How to judge the quality of jewellery

Are there any Hallmarks: Carat Stamp, Maker’s Mark, Guild Mark?

They are quality marks, assuring you that the purity of the metal is as stated and the maker stands up for his work.

Ear stud pair including clip Yellow Gold with 3 Pearls Brilliant cut diamonds matt finishQuality craftsmanship is not only focusing on the front, the back must be well finished too. Pay close attention to details. Is the metal well polished with no little burrs of metal or pockmarks? Is the stone held firmly and square in the setting? Is the setting even and smoothly finished, so it won’t catch on clothing?


Inexpensive jewellery often is very lightweight to give you a bigger look for the money. If an item feels light, pay special attention to prongs holding the stone: Are they sturdy? Do they grip the stone tightly? You won’t be happy about the money you saved in gold cost, if you loose your stone!


When buying a necklace, make sure it lies well around the neck. Try it on. Check that earrings hang well from the ear and don’t tip forward.
If you are buying a gift and you are not sure about the style of jewellery, why not get a beautiful gemstone from a well established, qualified & experienced goldsmith and let the lucky recipient design her/his own perfect setting. Gems can speak louder than words, symbolizing what you want to say with your gift.


Where you shop is equally important


Shopping around can end up in comparing apples and oranges. To remember the exact colour of a stone is very difficult even for trained personal, as it is influenced by the lighting, the background, the setting & the time of day. Rings vary in thickness and width and method of manufacture. Please also read about gold & handcrafted quality on our webpage: Facts about Gold

Be wary of stores that give you appraisals or certificates that state that the gem or piece of jewellery is worth more than you paid for it and stores that tell you a gemstone is worth more than it looks because it comes from a certain country or is in fashion at the moment.

The web is a great place to learn about gems, but be careful where you buy them, as you are mostly unable to really see what you are getting and can't always get an exchange. Papers are no guarantee, particularly when you do not know whom you are buying from (EBAY) or where they will be tomorrow. The best place to buy is a professional goldsmith with a love for gemstones, who enjoys sharing his knowledge on this subject with you. Working together with reliable gemstone dealers, the goldsmith is able to order on demand or on approval, according to your budget. Bargains on EBAY can end up in disappointment or cause higher cost in manufacture or restoration, than a new piece of jewellery or a gemstone from an approved gemstone dealer, e.g.: too high gems or bad cuts with wrong proportions require more material and more labour to set them. If something sounds too good to be true, it most likely has got a flaw. Quality has its price, workmanship is worth the money.


How to Buy a Gem / What is the right price?


How much does a one-carat ruby cost? It can be worth ten dollars or it can be worth $10,000. Quality makes the difference. You could see differences in quality, if you looked at a lot of rubies side-by-side. Better colour costs more, a lot more. Better clarity costs more. Better cut may cost a little more but it is worth it! The bigger the stone, the more it is per carat. Different varieties have different price ranges. Prices can be lower, if the gems are readily available, or the colour is not fashionable, they have a funny name, the material is relatively soft or they have everything but no one knows it. Buy the best quality gemstone you can afford or consider buying a higher quality gemstone from an unusual variety. Diamonds, Ruby, Emerald, Sapphires and Pearls have been treasured for centuries and are still highly valued. More recently discovered gemstones are also beautiful, rare, quite affordable and coming in a wide range of colours, like Garnet, Tanzanite, Tourmaline, Opal, Peridot…..The word: semi-precious is banned in the jewellery industry, as it is misleading.

Colour

In general, the brighter or richer and vivid the colour the better. Within each gemstone variety, a clear, medium-tone, very intense and saturated primary colour is the most preferred. Muted colours, paler or subdued, darker tones may be very attractive and usually less expensive. Look at the colour in different kinds of light, especially daylight.


Clarity

Clear transparent gemstones with no visible inclusions (flaws) are the most valued, which is very rare in natural emeralds and red tourmaline. Phenomenal gemstones owe their star or eye to tiny inclusions. Reflecting light back, they produce the eye in cat’s eye, chrysoberyl and the star in star sapphires. They are valued for their inclusions!


