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Memorial Jewellery: pour your story in to your jewellery

Jewellery is often bought or commissioned to mark life’s happy milestones; a wedding, a birthday or an anniversary, but what about those moments that are not so happy, the difficult times in our lives which define who we are?

I’ve said it before, but I am an incredibly empathic person. (I’ve been known to cry at adverts! Do you remember the Yellow Pages one, J. R.Hartley, or am I just giving away my age…?) I have always loved to help people and often a design consultation ends up being more of a counselling session, as I listen to the stories that have led a person to our door. I find it hard to stay detached when someone lets me in to their most private moments, and always feel privileged that someone would trust me enough to share their stories.

You may not want to share your story and that’s fine, what is important is that you feel that the space we have created is safe enough for you to share if you want to.

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So what is memorial jewellery? Usually it is jewellery that commemorates a person who has died, but it can stand for whatever you want it to; the end of a relationship, overcoming an illness, or the start of a new chapter in your life.  Sometimes you just need something physical as a reminder. We have also been told by more than one person that the process of having something made or redesigned has a sort of healing effect. By encapsulating your thoughts and feelings in to a physical thing means that they no longer have to fill your head space as much.

But, what if you don’t know what you want to have made? Firstly, don’t worry, that is what we’re here for. The biggest step is starting the conversation, to see if you like the way we work and if you trust us to make this precious commission. It can be anything you want it to be; a ring made out of your Dad’s bracelet, earrings set with stones from your grandmother’s brooch, a pendant made to hold some ashes/a lock of hair, or even just a simple band ring. You know what it stands for and that’s all that matters. What is definite is that it will be unique to you, just like your experiences.

“You are unique, your jewellery should be too!”

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If you would like to read more about having something made at Varoshe then you can read our blog posts ‘How can I have something bespoke made?’, ‘Why should I have something bespoke made?’ or ‘A Case Study: Rob & Valeries engagement ring’

Still unsure? Feel free to get in touch, we are only too happy to answer any questions you might have.

I hope to see you in West Malling soon.

 Clare X

Hallmarking - What does it mean?

I have always been fascinated by the hallmarks on jewellery and silverware, often looking them up to see how old something is. When we registered our own mark, it was a lovely feeling, as we joined the Register of Makers which spans back centuries. Every time we have something hallmarked I feel really proud that our little mark will be on that piece of jewellery forever, signifying that it was made by Varoshe long after we are all gone.

But what exactly is a hallmark? This month I decided that I would delve in to the history of our trusted hallmark and explain why it is such an important part of every piece that is made in the UK.

THE HALLMARK EXPLAINED

Metals used in jewellery (silver and gold for example) are often alloyed to make them more durable and easier to work with. (An alloy is a metal made up of a mix of metals.) Although there are some colour differences between the gold alloys, and weight differences between each type of metal, it is impossible to know for sure through sight and touch. Therefore, since 1757 it has been a legal requirement for all jewellers and silversmiths to have their work tested and hallmarked by an Assay Office.

There are four (main) Assay Offices in the UK today; London, Birmingham, Sheffield and Edinburgh. Most jewellers/silversmiths register with their nearest Assay Office, but in theory you could use any of them. Each assay office has its own mark to signify where the hallmark has been struck.

Leopard’s Head = London / Anchor = Birmingham / Rose = Sheffield / Castle = Edinburgh

Leopard’s Head = London / Anchor = Birmingham / Rose = Sheffield / Castle = Edinburgh

If a piece of jewellery weighs under the legal requirement for each metal then it does not need to be hallmarked. These weights are different for each metal…

Silver 7.78 grams

Gold and Palladium 1.00 gram

Platinum 0.50 gram

The UK Hallmarking Act (1973) meant that it is an offence to describe an unhallmarked item as being made from precious metal. For example, you would be required to describe a piece as precious white metal instead of sterling silver, if over the 7.78 gram weight limit and not hallmarked.

