What’s happening? Abrecht Bird Jewellers is abuzz with activity... We are excited by a couple of design competitions taking place in the next few months. The first is open to our family card members and offers the opportunity to design a piece of jewellery incorporating a beautifully cut rhodolite garnet (refer to Greg John’s ‘In The Workshop’ article for details). We hope the prize encourages lots of creative entries. If you are not currently a family card member, please contact Margaret who will sign you up and stimulate you to get that sketching pen moving! December 2011 ~ Volume 16 Issue 2 ABJ News Competitions & celebrations AbrechtBird Antique-cut rhodolite garnet (2.56ct) See page 4 for details 1 Greg John 1. 9ct White gold black and white diamond hoop earrings $615 New Releases Stunning new designs The next competition is ‘in house’ – pitting our staff members against one another to design jewellery pieces incorporating the use of black diamonds based on the theme ‘Eclipse’. The best of the designs will be made into a collection that will be exhibited in our showroom in conjunction with an array of black diamonds of all shapes and sizes. With Compliments 2. 18ct White gold black and white ‘swirl’ diamond pendant* $1,110 p1 2 *Chain not included We present the final item to complement the ‘suite of jewellery’ Greg designed and produced for our centenary celebration. Flowing on from the symbolism and memories of this special time, however, Margaret decided that she should be the very proud owner of both the pendant and earrings, not only to celebrate the 100-year anniversary of J Bird and Son, but to add to ‘her very own’ 10-year anniversary with the company. p2 Gemmology Corner Beautiful coloured sapphires p3 Wisdom from the Bench Jewellery design principles p4 Market Knowledge Peter shares some market information p5 With the festive season approaching it is a pleasure for all the staff at Abrecht Bird Jewellers to extend Season’s Greetings and wish you a Happy New Year abounding with Health, Happiness and Prosperity. Gift Ideas Just in time for Christmas p4 & p6 1 Betty Bird Sadly we advise the passing of Betty Bird, wife to David and mother to Peter, lost quickly to cancer on 30.10.11. Betty was admired by a large and diverse group of friends for her compassion and generosity of spirit. She will be missed by all who knew and loved her. Abrecht Hinged Ring ‘This invention has allowed many people to wear rings again despite having swollen or arthritic knuckles’. The ‘Abrecht hinged ring system’ brings us a steady stream of customers. This invention has allowed many people to wear rings again despite having swollen or arthritic knuckles. Over the next 2–3 months, Leon Corn will be visiting hand surgeons and arthritis clinics to spread the word about this solution. If you have any suggestions or comments to assist in this campaign, we would love to hear them. Pictured below, left to right: 1. 18ct White gold diamond ring $12,950 2. 18ct Yellow and white gold ruby and diamond-cluster ring $POA 3. 18ct Yellow and white gold South Sea pearl & diamond enhancer $POA 4. 18ct Yellow gold ruby and diamond ring $1,990 5. 9ct White gold kunzite and diamond enhancer* $1,705 6. 18ct White gold gent’s textured wedding ring $1,485 7. 18ct Yellow and white gold zircon and diamond ring $2,600 8. 18ct White gold diamond-cluster ring $3,815 9. 18ct White gold aquamarine and diamond pendant* $2,950 *Chain not included New Releases 1 2 5 6 3 7 4 8 9 Gemmology Corner Sapphire The multi-coloured gemstone Ruby and sapphire are the same material, known as corundum, and are the second hardest gemstone after diamond. Red corundum is known as ruby, while all other colours are referred to as sapphire. While blue is the classic sapphire colour, sapphire is actually found in a wide range of colours. Blue is the most widely recognised of the sapphire colours. The prized Kashmir and Burmese sapphires have a deep blue that is intense and velvety and are not often seen on the market today. Sri Lankan and Madagascar sapphires are the most common today, with a wide range of colours from light sky blue to dark blue. Other producers of blue sapphire are Australia (at the darker end of the blue colour range), Tanzania, Thailand, Cambodia, and the USA (Montana). Pink sapphires are beautiful natural gemstones that have special properties, making them very well suited to engagement rings and wedding rings. Much yellow sapphire is on the lighter side. These stones are found in Sri Lanka, Thailand, Australia, Tanzania and Madagascar. The yellow colour is caused by traces of iron in the stone. Heat treatment can produce a more intense yellow golden colour, and beryllium-treated sapphire may be a brilliant yellow. Padparadscha is the Sinhalese word for a Sri Lankan ‘lotus flower’. This very rare sapphire should have a pink and orange colour simultaneously but we have found this description to be one of the most misused or abused terms in the gem trade. Colour, brilliance, size and clarity will determine the value of these stones – the best