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Queen Mary’s Diamond Bandeau Tiara

Queen Mary’s Diamond Bandeau Tiara

So as Prince Harry and Megan Markle Recently Married I thought I would give a little insight into The Tiara she wore on her big day! Queen Mary’s Diamond Bandeau Tiara. 

 

 

The Diamond Tiara hasn’t been seen since 1965 when Princess Margaret wore it last.

The Tiara was made in 1932. This English Tiara Features Diamonds set in Platinum and a Centre detachable brooch made of ten diamonds dating back to 1893.

The tiara is “formed as a flexible band of eleven sections, pierced with interlaced ovals and pavé set with large and small brilliant cut diamonds.”

The Diamond Brooch in the centre of this Tiara was a present to Princess Mary in 1893 by the County of Lincoln on her marriage to Prince George, Duke of York, who would become King George V. The Tiara was then made in 1932 to have the brooch mounted in the centre, The bandeau and the brooch were passed down by Queen Mary to The Queen in 1953.

Kensington Palace hasn’t associated a particular jewellery house or jeweller with the tiara,  however it is thought to be by Garrard, which was the Crown Jeweller in the 1930’s. Garrard was established in 1735 and founded by George Wickes in London. Garrard was The Crown Jeweller for 164 years! Starting in 1843 and ending in 2007. G. Collins and Sons are the current Royal Jewellers ending a 164 year reign by Garrard. 

Garrard has dealt with many famous Jewels, such as the Cullinan I, “The Great Star Of Africa”. They have also created some amazing pieces like the Imperial Crown Of India in 1911 and The Crown Of Queen Elizabeth in 1937.

Although Garrard no longer holds the Royal Warrant as the Official British Royal Jeweller and G Collins and Sons were appointed by the Queen, Garrard still holds a royal warrant from her son the Prince Of Wales to this day. 

Thanks for reading!

The Process of making.

My process of making.

Engagement rings.

The process of making an engagement ring. Engagement rings are beautiful, complex and detailed. There is a lot of time, design and craftsmanship put forward to make them. Thought needs to go into strength and how the piece will wear over time. With technology moving the jewellery trade forward in 2018 there are many new ways to make a piece of Jewellery and engagement rings are no different. CAD stands for Computer Aided Designing. This is the process of designing a piece of jewellery on a computer and printing the design out via a 3D wax printer. This model is then cast using a method called loss wax casting. The end result is an unfinished piece of jewellery that then just needs cleaning up. This style of jewellery making is great and it has open up the way jewellery is made today.

It is however not how I make Jewellery. Call me old school or old fashioned but there is something about putting pencil to paper and sketching out designs that I feel much more personal and nostalgic.

So whats my process.

So upon meeting I workout with my clients what a rough design is going to be. If they have a picture of what they’d like already then theres sometimes no need for drawings. On the other hand if the design is not so straight forward then I would do a drawing to show how I think it would look.

The next stage is making. We’ll keep it simple and say we’re making a Single stone diamond ring. The making can vary slightly depending on the design. Sometimes I might carve out the entire ring by hand in wax and then cast this wax model to get the finished ring. I would probably say more often than not I’d try and make it from the desired metal from the world go.

So we start with a collet, this is the part that holds the stone. A collet is made to fit the stone exactly. In this process i’m constantly picking up the stone and measuring it against what i’m making. I start with a bar of metal and mill it out to the desired thickness and width. Then this is turned up into the shape of the stone, round for round stones, square for square stones etc.. If claws are to be holding the stone then the next stage is to add them. This is either done by cutting and filing out the collet or for a basket setting, wire is attached to the collet to make the claws.

Once I’m happy with the collet and the stones fits perfectly its now time for cleaning it up and making the shank or band. For a simple parallel shank then i’d make up a band by milling out the metal to the desired thickness, width and length. The length is determined by the finger size of the client. Once the metal is the correct dimensions i’d then turn up the metal using half round pliers and joining the ends with solder. We now have a band! The band is heated to soften and then beaten round on a steel mandrel.

We now have a collet and a band. I have to clean them both up by sandpapering and polishing. I also have to submerge them in an acid to remove any soldering Flux used in the solder process. I also like to give both parts a polish before I put them together.

Next I measure the collet and remove a piece the same size from the band so that the collet will fit snug. This is then soldered into place and the cleaning process starts again before we set the stone in.

