fluid by design, ESTABLISHED uk jewellery designer, Sarah Clarke
Birmingham Assay office.
I chose Birmingham as my Assay office as its the nearest one to where I live and they do have a same day service which has come in useful on the odd occasion. The law in the U.K. states that I am unable to sell precious metals over certain weights without them being hallmarked. Firstly I registered with Birmingham Assay office. They gave me some options of makers mark and I chose SJC in circles, the mark is mine for 10 years at a time. (I have renewed it once already)
I then had to purchase different stamps to be used showing my new mark. A pendant stamp, an earring stamp and a ring stamp. I send a package of at least 10 items to be hallmarked at any one time as its very expensive otherwise. The jewellery is stamped, at the assay office, with my makers mark, the assay office mark (Birmingham is an anchor) and then a metal mark or number, i.e. 925 for sterling silver and 750 for 18ct gold. Unless jewellery has a minimum of 3 stamps it is not hallmarked.
A little bit of gold knowledge for you now, are you sitting comfortably.
As you know I can melt down your old gold and make new jewellery for you. I can even purchase any extra gold so you have a reduced or free price. Now not all gold is hallmarked. In the U.K. it a legal requirement to have any gold weighing over 1g hallmarked, but this does not apply abroad. Germany tend to use 8ct gold, Italy always states its chains are 18ct gold, but they tend to test as 15ct. America and Canada sell majority of 14ct gold. So you can see its quite a minefield when gold is not hallmarked. Acid testing can prove 9ct and higher, but not be exact. There are better machines, but they are a costly purchase.
Oh what to do? I hear you shout. Well its a case of melting down and having it tested by an Assay Office. Which I have recently done and I got some results yesterday of 51.1% This means to metal I have sent them is 51.1% gold. 9ct is 37.5% and 18ct is 75% so you can see its a good test to have done.
As for silver it only legally has to be hallmarked when it weighs over 7g, so this doesn't apply to alot of cases. A hallmark consists of 3 individual stamps, one of which is the metal purity. Sterling silver is 925 parts of 1000 pure, so 925 is one of the stamps in a hallmark. When a ring or piece of jewellery is only stamped 925 its not a hallmark. This does not mean to say its not sterling silver, but its not been tested and verified as such and so could be any purity
Different Spellings for Jewellery, Uk/USA
Many of you look at my Etsy shop -fluidbydesign -as well as my webshop. Etsy is an American based website, so I have to change some of my spellings for that market.
Jewellery becomes jewelry - 9ct becomes 9k - UK ring sizes are alphabetical, US ring sizes are numbers. The listings are also made in dollars, so prices fluctuate depending on exchange rate
Here at Fluidbydesign Sarah only makes solid gold jewellery, do not be confused by cheap alternatives if you are looking for the real makoy. Solid gold jewellery made in the U.K. has to have been hallmarked, this bears 3 stamps. The makers mark, the assay office and the metal quality number. 375 is 9ct, 750 is 18ct.
What Does Gold-Plated Mean?
Gold plated is a method of covering another type of metal with a very thin, almost microscopic, film of pure gold by electroplating it. Some businesses refer to gold-plated jewelry as gold-overlay; however, these are essentially the same things.
The downside is that the gold finish on gold-plated items can begin to chip and wear away over time. Additionally, some items may be prone to tarnishing.
What Does Vermeil Mean?
Vermeil is a style of gold plating also known as silver gilt. Gold thickness, the type of base metal and the purity of gold are three factors that determine whether something is considered vermeil. Vermeil jewelry must have a sterling silver base with a coating of gold laid over top. The gold coating must be at least 10ct and be a minimum of 2.5 microns thick (100/1,000,000 inch).
Gold thickness is the biggest difference between vermeil and gold filled jewelry. Both gold filled jewelry and vermeil jewelry can have a layer of solid gold over a sterling silver base, but gold filled jewelry has a much thicker gold sheet rolled onto the silver. Vermeil is much thinner and is often applied using a powder or gold leaf instead of a sheet of gold.
What Does Gold-Filled Mean?
Gold-filled jewelry is much more valuable than gold-plated. In fact, there is almost 100 percent more gold in gold-filled items than is found in gold-plated items. Just as gold-plated jewelry is plated with gold, gold-filled jewelry is as well, but there is a big difference between the ways these products are made.
Gold-filled items have a much thicker layer of gold on them, and the gold is a much higher quality. In fact, it is just a step down from solid gold when it comes to quality and value. Speaking of solid gold, pure gold is very soft and is not a good choice for jewelry; that is why an alloy is almost always used for gold jewelry items, even in jewelry pieces worth an incredible amount of money.
You won't need to worry about gold-filled jewelry tarnishing, and even if you have an allergy to certain metals, you won't have to worry about allergies from metals such as nickel. You can't say the same about gold-plated jewelry.
On some people silver can turn black. This is a tarnish and can go onto your finger turning it black.
There are a number of reasons that can tarnish your silver:
Sulphur particles in the air. Chlorine and cleaning chemicals. Some peoples skin/sweat makes this reaction happen quicker than others. Its your body acid. Keep it clean A silver dip can be bought in many supermarkets Many people swear by white toothpaste - see google for proof
Always clean and dry your jewellery when you have finished wearing it.
Keep up the care so we can have shiney silver everywhere
Pure gold is 24ct, this is a very soft metal and is not generally used in jewellery making. The first ct found in general use is 22ct, this is a strong yellow gold colour and is predominantly used in Asian Jewellery. It is a high quality of gold and more dense, so heavier.
We then have 18ct gold, this is 2 parts gold to 1 part alloys (other metals). The hallmark number for 18ct gold is 750. Adding alloys to gold means different colours can be created, white, red and green gold.
In America the general gold ct used is 14ct, in Germany it can be 8ct.
9ct gold is made of 1 part gold and 2 part alloys. The hallmark number for 9ct gold is 375. The different alloy changes the colour of the finished gold. White gold can be achieved by using silver as the alloy. Rose Gold uses some copper in the alloy.
As you can see the lower the ct the less the gold, but also the stronger the metal. You can also see how difference coloured golds are made. There is no such thing as 22ct or 24ct rose or white gold for now obvious reasons.