Opal is one of our favourite stones here at EC One. A true iridescent beauty, the opal displays a fire unlike any other gemstone. Our jewellery buyer Charlotte loves the stunning qualities that opals exhibit. ‘Opal’s have an alluring iridescence, I love the depth of darker opal’s when you stare into them you feel as if you have plunged in to an exotic Ocean’ quotes Charlotte who always favours gemstones with an added wow factor. The ‘wow’ from an opal appears as a firework display of colours radiating from deep within the stone. The play of colour flashes between rich oranges to deep greens and vivid purples, this exciting quality ensures that no two opals will ever be the same.
This magical element means that opals do not need to be faceted, their spectacular colour radiates through microscopic spheres within the stone. Throughout history opals have been a source of wonder and amazement. The roman’s treasured opals and believed them to bring the owner good fortune whereas ancient Arabic cultures thought that opals had fallen from the sky and that the colour infusion was indeed trapped lightning.
The main introduction of opals into the jewellery world was by Australian Tullie Cornthwaite Wollaston in the late 1800’s and from here it was favoured by Queen Victoria and then used in the decadent jewels of the Art Noveau period. Rising in popularity again when Cartier included opals in the 2008 Chimera collection at the Biennale des Antiquaires in Paris, the opal is now found in designer jewellery collections throughout the world.
A new comer to EC One is the talented Marie Walsh from Sorrell Bay Jewellery. Using an inspiring mix of both rose cut diamonds and Australian opals, Marie’s fine jewellery is individual and delicate. We asked her what it is about opals that she loves so much.
‘Opals to me signify everything that is beautiful about this stunning planet we inhabit. You can see the world within an opal and their fire and light can be bewitching. I’ve a lifelong fascination with geology and the formation of rocks, deep within the belly of the world and the science behind them. Each totally unique to their surroundings and the rock, soil or sandy conditions that creates them. Opals are formed from running water over time, silicon dioxide layers that form silica rich deposits within cracks and voids deep within the ground formed by natural faults or decomposing fossils. The movement of water over thousands of years that results in something so stunning we set it in gold and adorn ourselves with at as a talisman. I am a Pisces so I have an affinity with water, maybe this is why I am so drawn to them.’
As the birthstone for October we are celebrating the glory of this incredible gemstone that has a past as colourful as the stone itself.
The beauty of the sapphire has made this gemstone one of the most treasured stones that money can buy. Sapphires come in a wide variety of rainbow of colours, from the palest of lemon yellows to opulent, sumptuous purples as well as the more known blue tones that we usually associate with this gem.
We use sapphires throughout many of our precious ranges, the Dainty collection in particular which looks stunning when set alongside sparkling white diamonds. Deep, opulent blues through to the desirable soft tones of the cornflower blue sapphire work perfectly in our engagement rings. The remarkable hardness of the sapphire makes this suitable for everyday wear.
Our deco inspired Emma range showcases beautiful sapphires in cornflower blue which are framed by a halo of twinkling pave set diamonds. This elegant and popular style has become a classic here ECone and a design that has proved to stand the test of time.
The exquisite combination of rich blue sapphires and white diamonds is reminiscent of the famous ‘Lady Diana’ engagement ring. An impressive 18 carat blue sapphire surrounded by diamonds that now graces the hand of the Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton. Sapphires are thought to symbolize wisdom and good fortune and are the epitome of both royalty and romance. In ancient Greece and Rome, kings and queens believed that blue sapphires were to protect you from envy and harm and as a result sapphires have had their place in royal history throughout the decades.
A rare and extremely valuable sapphire is the stunning Padparascha sapphire. The enticing colours found in the padparascha are simply sublime .Peach, pink hues are said to be a blend of a Sri Lankan sunset and the beauty of the lotus flower. This stone is delicious in colour, a real treat and a sapphire well worth its place as one of the most sought after gemstones you can covet.
The fancy coloured sapphires are a true wonder and the variations are endless. The only colour a sapphire cannot be is red. Although still corrundum the red variety is known as the ever popular and well loved Ruby.
We literally gasped with delight when we opened our new treats from Sorrel Bay Jewellery. Using exquisite opals and diamonds set in rich yellow gold Marie Walshe, the creative director behind the brand, has designed both elegant and luxurious jewellery for everyday wear. The quality and beauty behind each piece is truly breath taking and a very welcome addition to the precious jewellery we stock at EC One.
