Month: May 2015

3 Places You Shouldn’t Wear Your Jewellery

You’ve no doubt built up a wonderful collection of beautiful jewellery thanks to Showcase Jewellers, and every day you find a reason to show off your shiny pieces. In the interests of keeping your jewellery in pristine collection, we’ve put together a list of three places where you should resist the temptation to wear your precious ornaments.

Thermal hot springs

Most people will know this one by now, but in case you missed the memo: Do not wear your silver jewellery in thermal hot springs. The high sulphur content of the water is great for your skin but terrible for your jewellery. Immersing your silver in thermal pools and other geothermal areas will immediately tarnish your jewellery, leaving it looking darkened, dirty, and decidedly dull. The tarnish can be removed, either by yourself or a professional, but why subject yourself to an unnecessary headache?

Sleeping

When you fall in love with a piece of jewellery it can be tempting to wear it 24 hours a day, and there’s something whimsical about falling asleep with your most prized possession against your skin. However, you wriggle around a lot when you sleep, and this movement can put your jewellery at the risk of getting damaged.

Rolling onto your side can force your body’s weight against your arm and wrist, which could potentially caused link bracelets to become irreversibly kinked, while solid bracelets may stretch and get bent out of shape. Earrings should also be removed as they may catch on your pillows and linen during the night – a painful way to wake up that may also damage the earring.

The beach

The surf and sand presents a variety of risks to your jewellery that you should strongly consider before wearing your new diamond ring to the beach. Swimming for extended periods of time can cause your hands and fingers to wrinkle (which is actually shrinking them), posing the danger of your ring loosening and falling off in the sea, probably to never be seen again.

Make sure you leave your rose-gold jewellery at home, as its copper content is very susceptible to the corrosion caused by salt air. Sand is highly abrasive and can damage rhodium-plated and gold-plated surfaces, among others. Diamonds and other hard gemstones should be fine at the beach, but softer gemstones such as amethyst and citrine are also vulnerable to being scratched by the sand.

How And When To Wear Cufflinks

Cufflinks, in this day and age, are often seen as a more formal alternative to standard buttons and, though they may not be as immediately striking as a snazzy tie or beautiful dress watch, they are certainly a worthy addition to any gentleman’s wardrobe. The two situations in which men may choose to wear cufflinks are in a social setting and the work-related arena – but each one has certain guidelines as to how to utilise them to their maximum effect.

It’s all work work, work

It is rare to see cufflinks on the wrists of men in the workplace today – since the emergence of practical button-down cuffs in the 1970s, there has been little call for them on a day-to-day basis. Art Of Style, the revered fashion website for men, states that wearing cufflinks in the office could even cause tensions, as the adornments are associated with formality and it may create rifts between some employees. 

However, if you are the CEO or managing director of a business, then wearing cufflinks on a  daily basis can be a seen as a sign of your seniority. It’s not completely out of the question that rank-and-file employees shouldn’t wear cufflinks, however. If going to meet important clients or attending formal, work-based events, cufflinks can be worn to add a sense of professionalism to proceedings. Wearing cufflinks when away from the office, though still on business, is a great way of showing that you are serious about your firm and presents a great first impression.

Let’s get social

Though wearing cufflinks to a casual social gathering, such as watching the footy with your mates down the pub, isn’t recommended, there is great call for them at something more formal. Such events as weddings and black-tie balls mean that you’re expected to look as dashing and well-turned out as possible, so using cufflinks rather than standard sleeve buttons are a fine way to start. Cufflinks are known for their understated elegance, so to wear them to such an event is a no-brainer.

However, it is important to remember that your cufflinks remain as tasteful, classy and understated as possible. By wearing bright green, bombastic efforts or a pair of deathly, metallic skulls, you will detract from your overall look, meaning that all the time you spent polishing those new shoes or perfecting that cravat will be all for nothing. Remember that the best cufflinks are designed to add a sense of the suave debonair to your outfit – such as these tactful onyx efforts

A Brief History Of Cufflinks

The humble cufflink, so often overlooked as a fashionable accessory or even as a practicality (losing out to dull old buttons) is making something of a heroic comeback. The versatility of design is behind this reemergence of the shirt sleeve fastener, with many intricate and unique creations coming to the fore, competing for attention on the fashionable gentleman’s wrist. What many don’t realise, though, is that cufflinks have been part of the male wardrobe for the best part of 500 years – some claim even longer. Cufflinks really hit their stride at the end of the 18th century – the age of the dandy. But how did these tiny, yet sophisticated accessories come to be?