Cut

A good cut adds beauty. A well-cut faceted gemstone reflects light back evenly across its surface area. If the stone is too deep or narrow, the light is swallowed, some areas will appear dark. If it is too shallow and wide, parts of the stone will be washed out and lifeless. The best way to judge cut is to look at different or similar gemstones next to each other. Ask your goldsmith to show you a well-cut gemstone. Diamonds

Carat

Gemstones are generally sold by weight not by size. The price will be per carat, which is one-fifth of a gram. Some gems are heavier than others, so stones of the same weight may be a different size! The carat weight also affects the price: large gemstones are rare, so the price per carat is higher within the same quality.

In every variety, especially the more expensive ones, you should expect to pay more for matched pairs, sets and special shapes and cuts. In general, gemstone pricing follows common sense: the more beautiful the gemstone, with the final visual effect of all the quality factors, the more valuable it is. Don’t be afraid to choose what looks best to you!

Pearls

459EP Earstud pair in 9ct Yellow Gold Waterfall Design carved with attachment Broome South Sea Pearlsnown for their dramatic beauty, timeless appeal and lustrous sheen, pearls have been cherished throughout the ages, adored by Cleopatra. They’re the oldest jewels known to man, and the only gem made by a living animal. No other gem has retained such a level of value and desirability for as long as the pearl as a symbol of beauty, wealth and purity as wedding ornament.

What is the difference between natural and cultured pearls?

A natural pearl occurs when an irritant115RGWGPSD Ring in 18ct Yellow Gold and White Gold featuring a Japanese Biwa Pearl, pink Sapphs, .06ct yellow diamond or, more frequently, dead tissue cells get lodged in the flesh of the pearl oyster. To alleviate the irritation it covers the foreign body with smooth layers of nacre or Mother-of-pearl. Thus a round or baroque pearl is created.
If an irritant becomes stuck to the inside of the pearl shell, or another creature bores through the shell from the outside, again the oyster will coat the obstruction with nacre and a natural blister pearl is formed. 

500P Pendant in 18ct White Gold featuring Black Tahitian Pearl and 3 Diamonds in Brilliant CutThe cultured form of blister pearl (hemispherical) is called a half pearl, or Mabe. It is formed by securing a nucleus to the inside of the shell (dome, drop or heart shaped). When the oyster finds it cannot dislodge this obstruction, it covers it with layers of nacre.
The difference between a natural and cultured round pearl is that the cultured pearl has a core of solid, pure Mother-of-pearl implanted by man, whereas the natural pearl is purely a product of nature and good fortune. Size and shape of cultured pearls can be influenced by choosing such a nucleus, still taking one to two years to grow for a Mabe, two to three years for a round pearl. 118RSP Ring in 925Ag Sterling Silver featuring a black pearl gurdeled Tahitian Pearl

Akoya pearls are one of the most familiar type of cultured pearls, grown off the coast of Japan and known for their lovely orient and warm colour. They rarely grow more than 9mm in size.
Fresh Water pearls are cultivated in molluscs, not oysters in fresh water lakes and rivers. They are generally elongated in shape and have a milky translucent appearance. Their wide range of interesting shapes and colours make up in fashion appeal for their relatively lower value. 

Keshi pearls are formed seedless, occurring naturally in many cultured pearl oysters, Akoya and South Sea pearls. They also come in a variety of colours, shapes and sizes.  
South Sea Pearls are produced by the Pinctada Maxima oyster, the largest of all pearl oysters, sometimes weighing over 2 kg, and measuring up to 40 cm across, producing cultured pearls of 10mm or larger.  It only grows in a few tropical areas of the world such as the north and north-west coast of Australia as well as the South Sea. South Sea Pearls are noted for their creamy nacre and rich silky lustre.

Indonesian Pearls can be 10mm and larger and are grown in large oysters (Pinctada Margaritifera – black lipped) off the islands of French Polynesia. Colours range from soft grey to black hues of reds, blues and greens.

Imitation or simulated pearl is anything else which resembles a pearl but has a Pearls natural saltwater Keshi 2-3mm wide, various lengths $22eachsurface created by a manufacturing process from glass, plastic, fish scales….. They don’t feel as cold to the touch as a natural or cultured pearl, can have a different sound of clonking when hit together or on a glass table and the drill hole can have a rim or split off layers of covering substance. Quite often they are evenly round without any blemishes on the surface, nearly too perfect.

Do the edible oysters produce cultured pearls?

