The materials we use for our handmade jewellery
Sterling silver is made up of a mixture of 92.5% real silver and 7.5% other metals. This is the standard of real silver jewellery in most of Europe and the USA but other countries may have different standards.
In the UK, all jewellery that contains more than 7.78 grams of sterling silver must be hallmarked by an official assay office. Any sterling silver below this weight does not require hallmarking.
No individual pieces in our collections contain more than 7.78 grams of sterling silver so they do not require hallmarking, however, many pieces are stamped with the number 925 to indicate that they are sterling silver. Any item that does contain more than 7.78 grams of sterling silver will be hallmarked in accordance with UK regulation.
Gold Fill and Gold Vermeil
Gold filled metal is composed of a layer of real gold permanently heat and pressure bonded to a base metal. The real gold typically constitutes at least 5% of the item’s total weight, making it more expensive than gold or silver plated metals because it contains far more gold. Also, as the gold is permanently bonded with the base metal, it retains its colour for longer than plated metals. We use 14k gold filled metal for our jewellery.
Gold vermeil metal uses a similar process to plated metals in which the base metal is dipped into a bath of electroplating solution. The difference is that it is dipped for a longer period of time, creating a thicker layer of gold plating. The base metal is sterling silver and it needs to have at least two microns of gold plating thickness to classify as gold vermeil. Gold vermeil contains less gold than gold filled metal but more gold than plated metal. It holds its colour for longer than plated metals.
Gold and silver plated metal
Gold and silver plating is the process by which a base metal such as copper is dipped into electroplating solution, along with a very small amount of gold or silver, which creates an extremely thin layer on top of the base metal. Gold/silver plated metal is identified as anything that contains less than two microns thickness of gold/silver. Because the layer of gold/silver is so thin, plated metals will lose their colour to reveal the base metal underneath relatively quickly.
The beads in our jewellery
For our handmade jewellery, we use crystal beads, Japanese seed beads made from glass, Swarovski crystal beads and semi-precious beads. Semi-precious beads are made from mined stones and minerals but may also be organic matter such as pearls and coral. The materials that the beads are made from are generally not considered good enough for 'fine' jewellery, thus making them a much cheaper gemstone option, but don't let that put you off because semi-precious beads can be every bit as beautiful as fine grade stones, and they come in a huge range of gorgeous colours too.
We always endeavour to buy ethically sourced gemstone beads from reputable suppliers.
All of our glass, crystal and Swarovski beads and precious metals are purchased from reputable established UK trade suppliers.
Our Artisan Collection is made with Indian silver which does not contain the same 92.5% mix of real silver as sterling silver does. In India, artisan goldsmiths use their skill and experience to decide how much non-precious metal to mix with the real silver based on the item's design and the strength required, for example a bangle needs to be stronger than a necklace to prevent misshaping because, like gold, silver is malleable in its purest form. Indian culture covets real silver (and real gold) jewellery so a reputable goldsmith endeavours to mix as little non-precious metal to the silver as possible to maintain the integrity of the pure silver, which sometimes means that Indian silver jewellery contains more real silver than sterling silver. Please also note that India does not (at the time of writing) operate mandatory hallmarking for silver.