Frequently Asked Questions
HOW DO YOU CLEAN JEWELLERY?
The best way to clean jewellery is by hand with an old soft toothbrush and a little fairy liquid. For very dirty jewellery soak in a little bowl of warm water for a while and then gently apply the brush around the setting to get to the back and sides of the stone. Always remember to rinse with clean water over a container or ensure the plug is in the sink, in the unlikely event that a stone comes out. Pat the item dry with some kitchen roll or a soft cloth like an e-cloth or old linen tea towel. Porous stones like turquoise and pearls should not come into contact with washing up liquid, just use water.
DO YOU DO REPAIRS AND ALTERATIONS?
Our in-house jeweller can complete basic repairs in a matter of days. If your repair is more complicated, we always assess each piece individually to ensure it goes to the right expert for the repair. Whether you need cleaning, ring sizing, stone replacement, pearl restringing, watch repair, or any other service, we will be happy to help you restore your jewellery so it can be enjoyed for years to come.
DO YOU OFFER RING RESIZING?
If you are sure of the ring size you need please let us know when you place an order and we will happily size the piece free of charge before dispatch, although this will affect the time taken to send it out. Alternatively, once you have purchased the ring we are always happy to check your size in the shop and resize it if needed or if the ring is a present this can be sized after it has been given.
Your first re-size is always free of charge. Please note that we do not accept returns or exchanges if the ring has been resized.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN NATURAL PEARLS AND CULTURED PEARLS?
A natural pearl is a pearl formed naturally, without any human intervention. They can be found in both salt and freshwater. Natural saltwater pearls are both rare and valuable, and harvesting has slowed to an all-time low, due to many factors including pollution of the seas and over-harvesting. Cultured pearls are farmed, and again can be salt or freshwater. Oysters are grown in farms and implanted with a ‘nucleus’ which is normally a small mother of pearl bead, which over the course of a few years is coated with a substance called nacre, and forms a pearl, which can then be extracted from the oyster shell.
WHAT IS A SYNTHETIC GEMSTONE?
A synthetic stone is a man-made gemstone that has the same chemical make-up as its natural counterpart. A common example is a sapphire which occurs naturally, and also can be found as a synthetic version, made in a laboratory. Although technically they are the same material (Aluminium Oxide), the synthetic version holds no significant value, although it can look very similar to the natural version. They can generally be identified from each other fairly easily, through studying the inclusions (marks) inside the stone, and more commonly, the curved growth lines (as opposed to straight lines in natural stones) that occur in synthetic stones, as a result of the way they are made.
WHAT IS A TREATED STONE? HOW CAN I TELL IF A STONE IS TREATED?
A treated stone is a gem that has had something done to it, to enhance the way it looks. This could be to make it brighter and more evenly saturated in colour for example, making a brown stone whiter (diamonds) or improving the clarity of a stone. Treating gemstones began in the 19th century, although rather more rudimental than it is now. Corundum (sapphires and rubies) were essentially baked in special ovens to improve the colour. Depending on the stone, a variety of techniques are used, often using heat and pressure. Emeralds are commonly treated to enhance the colour, but also to improve the clarity as they have many naturally occurring inclusions. They are soaked in green oil, the gem absorbs the oil and it fills the small fractures, giving the emerald an improved colour and a clearer appearance internally. Most modern jewellery uses treated gemstones as they are more readily available. They are widely used but not nearly as valuable as their natural counterparts. We tend to avoid all treated stones where possible and will have larger gemstones certificated when appropriate. Andrew is a fully qualified Fellow of the Gemmological Association which means we have always been very fussy when appraising all our gemstones prior to us selecting them for sale.
WHAT CLASSIFIES AS AN ANTIQUE?
Technically an antique is any object over 100 years of age. Vintage is generally a term applied to something over 50 years of age.
HOW DO I KNOW THAT WHAT I AM BUYING IS WHAT YOU SAY I AM BUYING?
Buying antique jewellery can be daunting, there is a mass of reproduction jewellery out there and a great many traders and shops claiming to sell antique jewellery who are repackaging modern reproductions as old.
We believe that our many years of knowledge gained from working in the Antique jewellery business and years of studying and handling genuine antique jewellery set us apart and help us select only genuine items to sell. We pride ourselves in offering jewellery that is in great condition and are always happy to explain how things are made and why we believe they are. We are incredibly selective in what we buy and will not sell reproduction, “antique style” or pastiche items, our reputation is important to us and we hope this shows in the items that we have for sale.