Yes, but normally they are chalky and worthless (apart from the $200,000 pearl found once in an Australian oyster). It is said that pearls have no pedigree and that their beauty is not to be traced to their origin, but exists entirely in the excellence of the surrounding environment in which they develop.

Care for your Pearls:36NPGRB Pearl necklace & clasp in 18ct Yellow Gold, featuring Tahitian Pearl, Ruby and yellow Diamond in Brilliant cut


•    Don’t wear pearls while playing sport.
•    Anything harder than Pearls can scratch or damage their surface.
•    Expensive pearls should be knotted between each pearl to prevent loss in
      case
the thread breaks.
•    Have your pearls restrung once a year, that usually includes cleaning.

Can you shower or bath while wearing pearls?

Drilled pearls should not be immersed for too long and not into saltwater or highly chlorinated water. Avoid direct contact with shampoo, body lotion, hairspray, perfume etc. The natural pearl threading silk is weakened by constantly immersing into water as well.

Do pearls deteriorate?

No, not from being worn on the skin. In fact it is important for them to be worn regularly. Pearls are an organic gem (the only one) and consist of 2% water. If allowed to dry out over a long period the colour could alter and the surface could dull. Worn frequently, the pearl is kept hydrated and polished by contact with the skin. The more it is worn the more it develops that incomparable glow and depth of lustre. In earlier times noble ladies were asked to ‘wear in’ precious pearls under the collar directly on their skin before they were sold.

Determine the value of a pearl

1. Lustre: The distinctive characteristic or great beauty of a true sea-grown pearl (natural or cultivated) is its lustre or orient. Lustre is a subdued shimmering iridescence or inner glow, as opposed to the glittering brilliance of the diamond, and is the most important consideration when selecting a pearl. Lustre is the measure of the pearl’s colour and light reflection and should be deep and bright – never dull. Without lustre it does not rank as a gem pearl, no matter how perfect its form or beautiful its colour. Lustre is most difficult to assess needing a lot of experience. It is dependent on the fineness of the pearl structure and the thickness of the nacre.
Common classification:    AAA = very good lustre
                                  AA =  good lustre
                                  A = fair lustre
                                 -A = poor lustre

2. Size: The prizes go up with the size. For round pearls 4mm is common, 7 mm is considered very big, anything above is called giant.

3. Shape: The pearl is shaped as nature intends, and is therefore different to all other gems which emerge in raw form and rely on the hand of the jeweller to gain their identity. Perfectly symmetric pearls, including round (spherical), pear shape, teardrops and oval, are extremely rare and are therefore highly prized. This does not mean however, that other shapes do not have their own unique charm and value. Pearls are found in an array of sizes and shapes, e.g. semi-round (slightly off round), egg,
smooth drop, Triangle, bell shaped, ‘Bouton’ = flat or button (cushion) shaped, circled (ringed), flat angle wing, semi-baroque and baroque pearls of irregular and asymmetrical shapes sometimes with trails. 

4. Colour: From luminescent whites to sparkling gold shades, the stunning range of natural colours is outstanding often producing a delicate sheen of rainbow colours, which seems to move over the pearl. While colour is not normally an indicator of the quality of pearls, premium prices are fetched for pearls displaying unusually beautiful orients of coloured overtones such as white Pink, Silver Pink, Rosé and Deep Gold.

5. Surface: The surface of a perfect pearl appears satiny smooth, but when viewed closely, natural or cultured pearls may appear to have irregularities, which do not diminish the value, but disfiguring blemishes, which are visible without magnifier will. Cracks, scratches, indentations, elevations and white spots reduce the immaculateness. A pearl is a fruit of nature, the natural gem of the ocean. Every pearl is unique.


So-called imperfections, irregularities and flaws distinguish every pearl from all others. Disturbances in the oyster's life are microscopically visible structure changes in the pearl. It is rare to find a pearl free from any surface blemishes. However, when found, a flawless surface will increase the value of a pearl significantly.
Common classification:    AAA = spots on 10% or less of the surface
                                  AA = spots on 30% or less of the surface
                                  A = small spots on more than 30% of the surface
                                 -A = large spots on more than 30% of the surface
Even cultured pearls are relatively rare as they can only be developed in limited areas of the world’s oceans in clean water and take years to grow. A perfect pair of pearls is very rare because nature makes few pearls exactly alike in orient, shape and colour.

