Jewellery Guides

The multitude of choices when purchasing new jewellery can lead to the dilemma of knowing how to choose the right item.

We have created a wide range of information pages on our website to help you to make the best decision.

Necklaces come in a wide range of styles, widths and lengths and the right choice for you is going to be based on a number of factors. The length of the necklace will determine how far it falls onto your chest. Do you want the necklace to be visible if you wear your shirt open or would you prefer that it sits below where your top button is fastened? Wearing a necklace with a pendant means that you must carefully consider the length, as that determines the position where the pendant hangs.

With women’s necklaces a fine pendant should not be overpowered by too heavy a chain, conversely a larger pendant requires a thicker chain to maintain a balance between the two. The width of a necklace should be enough so that the chain looks masculine if worn by a gentleman although a finer chain can be more suitable if the chain is supporting a medallion or pendant.

The most common style of men’s necklace is a curb chain or a variation on the curb. Curb chains can be ‘diamond cut’ where the upper and lower faces are ground down leaving a flat face and rounded edges. The next progression is a ‘bevelled diamond cut’ where the round edges are removed and the corners ground to a 45 degree angle. A figaro chain is another variation where some links are longer than the others but still in the shape of a curb chain. Frequently there is one long link followed by either one or three short links ( a figaro 11 or 13) although many other combinations can be made, such as a figaro 25 where there are two long links followed by 5 short links.

The clasp on a necklace is commonly a parrot (lobster) or bolt ring for a lady and typically a parrot clasp for a man. A heart shaped padlock, either plain or filigree can really dress up an otherwise plain necklace chain when used in place of another clasp. Make sure the padlock is of a size that compliments the necklace.

Bracelets are made from the same chains as necklaces and also require similar consideration with regard to length, width and style. Normally the length of a bracelet is the measurement around your wrist plus and additional 2 or 3cm. A longer chain will fall further onto your hand with your arm at your side, so choose the length so that the bracelet sits comfortably with your arm in this position. As with necklaces a man should choose a width that creates a look of being masculine, 7mm and upwards are usually recommended. Clasps as the same as they are with necklaces and padlock bracelets are very popular with women.

Charm bracelets have further considerations. The links need to be suitable for a jump ring to pass through to attach your charms to the bracelet. Typically very fine chains are too small to allow a jump ring and are not suitable for a charm bracelet. Chain designs with open style links work best; belcher, long curb, cable and figaro chains are recommended for this reason.

Charm fittings are normally attached to the bracelet with a jump ring that is soldered closed by a jeweller to prevent the charms detaching from the chain. In the event that you only have one or two charms to be fitted, it may be cheaper to use a ‘link lock’ in place of a jump ring. Link locks are easy to use at home with needle nose pliers and good close up vision. (A pair of +3 reading glasses works well if your eyesight is like mine.)  These are placed through the loop in the charm and the link in the bracelet and squeezed closed, then a tab is closed to prevent the link lock from opening and your charm is permanently fixed in place.

If you wish to move your charms around on your bracelet or between bracelets a miniature parrot clasp may be a good choice. For snake chains (similar to Pandora) a slider can be soldered to your charm and then it simply slides onto the bracelet.

In addition to the guides on buying jewellery, there are a number of articles that deal with cleaning and protecting your jewellery from damage. A description of lost wax casting may interest those who collect charms, we expose the myth of all opals being damaged by water, explain clearly what tarnish is and why some people have more trouble than others with their silver jewellery.

Have you ever wondered why your gold necklace is not the same colour as your gold bracelet? We know! (and we are happy to tell you)

There is a difference between the shape and cut of a gemstone and did you know that rubies and sapphires are both made of corundum?

We have a ring size checker that you can use on your computer screen, and tell you the reasons why you should be extra careful with jewellery valuations and insurance and how nickel can cause allergies for some people.

You may also wish to know how to test gold for purity (Don’t always believe a hallmark).

Buying a present for someone else can require being devious and we have a great article on being really sneaky and getting away with it! We follow up with suggestions for presenting your gift, so they may just forgive your deceit!