It is also a requirement for all ‘dealers’ (those who are in the business of making, supplying or selling precious metal articles) to display the statutory notice. Ours can be found on display in our showroom.

It is also a requirement for all ‘dealers’ (those who are in the business of making, supplying or selling precious metal articles) to display the statutory notice. Ours can be found on display in our showroom.

A Hallmark must legally show a minimum of three marks: A Sponsor’s Mark (identifying the maker of the piece), a Millesimal Fineness Mark (dictating the type and carat or fineness of the metal) and the Assay Office mark (identifying which Assay Office has struck the mark). These marks are either punched or more recently lasered in to the surface of the metal. You can have a look at the different types of mark by clicking on the Statutory Notice above.

In addition to these three marks, the London Assay Office also include two other marks as standard: The Date Letter Mark (indicating the year in which the item was struck) and a Traditional Fineness Mark (indicating the type of metal).

From left to right:  Maker’s Mark (Varoshe), Traditional Fineness Mark (silver), Millesimal Fineness Mark (sterling silver, 92.5% pure silver), Assay Office Mark (London), Date Mark (2018).

From left to right:

Maker’s Mark (Varoshe), Traditional Fineness Mark (silver), Millesimal Fineness Mark (sterling silver, 92.5% pure silver), Assay Office Mark (London), Date Mark (2018).

The UK hallmark is an institution full of history which dates back centuries. Here are just some of the major historical events that have happened since its inception in 1238…

HISTORY OF THE HALLMARK

1238 - Henry III passed an order, commanding the Mayor and Aldermen of the City of London to choose six goldsmiths to oversee the craft. During this time the standards of gold and silver where stipulated to try and regulate the alloys used.

1300 - Edward I passed a statute to prevent frauds committed by goldsmiths when making their wares. The ‘Guardians of the Craft’ travelled from ‘shop to shop’ to stamp the leopard’s head mark in to pieces. Silver had to be of sterling standard (92.5% pure silver) and gold had to be of the ‘touch of Paris’ (19.2 carats).

1363 - Edward III decreed that a maker’s mark was to be struck next to the leopard’s head to show the which ‘smith had made the piece.

1478 - The gold standard was lowered to 18 carat and the Goldsmiths’ Company was made responsible for the ‘Keeper of the Touch’. As the Company was now liable for fines for any wrongful marking the date letter stamp was introduced, which was to be changed every year and identified the Touch Warden responsible for the mark.

It was from this point that the Goldsmiths’ Hall in London became the permanent home of the Assay Office, which some believe is the reason we use the term ‘Hallmark’.

1576 - The gold standard is raised to 22 carat and silver is confirmed as sterling.

1739 - The marker’s mark was standardised. All old marks were to be destroyed and all goldsmiths were to register new marks. These were to be of the maker’s initials and were made in a new style of lettering.

1757 - Counterfeiting hallmarks became illegal and was punishable by death!

1773 - Assay Offices in Birmingham and Sheffield were opened.

1798 - 18 carat gold was reintroduced as an additional standard alongside 22 carat.

1854 - 15, 12 and 9 carats were introduced, indicated by marks denoting their actual fineness. For example 9 carat was denoted with the number 375 which was to signify the 37.5% of gold in the alloy.

1855 - Gold wedding rings were made liable for hallmarking for the first time.

1932 - 15 and 12 carat gold standard were cancelled and were substituted for 14 carat, which is predominantly used outside of the UK today.

1973 - Royal Assent was given to pass the UK Hallmarking Act which consolidated all the existing measures for regulating the hallmark.

1975 - The platinum mark was introduced.

2006 - Satellite Assay Offices were opened in Greville Street, in Hatton Garden, Heathrow Airport (2008); and Graff Diamonds, in London (2015), which was the first office to be set up in a retail space.

If you are interested in reading more on the history or methods of marking a hallmark, why not have a look at the London Assay Office website (www.assayofficelondon.co.uk)?