From ribbons to rocks

Cufflinks were first regularly seen in the relatively modern world of fashion in the 1600s. The Renaissance garments of that era were certainly ornate and extravagant in style, but they were hardly practical. Before the breakthrough of the cufflink, noblemen used a fine ribbon to fasten their cuffs – ribbon so exquisite that it was thought a status symbol, according to the quality. By the end of the 1600s, that ribbon made way for something even more desirable – buttons encrusted with valuable gemstones like diamonds. Called sleeve buttons at the time, they were more practical than lace and their visual impact was so that the size of the gemstone could be used to indicate the size of the gentleman’s wealth. The popularity of these ‘sleeve buttons’ sky rocketed.

A literal cufflink

The 1844 publication of Alexandre Dumas’ great novel, The Count of Monte Cristo, introduced cufflinks to the masses. A certain passage describing one of novel’s secondary characters, Baron Danglers, is alleged to have stoked the fires of tailors’ imagination across the entirety of Western Europe: “Onlookers gazed on the enormous diamond that glittered in his shirt, and the red ribbon that depended from his button-hole.”

It was after the novel’s publication that cufflinks began adorning the wrists of men that belonged to the hoi polloi – they were no longer the preserve of the gentry. This was further helped by the 1882 invention of a machine by a George Krementz that could mass produce one piece buttons and cufflinks at an extremely low price, which further introduced cufflinks to those that previously could not afford them. In 1924, the cufflink design of the tilting bar between a double stem fixed to the button itself was first created – the style that we most commonly see today, almost 90 years later.

Cufflinks refuse to die

It wasn’t until the 1970s that shirts with built-in buttons first emerged onto the scene, negating the need for cufflinks. However, the tiny trinkets remain a fashion mainstay, and in our next article, we will discuss how the correct wearing of cufflinks can transform your look five-fold.

Dazzling Jewellery Ideas For 21st Birthdays

The 21st birthday continues to be of particular significance and originally referred to the age in which most people around the world officially became an adult. While in many countries this age has now lowered to 18, the 21st birthday still remains a highly regarded life event.

In times gone by, it was commonplace for the birthday boy or girl to receive a key to mark this special birthday as described in the catchy jingle ‘I’ve got the key of the door, never been 21 before!’.

However, in the modern world many people get house keys considerably before the big 2-1, meaning that the token gift has been exchanged for a gift of another metallic kind – shiny new jewellery!

If you wish to continue the original tradition in an updated format, a sparkly silver bracelet is the ideal way to mark this major milestone. A key charm could be added to acknowledge the long-standing tradition in a modern way, as well as giving the owner a beautiful bracelet to adorn their wrist and build a collection of unique charms that mean the most to them.

Another excellent present for a 21st birthday is a platinum chain. This is a great gift for those who prefer more understated jewellery pieces, while the high-quality platinum metal ensures the gift is still suitably luxurious.

To give a present that can be used to add shine to the recipient’s everyday look, a pair of simple pearl earrings offer timeless appeal and subtle elegance. Similarly, a pair of cufflinks is a way to nod to tradition about reaching adulthood, and are the perfect adornment for any suit. Stick to a simple silver choice for a minimalist look, while for those with a more adventurous style are sure to appreciate cufflinks bejewelled with precious gemstones. 

How Are Diamonds Formed?

SJ-2854-diamond-stud-earrings

Diamonds are highly sought after for their shimmering beauty, and over time have – perhaps paradoxically – become a symbol for love and power. 

Where are diamonds found?

Not only do they look superb when set in a lustrous engagement ring or fancy evening necklace, but they’re also incredibly durable. In fact, diamonds are one of the hardest naturally occurring substances on the planet, which is why they’re often used as drill-tips in many industries.

Diamonds can be found in many countries around the world, most notably in Belgium, South Africa, Russia, Botswana, Zaire and right here in Australia. It might surprise you to learn that the Argyle mine, located in the East Kimberley region of Western Australia, is one of the world’s largest supplier of diamonds. It has been in operation for more than 30 years and has produced more than 800 million carats of raw diamonds.

Although only 5 per cent of the diamonds found in the Argyle mine are of gem quality (40 per cent are considered “near gem” and 55 per cent are rated “industrial”) this one mine produces nearly double the amount of diamonds of any other country, according to Geoscience Australia.

How are diamonds formed?

Most of us have a vague notion that diamonds are extracted from the ground, but how do they get there in the first place? Around 150-200 kilometres deep beneath the Earth’s surface, in a layer known as the mantle, conditions are perfect for the formation of diamonds. Here, a combination of temperatures of about 1200 C and pressure of approximately 50 kilobars causes carbon atoms to bond incredibly strongly to one another, which is what gives diamonds their tough, durable properties.

How are diamonds extracted from the ground?