Once the ring is clean and polished I then start setting the diamond into place. This is done by using a collet seat burr on a pendant drill. The seat is to be cut the exact size of the stone so that the stone sits now into the collet nice and snug. Once the stone is tight the claws are bent over and the excess claws are trimmed off.

Were there, well almost anyway! Another round of polishing is required, the polish is washed off for the final time and dried on a polishing cloth. Besides Hallmarking thats it! Were there! The very basics on making a single stone diamond ring with a parallel shank band.

Thanks for reading!

How to care for your favourite pieces of jewellery

How to care for your favourite pieces of jewellery

 

Caring for your Jewellery. 

 

I often get asked about Cleaning and Caring for Your Jewellery, whether its for a piece I’ve made or not. It really goes without saying that if you look after the jewellery you have it will last and stand the test of time. There are a few pieces of corse that will last longer than others even if you do nothing with them.

For example if you own a pair of simple diamond stud earrings that you never take off, then these aren’t really going to get loads of wear compared to say a ring because there in your ears! They will however get very dirty very quickly if you never take them off! If however you are constantly taking them in and out every day to clean or you simply don’t like wearing them at night you may find that after a while the clasp holding them will feel a little looser compared to when you first brought them. General wear and tear!

In my opinion, rings are the one piece of jewellery that should be looked after more than others. Bracelets, bangles, necklaces, pendants and earrings all of corse need looking after but rings generally are more susceptible to everyday wear. This generally means you just need to take a little more care of the rings on you fingers. I’m definitely not saying don’t wear them, but just be a little more conscious about wearing them at the gym or doing the gardening. If you wear a ring everyday and never take it off thats great, i’m a strong believer of wearing your expensive pieces. Whats the point of having a lovely piece of jewellery and only wearing it now and then.

So what to do?

Well I’ve listed a few ways in which you take take care of your rings so you can keep them looking fresh and the diamonds sparkling.

First off, if you wear hand cream and don’t take off your rings then they’ll need cleaning maybe a bit more often. The cream can get into lots of little holes and parts of the ring that can be much harder to clean. Some holes are there to let more light through, so if its clogged up with cream then the diamonds wont be looking there best.

Heavy gym user and use free weights a lot? Your rings aren’t as strong as those dumbbells! Take them off or wear gloves. I’ve seen a lot of damage done by weights at the gym so by just padding up your hands with gloves will do the world of difference.

Of corse if your job is very hands on then you will see your ring wearing more than someone who sits a computer or desk all day. I’m not saying take it off for work, its entirely up to you. I just want to make you more aware.

Now to cleaning.

A soft toothbrush works wonders! Hot hot water, making sure you don’t burn yourself, fairy liquid and a soft toothbrush. Use the toothbrush inside the ring to get into the little holes and round the diamonds. The hot water works to loosen the dirt and the Fairy works well as a degreaser to remove the oils built up on the ring. This is also very cost effective. There are other products on the market that work ok but in my experience this method works just as well. You need to be careful if you have a ring with other stones like Pearls or Turquoise as these cant really be submerged in hot water for long periods. They are very absorbent stones and contain natural oils that can be damaged if care isn’t taken. This might be more for a professional. For diamond rings on the other hand this method works wonders!

 

If you have scratches that you’d like removed then this again is one for a professional. Don’t try and remove marks yourself as you could easily damage the ring. This generally isn’t too expensive, but varies from ring to ring and places to take them. I’d be more than happy to give you a quote, just get in contact via my Contact Page. 

 

Thanks for reading.

 

The Difference between Platinum and Gold

The difference between Gold and Platinum. 

The Difference between Platinum and Gold. Is Platinum really better than Gold? How strong is platinum really? These are just a couple of questions I’m going to tackle in this short but sweet post.

To answer these questions we have to understand a little history of Precious Metals, how it’s used and why we like it so much. I’ll also be taking a dive into the Molecules that make up these metals to see how they behave under force.

Gold has been used for thousands of years for making Jewellery. It’s very colour suggests Luxury, expense and shine. Gold in its rawest form is soft and very malleable, meaning it’s very easy to make things with. Gold is so soft if you had a 999 fine gold bar 2mm thick and a few centimetres long you could easily bend this with your own fingers. Because gold is so soft it’s usually mixed with other precious metals like silver to bring the gold content down to make the metal a little stronger. For example 9ct Gold in the Uk has a Hallmark code of 375. Simply this means that there is 375grams of fine gold per 1000grams of metal. Meaning there is 625grams of other metals per 1000grams like silver mixed with the gold. The more gold is added the higher carat of Gold the metal contains.

