- Gemstones Guide
- Diamond Guide
- Precious Metals Guide
- Charm Meanings
- Zodiac Stones
- Anniversary Stones
- Jewellery Care
- Size Guide
How To Look After Your Jewellery
Sourced from all over the world, and created using the finest gemstones and precious metals, your Astley Clarke jewellery requires a little care and attention to keep it looking its best.
Dust, pollution and daily wear all conspire to cloud the brilliance of a gemstone and dull the surface of precious metals. As with all fine things in life, you should take care to protect your jewellery and always store it in a fabric lined jewellery box, taking care not to drop, bash or scratch.
ALWAYS remove your jewellery when applying scent, lotions and potions, or even better, always put your jewellery on last when getting dressed. Please note that chlorine is especially damaging to jewellery.
Ensure that you rinse off any chemicals that come into contact with your jewellery straight away to avoid build up which can make cleaning difficult.
Avoid storing your Astley Clarke jewellery next to costume jewellery or watches with leather straps.
Store jewellery separately so that pieces do not tangle, rub or scratch against each other.
Containing no oxides, pure gold is the only precious metal that will not tarnish. Having said this, it is a relatively soft metal and care should always be taken with your gold jewellery. Generally, the higher the carat weight, the softer the metal; for example, 14 carat gold tends to be more resistant to scratching than 18 carat gold. We recommend that you wear rings of a similar carat together, e.g. your wedding and engagement ring.
Gold should be cleaned regularly in order to maintain its beauty and patina. A soft, lint free cloth or even better a gold polishing cloth is an effective way to keep gold jewellery looking its best.
White Gold - White gold is achieved by combining pure gold with alloys such as silver and palladium. As the natural colour of white gold is a greyish colour, almost all white gold jewellery is plated with a metal called Rhodium which is used to brighten its colour. Rhodium is very white and very hard but it may wear eventually.
Yellow Gold - Pure gold is a metallic yellow; alloys such as copper and silver are used as the principal metals used for gold alloy.
Rose Gold - Rose gold is the result of varying the proportions of copper and silver in the alloy, resulting in a beautiful pinkish hue. We use a bespoke alloy for our rose gold to create a universally flattering hue.
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Derived from the Spanish term platina del Pinto which literally translates as 'little silver of the Pinto river', platinum is naturally silvery white in appearance, and does not require rhodium plating like white gold. A very dense, malleable and precious metal, platinum is resistant to corrosion and incredibly hardwearing. This makes platinum is suitable to be worn every day; however, care should still be taken to prevent scratches.
Platinum jewellery can be cleaned with a mild soapy water solution and a soft bristle brush. Over time platinum jewellery develops a natural patina which can be easily polished.
Sterling Silver is an alloy of silver and other metals, usually copper. Pure silver is too soft for everyday wear; therefore, copper is generally used to give it strength while at the same time preserving the ductility of the metal and its beauty.
As with most precious metals, sterling silver tarnishes; having said this, it is less likely to happen as quickly if regularly worn.
Clean your silver jewellery in warm soapy water, ensuring that it is rinsed thoroughly and dried before storing. Alternatively polish your silver jewellery with a soft cloth.
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Quite simply, gold vermeil is a layer of gold over sterling silver. To be considered vermeil, the gold must be at least 10 carat and at least 1.5 microns thick.
Never wear your gold vermeil jewellery in the shower or when swimming. Chlorine, especially at high temperatures, can permanently damage or discolour your gold vermeil jewellery.
Gently clean your gold vermeil jewellery with a soft polishing cloth or even a silver polishing cloth. Gold vermeil will fade with time.
As an organic material, pearls are much softer than most other gemstones and can be easily scratched. A little help is at hand with our following list of do's and don'ts:
Do wear your pearls. As an organic material they react well to the natural oils in your skin and it is the best way to maintain their lustre.
Do wipe your pearls with a soft cloth after wearing, and occasionally wipe clean with mild soapy water. Allow the pearls to dry before putting them away.
Do have your pearl necklace re-strung every few years; to prevent abrasion, most jewellers knot pearls on silk thread which wears in time.
Do not store your pearls with other jewellery as they can easily be scratched when metal or gemstones rub against them.
Do not store pearls in plastic bags, always store in the box or silk pouch that they should be supplied with.
Do not clean your pearls in an ultrasonic cleaner; the vibrations can shatter them, especially if the nacre is thin or cracked.
Do not use chemical cleaners; especially those containing ammonia and bleach, as this will destroy their lustre.
Do not expose to excessive heat; because they contain organic material and water, pearls can also crack if exposed to excessive dryness.
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A mineral composed of pure carbon, diamonds are the hardest naturally occurring substance known; however, they can still suffer chips and fractures from sharp blows.
It is possible to scratch a diamond with a diamond, so please take care when wearing and storing your diamond jewellery.
Clean your diamonds with warm soapy liquid and a soft toothbrush, rinsing the stone and setting afterwards to ensure no soapy residue.
The Kimberley Process
At Astley Clarke we are committed to sourcing our diamonds in the most ethical and environmentally responsible manner, adhering to the Kimberley Process.
Designed to ensure that diamonds are conflict-free, the Kimberley Process is a system put in place to regulate the trade in rough diamonds and aims to prevent the flow of conflict diamonds; ensuring that the journey from mine to supplier to designer is conflict free.
The 4 Cs of Diamonds
It is a combination of the below 4 factors – the 4Cs - which determines the value of a diamond. It is not possible to value a stone based on any of these factors in isolation.
Carat - A diamond carat for is a measure of the weight of the stone. The weight of one carat is precisely 200 milligrams, or 0.2 grams. Smaller Diamonds, generally those under 1 carat, are also referred to in points, whereby 100 points make up 1 carat. Therefore a half carat stone can also be described as 0.50 points. The price of a diamond does not increase on a linear scale with increases in the carat weight of a diamond. There are various weights above which there is a steep increase in value.
Clarity - The clarity of a diamond is dependent upon the included particles, cracks etc. within the stone. Most diamonds contain minute imperfections that occur when they are formed by nature. When the presence of these imperfections does not materially interfere with the passage of light through the stone, they do not affect its beauty and therefore have little effect on its value. For this reason, it is not only the size and quantity of any marks within a stone but also the positioning of any imperfections within the stone that is important.
Colour - Colour in this context does not refer to a Diamond of definite colour (these are treated separately and known as fancy coloured Diamonds), but refers to Diamonds which are white but with a faint tinge of yellow or brown. The hint of colour is often so slight that only trained eyes are able to detect it.
Cut - The cut of a Diamond, often called the make, depends upon the proper proportions of the cut stone and the accurate alignment of the facet edges. In order to reflect all of the light entering the stone from the front, a well cut Diamond should have proportions as near as possible to a pre-set ideal.