Saturday, March 2, 2019

Jewellery Secrets Q&A

The jewellery world can be confusing at times, so I've taken the chance to answer a few commonly asked questions. If you have any more, ask me in the comments or pop an email to info@houseofsilver.co.uk!

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Rhodium Plating - what does it mean?

Rhodium Plating is used mainly on pieces made from white gold (usually 9ct or 18ct) to give the jewellery a bright cold white colour. This is because natural white gold is not white; because it contains gold, which is naturally yellow, it has a yellowish tint. Rhodium plating gives it the characteristic white shine that is more appealing.

Rhodium plating is very thin and applied with electroplating (which only takes  few seconds!). Unfortunately, this means it wears off, particularly in the places where it is handled or where it touches clothes or other surfaces. The only way to solve this is through re-plating, a service which is offered by a few places - but overall, if you want your jewellery to stay that colour, you're better off going with platinum or palladium.

How do I clean my jewellery/stop it from tarnishing?

In general you need to take care of your jewellery and not expose it to any harsh environments or be careless. You should always remove any rings for household chores, for showering, or if going to the pool - exposure to sulphur or chlorine is bad for silver and will quickly tarnish it. Silver is more reactive than gold, and tarnishes more easily, so you should keep it from chemicals of all kinds, even perfume - remember to apply perfume before you put on your jewellery to reduce contact. 

As for cleaning jewellery, there are lots of tips and shortcuts online - a polishing cloth is one of the best investments you can make to clean lightly tarnished silver, or silver dips for more affected items (however it needs to be noted that not all items containing gemstones, like pearls, shells, etc. could be treated with dipping solutions). 

What is a carat?

A carat actually has two meanings:
  • Gemstones: when talking about gemstones, carat is literally a measurement of weight. 1 carat is 1/5 gram.  So, 5 carat diamond weighs only 1 gram and costs thousands of pounds.
  • Gold: when applied to gold, carat refers to quality and purity. It indicates the ratio of pure gold to the whole mass of the alloy. Thus 18ct gold contains 18 parts of pure gold out of 24, and 9ct gold contains only 9 parts out of 24.

Is diamond jewellery a good investment?

The long and short of it: no. Diamond prices are hugely inflated, meaning that they're very hard to resell; you would be lucky to get more that 1/4 of the original price. It may be pretty, but diamond jewellery's greatest value is sentimental - it's nearly impossible to sell it on at anything over scrap price.

How much is my jewellery really worth?

Of course, every piece of jewellery is different, and there are no hard and fast rules. But you can usually estimate the actual value with a few insider tips, such as those found on our bargaining blog post

And if you want more info, House of Silver offers free valuations for any and all jewellery - definitely something to consider before splashing out on that pricey engagement ring!


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