Tag Archives: 925 Silver

Garnet – January Birthstone

Garnet, the January Birthstone, is mined in a rainbow of colours. From the fiery orange of Mandarin Garnet to the rich green of Tsavorite Garnet and to the most widely recognized colour of Pyrope Garnet, it is considered a great gift to symbolize friendship and trust.

This gem is also available inthe deep red Bohemian Garnet, the vibrant green of the Russian Demantoid. We also see it appearing in the oranges and browns of Spessartite and Hessonite from Namibia and Sri Lanka and the subtle pinks and purples of Rhododendron.

January Birthstone – Garnets in various colours and cuts

Legend says Garnets light up the night and protect their owners from nightmares. Garnets have long been carried by travellers to protect against accidents far from home. Garnet is the January Birthstone, but with its stunning variety of colours and its mystical powers it has been given as a gift for all occasions for centuries.

Garnet, derived from the word granatum, means seed, and is called so because of the gemstone’s resemblance to a pomegranate seed.  References to the gemstone dates back to 3100 B.C., when the Egyptians used garnets as inlays and jewellery.

See more at: Wixon Jewellers Website

January Birthstone from LoveTaliesin Jewellery

You can see an ever changing selection of semi-precious jewellery set in 925 silver on our craft fair and sales stalls. See our calendar page to find out where we are going to be.

You can also find the January Birthstone in our Swarovski Crystal Elements range on the stall and here on the website. The red colour known as Siam are a great match for the deep red Bohemian Garnet.

Click on the images below to see more about the Swarovski Siam jewellery available at the moment.

What is 925 Silver?

Sterling silver is an alloy of silver containing 92.5% by mass of silver and 7.5% by mass of other metals, usually copper.

Over the last few years we have noticed a massive influx of “925 stamped” silver jewellery which is actually silver plated.  Not all of it, by any means, as there are plenty of solid sterling silver items, one-off artisan jewellery and vintage pieces. But there are a lot of uninformed importers of jewellery, who are buying what they believe to be sterling silver when it is in fact plated.

Silver is an expensive metal and trade prices have doubled and then doubled again over recent years (I’m a silversmith, and am mortified by how much it now costs to make a small silver ring!), so it really is a case of getting what you pay for when it comes to sterling silver.

Please note that the 925 stamp is NOT a hallmark. This consists of a maker’s mark, an assay office mark and then a fineness mark in the UK.  (More details below).

Anyone can buy a 925 stamp for around £5 and apply the 925 mark to whatever they wish.

925 Stamp Tool

A quick and rough test to see if it’s plated or solid silver is to file down an inconspicuous area of the item.  You can use a fine needle file for this, or even an emery board will suffice. If you notice very quickly upon filing the silver is that coppery gold coloured metal starts to show through, this is the base metal that the piece is actually made of.

Do note, however, that just because an item has only a 925 stamp without a hallmark does not mean that it is definitely plated.  We buy in some solid silver items with a 925 stamp.

If this makes you never want to buy silver at a craft fair again, please don’t despair – there are also a lot of honest sellers who sell very fine 925 stamped silver jewellery which really is 925 silver at excellent prices, but beware that very fine silver jewellery isn’t cheap.  The current trade price for sterling silver (as of June 2014) is about £400 per kilogram, meaning that a slim silver bangle costs around £10 in materials alone, without labour.

A general rule for buying silver is that if the price seems too good to be true, then it probably is just too good to be true.
Edited from: http://tinyurl.com/qh34png

Why are precious metal articles hallmarked?

Silver Hallmark

Gold, silver, platinum and palladium are rarely used in their purest form but instead they are normally alloyed with lesser metals to achieve a desired strength, durability, colour etc.

It is not possible to detect by sight or by touch the gold, silver, platinum or palladium content of an item. It is a legal requirement to hallmark all articles consisting of gold, silver, platinum or palladium (subject to certain exemptions) if they are to be described as such.

The main offence under the UK Hallmarking Act 1973 is based on description. It is an offence for any person in the course of trade or business to:

  • Describe an un-hallmarked article as being wholly or partly made of gold, silver, platinum or palladium
  • Supply or offer to supply un-hallmarked articles to which such a description is applied.

What needs to be hallmarked?

Any article described as being wholly or partly made of gold, silver, platinum or palladium that is not covered under exempt articles.

Main Exemptions:

Articles below a certain weight are exempt from hallmarking. The exemption weight is based on the precious metal content only, excluding, for example, weight of diamonds, stones etc, except in the case of articles consisting of precious metal and base metal in which case the exemption weight is based on the total metal weight:

  • Platinum 0.5 grams
  • Gold 1.0 gram
  • Palladium 1.0 gram
  • Silver 7.78 grams

Any pre-1950 item may now be described and sold a precious metal without a hallmark, if the seller can prove that it is of minimum fineness and was manufactured before 1950.
From: http://tinyurl.com/pamgmlu

“Hallmarking dates back to 1300 and represents the oldest form of consumer protection in the United Kingdom.” Wandsworth’s chief trading standards officer, Christopher Roe