When it comes to spending your hard earned money on jewellery, there's nothing more important than quality. Even if you find the piece of your dreams, if it falls apart after just a few wears, is it really worth it? The good news is there are usually a few instant giveaways that will reveal if a jewellery item is genuine and will last a lifetime or not.
Above all, it's important to pay close attention to the craftsmanship. High quality pieces will be impeccably crafted and every element will be meticulously considered – you won't find an un-sanded edge or an uneven surface. In other words it will look pretty much flawless all-round.
But there are also a few other ways to tell if your jewellery is of a high calibre. We asked Nyrelle's founder, Henry Tse, (whose jewellery expertise has been acquired through generations and decades of experience!) to shed some light on the tell-tale signs to consider when shopping for jewellery:
Diamonds: Look For Clarity and Sparkle
While diamonds often require an expert eye and professional tools to check for purity and authenticity, there are some ways to tell their quality with the naked eye. Henry suggests looking at diamonds in daylight over artificial light: "Only ever check how a diamond sparkles and reflects light in the daylight," he says. "Artificial lights in shops can often be very harsh and misleading, tricking your eyes into believing it's more sparkly than it is – it's a bit of a selling tactic!" he warns
He goes on to add that it's also important to consider the cut in the equation: "different cuts will reflect light better or worse. Out of all the cuts, I believe diamond cut grading reflects light the best, and therefore it will be your sparkliest choice."
Next, Henry suggests looking for visible inclusions in your diamonds. An inclusion means the stone isn't totally clear and can feature micro crystals, bubbles, abstract shapes or fracture-like shapes. "It's not always easy to see inclusions, however, it's still worth checking – for diamonds, fewer inclusions or 100% clarity is usually considered better or more rare," he explains. "Think of it this way: when glass breaks but doesn't shatter, it loses its clarity. The same happens with diamonds and inclusions will make them appear a bit milky or lacklustre," he continues.
Gemstones: Colour Intensity is Key
While gemstones are similar to diamonds in terms of clarity and sparkle, when it comes to colour, intensity is key. However, it also should still be able to reflect enough light or it won't be very sparkly. "Colour is king for gemstones," says Henry. "The more intense the colour the better, but you don't want it to be too dark because light won't be able to pass through it, resulting in a lacklustre stone."
But besides colour intensity he believes it all comes down to personal preference with gem stones: "that's the beauty of it – you can pick the colour that speaks to you most from a wide spectrum of colours, and you have free reign to decide what makes a stone's colour so special and alluring."
When it comes to inclusions, Henry believes they aren't always a bad thing and can actually add to more value and beauty to gemstones. "For our Bare capsule collection we purposefully sourced gemstones with inclusions from our partners at Moyo gems," he explains. "We wanted to celebrate the diversity and uniqueness of these gem stone, and turn something undesired into something beautiful. These stones all have their own personality!"
Precious Metals: Hallmark Engravings Reveal Purity
Precious metals are perhaps one of the easiest materials to identify authenticity. Articles made of solid gold and silver will always feature a tiny hallmark engraving somewhere on the piece certifying their standard of purity. "This is a globally recognised method of certification, and in many places it's even a legal requirement. If you don't find it on your jewellery, it usually means it's not genuine gold or silver," says Henry.
Gold items will always feature a hallmark stating whether it's 9k, 14k, 18k or 24k pure gold. Silver is based on a numerical rating system out of 1000: pure silver should have an engraving of 999, while sterling silver will have an engraving of 925. A vermeil piece of jewellery will still have a hallmark engraving, but it will only certify the base metal (e.g. if the base metal is silver it will have a 925 or 999 engraving) not the gold outer layer.
While these are just some ways to check the quality of your jewellery, at the end of the day your best bet will always be a professional opinion from a jeweller, goldsmith or expert in the field, especially if you're spending big bucks. A diamond and gemstone tester will be able to see things the naked eye can't, and they can guarantee the quality of your stones. Just make sure to source unbiased advice from an expert who's not looking to sell anything to you but the truth!
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