There is an exhaustive set of standards by which cut gemstones are judged. But with the pearl, natural beauty is the overriding factor in selection. And because beauty is in the eye of the beholder, different pearls captivate different people. A decorative jewelled clasp can support the beauty and value of your pearl necklace.

Selecting pearl necklaces

You can enhance your appearance and personality. Long necklaces are informal and versatile, while short necklaces can be sophisticated.

Choker necklets go well with a long neck and longer strands slenderize and appear to elongate the neck. For fair skinned women, rose-hued pearls are most flattering, while cream and gold colour pearls set off darker skin tones best.

Choker – length: 35-40cm (14”-16”) should nestle around the base of the neck in single or multiple strands.
Princess – length: 45cm (18”) just underneath the collar bones.
Matinee – length: 50-60cm (20”-24”) falls to the top of the cleavage.
Opera – length: 70-80cm (28”-32”) falls to the breastbone.
Sautoir or Rope – any pearl necklace longer than opera length.
Bib– multiple strands of pearls, each shorter than the one below, nestled together in one necklace.
Graduated – A necklace comprised of pearls which taper downward in size from large pearls in the centre to smaller pearls at the ends.
Uniform – appearing as pearls of the same size, though for a more proportionate look the centre pearls can be slightly larger.Pendant Art Nouveau Design in 925 Ag Sterling Silver featuring black South Sea Pearl

Our unique Pearl Jewellery styles 

Australian South Sea Pearls, Tahitian South Sea Black Pearls and Akoya Pearls to choose yourself and enquire for the price from us at:

www.seapearls.com.au

 

Diamonds

raw diamondDiamonds are like graphite, pure carbon, and have been created millions of years ago in intense temperature and pressure in volcanic pipes. Consequently, most diamonds contain tiny marks, known as inclusions, which make each stone unique. The fewer and smaller the inclusions, the more valuable a diamond will be. 

But inclusions don't necessarily weaken the stone and its beauty will not be affected if the light is reflected from one facet to another and then back out through the top of the diamond. The skill of the cutter will reveal the hidden fire and brilliance.
Diamond is the hardest material on Earth and can only be cut by diamond dust and because of the fact that the hardness varies on the crystal facets. Diamonds are durable and won't deteriorate. A diamond will shine as brilliantly as new each time it is cleaned. In fact it will not be completely dull like glass stones or cubic zirconia, when skin oils, soap, cosmetics and grease have left deposits. You can find information on our website about how to clean jewellery under 'Jewellery Care'.

Natural Diamond cubesWe use conflict-free diamonds with exceptional Russian cut from reliable Australian Suppliers (certificate available) in the quality you desire. Our suppliers hand-pick the gemstones, which display best brilliance. Their fire and brilliance is unquenchable, which its owner can be proud of.

For every carat of rough diamonds recovered, more than 250 tonnes of ore have to be blasted, crushed and processed. Only 20% will be gem quality. Its value depends on the quality which is determined by carat, clarity, colour and cut.

Cut

The cut is the most important thing, beside the finish grade (polishing) and the proportions that determine the fire and brilliance (brightness) as shown in the images and descriptions below.

Diamond Shapes


Diamond slices polki diamondideal Brilliant cut - 57 precisely angled facets offer best reflection and high dispersion of the light causing a colourful sparkling in better quality diamonds.
Single cut (Eight facet cut) – usually medium to lower quality small diamonds.
Other cuts - e.g. Triangle, Trilliant, Baguette, Baguillion..... as shown on photos. New laser cuts are being developed all the time and have found their lovers, so have coloured Diamonds.

Carat

means the actual weight of the gemstone. 1 carat is the equivalent of 0.2g and has nothing in common with the 'purity carat' of gold.

Clarity

(International Grading Scale of internal impurities)
if    =  Loupe-clean =  with 10 times magnification no inclusions

VVS 1     =                        "    "      "           "      very very small minor inclusions
VVS 2     =                        "    "      "           "      very very small inclusions
VS 1       =                        "    "      "           "      very small minor inclusions
VS 2       =                        "    "      "           "      very small inclusions
Si 1        =                        "    "      "           "       small minor inclusions
Si 2        =                        "    "      "           "       small inclusions
P1 or 11 =      pique 1          small inclusions visible without magnification
P2 or 12 =      pique 2          inclusions visible without magnification
P3 or 13 =      pique 3          large inclusions visible without magnification

lower grade quality Diamonds well polishedExternal characteristics on the surface of the stone only have an influence on the clarity grade if they are sufficiently noticeable and if the stone is not internally flawed.