Gold is also a metal that doesn’t rust, corrode, stain or change colour. It’s also a great conductor so it’s used in wiring and circuit boards. Polished Gold is also a great heat reflector to keep objects cool.

My point is that Gold has so many different uses and is unlike any other metal on earth.

 

So why do we all want Platinum now for our Jewellery? 

Over the years white metals have become more popular. Sterling silver has always been popular for making Jewellery and Silver cups ect.. its very soft and malleable and even has healing properties. The problem with silver is that it’s quite a dirty metal, its softer than 18ct gold, it Tarnishes easily and is much more readily available than gold meaning its cheap. In older Jewellery silver was often used to set in the diamonds and then the rest of the band would be gold. Because silver is soft this made for the perfect metal to set in precious stones like Diamonds into Jewellery without too much risk of breaking the stone when setting.

During the early 17th Century Platinum was discovered but wasn’t used in Jewellery until the late 17th century due to the difficulty in working with its high melting point. Platinum soon became a popular alternative for collets and settings due to its harder wearing qualities.

As the years go on white metals became more popular and white gold was introduced, a blend of Gold and white metals to bring the carat down but keeping the metal as white as possible. Due to White gold not really being completely white, its then finished with a plating of rhodium. In recent years palladium is now mixed with the Gold to give a much whiter finish, reducing the need for plating as often. This is really where platinum comes in. Platinum doesn’t need plating at all, so this and its Harder wearing qualities makes for the perfect combination for an Expensive luxury engagement ring that will stand the test of time.

There is however another side to Platinum that isn’t well-known to the average buyer or sales person. Platinum is a great metal for use in jewellery making, when polished correctly it has a brilliant shine. Its a very dense metal, so it feels heavy and substantial. Platinum is harder wearing than all the other Precious metals too so it will last you longer. But …. Platinum is still a soft metal. Its will still scratch, it will still break, and it will still go out of shape when hit hard enough. In fact in some cases platinum will have heavier or deeper marks compared to at 18ct ring put through the same stress. This doesn’t mean its not a hardwearing metal but it does mean its just as venerable to damage.

Taking a closer look into the structure of platinum reveals that all the molecules are very tightly compact, as you would expect from such a dense metal. However when Platinum is struck with an object with force the small molecules move slightly. They move in the direction of the force implemented. This means that if you had a Platinum ring and you went to the gym and picked up dumbbells with a metal mesh grip you would be marking the metal and you’d be able to see it. It works the same for flat smooth objects too. If you had a platinum ring and at the Gym you picked up dumbbells with a completely smooth metal grip. This would mark the platinum but over a greater surface area, meaning you wouldn’t really notice a mark even though it has marked, much like a Planishing hammer. My point is that platinum will mark and scratch like other metals.

 

So why is Platinum harder wearing then?

Simply put, Platinum is harder WEARING because the particles and molecules move! Your noticed I empathise the word harder WEARING as opposed to Harder metal. Platinum isn’t a hard metal … its a harder wearing metal compared to Silver, Gold and Palladium. Because the particles move and don’t chip off as much, they just move about. Meaning you may have a few marks and scratches over the years but most of the platinum is still there. The particles of 9ct Gold or 18ct Gold on the other hand don’t move as much so they chip off more easily. Have you ever noticed how older Gold rings seem to be thinning round the back of the shank? This is where most of the wear and tear happens. I’m not saying a platinum ring wont do this of corse, because it will, but over a longer time. The question should be, what metal is actually harder.. 18ct Gold or Platinum. The answer is, there both as hard as each other. Platinum will last longer but will incur more marks over time. 18ct will incur less marks but will wear down over a shorter period.

So what metal is better?

I dont really think one metal is better than the other. There are advantages for having both.

For Platinum, we don’t need to have it Re-plated every 12 months. Its as shiny as other white metals when polished and finished correctly. White gold can be just as durable on the correct piece of jewellery. So really it comes down to personal taste and professional advice. Check them both out before you decide and base your decision on what you feel comfortable with given the facts.

Thanks for reading.