Marcasite jewellery

Marcasite jewellery are inexpensive, usually mass-produced silver jewellery with faceted pyrite (not actually the mineral marcasite) glued onto it. The pyrite gems are flat-bottomed so that it can easily be glued; pyrite is too brittle to set. The silver is oxidized black in places, which, together with the steel-like glint…

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Organic materials

Organics are materials derived from animal and plant sources. In jewellery, organic materials can further be classified as gem organics and non-gem organics. Examples of each are: Gem organics: Derived from animals Pearl. Ivory. Shell (mother-of-pearl and tortoiseshell). Coral. Derived from plants Plants themselves are not considered durable enough to…

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Alloy

An alloy is a mixture of two or more metals. Jewellers often refer to the mixture of metals added to the fine metal as “the alloy”, though technically the entire mix is an alloy.  Precious metals are alloyed for various reasons: to change the colour of the metal (e.g. white…

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Twisted wire

Twisted wire is when two wires are wound around each other to form one rope-like wire. The twisted wire can be used on its own, or it can be used as an embellishment in rings or around frames.  After twisting, the wire can be pulled through a draw plate, or…

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Calibration of gems

Calibrated gems in the jewellery industry are when gems are made available in standard sizes to simplify the design process for jewellers. For example: a jeweller knows when designing a ring that will be set with white round brilliant cubic zirconias, that they are available in sizes 1 mm, 1.25…

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Hallmarking

Hallmarks are small letters, symbols or numbers that are added onto jewellery items. The symbols have various meanings. They indicate: the metal alloy the piece was made in the place of manufacture the manufacturer The metal alloy Jewellery made from precious metals have to be hallmarked to indicate the alloy…

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Moissanite

Moissanite is the name given to the mineral silicon carbide (SiC), discovered in nature by Henri Moissan in 1893. Although moissanite occurs naturally, it is too rare to be mined, and right from the start efforts were made by scientists to synthesize it in a lab. The mineral’s optical properties and…

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