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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 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.

Tanzanite And Diamond Ring

My Client and The Tanzanite Diamond Ring.

My Client. 

First off I should say I love blue stones. So I was pretty excited to get a call to potentially make a Tanzanite and Diamond ring. My Client wanted something to wear on special occasions but without being to dramatic. They wanted a tanzanite, oval and nothing too big. Its always nice when a clients knows exactly what they want. The tanzanite was to be the focal point of the ring. Diamonds were also to be incorporated into the ring. My client showed me examples in the way of pictures to give me a good idea of what they had in mind.

The design.

I set about drawing up a design of the ring I thought would work best biased on the information I took from my client. A ring with an Oval Tanzanite, some diamonds on the shoulders and nothing too big. I then showed the design to my client and we had the go ahead. The next stage was sourcing the tanzanite and showing them the diamonds. I like to give my clients as much control over the design and selection of the stones as possible. By doing this I feel the piece of Jewellery becomes much more personal.

Making.

After showing the customer the stones and the deign as been agreed its time to start making. I first start by making up the collet for the tanzanite. Its all done by hand so taking my time and concentrating is crucial. I then make the shoulder collets and fit the three pieces together. Once this is complete I make the shank and fit it to the head. After all the pieces are made and tacked in place, its then time to solder all the joins with hard solder. Once the assembly stage is complete the ring gets a good clean up and sent for Hallmarking at the Goldsmiths Hall Assay office. https://www.assayofficelondon.co.uk

Setting The Stones And Showing The Client. 

Once the ring is back from the Assay office its then time to start setting in the stones. This is a crucial stage of the making process. Making sure the seats for every stone is cut correctly and no movement is visible insures the stones are properly set and will not fall out. A final polish and Rhodium plate and its ready for my client.

My client came to pick it up and she loved it. She was so pleased that we were able to make something that was exactly what she wanted. It looked beautiful on her finger and I’m really pleased she was so happy.

 

Diamond Halo Engagement Ring and Wedding Ring Set

I was approached recently to make an Engagement Ring and Wedding Ring set, so my client and I got to work discussing designs and material. It was soon clear that this would be a piece to bring back memories.  This Beautiful Diamond Engagement Ring and Wedding Ring set I recently made has been a real love story for me. This style of ring was one of my first sets I made all those years ago, so I jumped at the chance to make another. I remember the constant fear of mistake that almost overwhelmed me. Now almost 10 years on I get to create another. I’ve made many other Engagement ring and wedding ring sets over the years but this style, in its simplicity bears real significance to me and my work. Set with 2cts of round brilliant cut diamonds in total to create a set that will sparkle beyond expectation. It’s made from Platinum, so this Piece will have the durability to last a life time. A classically delicate ring I’ve loved making and hope to make many more!