As always if you have any jewellery related questions (like identifying the hallmark in your favourite piece of jewellery) please do get in touch, we are only too happy to try and help. You can find out how to contact us here.

Looking forward to seeing you in West Malling soon.

Clare X

2018 ~ what a year !

2019; how did that happen?! If you’re anything like me you still think of the millennium as only a few years ago, so it doesn’t quite compute that we are only a year away from the (roaring) twenty- twenties!

2018 has certainly been a bit of a whirlwind. This time last year I was writing a ‘2018 round-up’ blog post, detailing the restoration project, when sitting in our finished shop still felt like an age away. Now, eight months on from our grand opening I can’t remember what our lives were like before Varoshe. Don’t get me wrong it has definitely had its challenges, but the whole experience of starting our business has been incredible and well worth any sleepless nights that may have been involved.

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The last year has been a year filled with a lot of firsts; our first jeweller collaboration, our first Varoshe customer and our first Varoshe commission, but as the months rolled on we started to get in to the swing of things and our ‘first’ soon became our second, third, fourth…

We now display the work of fourteen independent jewellers and small businesses in our showroom, with more to join us in 2019. It has been a lovely experience to champion the people behind the jewellery, to shine a light on some of the incredibly talented designer/makers out there, and get to know them personally. By showcasing this type of jewellery we are not only helping to promote these creative people, but it means we can offer our customers something a little different, something a little special, something made with love and soul.

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The other side of our business is the bespoke design, and we have been overwhelmed by the customers who have trusted us to undertake the most sentimental of commissions.  We have remounted some inherited stones in to a new suite of jewellery, made engagement rings, ‘birth of a child’ presents, and even bereavement jewellery.

The stories that we have poured in to our customer’s jewellery this year have been beautiful, happy and sad, and have been such a privilege to be a part of. I always feel that the journey starts as customer and designer/ jeweller and ends as so much more; I don’t think you can share that sort of experience without building a relationship and that is why I love what we do.

With our first Christmas under our belts, we are looking forward to the year ahead. I am sure I will write many more blog post like this one, looking back at the year that was, and although I know that each will be incredible and exciting in its own right,  2018 will always hold a special place in my heart because it was the year that Varoshe was born and our dream became a reality.

Thank you to each and every one of you for making our first eight months so memorable!

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Looking forward to seeing you in West Malling soon.

 Clare X

How can I have something bespoke made?

This is a question we often get asked, and I know it can be daunting for some people…

~ How will you know what I want?

~ How much will it cost?

~ What will I end up with?

Don’t worry, we are here to help guide you through the whole process (and we’re really nice, honest).

The first thing to do is to come and see us. The process starts with a simple chat, usually over a cup of tea or coffee, where we ask a few questions to try and hone down your thoughts and ideas. Don’t worry if you haven’t a clue what you want, it is our job to ask the right questions so we can find out for you. The simplest way to do this is just to get to know you.

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We discuss your likes and dislikes, your main aim for the commission, your deadline (if you have one) and of course your budget. Whether you want to make something with a pearl, for a 30th wedding anniversary, or you want to use the diamonds from your Grandmother’s ring to make something that is ‘more you’, we are here to help guide you so that you can design your perfect piece of jewellery.

Once we have an idea of the sort of thing you would like (sometimes this can take 10 minutes, sometimes an hour) you would leave us to draw up some designs for you. This is a great way of showing you the options and variations that are possible, and means that you can add special details which will be unique to you. I always think this is so important, as this really is the whole reason to have something bespoke made: you get to add those little finishing touches to make this piece uniquely yours.

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At this point, we may also source stones for you to view, so you can choose your actual diamond or gemstone before we make the mount. This means you can choose the exact colour, quality and size of your stone. We can also mount a stone you already have, whether it be an inherited piece, or something you bought on holiday. Remember this is your experience, we are just here to bring your ideas to life.

The next step would be to come back in to look through and discuss the drawings. Sometimes one will jump straight out at you, other times we will continue to refine the details until we reach the perfect design, either way the process is always guided by you.

