Metals & Gemstones
Some information regarding the metals and materials we use. With so many different metals and materials used to make jewellery, it’s important to know how to care for your specific piece of jewellery. Please also read about jewellery care guidelines on our "Jewellery Care" page so you can be sure you’re looking after your jewellery well.
Silver is alloyed in order to make it harder and more suitable for use in jewellery. All of Blue Wing Gallery jewellery is sterling silver, which is the standard most often used for jewellery. It is 92.5% pure silver. As with most precious metals, sterling silver tarnishes. Good news though – tarnishing is less likely to happen as quickly if you wear your silver jewellery regularly. Sterling silver is nickel free and is suitable for people who are sensitive to nickel.
Titanium is a lightweight, lustrous grey metal with a low density, great strength and high durability. Titanium is most commonly used in men's watches and jewellery including wedding rings because of its durability. This contemporary metal with a polished finish comes in colours of black, grey and silver. As strong as steel and twice as strong as aluminium, titanium is very resistant to denting which makes it perfect for wedding rings and watches. It’s high-tech and modern appeal has made it particularly popular amongst prestigious watch brands and jewellery. Some of our special Collections made with Titanium which is heat treated, to give it amazing colours ranging from deep purples to electric blues and hot pinks.
Stainless steel contains a minimum of 10.5% chromium, preventing it from corroding easily or rusting like ordinary steel and making it resistant to tarnishing. It is used a lot in rings and watch straps due to its versatility and resistance to scratching.
Bronze, is a combination of both copper and tin, renowned for its strength and longevity. You’ll find our Botanic collection is made out of Bronze and due to its strength, fine details can be cast into the bronze which gives an incredible effect. It is also hand patinated to protect the bronze from discoloration.
Aluminium is the most abundant metallic element on the planet, making up 8% of the earth’s crust. Because of its lightweight, resistance to corrosion and ability to alloy well, it is perfect as a unique piece of jewellery that you can wear for years of enjoyment.
Pure gold is the only precious metal that won’t tarnish, but it is a relatively soft metal. Generally, the higher the carat weight, the softer the metal, so 22ct gold tends to be less resistant to scratching than 18ct.
White gold – White gold is a combination of pure gold and alloys such as silver and palladium. It is then coated in rhodium, a precious metal which is very hard and has a bright white lustre which doesn’t tarnish easily. Over time, the rhodium coating will wear away.
Rose gold – The majority of our rose gold plated jewellery is 1 micron minimum, and some have an anti-tarnish protection. As with any plated piece, the plating will wear off over time so to ensure you get the best from your rose gold plated jewellery follow our general jewellery care tips. Wear for special occasions, and is best worn on its own to avoid the plating wearing too quickly.
Known for its flexibility and durability, we offer a high quality of leather for our wrist wear. Here are some additional tips on caring for your leather wrist wear. Avoid washing, tumble drying and dry cleaning. Stay away from products containing bleach, oil or alcohol. Avoid getting wet, as excessive water will damage the leather. Leaving the leather to dry in direct sunlight can cause it to crack, so allow to dry naturally.
Jewellery is one of our most intimate and cherished accessories. Understanding how to care for and protect your treasured jewellery can make a world of difference in maintaining its beauty and keeping your heirlooms sparkling for generations to come.
Just as the sun’s harmful rays can damage our skin, light and heat can affect a coloured gemstone’s durability and colour. Over time, and in excess, they can also fade or damage some gemstones, such as amethyst, kunzite, topaz and shell cameos. Pearls and other delicate materials, as they will bleach under extreme exposure to light. Other gems, especially amber, can darken over time when exposed to too much light. Excessive heat and sudden temperature changes may also fracture some gems. Heat can easily remove the natural moisture these gems need to keep their beauty. Pearls, for instance, can dry out, crack and discolour. Opals can turn white or brown, develop tiny cracks.
Exposure to chemicals can damage or discolour precious metals – gold, silver and platinum – and may harm some coloured gems. Even everyday substances like hairspray, lotion, perfume or other cosmetics can contain chemicals that will permanently damage the surface of your pearls and other delicate or porous gems (like turquoise). Fine jewellery should be removed before diving into a chlorinated swimming pool or before using household cleaners. Many of these cleaners contain ammonia, which can be too harsh for delicate gems or vintage jewellery. Chlorine bleach, another common household solvent, can pit or damage gold alloys.
Many coloured gemstones are routinely treated to improve the appearance of colour and clarity. These treatments can be negatively affected by heat, solvents, steam and ultrasonic cleaners. Knowing whether your gem has been treated is the first step to knowing how to care for it.
Please also read about jewellery care guidelines on our "Jewellery Care" page so you can be sure you’re looking after your jewellery well.
A type of chalcedony; a cryptocrystalline quartz. This means the crystals are so tiny they do not show up under normal magnification.
This is not a stone but the naturally hardened resin of the amber pine, Pinus Succinifera. Transparent amber is 120-180 million years old. Opaque amber, called copal, is 60 million years old. We use Baltic Amber in all of our pieces.
Amethyst is a form of quartz. The top grade is a deep purple and has no flaws or inclusions. When heated to 540 C amethysts turn dark yellow or reddish-brown and are called citrines.
This yellow quartz can be found naturally or made by heating amethyst. Citrines can vary in colour, from orange to gold all the way through to yellow.
This is not a stone in the usual sense but a rock-like material formed from the underwater deposit of many tiny skeletons of invertebrate animals. We do not use real coral but formed coral in our pieces due to environmental concerns.
Also known as CZ, Cubic Zirconium is a transparent, singly refractive, man-made gem produced from the element zirconium. It is available in many colours, as well as a bright white that resembles diamond.
Garnet is a deep red, almost burgundy gem.
Jasper occurs in many colours and patterns, including stripes and pictures. These are really fossilized algae made when decomposed organic matter was replaced by silicon oxide.
This is blue iridescent feldspar found in Labrador.
Known for its deep blue colour, sometimes found with flecks of gold coloured pyrite or whitish-grey mottlings of calcite.
A copper ore made up of deep and pale green stripes or concentric circles.
Moonstone is a beautiful pale white stone that gives off a blue shine when it diffracts light.
Onyx occurs in many colours, most commonly in black but can also be seen in green and red.
A beautiful stone that shows a range of colour flashes, usually including red, blue, green and violet. The play of colours is the result of water trapped in the stone.
Pearls are created within living shelled molluscs. The ideal pearl is perfectly round and smooth. We use freshwater pearls in all our pieces.
Peridot occurs as pale to deep yellow green in a gemstone, it refracts light beautifully.
Quartz is a single crystal that is generally transparent and either clear or coloured to be purple, yellow or brown. It refracts the light beautifully and looks amazing on the skin.
This light violet to blue coloured gem shows three distinct colours depending on the angle of viewing. Most tanzanite will have a deep purple shimmer, which shines stunningly in the light.
A transparent stone usually of golden yellow but also occurring as pink, red, blue, green and colourless specimens. Topaz is a very hard and resistant gem, making it extremely scratch resistant and versatile. You will find a lot of Blue Topaz in our jewellery, showing a beautiful ocean blue colour against the skin.
A blue or green stone, usually opaque. Some pieces of turquoise are cut so that they contain some of the rock in which they were formed and some show fine dark lines running throughout the stone. We use both types of turquoise in our pieces, so you are able to decide on the style you like best.
A transparent hard stone occurring as brownish or green material, usually heated to turn it pale yellow and blue. It can be found naturally coloured as orange-red, purple, reddish-brown and brownish yellow.