Month: September 2015

Showcase Jewellers ABCs: D is for dazzling…

Last time we took a stroll down Alphabet Street, we cast our eyes in the direction of the letter C, learning all about the carat, clarity, colour and cut of shining diamonds. With C all wrapped up, let’s drive on to delectable D, a letter dripping with dazzling description.

In the world of jewellery, the letter D covers a dreamy array of different things, so let’s get started with our distinguished list!

Diamonds

Where else could we start our D rundown than with diamonds? The iconic ‘girl’s best friend’, diamonds are the only gemstone on the planet that are made up of a single element, and that is carbon.

Though diamonds are typically thought of as colourless, they do, in fact, come out of the ground in a whole kaleidoscope of shades. Aside from their shimmering beauty, diamonds are also renowned for their incredible hardness, reaching the highest possible ’10’ grade on the Mohs scale.

The stones have been sought-after for millennia, and are highly-prized. They are also extremely versatile, and can be cut into a great many shapes for a beautiful fit. Indeed, they can be fitted as the centrepiece of many a fine engagement ring, a glistening addition to stunning earrings or add yet more sparkle to a shimmering white and rose gold necklace.

Drop earrings

These modest, cute earrings are small in size when compared to their bigger sibling, the dangle variety. Indeed, they are usually shorter than the latter, falling just below the earlobe.

The gem that characterises drop earrings is usually the pearl – a small, lustrous sphere produced by oysters.

The gem that characterises drop earrings is usually the pearl – a small, lustrous sphere produced by oysters. The pearls are often introduced by exquisite white gold, or shining silvers – take a look at Showcase’s collection to see if there is a pair that takes your fancy.

Dog tags

An aptly-named piece of jewellery, the dog tag is similar in appearance to certain collars worn by our furry canine friends. Usually fashioned from hard-wearing stainless steel, dog tags are worn by soldiers, typically with their name and number engraved as a way of identification – just as a dog has his or her owner’s name and address hanging from the collar.

Cut into a flat, rectangular form, typically in the way of a pendant, dog tags as jewellery are increasing in popularity. This is perhaps down to the fact that personal messages or pictures can be inscribed on the broad, shiny surface, never to disappear – a permanent reminder to its wearer of something that they strongly believe in.

How can I hide the engagement ring before I propose?

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If you’ve set your heart on proposing to your beloved, then congratulations! It’s going to be an exciting time ahead. First things first, you’ll need to pick the perfect ring, so be sure to check out our infographic for a step by step guide. 

Before you get too carried away dreaming up how you’re going to pop the question, however, you’ll need to figure out how to keep things under wraps so your other half doesn’t cotton on to your plans. 

Hiding the ring until the right moment 

Whether you’re planning a romantic proposal on a specific date, or you’re waiting until the right moment to drop on one knee, you’ll need to keep the ring hidden. The stakes are high, as your proposal plans could be dashed should your partner stumble upon the engagement ring early, so think hard about where you’re going to stash it. 

Here are some of our favourite spots: 

  • In the medicine cabinet, in one of your empty vitamin or supplement bottles
  • In a pair of your socks – just remember which ones! 
  • In your sports bag – with your golf clubs, running shoes, gym gear, you name it
  • At a family member or friend’s house

Travelling with your engagement ring

Planning on popping the question overseas? It’s a good idea to keep the ring on you at all times, not just for security, but also secrecy. One of the easiest places to keep your ring is in your wallet, preferably in a zipped compartment where it is unlikely to fall out. 

One fantastic creation by designer Andrew Zo is the Clifton case; a slim ring compartment that will slide invisibly into your wallet or briefcase. No bulky box to give the game away with this beauty! 

What if my partner finds the ring ahead of time? 

If, in spite of all your best efforts, your loved one stumbles upon their diamond ring ahead of time, they may not even mention it to you straight away. In fact, you may be a few years happily married down the line before they bring it up.

In the worst case scenario and they find it with you there – maybe the cookie jar wasn’t the best idea – then sometimes all you can do is just go for it and propose on the spot. If you two are right for each other, it won’t matter whether the moment is grand or informal, all that’s important is the answer that comes next. 

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Spotlight on the September birthstone: Part 2

What’s not to love about the enchanting indigo blue of September’s birthstone, the sapphire? Well, if you’ve already seen our first blog celebrating the gemstone, you’ll have a good idea about the jewel’s incredible history and some of the properties it is thought to possess. 

This time we’re taking you on a tour of some of the world’s most famous examples, including both sapphire jewellery and specimens so amazing they are housed in a museum. 

The Star of Asia 

This sapphire sphere is a huge gem, weighing in at 330 carats, inky violet in hue with a distinct, six rayed star marking. Originally from Burma, the ‘Star of Asia’ is part of the Smithsonian’s National Gem Collection in 1961. 

The institute explains that the star effect is the result of titanium atoms that became trapped in the forming conundrum. These atoms settled into crystals akin to needles that reflect the light back in three different directions. 

The gem is thought have once been the property of the Indian Maharajah of Jodhpur, according to the Smithsonian. 

130.50-Carat Burmese Sapphire

This spectacular sapphire, set in an elegant diamond haloed brooch set a world record for the sale of a sapphire at auction, according to the Gemological Institute of America (GIA). 

It went under the hammer at Christies back in 2011 and fetched an eye-watering price, the equivalent of over AU$9 million. 

The over 130 carat sapphire is also thought to have originated from Burma, and was also noted to be of ‘outstanding purity’, according to the SSEF Swiss Gemmological Institute. 

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The Hall Necklace 

Perhaps one of the most famous sapphire pieces of jewellery – besides Kate Middleton’s engagement ring – the Hall Sapphire Necklace was the work of great jeweller Harry Winston. 

