When it comes to choosing jewellery, especially pearl jewellery, discerning quality from inferior pieces is essential. Our team here in Hampshire are specialists in handcrafted pearl jewellery with over 20 years experience. Here we’ll guide you through the process of identifying quality jewellery, so you can ensure you’re getting value for money whether you’re looking for a gift or to expand your own jewellery collection.
The Importance of Precious Metals
When determining the quality of jewellery, the choice of metals plays a pivotal role. That’s why we only use precious metals such as silver in all our designs.
Precious Metals vs. Base Metals
Chemical Properties: Precious metals are known for their low reactivity and resistance to corrosion. They are also more durable and long-lasting, making them ideal for jewellery which can be treasured forever and passed down to future generations.
Lustre: Precious metals, including silver, exhibit a high lustre that adds a touch of elegance to your jewellery, enhancing its overall aesthetic appeal.
Tarnish Resistance: Base metals like bronze and brass contain common metals like tin, copper, and zinc, which make them more prone to tarnishing. Tarnish can diminish the beauty of your jewellery over time.
Understanding the Copper Content
Copper's Role: The copper content in the alloy mix significantly affects how quickly jewellery tarnishes. Higher copper content leads to faster oxidation and tarnishing. That’s why we always recommend avoiding costume jewellery made of materials such as bronze and brass.
The 925 Silver Standard
This silver standard, which demands a 92.5% Silver Content was legislated to ensure high quality control within the jewellery sector: All our jewellery meets the industry-standard of 92.5% silver content, so you can be sure you're investing in high-quality sterling silver.
Durability: Sterling silver is known for its durability and timeless beauty, making it a long-loved preferred choice for quality jewellery.
Some jewellery is described as ‘silver-plate’, with this metal, the silver plating is often ‘left out’ of further descriptions. Or it can be made using nickel, which commonly causes allergies and skin reactions, making this base metal best left avoided when it comes to jewellery.
Pearl Grading Demystified
When it comes to pearl jewellery specifically, understanding pearl grading is useful when it comes to make an informed purchase.
What Are Pearl Grades and Why Does it Matter?
A / AAA Grade: This is the most widely accepted grading for pearls. The surface quality is 95% clean or better. Luster is very high to excellent and reflections on the pearl surface should be easily recognisable.
AAAAA Grade: The pinnacle of pearl quality, AAAAA grade pearls are the most exquisite and exclusive, but they come at a premium price.
A+ Quality: Within the AAA grading, Claudia Bradby offers A-AAA+ quality pearls, which boast exceptional lustre.
Freshwater Vs Cultured and Synthetic Pearls
CULTURED PEARLS – these are ‘real’ pearls which have been grown in bivalves; either mussels or oysters, in either freshwater or seawater, with human intervention to get the pearl growing. Mikimoto was the first person to successfully culture pearls in the early 20th century.
Synthetic pearls – these are ‘costume’ or ‘fake’ pearls as they have not been grown in bivalves. They are created in myriad ways.
Gold-Plated Jewellery - What to Look For
If you're considering gold-plated jewellery, it's crucial to know what to look for to ensure you're getting a quality piece:
Understanding Gold Plating
Quality of Gold: Claudia Bradby's gold-plated jewellery is meticulously crafted with 1 micron 18k flash-painted gold, ensuring a luxurious and durable finish.
Longevity: High-quality gold plating, resists fading and maintains its brilliance over time.
When you choose Claudia Bradby's gold-plated jewellery, you're getting a piece that combines the allure of gold with superior craftsmanship.
In the world of jewellery, knowing how to identify quality is paramount. By prioritising precious metals, using AAA grade pearls, offering meticulously crafted gold-plated jewellery, and adhering to the 925 silver standard, we ensure that every Claudia Bradby piece is a testament to quality and craftsmanship.
From concepting our designs each with their own meaning and story to tell, to hand-selecting the freshwater pearls and carefully packaging by hand, you're not just acquiring a piece of jewellery; you're investing in a timeless work of art.