Of course, current technology is not possible of getting anywhere near those extreme depths. Luckily for all us diamond lovers, Mother Nature lends a helping hand here, by pushing molten rock up through the layers of the Earth. During this journey, diamond is caught up in the magma, and is eventually brought to a rest near the Earth’s surface, where the colder climate cools the diamonds and locks them into their hardened structures. Once the diamond deposits have been identified, there are a number of mining methods humans can use to extract the precious stones from the ground.

Although those in the industry have a good insight into the conditions that create diamonds, much of the process is still unknown. Artificial diamonds can be grown in laboratories in controlled environments, but we may never be able to fully replicate the mysterious events that occur in the centre of the earth to create this majestic gem.

A Quick Guide To Coloured Diamonds

When we think of diamonds, many of us conjure up images of brilliant, colourless gems set in stunning engagement rings and dazzling feature-piece necklaces.

Public perception of coloured diamonds

While these imaginings are certainly true, they don’t take into account the myriad coloured diamonds that are out there in the world. Some people have the idea that coloured diamonds are made artificially or have somehow had their pigment manipulated during the formation process. However, the truth is that coloured diamonds are formed in the same way as their colourless cousins – they’re both the result of carbon atoms being forced together in extreme conditions deep beneath the surface of the Earth.

What causes the presence of colour in these diamonds?

If all natural diamonds are created the same way, why do some contain colour? Well, during formation, external particles can enter the crystallisation process. Over time, these foreign bodies can have a significant effect on the chemical process, and over time cause the diamond to develop a unique and distinct colour. Let’s take a look at which factors result in the creation of each colour of diamond.

-Pink

The undisputed colour of love and romance, pink diamond jewellery is the perfect gift to show that special someone how much they mean to you. It’s thought that pink diamonds are created due to above average levels of intense pressure and heat, which results in a process known as ‘plastic deformation.’ The Argyle mine in western Australia, the largest producer of coloured diamonds in the world, is home to many of these gorgeous stones.

-Green

Green diamonds are exceedingly rare. Ranging from a mild tone to a deep verdant, these diamonds obtain their unusual colour from absorbing the radiation that naturally exists in the rocks and soil near the surface of the planet.

– Yellow

Yellow diamond rings are steadily gaining popularity in Hollywood as people come to appreciate the warm, gentle hues of the mesmerising gem. The colouration comes from the presence of nitrogen atoms during the formation process.

-Blue

Sophisticated and regal, blue diamonds are typically a result of the presence of the chemical boron. The exact tone of blue depends on the boron content of the diamond.

-Red

The rarest  – and most expensive – colour of all diamonds is red. The jury is still out on how these unique gemstones are exactly formed, though it’s thought to be a similar process to that involved in the creation of pink diamonds.

3 Tokens Of Love From Around The World

Which-would-you-prefer-a-love-spoon-or-a-diamond-engagement-ring-from-Showcase-Jewellers

The world is a big place, full of colourful cultures that celebrate love in myriad of different ways. From rings to necklaces and wooden spoons, check out our list of three diverse tokens of affection that people from different parts of the planet give to their loved ones.

Diamond rings

The first evidence of a diamond engagement ring dates all the way back to around the 15th century, when Archduke Maximilian of Austria presented one to his betrothed Mary of Burgundy. For the next few hundred years, diamonds were too expensive to be accessible to everyday people. It wasn’t until the De Beers Company began work in newly discovered diamond mines in South Africa that the popularity of the shiny gem began to skyrocket, particularly in the years that followed the Great Depression.

The rest, as they say, is history. Today, a diamond ring is the number one choice for people who want to spend their life with their loved one. Here at Showcase Jewellers, we’re proud to offer an extensive range of stunning engagement rings that are sure to amaze your partner.

Love spoons

It’s a world away from the glimmering shine of a diamond ring, but love spoons were once a lovely and sentimental way to show your partner how much they meant to you. Centuries ago in Wales, young men would spend extraordinary amounts of time meticulously carving a spoon from a single piece of wood to give to their loved one. These Welsh lads were probably not the greatest communicators, so they would express their emotions through the intricate designs of the spoons. 

Overflowing with meaning, the love spoons were packed with motifs such as hearts, anchors and Celtic knots. What would you say if your partner got down on one knee and gave you a spoon?

Mangalsutra

In Hindu culture, on the day of her wedding a woman is presented with a mangalsutra – a sacred necklace – which is placed around her neck by her husband. The mangalsutra, which may consist of gold chains, gold and black beads and other beautiful materials, is not only a shining symbol of their marriage, but it is also something of a rite of passage, representing the woman’s evolution from adolescence to adulthood.

Following the day of her wedding, the woman wears the mangalsutra for the rest of her life (or until her husband’s death) to show the love and respect shared by the couple. It is considered a bad omen if the necklace should become damaged or broken, and this lends the mangalsutra a sense of power and divinity.