Colour

(determined by comparing it to an internationally approved set of master stones) International Grading Scale:

Diamonds with no trace of colour are extremely rare and valuable. Most common Diamond gradation starts going down the alphabet from D (perfect, colourless, rarest and most expensive) to Z (the most yellow) with only subtle differences between the grades.

  • D       -   exceptional white +  = River R+
  • E       -   exceptional white     = River R
  • F       -   rare white +             = Top Wesselton TW
  • G       -   rare white                = Top Wesselton TW
  • H       -   white                       = Wesselton W
  • I & J   -   slightly tinted white   = Top Crystal TCR
  • K & L  -   tinted white              = Crystal CR
  • M & N -   tinted colour 1          = Top Cape TCA
  • O & P -   tinted colour 2          = Cape CA
  • Q& R  -   tinted colour 3          = light yellow LY
  • S to Z -   tinted colour 4          = up to Yellow Y


diamond slices in blue, yellow, off-white, brownA range of white, rare pink, cognac and champagne coloured diamonds are found at the Argyle Mine in Western Australia. Their popularity and prices vary according to fashion.

Brown Diamonds

The champagne colour diamond is the most popular fancy colour. It is actually a diamond that shows various intensities of brown. The International GIA grading scale covers tints of yellow. For brown, a new system – the “C” scale - was developed to accommodate champagne. This was primarily due to the opening of Australia’s Argyle Diamond Mine that produces so many beautiful brown/champagne coloured diamonds.

Different setting styles

Bezel setting: the gemstone is enclosed in a rim of gold, rubbed over all the way around. For extra sparkle a facet can be cut to the inside of the setting with an engraving tool.

Channel setting: a straight or curved open Natural Diamond Briolette Beadschannel of metal walls on both sides with incision holding a row of gemstones set close together.

Claw setting: 3, 4 or 6 individual wires in e.g. crown or basket shape are secured to the gemstone by pressing the ends over the stone.

Pavé/Grain setting: grains of gold are lifted with an engraver out of the solid metal to raise a bead-like claw securing the gemstone, offering a way of creating bright sparkles from a lot of  diamonds placed close together.

Buying a diamond means entering an enchanted world of romance, intrigue, legend and history which compared diamonds with tears of Gods or splinters of stars that fell to Raw Diamond cubesearth like the Ancient Greeks believed. They were worshiped, sought after, fought over and have become the ultimate gift of love. Cupid is said to have used diamonds as tips on his arrows.

To avoid blood diamonds we buy large diamonds with certificate, cut in Russia or from the Australian Argyle Mine. Both suppliers don't support black markets nor child labour. To guarantee conflict free diamonds, they might not be the cheapest, but from legal sources which is providing fair payments for the labourers in the mines.
CONFLICT DIAMONDS (BLOOD DIAMONDS)FAQ http://www.gem.org.au/images/mr0407.pdf

When Princess cut became the latest Fashion, it was sometimes not appreciated, when any good jeweller explained that quality diamonds with brilliant cut have the best fire, because they contain the most facets and are cut to the ideal proportions to best reflect the incoming light, but it is important to mention, because other cuts don't sparkle as nicely and as long, when they become clogged up with dirt. There is another beautiful option to achieve the princess look, we can set a brilliant cut diamond like a princess cut with a square facet cut into the metal around the gemstone and little beads raised in the corners as claws.