The gemstones that are used in each collection are handpicked for their beauty and the unique qualities they exhibit. Marie hand picks diamonds that have natural ‘flaws’, a character of the stone that ensures that no two diamonds will ever be the same therefore adding an individual, one of a kind feel to each piece. A favourite stone that is used in many of the collections is the rose cut diamond, a traditional way of diamond cutting that has a softer more natural look than the modern day brilliant cut. These diamonds, in subtle grey tones, are faceted in a way to make them sparkle wonderfully adding to the charming handmade aesthetic of Marie’s work.
Stunning deep ocean blue Australian opals carefully chosen by Marie add a sense of intrigue and wonder to the collections. Opals are said to enhance self-confidence and encourage originality and creativity, the perfect choice for women who like to express their individuality. The Australian opal is a mesmerising stone unlike any other, the ‘fire’ within each stunning opal resembles a rainbow of colours, an unmistakable and spectacular gem stone.
Using fair trade gold and ethically sourced gemstones Marie works closely with mines and stone dealers to ensure that the jewellery is as ethically sound as possible. It is this consideration and attention to detail that shines through making each piece truly special.
Peridot, the birthstone for August. This month we have chosen to tell the history of this pretty green stone and the story about the designers ‘Pebble’ who use it within their collections.
A beautiful, lively green semi-precious stone named by the Egyptians as the ‘gem of the sun’. Summery, sparkly and intense in colour, the peridot is an old treasured gemstone that is now fashionable once again. This national stone of Egypt was once thought to of fallen from the sky and has always had a strong association with light. This ancient belief rang true in 2004 when NASA confirmed that mineral particles found in space were in fact Olivine, a variety of peridot. These particles have been found in meteorites which have fallen into infant stars proving that the Egyptian’s theory was pretty accurate after all.
Most Peridot however is formed deep inside the Earth and brought to the surface by volcanoes. An impressive journey for such a desirable gemstone!
Peridot is one of the few stones that come only in one colour. As pure green stones are rare, the majority of peridot stones show a more yellow green tone. The more intense the colour the more precious they become, in fact the stunning green stones that adorned Cleopatra’s famous emerald collection may be peridot. This is a common mistake made throughout history with not only peridots but also the misconception between rubies and red spinels including those in our very own crown jewels!
The fresh, summer toned sparkle of this gemstone works wonderfully when cut into spectacular facets that catch the light. Statement necklaces from London based designers Pebble have caught the attention of many customers who are searching for the perfect fashionable piece. Pebble’s love for natural materials is evident throughout their collections, showcasing some amazing organic shaped stones in a variety of jewel like colours. Their designs are simple but certainly have the wow factor, the ethos behind the brand being that you cannot improve on nature.
Whether you choose a peridot as a birthstone or simply because you adore its radiant colour, this is a gemstone that has had an exciting history and a stone that will always have its place in jewellery.
Here at EC One we love to showcase independent jewellery designers. The unique handmade jewellery by Michelle Tuck is featured this month because we love her pendants and bracelets that ooze individuality and creativity.
Each of her stunning pendants has a personalised element that make them a perfect gift choice. Choose from delicately crafted tokens adorned with both motifs and words that can be customised to suit the wearer.
Inspired by the enchanting qualities of the natural world and her time spent travelling, Michelle’s jewellery has a wonderful ‘found’ feel. Add pretty cabochon gemstones to the mix and her jewellery takes on an ethereal look that can be worn every day. Whether you choose a combination of charms to signify adventure, exploration and wanderlust or simply love and happiness, the sentiment and attention to detail in each piece will be a welcomed gift or a perfect treat.
We have taken a moment to speak to Michelle about the jewellery she has created and to explore the inspiration and ideas behind her work.
What inspires you?
As society increasingly views objects as disposable, and we discard our possessions from one season to the next, I wanted to create something with meaning. Something that has emotional and spiritual content. I wanted to create not just beautiful ephemeral objects, but lasting treasures that connect us with ourselves and each other, tools to communicate our feelings and celebrate our successes, our loves and even commemorate and remember our loses.
I wanted to offer something that both looks like it has history, in terms of it’s aesthetic, and something that with time and the memories attached develops a meaningful personal history for both the wearer and possibly future generations. It would be my dearest wish for my pieces to develop a sentimental value that far eclipses its material value.
What are your influences?