It contains 36 sapphires, painstakingly chosen to create a flawless, balanced final piece, which total some 195 carats in weight. Like the brooch before, these gems are highlighted by the surrounding diamonds, which in themselves represent 83.75 carats. 

Set in platinum, this surely is one of the most precious necklaces ever crafted. Lucky visitors can see it on display at the Gem Gallery at the National Museum of Natural History, thanks to the donation of Evelyn Annenberg Hall. 

Treat your bridal party to something special

A bride’s engagement and wedding rings are hugely important elements to her special day – but who says they’re the only jewellery items that get to walk down the aisle? Treat your bridesmaids as you would like to be treated and shower them in gifts of the sparkly variety.

Your bridal party will likely be made up of the most precious and important women in your life, and they often spend a considerable amount of their own time, effort (and sometimes money) to help celebrate your special day. It’s natural to want to recognise this and show your appreciation through a gift, and one long-standing bridal party tradition is giving bridesmaids jewellery on the day of the wedding. Typically, the bridal party will wear these items throughout the day, and often come in the form of a necklace, earrings or bracelet. This tradition sees couples in Australia spending an average of $204 on bridesmaid jewellery, according to the 2015 Bride to be ‘cost of love’ survey.

The best time to present your gift to your bridal party is at a quiet time before the ceremony when you’re all together. You could add in a handwritten heartfelt note detailing how happy you are to have these women in your life, and have your photographer on hand to capture this special moment. Gifts are usually the same across the bridesmaids, however may vary in colour or style slightly. For instance, you could include the birthstones of each of your bridesmaids in their earrings with the same setting and style, or engrave a special message to each recipient on the inside of a wedding bracelet.

One exception to this gift giving process may be your maid of honour. This person often has an extra special role to play in a wedding and can be responsible for a greater share of help and support, so many brides show their appreciation with a more significant gift. This could be as simple as upgrading the stone used in a gift of earrings or adding in a matching bracelet.

Showcase’s September spotlight on sapphire

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We can hardly believe the month of September is upon us already! With the summer beginning to wane in the Northern Hemisphere, for us in Australia, this month marks the turning of the seasons and the long-awaited arrival of spring. 

However, for anyone born in the ninth month of the year, it also heralds the celebration of the September birthstone, sapphire. If you’ve been following our birthstone series, from the dazzling ruby, to the enchanting peridot, you’ll know how we enjoy delving into the history and background of each gem. 

You’ll be pleased to know that this month is no different, so here’s a look into the stunning sapphire. 

Sapphire: The back story  

Sapphires form a part of the corundum variety of gems. What makes this an intriguing factoid however, is that the name sapphire can also apply to gems that aren’t solely blue.

Corundum can come in a range of hues from royal to greenish blue, as well as violet and even red.The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) notes that red corundum stones that don’t quality as rubies can fall under the category of sapphire – along with other non-blue specimens, they count as ‘fancy sapphires’. 

However, the sapphire that we know and adore is best served in dazzling, vibrant blue. Some of the world’s finest come from the Kashmir region, where, following a landslide in 1880, the discovery of beautifully vibrant blue stone with a hint of violet set the modern standard for the gem, according to the International Coloured Gemstone Association (ICA).

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In praise of sapphire 

The gem has been prized throughout the ages. With blue thought to represent the celestial, the stone was believed to bring about blessings, as well as protect the wearer from harm and even envy, as told by the American Gem Society. 

Blue is also the colour of royalty, and sapphire has graced kings and queens with its presence from Ancient Greek and Roman times all the way to the Middle Ages. The GIA notes that it is also thought to represent qualities such as honesty, faithfulness and nobility.

One of the most well-known examples of sapphire jewellery is that of Lady Diana’s engagement ring, a stunning piece with a halo of diamonds around the centre stone that Prince Charles bestowed upon her in 1981. It was this ring that was then passed on to his son Prince William’s fiancee at the time, Kate Middleton. 

You can channel the royal style with a sapphire ring of your own. Why not pay your local Showcase Jewellers a visit to see what other beautiful pieces you can find?

Make this Father’s Day different

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Where would we be without good old dad? Fathers have a special place in our heart, earned a thousand times over with affectionate gestures, overly enthusiastic pep talks and general awesomeness.

Each year, we put aside a day to honour and thank our hardworking, much-loved fathers for everything they’ve done over the years. If you’ve been scratching your head about how to spoil dad this year, whether it’s your own pops or you’re buying something on behalf of your little ones, Showcase Jewellers is here to help.

So it’s out with the boxers and chocolate and in with a meaningful gift your dad can cherish for years to come.

Don’t let time slip away from you 

A watch is, if you’ll excuse the pun, a timeless gift for dad. It’s something that he can wear everyday, and is an accessory that is both stylish and practical. Something like the Mizzano Workmans Watch is built to last, with 100-metre water resistance, quartz movements and a rugged stainless steel structure that can handle whatever your dad can throw at it.

In contrast, if your father already has an everyday watch, why not plump for something a little more dressy, such as the classic style of a chronograph watch? With a brown leather strap and the brassy veneer of rose gold plating, this timepiece has a hint of nostalgia about it, and a good helping of sophistication.

Accessorising dad 

Just because he’s dad, doesn’t mean he can’t pull off some of the latest trends in men’s accessories and jewellery. Men’s bracelets add a personal touch to any outfit without going overboard, such as this stainless steel mesh example or this polished link bracelet.

Cufflinks are a great way to spruce up your dad’s shirts, whether they’re sporting a brushed stainless steel or an onyx affair.

Last but not least, you can top it all off with some quality time with your dad – whether it’s a laid​ back lunch or a day fishing, he’ll love the effort you make to spend time with him on his special day.

Give your dad a gift he can cherish for years to come.