We would also usually give you a more formal estimate at this stage, sometimes showing you the cost differences between the various options, meaning you are in complete control of your budget at all times.

Once you are happy with the design (which can be as short or long a process as you want it to be), and have agreed the estimate, a 50% deposit would be paid in order for us to commence work in our workshop.

The making of your piece of jewellery usually takes between four and six weeks, but this is obviously dependent on the design complexity. We would advise you of the expected finish date and would always try to accommodate any personal deadlines you may have.

Once your piece of jewellery is ready we will notify you. The piece will be presented in a gift box and upon collection, the balance of the cost would be paid. For items over £1,000 a complimentary insurance valuation schedule would also be included.

We also offer gift vouchers so that you can give the whole experience to your loved one. (Don’t worry though, we will make sure we discuss the budget with you first!)

So you see, it really is that simple! The experience is completely designed around you, and you can be as involved (or not) as you want to be. Just give us a call, or pop in to start your bespoke commission.

Still not sure?  Go over to our testimonials page to read a few of the lovely comments we have had from our customers, or read our blog post about why I think it is so special to have something bespoke made.

Hope to see in West Malling soon.

Clare X

Valuations; are you up to date?

I have had a few customers in the shop this month asking about valuations. It is such a minefield that I thought I would write a little about it to try and help those of you who may be confused.

Firstly, I must tell you that it's not ‘one size fits all’ when it comes to valuations. Unfortunately there are lots of different prices depending on what you are using the valuation for. I will go through the main ones to try and give a broad overview, but if you are in any doubt then please do give us a call, I am more than happy to talk things through.

Insurance

This is also known as a value for replacement. It is used for obtaining insurance cover so that lost or damaged items can be replaced or repaired. The value in an insurance valuation will typically be higher than all other types of valuation, and should not be used as a guide of the resale value. The price will be based on what a broadly similar item would cost to replace in the unfortunate event of a loss or theft.

Most insurance companies require you to have an insurance valuation dated within the last three years, so make sure you keep yours up to date. During times when the bullion price is high, and the GBP is weak against the USD it is especially important to have regular updates. In 2008, when the crash happened, the price of gold and diamonds rose daily, so within a few months most people were severely under insured. Now, a lot of insurance companies took the crash in to consideration when calculating replacement values, but not all of them were so kind. It is always better to check your valuations rather than to find out the hard way, after a loss.

It is also useful to note that some insurance companies stipulate that your settings are checked annually to avoid any losses due to wear and tear. Think of it like an MOT. A lot of insurance companies won’t cover wear and tear so even if they don’t require you to get your jewellery checked it is best to bear it in mind, especially for pieces that are worn daily or that have a high value. If you are worried then feel free to bring your jewellery in for us to check.

Division

This type of valuation is used when dividing property between partners, for example during a divorce. The value stated will typically be a resale value, i.e. the amount you would hope to achieve if you sold your jewellery in the open market. This type of valuation should not be used to obtain insurance cover, not only will you be hugely under insured but you may jeopardise the rest of the settlement amount in the event of a claim.

Probate

This type of valuation is used in the calculation of inheritance tax and to obtain probate of a will after someone has died. Like a value for division, the value stated will typically be a resale value. It is worth checking to see the minimum value that needs to be stated on the valuation as some inexpensive pieces may not need to be itemised. If you are in any doubt then please bring everything in so that we can go through it with you.

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At Varoshe we carry out our valuations on the premises, giving you peace of mind when leaving your most precious items with us. Smaller valuations (1-2 pieces) can usually be completed within a week, depending on our work load at the time, but it is always best to give us a call to check. We price our valuations per item, as we feel it is the fairest way to do it (for our current prices please contact us). During the valuation service we will check all the settings and general condition of each piece, as well as to give your jewellery a complimentary ultrasonic clean.

If you have any questions then feel free to give us a call or send us an email, we are always more than happy to chat things through. And, if you want to understand a little more about the terminology used within a valuation, you can read our blog post which explains the ‘foreign language’ used by jewellers, by clicking here!

