Metals and Gemstones
We LOVE gemstones here at Alison Moore Designs (just in case you hadn’t noticed). But what’s not to love?
All those amazing natural colours, moods and textures offer endless possibilities when it comes to creating jewellery. And, best of all, that means lots of choice for you, our lovely customers.
But what actually constitutes a gemstone? Basically, it’s a precious or semi-precious mineral, usually of an attractive colour and cut for use in jewellery.
Each gemstone has a hardness classification, known as the Mohs’ Scale, with diamond ranked at 10, and talc the softest at 1. Every mineral has different optical qualities too, with their response to light playing a major part in their aesthetic appeal.
Generally, it’s diamonds, sapphires, rubies and emeralds we associate with the word gemstone, but there’s a remarkable range of stunningly beautiful minerals that, once cut and polished, also fall into this category.
While we do occasionally use the rarest of gems - diamonds, rubies and sapphires – you’ll mostly find equally enchanting but more affordable stones featuring in our work.
Underlying all of the gemstone choices at Alison Moore Designs is a commitment to creating wearable, lasting keepsakes, so each stone is carefully picked to work in harmony with the precious metals used in our pieces. All our precious gemstones are ethically sourced, and other coloured stones sourced as ethically as is possible.
Silver is stunning, shiny and striking, and possibly lots of other things beginning with ‘s’. From a practical point of view, it’s very easy to work with and that quality, combined with its natural beauty, has made it hugely desirable for centuries.
When it comes to jewellery, silver also has a timeless appeal – it never grows old and just evolves with fashion and trends. Sounds just like you, doesn’t it?
We adore working with silver as it provides the perfect, understated backdrop for our colourful gemstones. It’s also lovely stuff for making stand-alone pieces, like bangles, bracelets and cufflinks.
Although it can be found in its ‘native’ form, most silver is extracted from ores through mining. Not very romantic, we know, but the end result is worth it. However most of the silver we used today is recycled and no longer mined.
Pure silver is too soft to be used for jewellery making, so it’s combined with harder metals, usually copper, to create Sterling silver. This durable, industry standard alloy still contains 92.5% silver, hence the official 925 standard hallmark you’ll see on jewellery made using Sterling.
Sterling silver retains all the appeal of pure silver, but is more durable and ideal for jewellery worn every day. It will tarnish though, particularly if exposed to certain chemicals, but we’ll advise you on how best to keep it looking, well, silvery.
Gorgeous gold is warm, rich and opulent (in a good way). It’ll bathe you in its radiance and make you feel even more special than you already are.
That depth of colour and velvety luxuriousness works particularly well with many of the gemstones within our jewellery collections. And, of course, it’s the traditional material for engagement and wedding rings, going rather nicely with diamonds.
Pure gold, as found in huge nugget/tiny grain form by prospectors in old films, is a soft metal and very expensive indeed, so not ideal for making jewellery. Like silver, gold is mixed with other metals (such as copper, or indeed, silver) to varying degrees, increasing its hardness.
The mix of pure gold and other metals is revealed by the caratage number. So, pure gold, 24 carat gold, contains 99% gold, 22 carat gold has 91.6% pure gold, 18 carat gold hass 75% gold and the most familiar variety, 9 carat gold, consists of 37.5% pure gold. Given their strength, 9 and 18 carat golds are best for jewellery.
As if gold coloured gold wasn’t enough, it also comes in different shades, depending on what metal is used in the alloy blend. At Alison Moore Designs we generally work with the yellow, red and white varieties. We are pleased to now report that all of the gold that we work with is recycled.