To help comparing approximate sizes of for example a 1.5ct diamonds of standard depth, ideal cut and perfect symmetry of the actual stone. (carat is the weight, not a physical dimension of size) 
Round Brilliant cut = 7.4mm diameter (across)
Princess cut = 6.5mm x 6.5mm
Emerald cut = 8.0mm x 6.0mm
Pear shape = 9.0mm x 6.0mm
Oval shape = 8.5mm x 6.5mm
Heart shape = 7.0mm x 7.0mm
Trillion Cut = 7.0mm x 7.0mm
Marquise Cut = 11.0mm x 5.2mm
Radiant Cut = 8.0mm x 6.0mm
Asscher Cut = 6.5mm x 6.5mm
Cushion Cut = 6.5mm x 6.5mm

Comparing the surface area of 1.5ct diamonds with standard values for both sizes :
round Brilliant cut : approximately 42.98 mm2
Princess cut : approximately 42.25 mm2

For further Brilliant cut Size reference in ideal proportions:

e.g. 0.25ct = 4.1mm Diameter across

0.50ct = 5.15mm

0.75ct = 5.9mm

1ct = 6.5mm

If you have to budget, our Diamond suppliers make sure, that you get best available quality in the chosen grade, and that inclusions are very hard to spot e.g. only at the edge, which will be covered by the setting anyway. Or you could opt for intriguing new varieties, as shown on the photos e.g. slices, cubes, Briolette Beads, raw, uncut natural Diamonds, yellow or champagne colours.Diamond colour chart

Payments

Payment options within Australia

  • Direct Bank deposit       in person at any National Australia Bank branch (no fee)

Account name Martin and Dorte Planert

All prices on our webpage are in AU$ including postage via the Australia Post webpage linked to our shopping cart system

  • Internet banking
  • Credit Card via Paypal / Internet 

Their Default option is direct debit from your bank account linked to Paypal, which can take up to 5 days to clear and is called: paying by 'bank cheque'. To choose Credit Card payment, you need to click on 'Change' after you login to your Paypal account.

  • Cheque or Money order

Worldwide Payment options

  • Credit Card via Paypal / Internet
  • International Branch Funds Transfer / Internet Banking

Account name Martin and Dorte Planert

Normal bank or post office charges apply.

Anyone can set up a Paypal account for free at the Paypal web site

Custom Made Jewellery

Please allow 3 weeks for manufacture of Jewellery and sizing after receipt of a 50% deposit, dispatch after receipt of full payment. New Designs, special requirements or ordering gemstones on demand require extra time.

We also provide original handcrafted one-of-a-kind pieces of jewellery incorporating your design ideas, Restoration, Remodelling, recreate Antique or Medieval jewellery items and offer Diamond Setting, Repairs and Restringing of pearl or bead jewellery. We enjoy special client's requests, e.g. for jewellery from a different time period or in the style of a certain country, working from original photos as authentic as possible or adapt our designs accordingly. Our jewellery will last for generations and develop into family heirlooms.


Jewellery items can be made on request in different materials, e.g.: 9ct, 14ct or 18ct Yellow Gold, White Gold, Rose Gold or Palladium. We are using Palladium White Gold instead of Nickel White Gold Alloys as they are known to cause allergies.  Palladium is a precious heavy metal, so Palladium White Gold is denser, heavier and more difficult to process as the melting temperatures are substantially higher. Therefore jewellery made in Palladium White Gold is more expensive than identical pieces in nickel white gold. We cannot blacken White Gold like Silver.

The blackened silver is achieved by oxidizing with alkaline sulphides and highlights added afterwards with a handmade polishing steel.

Unless stated, Prices may vary according to the current gold price and the ring size. Please ask for a quote stating the delivery address, that we can include the correct postage cost and check the availability of desired gemstones.

Our rings are of good weight and width, solid, not too thin - you will feel it. You can get your ring size checked at any local jewellery shop. We convert from any measurement.

e.g. Size: 66  = circumference = 21mm Inside diameter = 11.5 American ring size = Size X  in Britain. If you know your ring size or could find out, we can provide a more exact quote.

We provide conflict-free diamonds with superb Russian cut from an Australian Supplier (certificate available) in the quality you desire, Opals directly from the miner as well as gemstones or pearls on demand e.g.: natural Saltwater Pearl round, cultured Pearl, natural Keshi Pearl (odd shape), Biwa Freshwater Pearl. Colour varieties for pearls e.g. white, yellow, pink or black.

Please find more information on our webpages about the materials we use.

Diamond Information    •   Pearl Information    •   Opal Information

Birthstones, Zodiac or Astrological Stones & Anniversary Stones

For information on precious gemstones please refer to the International Colored Gemstone Association ICA

Gemstone Healing Guide