We look forward to seeing you in West Malling soon!

Clare X

Finding the perfect wedding ring, why compromise?

So you’re getting married, congratulations! Now it’s time to start planning; the venue, the food, the music, the rings… ”oh the rings, what do we choose?! There are so many options out there and we don’t want the same as everyone else…”!

Chances are, if your betrothed is a traditional romantic, you won’t have had any input in your engagement ring (hopefully it’s just perfect though). However, the wedding ring is a different matter. You can go nuts (budget depending) and have the ring you’ve always wanted! But there’s a snag, nothing you’ve seen so far is just right; it is either too wide, or too plain, or just doesn’t sit with your engagement ring. You know it must be out there somewhere, but you’ve only got six months to go and you’re running out of time…! Don’t panic, just breathe! That’s where we come in because we can make anything your heart desires!

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Seriously though, it can be stressful looking for the perfect rings; knowing what you want and what is possible, what won’t break the bank, as well as what will ‘go’ with the beautiful ring you already have, without making it look too much or detracting from it in anyway. A wedding ring should not only enhance your engagement ring but should also look great on its own, and with the little details we can add (the secret engraving, or the stones to signify the years you were together before you got married) you can make your ring truly yours.

The same goes if you don’t have an engagement ring. Why compromise? If you want to add a little detail, some stones, or a texture then why not? After all it's your ring, why settle for what other people think you should have?!

Wedding rings are one of my favourite things to design, the love and emotion that goes in to them is really special and I feel so privileged every time a couple commission us to make their bands. So, how do you do it? Well, it starts with a simple chat, normally over a cup of coffee (or glass of water if it is as hot as last week), where we discuss your thoughts and ideas and I get to know your likes and dislikes. We have loads of sample rings for you to try on, to give you an idea of what is possible, and once you have decided on the vague design the real fun can begin. We can start incorporating the details which will make the rings uniquely yours; the song lyrics written inside the bands, the tiny birthstone of your child, the engraving that only makes sense when both rings are together, did you know that we can even add your fingerprints on to the metal?

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A wedding ring doesn’t always need to be ‘jazzy’ (as my grandmother used to say), it can be a simple, elegant band, which can say enough without adding anything else. Sometimes it’s all that you or your engagement ring needs, but until you try some different styles on how will you know?

Whatever you choose, make it yours, after all this is an important decision. You will be looking at that little ring for the rest of your life, as it quietly reminds you of the day when you both said ‘I do!’

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Ready to come and have a chat? Head over to our Contact Us page to find out how you can get in touch. If you’re still not sure, you can read my blog posts about an engagement ring commission (by clicking here) and why I think it is so special to have something bespoke made (by clicking here).

If you have any questions then feel free to give us a call or send us an email, we are always more than happy to chat things through.

Look forward to seeing you in West Malling soon!

 Clare X

 

 

A case study ~ Rob & Valerie's engagement ring

I have helped lots of people create their engagement rings over the years. It is such a privilege and one that I will never tire of. It is incredible to think that once I have designed the ring I will be part of its story forever more. I have created pieces for such amazingly open people and have made several friends along the way. For me, as it is such an emotional journey to create a piece of bespoke jewellery, I think it is hard to not be left with some sort of connection.

With this in mind, I thought it would be nice to share one of these journeys with you (with permission from the owner of course)...

Rob contacted me in July 2017, asking to discuss the possibility of having an engagement ring made for his girlfriend, Valerie. We arranged a consultation and chatted over a coffee about what he wanted and what he thought Valerie might like. It was going to be a complete surprise so it was imperative that I got to know as much as possible about the kind of couple Rob and Valerie were, as well as the sort of ring they were looking for.

Rob had decided that he wanted a blue stone, as "...Val has blue eyes." (I love little details like this, it truly makes the design unique to you and every little element that we add tells the story of who you are as a couple. It can be something as simple as adding a birthstone or a favourite colour, it doesn't really matter, what is important is that the meaning behind it is yours.)

