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Monthly Archives: March 2018

About Horsehair Jewelry

Horsehair jewelry is made from hair collected from a horse’s mane and tail. Horsehair has a smooth texture and a soft luster. It comes in a variety of colors – black, white and subtle shades of brown. Strands of horsehair are woven into braids to form bracelets, necklaces, earrings and barrettes. The art of horsehair weaving dates back to the Victorian era. Braiding is done by hand, creating the most intricate of patterns. The popular styles include three-strand, French, square, half-round and round braids.

Horsehair jewelry is made prettier and more valuable by interweaving the braids with pearls, gems or beads made of gold and silver. Finally, gold or silver clasps are woven at the two ends of the braid to make wonderful bracelets and necklaces. Suitable pendants can also be woven into the necklaces. Bracelets made of horsehair are quite elastic and fit perfectly on wrists. Barrettes made of horsehair perfectly complement a woman’s hair. They can be chosen to match or contrast with any hair color. Horsehair jewelry is quite strong and long-lasting.

A bracelet can be made using a hundred strands of horsehair around 15 inches long. A necklace can also be crafted using a hundred strands, but they should be at least 26 inches long. The horsehair can be clipped in bunches from the mane or tail, and it doesn’t hurt the horse a bit.

Horsehair jewelry is a beautiful and tasteful embellishment, and can be a meaningful present for horse-lovers.

All about Diamond Color

Colored diamonds have color because of structural defects that cause the stone to absorb all but one color of the rainbow or in the case of black diamonds all the colors are absorbed. Because colored diamonds are rare and pretty they actually cost more than the clear diamonds, sometimes in excess of thousands of dollars for the same carat size.

Diamond colors are, colorless, white, yellow, steel, blue, orange, green, pink, brown, and black. Any diamond with a color is referred to as a colored diamond, but if the color is very chromatic it will be classified as a fancy colored diamond. The most common of the colored diamonds is yellow.

The commercial classification of colored diamonds uses an alphabet system. The range of colorless to white can be identified as a letter ranging from ‘D’ through ‘I’. A near colorless diamond may be identified as ‘J’ through ‘L’. A faint yellow diamond will be an ‘M.’ A light yellow diamond can be classified as one of the letters ‘N’ through ‘R’ and the yellow diamonds in a range from ‘S’ to ‘Z’. The other colors will all be classified as colored diamonds, for example a blue diamond is call a ‘colored blue diamond’ or if it’s very blue, ‘fancy colored blue diamond.’

On a side note a diamond can be colored on purpose with irradiation followed by heat treatment. There is a risk involved with being exposed to irradiated objects so it’s not a recommended process. Also the color may change over time. It is required that color treated diamonds are sold as colored treated and sellers can’t mislead the buyer.

Original Blue Gem

The most beautiful lapis lazuli comes from Afghanistan, where the mines which are worked today might well have been in operation to get the stones for the pharaohs. Lapis has also been found in the Andes, and to some extent in Russia, Angola, Burma, Canada and in California and Colorado in the USA, but no stone from these places is the vibrant intense blue of that from Afghanistan.

The ancient Egyptians favored lapis lazuli for amulets and the Assyrians and Babylonians used it for seals. Egyptian ladies used powdered lapis as eye shadow and the Romans thought it a powerful aphrodisiac. Artists using blue colors in Medieval Illuminated manuscripts and Renaissance paintings found the ultramarine tempera paint derived from lapis lazuli to be very expensive. When oil paint was introduced during the Renaissance, artists found that the beautiful blue was diminished when mixed with oil, so the use of ultramarine declined. Most artists today use synthetic versions of blue colors, but there are a few pigment companies that still produce the genuine ultramarine.

Lapis lazuli can polished to make beautiful jewelry, and can be carved into figurines, statuettes and vases. Near the Euphrates River in the lower regions of Iraq, the ancient Sumerian tombs yielded thousands of carved artifacts of lapis lazuli, and in parts of Afghanistan, artisan craftsmen are still using this beautiful stone.

Jewellery and Hallmarking

Hallmarking on the three main precious metals, platinum, gold and silver, is only mandatory when the finished item is over a certain weight. In the UK this is 0.5g for platinum, 1g for gold and 7.78g for silver. This means that all items under this weight need not be hallmarked, although they will usually carry some kind of mark declaring the quality i.e. a piece of sterling silver will often carry a ‘925’ mark made by the manufacturer to signify 92.5% silver content (the silver content required for sterling silver).

Indeed, although obviously silver is available in far larger quantities than either gold or platinum, which is reflected in the price, one of the other factors that helps to keep smaller items of silver jewellery so affordable is the lack of hallmarking – it costs money to have an item hallmarked by an Assay Office.

Although silver under 7.78g and gold under 1g may not need to be hallmarked, there are restrictions in place when selling such items. You cannot for instance sell and item as ‘silver’ unless it is actually silver of 92.5% purity or better. This in effect means that you should be perfectly safe buying any jewellery under the minimum hallmarking weights even if unhallmarked from any ‘legitimate’ retailer, be they online or in the high street. If the store in question declares an item of jewellery to be made from a certain material then it has to be made from it.

As for jewellery that is fully hallmarked, recognising the hallmark can be a little trickier now than in the past. Any jewellery hallmarked in the UK conforms to a set format declaring the Assay Office that the item was hallmarked at, date and quality of the jewellery i.e. a ‘925’ inside a set of scales for sterling silver jewellery. However, jewellery manufactured within the European Economic Area (EEA) often carries marks a little different from those found in the UK but which are still valid for jewellery sold in the UK.

Despite this much of the jewellery sold in the UK is manufactured in the Far East and if over the minimum weights, will require assaying and hallmarking when it reaches the UK. As stated though, even jewellery not hallmarked will usually carry a symbol stating fineness stamped on it by the manufacturer.