THE MAGIC OF PEARLS

There are so many different kinds of pearls in the world as it comes to quality, shapes, colors, methods of growing etc. that I won’t be able to be super specific in this blog. But let’s just start!

First of all, truly real pearls rarely exist anymore and by real I mean pearls found in the wild. Nowadays every pearl is still made by an oyster, mussel or snail ( let’s call it mollusks ) but this is happening on pearl farms. Here is where mollusks grow and people insert a tiny object in this mollusk. As a reaction to this “weird” object, the mollusk wants to protect itself from this foreign object and starts creating a pearl. It takes some years before an actual pearl is grown but eventually the mollusk has done its job and we can harvest the pearls. 

So most pearls are grown on a big scale in freshwater or saltwater but there are some exceptions!

Besides these pearls which are grown by mollusks you also have artificial glass pearls, plastic pearls, and shell pearls. These aren’t the real deal but if you don't have much knowledge of pearls you can be easily tricked as these pearls can also be pretty. Of course, if you would compare them next to the real ones you will see the difference when it comes down to the color and the shine. To equip you with more knowledge, I will discuss the different real pearl species like the Akoya pearl, Tahiti pearl, Pacific Ocean pearl, and the Freshwater pearl here below.

The Akoya is the most known saltwater pearl and the smallest one of its kind. This is because the mollusk where the pearls grow in, isn’t bigger than 9 cm.  They produce pearls which are mostly nicely round, and most of the time Akoya’s are ivory white, creamy white with a subtle yellow or pink color. There are even instances where there are also color variants like lilac, champagne, and black.

The Tahiti pearl has its origin in Polynesia and is a black saltwater pearl, although they can also be green. These pearls can become very big as the shell of the mollusk can become 30 cm and weigh 5 kg! So they will produce pearls around 10 mm. Round black or green Tahiti pearls are very precious but are also less round and called baroque which are popular nowadays.

Pacific Ocean pearls are pearls that come from various oyster families. These oysters can create silver, white, champagne and warm golden pearls. These oysters are also big boys and the pearls can be up to 20 mm big!

Freshwater pearls are grown in various pearl farms in Japan and China. They have natural colors like white, salmon pink, lavender, blue and green. But, they can also artificially influence the color by laser techniques or with paint. Freshwater pearls come in al kinds of different shapes like round, baroque, rice shaped or button-shaped. The price of freshwater pearls is lower than the saltwater ones, this is because freshwater mollusks can produce more pearls at once (sometimes up to 20 pearls in one mollusk whereas saltwater mollusks can produce 2 to 3 pearls max). 
Also, freshwater mollusks can be re-used for a “second round” and as for the saltwater mollusks, they can only produce pearls one single time. After they get harvested the flesh and the shells of the mollusk will also be used so there will be as little waste as possible.

It takes about 2 till 5 years for a mollusk to create pearls! So it is a precious piece of art of Mother Nature and if you have a good quality pearl with a beautiful natural color it can really enchant you!

I recently discovered a very nice dealer who has a love for natural and special pearls. So if you are looking for one, please let me know, so we can find just the perfect pearl for you!

THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A JEWELER AND A GOLDSMITH

Since I have a mixstore in Delft, Offline is the new back, and no longer only a studio where you can come and visit with an appointment, I receive a lot more diverse customers. Most of these new customers have never heard of a goldsmith but only of a jeweler. This is why I also get a lot of requests which are actually more suited for a jeweler than for a goldsmith. Seeing as there are some big differences between these two and most people are not aware of them, I will try to explain them.

For example, at the jeweler, you can find several different jewelry brands and most importantly, it’s all-in stock so you can buy it right away.

In contrary, a goldsmith has limited stock. Most of the time the jewelry you’ve chosen first has to be made according to your size. This is also a positive aspect of a goldsmith because the jewelry will be tailormade for you. Moreover, adjustments can be made upon request whereas for most jewelers what you see is what you get. 

I also often get the question for standard necklaces, this is a product a jeweler can show you lots of different styles and lengths. As for the goldsmith, they will probably order such a necklace for you according to your wishes.

Same as for engagement rings. You can find some designs in our mixstore that are ready to go, but your choice will be limited in comparison to the jeweler. Most of the time the size will need to be adjusted or maybe you want different gemstones. All of this is possible and you will have a one of a kind handmade piece according to your wishes. The jeweler, however, you can mostly find standard, machine-made, “pick and go “ pieces.

Wedding rings are also a perfect example where you can find a lot of standard models at a jeweler and sometimes also for budget prices. This is because they can afford to make big “buy inns” and because most of the times the rings are machine-made in a factory abroad. A goldsmith, on the other hand, makes the rings by hand in their own studio. And again, most important in my opinion, they will be custom made for you. This doesn’t always have to be more expensive than at the jeweler. It depends on your wishes and you can be assured of high-quality made rings.

So as I have tried to shown, there are some important differences between jewelers and goldsmiths, each has their respective pros and cons. I personally think the beauty of visiting a goldsmith is that I can make a jewelry tailored to your wishes and deliver personal advice and service. You probably need a little more patience, but you will leave with a unique, tailormade,  and high-quality jewelry piece that will last a lifetime!