I asked about the rest of Valerie's jewellery to try and get a feel for her style.  Rob explained that it was all quite unusual, and that she didn't like "...standard designs". I drew out a few (very rough) sketches to show Rob the kind of thing we could make. He liked one of the sketches and so we agreed that I would draw up some options for him to view and source some stones, including a blue sapphire.

After completing the designs, Rob and I met for a second time. We had another chat and talked about Rob's plan to take Valerie away to Paris for their anniversary in September. He had decided that this was going to be the perfect opportunity to 'pop the question'. (It is these conversations that make my job such a privilege. At that moment there were only two people on the planet that knew of Rob's intention of asking Valerie to marry him, and Rob had decided that second person was to be me!)

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Rob chose an asymmetric design that was to encorporate a single, central stone, with smaller stones in the shoulders of the ring. As I had promised I had sourced a blue sapphire for Rob to view, as well as a couple of wildcards; a blue diamond and a white diamond. Although Rob had originally wanted a blue sapphire, he changed his mind after seeing the diamonds and so we adjusted the design to add the blue sapphire colour in to the shoulders. It was truly going to be a one of a kind ring!

Rob picked up the completed ring, along with a surprise booklet that I had made, documenting the ring's journey, from the initial consultation, through all of the manufacturing processes, to the finished piece. It was just a little extra for Valerie, to show how much love and thought had gone in to this very special present.

I wished him luck for his surprise trip to Paris and asked that he let me know how it all went.

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A few weeks later, I received this (which is why I do what I do)...

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Dear Clare and all at Varoshe,

Just a small note to say thanks for all your hard work in making our (Valerie’s) ring.

I came to you with little idea really of what I wanted, just with an idea of budget and of a deadline, and you were able to meet both, which helped alleviate a lot of stress.  I can easily imagine the whole situation getting a bit tense, but there really was no danger of that.

As well as being very happy with the final ring (she loves it by the way!), she is also in love with the other small touches.  She even loves the box the ring came in!  And as for the little book, she basically carries it round with her everywhere and will happily show anyone who shows even the slightest interest.

Most importantly of all, we feel like we have a unique story to tell.  I don't know if I told you but we were foreign exchange students together over a decade ago and met up again years later by pure chance.  I hate the idea that after all that story, I’d have ended up getting down on one knee with something I’d just picked up from a High Street shop, that had been made in a factory and of which there are a thousand copies.

Our story is one-of-a-kind and now, thanks to you, so is Valerie’s ring.

Thank you so, so much for all your help in making this possible; thank you for always being so prompt to respond when I was worried; and thank you for the beautiful ring.  Needless to say she said yes!

We’ll be sure to send you some photos from the big day in June!

Best Wishes,

Rob (and Valerie)

If you want to create your own unique engagement ring, or start your jewellery story, then you can get in touch here. Not sure if it is for you? I have written a blog post about why you should have something bespoke made, you can read it here.

Our showroom opens in April, so we hope to see you in West Malling soon.

Clare x

Jewellery wear and tear; what to expect

The jewellery that we wear every day can take a bit of a battering. We tend not to think about what we put it through; it’s made of metal and it will last forever, right? Unfortunately this is not the case. Jewellery, like all things, needs to be looked after and cared for, and certain pieces will need to be looked after more than others.

Rings

Rings are automatically susceptible to hard wear just because of where they are worn. Our hands are constantly being knocked and therefore our rings are too. It is imperative that the settings of your rings, especially pieces that are worn daily, are checked regularly. Stones can easily be knocked loose and can begin moving in their settings. If you notice a stone moving or spinning, then get it checked straight away, it could be a sign that your setting is worn or has had a knock.