Show Your Love With A Promise Ring

A-promise-ring-can-showcase-your-committment-to-someone

When you’re not quite ready, willing or able to go all-out with the loved-up engagement of your dreams, a promise ring could be the next best thing.

Jewellery is a tried and true gift choice when it comes to showing your loved ones just how much you care for them. A promise ring simply takes this classic gift option one step further, representing commitment between two individuals and service as a tangible symbol of this love. 

What are promise rings and what do they mean?

Any ring can be given the term ‘promise ring’ – it doesn’t have to feature any specific metal, stone or design. Typically, these rings serve as a precursor to an engagement ring, hence the ‘promise’. Many young couples exchange promise rings to signal their love and commitment to each other, representing their relationship and indicating an engagement may be on the cards in the future. 

Promise rings may come before or in place of engagement rings due to a number of reasons. The couple may not be in the financial position to have a wedding, or they may not be the right age for marriage. That’s not to say that only romantic love can be celebrated with promise rings – any type of connection can be commemorated with one of these jewellery items. Promise rings can be exchanged between friends and couples to show affection and commitment, whether to a relationship or simply the friendship.

When rings are exchanged, generally so too are promises. The most common is telling your partner that you’ll be engaged one day, while other couples can wear the rings to show they’ll remain faithful to each other. Some other people wear this jewellery to indicate abstinence until marriage.

Promise ring variations

Friendships are often cemented with promise rings, with two or more people wearing matching rings to show their strong bond and remind themselves and others of their friendship. These can be exchanged before friends physically move away from each other, signalling a desire to remain close despite being physically separated.

Purity rings indicate a promise by the wearer to remain free from undesirable influences, such as smoking, drugs and drinking, and can also be used as part of a pledge to remain abstinent until marriage.

Giving a promise ring

If you’ve decided to take the plunge and present a loved one with this special piece of jewellery, make sure you’re doing it for a right reason. You will want your partner, friend or family member to be reminded of your promise to them every time they look at the ring, and you should be prepared to remain committed to that promise.

It’s also a good idea to make it clear that the ring is not an engagement ring, particularly if you are presenting it to a romantic partner. Consider purchasing a ring with a coloured gemstone (not diamond!) or other details to set it apart from a wedding band. Look for a design that is consistent with your loved one’s personal style and will blend in seamlessly with their existing jewellery. This includes the type of precious metal used in the ring – someone who wears predominantly rose gold jewellery may not wish to wear a sterling silver ring every day and vice versa. Any stones used in the ring should also be carefully considered. Why not choose one that features the birthstone of your beloved for an extra personal twist?

Emerald City: How To Make Green Work For You This May

It’s hard to believe we’re already in May! The seasons are turning and the crisp autumn breeze has everyone searching for their scarves and winter coats. The arrival of May also heralds a new birthstone for the month, emerald. 

This regal colour has no equal in nature, and adds a hint of intrigue to any piece, whether gold or silver. Many May babies might be interested in showing off their birthstone, but with such a distinct, statement gem, it can be hard to know how to make it work with the rest of your look. 

To help add a sparkle to your outfit, here are a few ways to wear emerald that will make your friends green with envy. 

Making green eyes pop

If you are one of the lucky few to have this relatively rare eye colour – various estimates place purely green eyes as occurring in less than 5 per cent of the population – there’s no point in hiding it! Even Coldplay waxed lyrical about this striking trait in one of their songs. 

You can easily play up green eyes with touches of emerald in your wardrobe. For those with fair skin, deep, forest green can look especially striking, against a whole range of hair colours. 

For those with warmer or darker skin tones, brighter, verdant shades can work well, in addition to more subdued olive, or golden-green colours. If you’re not confident about going full Emerald City, you can add hints of green in your accessories, such as emerald jewellery, or even your makeup. 

While green eye shadow may seem like a rather bold, throwback to the bright shadow palettes of the early 2000s, the art of applying more vibrant coloured eye shadow has made a strong comeback in fashion circles.

Keeping the rest of your makeup look fairly neutral, pair a good quality shadow with gold-toned base and a sweep of black liquid liner for a statement look. 

Does emerald work better with gold or silver metals?

The good news with this fascinating gem is that it is highly versatile. Its characteristics change depending on the setting – whether it’s setting off a spray of bright diamonds or shining on its own. 

Gold and emerald are a classic, timeless pairing, reminiscent of heritage pieces with a regal, sophisticated touch. Silver provides a fresh take on this precious gem, adding a cool toned, bright shine to any look. 

Emerald also holds its own when these two metals are combined, or when set alongside other coloured gems, as in the Karen Walker Owl Ring, creating a mesmerising effect.