When it comes to buying jewellery, whether for yourself or a loved one, you may find yourself asking questions such as 'what metal should I choose?' or 'which gemstones should I buy?'.
This Ramsdens Jewellery Buying Guide aims to answer any questions you may have around buying and wearing jewellery, including how you can care for your items to ensure you keep them looking as good as new, for longer.
Gemstones are a naturally occurring material that are stunning in appearance which makes them the perfect gift for all occasions - especially birthdays. Every calendar month is related to a specific gemstone, which is said to be lucky for those born in that month. There are various gemstones available, however the most common gems in the UK are listed below:
No matter what the occasion or event, there is no better gift than jewellery; either for yourself or for someone special to show them how you feel.
With so many different metals to choose from and occasions alike, our guide will outline the characteristics of the most popular metals to help you make the right choice when buying jewellery.
Platinum is characterised by its purity, colour and rarity. It has a resistance to tarnishing and as a result delivers a practical jewellery for everyday use.
Gold is perhaps the most popular metal used and is available in various types, including:
Instantly recognisable as a result of it's natural shiny yellow colour, yellow gold jewellery is an archetypal metal which is a true classic in the world of jewellery.
Sophisticated, stylish and truly beautiful - white gold jewellery delivers a more shiny silvery tone compared to yellow gold and is particularly fashionable when complemented with diamonds to create stunning pieces of jewellery which are popular for engagement rings, eternity rings, necklaces and earrings.
A prominent metal compromising of gold mixed with copper to deliver a beautiful rosy red tint; rose gold brings jewellery and watches alike up to date and on trend.
Silver is a timeless classic with a truly exceptional shine which has resulted in silver jewellery becoming one of the most popular choices.
What is a hallmark?
A hallmark is the symbols which are engraved into a piece of jewellery. The symbol gives the following information:
The Sponsor's Mark
The Sponsor's Mark is a unique mark of a company or person who is responsible for sending the item for hallmarking. This could be a manufacturer, importer, wholesaler, retailer or individual, as long as they are registered with The Assay Office.
The Standard Mark
The Standard Mark illustrates fineness/purity of the metal used. In the UK, the purity of previous metal content is measured in parts per 1000. For example, 375 parts per 1000 by weight is equivalent to 9 carat gold standard.
What is the different between gold carats?
9 carat - 37.5% pure gold
The most affordable and common type of gold, 9 carat has a light yellow tone and is stronger compared to other carats as it is mixed with other metals.
14 carat - 58.5% pure gold
14 carat has a higher percentage of pure gold gold than 9 carat and offers a warm yellow tone.
18 carat - 75% pure gold
A more expensive carat due to it's higher pure gold content, 18 carat gold has a bright yellow tone and can have white metals added to produce white gold and copper added to make rose gold.
22 carat - 91.6% pure gold
Due to it's high pure gold content, 22 carat provides an even brighter yellow tone than 18 carat. This high gold content results in it being fairly soft, which isn't the best for stone set jewellery - it is more accustomed to being used for plain jewellery.
24 carat - 99.9% pure gold
The highest carat of gold available. 24 carat contains gold in it's purest form making it highly valuable and more expensive. 24 carat gold offers a natural yellow tone and due to it's soft composition is not usually used for jewellery, instead being used for items such as gold coins, for example.
The following symbols show which Assay Office has tested and marked an item: