirloom and the inheritable traits we collect through our lines of ancestry. So, in some of our latest designs, we’ve been exploring the way DNA flows from past to present. For example, You might see your grandfather’s smile in your son or share your Aunt’s flair for creativity.

Our new collection, ‘Portrait’, (below)explores the world of hereditary DNA: how the make-up of who we are is, in part, based on our family members before us. Each design in this collection represents varying combinations of DNA sequences. Our DNA has its own language whereby each molecule is made up of 4 types of bases (G, T, A, C) that forms into various sequential patterns. Similarly, the base design for the ‘Portrait’ pieces includes a pattern of 4 pointed diamond shapes symbolising the GTAC  bases. From this model, a range of design elements can be added to paint a variety of portraits – much like a family!

 

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A Custom Family Heirloom

These custom-designed contemporary family heirlooms are imbedded with ideas of family heritage and the passing-down of inheritance.

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Family gold was melted down and refashioned into this sweet pendant for our client’s daughter.

 

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What have you inherited from your family?

What will you pass on to the next generation?

What kind of family heirloom could you create with Bilingual? 

 

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