specimens would rival the price of the finest Ceylonese blue sapphires. This 1.06 ct pear-shape padparadscha is from the collection of George Palos – our gem expert who lectured at our recent customer gemstone evenings. Pink sapphires are very affordable, far more so than pink diamonds. They occur in colours ranging from pale to deep pinks and almost-red colours. Pink sapphires are priced just slightly above blue sapphires, making them very affordable for the perfect engagement ring, dress or wedding ring. Colourless corundum is rare as faint shades of colour are nearly always present. Many small white sapphires used in inexpensive jewellery are synthetic. Purple and mauve sapphire is also rare, found in Sri Lanka and Tanzania. Iron and titanium impurities together may cause the purple hue of the stone. It is a certified gemstone, spectacularly beautiful with a retail value of $8,000. Green sapphire can occur in colours ranging from a light mint green to a dark forest green. The finest are thought to come from Sri Lanka, but they are very rare indeed. Most of the material seen in the market is from Thailand or Australia. These tend to darker green and are often blue-green or yellow-green. The colour is caused by traces of iron. In some cases the green colour is due to the presence of both blue and yellow bands which make the gem appear green. The colour zoning is obvious under magnification and can sometimes be seen with the naked eye. Though there are many choices in green gemstones, the excellent gemstone characteristics of corundum make green sapphire a popular choice, especially for rings. You will find interesting pieces in both faceted and cabochon styles. Green sapphire, like sapphire in other colours, is typically heat treated. In the next issue I will discuss parti, star and colour-change sapphires and briefly touch on enhancement treatments. 18ct White gold multi-coloured sapphire and diamond pendant* $330 *Chain not included Leon Corn FGAA Dip DT Wisdom from the Bench Welcome back to the workshop. To kick off the next century of bespoke jewellery creation, I thought I would share some of the design principles we employ here at Abrecht Bird. There is often a misconception that if a gemstone is not a diamond, sapphire, ruby or emerald, it is not ‘precious’. I cannot agree. It simply comes down to being able to see the true beauty in everything Nature provides and then enhancing that beauty in the best way possible. When designing jewellery using less-appreciated gemstones (perhaps not having the brilliance or fire normally attributed to gems such as diamond and all its buddies), we need to see and highlight the positives of the particular gem and enhance or lift the lesser qualities. in certain light appears a little dull. This is because the gem in question is a singly refractive (monochroic) material and, as such, relies totally on its own main colour. On the other hand, doubly refractive material has the added benefit of being able to change the wavelength of light within and create separate colours (dichroism). This is why you may see flashes of yellow, green and blue coming from a blue Australian sapphire, for instance. In order to enhance the single colour of our garnet, we need to minimise the amount of other colours around the stone. A setting made from white metal is ideal. This can then be enhanced by other colours or contrasts of metals. In the case of our garnet, adding any ‘rose’ colour gold next to or near to the gemstone will make the gem appear to be a brownish red – not recommended. The simplest and best way to enhance any coloured gem is to add bright sparkly stones, diamonds, of course, near to the stone. The trick here is the placement of the diamonds and, of course, their size and number. Too small or too few will look lost and not have any benefit, while too large or too many will be ‘overkill’. I therefore extend an invitation to you all … It is important to place any featured coloured gem higher than any enhancing diamonds. From above, the coloured gem can appear ‘sunken’ if all the settings are on the same level. This is particularly true the darker the colour of the main gemstone. Design a piece of jewellery using our garnet and submit the concept in a sketch with a written description by 01/03/2012 and the winner will have the opportunity of having their piece made by our craftsmen here at AbrechtBird Jewellers. The garnet, diamonds to the size of 0.10 ct (in any combination), materials and labour make up the prize. In the case of our rhodolite garnet we introduced to you in the last issue, this particular stone has fantastic colour but Antique-cut rhodolite garnet (2.56ct) Greg John FGAA Dip DT Pictured left to right: 1. 18ct White gold multi-diamond earrings $1,500 2. 18ct White gold multi-diamond pendant* $1,690 3. 18ct White gold multi-diamond earrings $1,445 4. 18ct White gold multi-diamond pendant* $1050 5. 