I love objects where you can see the hand of the maker. Objects with depth and soul. I find high polish, super-modern, glossy things to be lifeless. As with humans, it’s the little imperfections that make us beautiful. My current collection of talismans and lucky charms, my ‘Amulets and Artefacts’ collection, is inspired by ancient coins, both their soft worn details and marks left over time, as well as the uneven edges created by millennia old minting processes.
Which gemstones do you covet?
My love of gemstones echo’s my appreciation of the imperfect. I love stones that have inclusions. I find a perfectly clear flawless stone looks unreal. The bigger the stone the more I enjoy the inclusions. Some of my favourite stones are tourmalines, and I really love a rustic rosecut diamond. But two stones I repeatedly choose for myself are moonstone and labradorite, I just love their mystical quality, their iridescence and the way they glow from within.
Ruby July Birthstone
So since July’s birthstone is Ruby it gives us a great excuse to explain a little bit about this beautiful gem.
First of all a little bit of geology and then some of our current favourites….
I hope you enjoy
When it is totally pure, the mineral Corundum is colourless. It’s the trace elements that become part of the mineral’s crystal structure that give it colour. Ruby’s distinctive red and pink shades are caused by the trace element Chromium.
Ruby is the most valuable variety of the Corundum mineral family, which also includes Sapphire.
The strength and intensity of the Ruby is determined by how much Chromium is present. The more there is, the stronger the colour. Chromium can also cause fluorescence, which adds to the intensity of the red colour. Some of the most famous Rubies have come from Myanmar (previously Burma), the Himalayas and northern Vietnam. These Rubies are generally formed in Marble which is a metamorphic rock created under heat and pressure acting on limestone.
Because of Marble’s low iron content the Rubies formed within it lack iron, giving them their very beautiful and desirable intense red colour known as ‘Pigeon Blood’. These Rubies command the highest price per carat of any coloured gemstone.
And now for some of our current favourite pieces with Rubies…
It’s that time of year when under one guise or another we’re pretty much all going to at last one wedding.
So I thought it would be helpful to give you a few ideas of which pieces of jewellery might suit you or make that perfect gift. I hope you like them.
For the Bride…
For the Bridesmaid…
For The Guest…
How to clean your jewellery (and show it a little love).
Just like your car needs an annual service and your shoes need re-heeling, so jewellery needs a little care and attention too sometimes.
So with that in mind here are a few tips for keeping your jewels sparkly.
With silver, gold and platinum jewellery you can use a soft toothbrush, lukewarm water and some washing up liquid to take away any residues of, for example, hand cream, soap and everyday dirt.
Always store each item individually in the packaging it came in or a jewellery box, to reduce tarnishing or the chance of chains tangling.
Check your jewellery regularly for any wear and tear – check necklace clasps are still secure and so are any stones which are set in rings or pendants.
Some words of warning…
Don’t expose your jewellery to any chemicals such as household cleaners and perfumes as these could cause damage and discolouration to the surface of your jewellery (that means ‘no’ to cleaning any of your jewellery with vinegar, gin and coca cola!)
Don’t wear your jewellery during activities such as exercising or gardening to avoid knocking or scratching.
Avoid any prolonged contact with hard or abrasive surfaces.
Avoid carrying heavy bags when wearing delicate rings or bracelets as these can cause damage or misshapen your jewellery.
Don’t swim in jewellery whenever possible. Pool chemicals are not good for gold plating and because water makes our fingers smaller it’s possible for rings to slip off altogether.
It may not have crossed you mind but…
If you wear rings on both hands beware of clapping (!). We don’t want to dampen your enthusiasm but if you are hitting metal against metal it may damage your rings and if you have stones set all around it there is a chance they may become chipped. So next time you are applauding just make sure your rings clap your hands, not one another!
The key thing to remember is that your jewellery is precious to you and so whether it’s an expensive item or not, spare it a thought and it’ll look lovelier for longer!
If you would like a little more information about specific metal finishes and stones, please click here.
But if in doubt you can always drop us an email, we’re always happy to help!
We seemed to have jumped straight from winter to summer weather, but officially it’s Spring, which can only mean one thing:
it’s time for our annual Jewellery Spring Clean!
It’s very simple, before the 31st May 2016, just drop in up to six pieces of jewellery from EC One and we will give them a free clean and polish. When it’s all done and looking fabulous we’ll give you a call and you can pop into our Clerkenwell store to pick them up.
While you’re rummaging in your jewellery box, if you come across that piece of jewellery you have been thinking about getting re-modelled for ages, feel free to bring it in too. We’d love to chat to you about your ideas and what may be possible.