Certain setting styles, like claws, are particularly delicate and should be checked by a jeweller at least once a year. Worn claws can be rebuilt, so keep an eye to see if your claws begin to feel very flat. You should expect to have to ‘re-tip’ your claws every three to five years if a ring is worn regularly. If your ring is older than this, it is probably time to get it checked. When a claw is new you can easily feel it when rubbing your finger over it. As the claw begins to wear away, it will appear less prominent until there is nothing but a fine layer of metal left. Ultimately this will break away leaving your stone exposed and at a risk of dropping out of the setting. Always get your rings checked if you are worried.

Bracelets

Bracelets, like rings, are more prone to wear, as they too get pulled around a lot. The links nearest to the clasp are always the first ones to wear out, so be sure to have these checked regularly. I know that a lot of our customers like to wear their jewellery all of the time, but this is not good for it. When we sleep we tend to move around, our jewellery, especially bracelets, can be pulled and stretched which will weaken the links and ultimately wear out the piece of jewellery more quickly. It is always better to take your bracelets off before going to bed to keep them wearable for longer.

Earrings

Whilst earrings aren’t susceptible to the same wear as rings or bracelets, the fittings can become weak. Butterflies are normally held on by tension; the older the butterfly, the weaker the hold. Sometimes these can be reshaped to make them tight again, but if not, a new pair of butterflies is much simpler than trying to replace one earring!

Drop earrings can cause problems as they can easily be hooked out of the ear. This is especially a problem in the winter months, when we tend to wear scarfs and big collars. An easy way to prevent this is to simply pop a butterfly or plastic stay on to the hook of the earring, and push it round to sit at the back of the ear.

Necklaces

Like earrings, pendants are not as prone to wear as rings or bracelets. However, the loop (the piece of the pendant that holds it on to the chain) can become worn over time. The loop can usually be built up again or replaced so it is always better to have it checked if you notice that the loop is looking misshapen or dented by the chain.

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Obviously there is a lot more to jewellery upkeep than these simple points, so if you have any specific questions then why not get in touch here. If in doubt it is always better to take your jewellery to a professional so that it can be checked.

Looking forward to seeing you in West Malling really soon.

 Clare X

Why should I have something bespoke made?

I am an emotional person. I always cry at sad films, I over think everything, and the most important thing in my life is my family (in which I include my closest friends). I will find the emotional connection in anything (I will often refer to an object as a ‘him’ rather than an ‘it'), and I think jewellery is the epitome of an emotional purchase.

Every piece of jewellery I own, without exception, has a story behind it. Whether it be a pair of earrings that I bought while I was on holiday, or a ring that I made out of some old gold that my Gran gave to me a few years before she died. I can honestly say that every piece has a story and marks some period, or memory in my life.

I do not think I am unique in this either. Since I have begun this journey of building our business I have often asked friends about the jewellery they are wearing and the story behind it. I am yet to come across anyone who doesn’t have some sort of a background story, setting the scene of how they acquired the certain piece that they are wearing. I find it fascinating; the reasons that we are attracted and connected to our jewellery like nothing else we own. If this holds true with everyone, then imagine the symbolism and emotional connection that could be achieved if a piece of jewellery is made specifically for us, rather than just bought off the shelf.  As every milestone or significant event in our life is unique to us, so every piece of jewellery should be unique too.

I believe that this is the true beauty of having something bespoke made; we can actually incorporate these memories or special occasions in to the design. I have often added small details in to a piece of jewellery to signify something important; from an engraved message, a hidden birthstone, or even an infinity symbol in to the bezel of a ring. I think it is so important to add these little touches, especially in to a symbolic piece being made to mark a special occasion. Why have a piece of generic jewellery which everyone else has, when you can have something which is uniquely yours?

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Over the years I have seen the impact and delight that these little details can give. The simple act of placing your child’s birth stone in to an eternity ring, or redesigning a family heirloom, instantly creates an emotional connection and will make the piece even more treasured.

“You are unique, your jewellery should be too!”

Want to find out how you can tell your story through your jewellery? Go to our Contact Us page to get in touch, or visit us at our showroom in West Malling, opening in 2018.

Clare X