18ct White gold diamond hoop earrings $2,390 Gift Ideas 1 *Chain not included 2 3 4 5 Market Conditions In the past few years it has been common (indeed tedious) to wake up each morning to news of massive swings in financial markets. These have two major impacts on jewellery: the price of precious metals, and the effect of changes in exchange rates. Since gold is often used as a safe haven for investors nervous about the value of ‘paper currency’, its price has been volatile with overnight movements in excess of $60 per ounce in recent times. We were amazed when the price per ounce of gold topped $1000, yet it continued to climb and almost broke through the $2000 per ounce barrier. In September the price of gold actually eclipsed that of platinum (although this does not immediately translate to manufactured product in these metals). The high Australian dollar has meant that our buying price for most gemstones (usually priced in US$) has fallen. Engaged couples in the past year or two have enjoyed being able to buy larger stones than those on offer previously for the same price. Prices of diamonds fell slightly for a brief time after the global financial crisis, but diamond cutters reacted quickly by cutting fewer stones and the reduced supply stabilised prices. In recent times prices of diamond rough have increased and shortages of supply have caused a 30% increase in the price of meleé diamonds (small stones of less than 0.12 ct). Nevertheless, there are still bargains to be found in larger-sized stones. ‘Prices of diamonds fell slightly for a brief time...’ Impact on ‘Scrap Values’ Record gold prices attract publicity and, not surprisingly, people take renewed interest in long-forgotten broken chains and bracelets or worn-out rings in the bottom of their jewellery boxes. What happens to this jewellery when it is sold for ‘scrap value’? For the most part it is sent to a refiner of precious metals who ‘unmixes the recipe’ of the gold – extracting the pure metals of gold, silver, platinum and copper (and others) that make up the 9 or 18 carat gold alloy. These metals can then be reused. In recent times ‘scrap gold buyers’ have surfaced in shopping centres everywhere. I have never visited any of their booths, but in the absence of any regulations that apply to this ‘trade’, I can only imagine that pretty much ‘anything goes’ from an ethical point of view. If you are considering selling ‘pre-loved’ jewellery, I urge you to contact us for advice that eliminates risk and provides the best possible outcome. ‘...how sure can you be that the purity of gold in a jewellery item complies with the carat stamp on the metal?’ Gold Values Allied to the above discussion is the issue of gold ‘standards’ – in particular, how sure can you be that the purity of gold in a jewellery item complies with the carat stamp on the metal? The Jewellers Association Australia has been engaged recently in a review of the regulation of these standards and is determined to ensure maximum compliance. To this end they invited jewellers to submit items for analysis. We gladly participated by providing gold we had purchased in the form of imported and locally made chains, gold alloys we buy for use in our workshop production and some items sourced from outside manufacturers. Results of the extensive tests 5 came back recently and we were delighted to find 100% compliance by our suppliers. I wonder how internet or ebay sellers would measure up! Peter Bird JAA members since 1931 FGAA Gift Ideas 6 2 4 5 3 1 11 10 9 8 7 Pictured above, left to right: 1. 18ct Yellow gold South Sea pearl stud earrings $1,300 2. 18ct Yellow gold South Sea drop pearl earrings $705 3. 18ct White gold South Sea pearl and diamond pendant* $930 4. 18ct Yellow gold South Sea pearl and diamond pendant* $930 5. 18ct White gold South Sea black pearl and diamond pendant* $1,050 6. 18ct Yellow gold South Sea pearl and diamond pendant* $855 7. 9ct Yellow and white gold yellow and white diamond earrings $740 8. 9ct Rose and white gold diamond pendant* $595 9. 18ct Yellow and white gold pink tourmaline and diamond earrings $4,995 10. 18ct Yellow and white gold green tourmaline and diamond pendant* $3,720 11. 18ct Yellow and white gold purple sapphire and diamond earrings $3,870 *Chain not included In our newsletter we offer a complimentary clean and polish to all our clients (see below). This gives us the opportunity to check over your items and ensure that any preventive maintenance can be undertaken if required before any major issues arise. A light buff to shine the metal and a thorough clean to enable the check up, and usually you can be on your way. If an item requires a full polish to remove scratches or dents this then becomes a ‘take-in’ job and is chargeable. It takes quite a bit of time to apply an ‘as new’ finish to a piece of jewellery. Often a light emery is required prior to polishing to remove scratches and/or old rhodium plating in order to restore your jewellery to the high standards you expect from us. The exception will be white gold articles that require rhodium plating (additional charge) – we will endeavour to have these pieces available at the end of the same day.
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