 

GOLDEN METAMORPHOSIS

Did you know you probably have enough gold and silver laying around to make a beautiful "new" ring according to your wishes? Or ask your mother or other family members if they have jewelry they don't wear anymore. You can use that jewelry to recycle and make yourself for example a nice pair of earrings, wedding rings, necklace, or bracelet, you name it!

I personally love to work with old jewelry and turn them into something new again. Most of the time it's not even necessary to totally melt them, especially if you would like to keep certain aspects of the old jewelry, because of the beautiful old details for example. Then you can also turn them into the jewelry you love wearing with just some little adjustments. Also, if you have strong emotional attachments to your jewelry, for example the one you inherited from you grandmother, but you don't like the style? You will be surprised what I can do with just changing some details!

Besides the emotional aspect or the costs benefits of old jewelry, it is also very sustainable to re-use old jewelry. Excavating for silver or gold puts a lot of stress to the environment and it's not even always necessary to use this new material. You can re-use metals like silver and gold approximately up to three times before the quality gets less. However, this doesn't count for gemstones like diamonds. These you can re-use forever! Because they are so solid, the change they will break is very minimal and you won't see any traces of usage. Other gemstones are also fine to recycle, however, seeing as some aren't as hard as diamonds there will be some risks of breaking them during the recycling process. So by using old jewelry or gemstones you also reduce your footprint.

In conclusion, there are enough reasons to recycle old jewelry and turn them into something amazing again! I have a lot of jewelry in the studio that I've made with recycled material. I will be happy to show you the possibilities! 

TRUE COLORS

Gold, it's my favorite material to work with! But did you know you have a lot of different colors of gold and karats? When they collect gold from the earth it is pure gold with a dark yellow color, this it called 24 karat 99,9% gold. But because this is very soft, they alloy it with other materials like copper, silver and palladium to make it harder. But alloying it they also change the content of the karat as well as the color.

In the Netherlands, the law prohibits selling any jewelry beneath 14 karat gold ( marked with the number 585 ). This means that pure gold is alloyed with other materials, but there still needs to be at least 58,5% pure gold in the alloy. If you use more pure gold in the alloy, the karat number increases and the material becomes more expensive. So for 22 karat for example, pure gold is mixed with copper and silver, but there needs to be 91,7% pure gold in the material. In the middle-eastern countries like Asia, it is more common to buy jewelry of 18 karat or 22 karat as opposed to Western Europe where it is more common to buy jewelry of 14 karat or even 8 karat.

So, by alloying pure gold with other materials, it affects the content of the karat and also the color! Pure gold, 24 karat, is very dark yellow, almost an orange kind of color. When it gets mixed with silver and copper it will get lighter. If you have 14 kt yellow gold, for example, it's a very pale kind of yellow. But if you add more copper to the alloy you will get rose or red-gold. However, if you use more silver and palladium, it will turn more towards grayish white and you will have white-gold. Besides yellow, rose/red and white-gold there are more possibilities when it comes to color. For example, it is possible to get a more greenish yellow gold, but this is not something you will find at your local jeweler, not yet at least. But if you are looking for a specific color there are definitely a lot of options! Do you need help finding out which color gold suits best with your skin type? You are always welcome to come by the studio and try some different colors on your skin. 

And according to Jill Scott, let us all live our life like it's golden! 

THE BRILJANT MISTAKE

I want to inform you about the different kinds of cuts applied to gemstones which are often wrongly seen as gemstones. I often hear that people are talking about a briljant, they think that briljant is the name for the gemstone, often not knowing they are talking about a diamond that is cut in a briljant shape.

A diamond can be cut in many different ways. You have the briljant cut, that is the classic cut you see most often, but you also have a princess cut, marquise cut, ovale cut, heart shaped cut, pear cut, emerald cut, cushion cut, rose cut ( one of my favorites ) and many more! The rose cut i.e. has less facets than the briljant cut which makes it less sparkly, but therefore it gets a vintage kind of look. I personally love to work with these diamonds, especially because you can find such beautiful ones second-hand, which is a *yay* for the environment!
Moreover, not only a diamond, but most gemstones are cut in a briljant shape. This shape will in many cases show off the most beautiful aspects of a stone.

Furthermore, I also love to use gemstones that are cut in a cabochon shape. Cabochon means flat at the bottom and round, smooth at the top. Most of the time gemstones that aren't transparent are cut this way. It is not a very exciting cut, but a lot of gemstones I personally like have this cut because in some cases it will show off the beautiful colorful shine some gemstones have ( i.e. the moonstone ).

Besides all of the standard cuts you can also design your own cut. This is called a special cut. However, you have to know your gemstones to get the most out of it. But this can be very spectacular! For example I have a pair of earrings ( see picture ) with green quartz that have a special cut and if you take a look inside the gemstone you see a lotus flower. In short, I love to play around with gemstones and their shapes and hope to collect many more!

 

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