Brooches: A royal trend

Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge, in Canada last year

In recent years, brooches seem to have been something of a forgotten jewellery trend, lacking the popularity of more commonly worn items like rings and pendants. However, this season they are back in a huge way, with more and more celebrities are getting snapped in their pretty pins.

Kate Middleton may have sparked the resurgence of the trend, as she has stepped out on many royal appearances in a number of stunning pieces. Her fondness for brooches was first noticeable during her first official trip as the Duchess of Cambridge in Canada last year, where she wore a diamond and platinum brooch with a maple leaf design that was originally a present from Canada to the Queen. Photos of Kate at the royal occasion had the public clamouring to get their hands on unique vintage and antique pieces in a bid to imitate her sophisticated style.

On Saint Patrick’s Day this year, Kate was spotted wearing a charming gold shamrock brooch on her visit to the Irish Guards in Aldershot, and for the Queen’s Jubilee celebrations she sported a silver double dolphin brooch – a wedding gift from the Royal Navy. It seems that for every occasion, Kate has a brooch to match, and each piece not only accessorises the outfit in an elegant way, but can also become a symbol of support.

If you want to recreate Kate’s fashion statement, why not try delving into the antique stores in Hatton Garden? As London’s most distinguished jewellery district, there are a number of retailers that specialise in antique jewellery and brooches. Landsburg & Son, for instance, are a family-run jewellers that provide fine antique and Art Deco pieces from Roman times up to the 1950s, and offer a number of brooches that emulate those chosen by the Duchess herself.

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Anniversary jewellery

This guide to traditional anniversary metals and stones will help you to ensure that your loved one is thrilled with their gift, year after year.

25th anniversary – Silver
Silver anniversaries mark a quarter century of marriage, a proud moment for any couple. Silver jewellery, such as a necklace or ring, or elegant silverware, such as plates or cutlery, both make ideal gifts for this particular occasion.

30th anniversary – Pearl
Pearls are classic and timeless gems, the perfect symbol to represent three decades spent together! For ladies, a pair of pretty pearl stud earrings would be an excellent choice, whilst men could be treated to some pearl adorned cufflinks.

40th anniversary – Ruby
Dazzling red rubies always make a beautiful choice of gift, but they are particularly appropriate for a 40th wedding anniversary. A ruby pendant or set of drop earrings would be a lovely present that can be worn daily or for special occasions, depending on how decadent the recipient is feeling.

50th anniversary – Gold
A gift made from bright and cheerful yellow gold is a great way to commemorate a 50 year marriage. However, if you’re looking to surprise your other half with something a little more unique, you could consider jewellery or plating made from rose gold, which is known for its pretty but unusual pink hue.

60th anniversary – Diamond
A diamond anniversary is exceptional in today’s society – only 5.5% of couples make it to this momentous occasion, and it therefore seems fitting that the day is marked with something as precious as a diamond. A diamond encrusted eternity ring, for instance, would be the perfect present on a day as special as this, to celebrate the years gone by and denote a promise for many more to come.

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Unique engagement ring ideas

Brilliant round cut solitaire diamonds are the most popular type of engagement ring.

Brilliant round cut solitaire diamonds are the most popular type of engagement ring.

Engagement rings are a special purchase, chosen specifically with one person in mind – but with so many popular styles and designs on the market, all of which share lots of similar qualities, how can you make sure your chosen ring is truly unique?

Brilliant round cut solitaire diamonds are the most popular type of engagement ring, and they do make a beautiful choice. However, if you’re looking for something a little quirkier, you could try one of these more unusual options.

Opt for multiple diamonds

Engagement rings traditionally feature a diamond – but other than tradition, there’s no reason to limit yourself to just one! You could opt for a larger stone framed by lots of smaller ones, or a line of similar sized gems.

Choose different stones

Again, it is only tradition that dictates you have to choose a diamond at all – other gemstones such as rubies, emeralds, or sapphires can also look lovely. For a particularly personal touch, you could choose your beloved’s birthstone.

Include an engraving

If you want a ring with a more subtly unique touch, you could consider customising your choice with an engraving. Popular options include a sentimental quote, a name, or even the date of the engagement itself!

Redesign an heirloom

If you have a family ring that you’d like to use, but think it’s in need of a bit of a refresh, you could consider getting it redesigned by a professional jeweller. The jewellers of Hatton Garden have a wealth of experience and would be happy to help – why not pay them a visit and see what they can come up with?

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Popular precious metals for jewellery


All quality jewellery is made with precious metal, but if you’re looking to invest in a new piece for your collection, it can be difficult to decide which of these precious metals to choose. This guide will help you to ensure that your new bracelet, ring or pendant is the right one for you!


Gold

Gold is probably the most traditionally famous precious metal. Known for its durability, gold resists corrosion and rusting, so that you can be sure your jewellery will stay strong and shiny. The colour is usually a bright, yellowy shade, but variations include pink hued rose gold and the very rare blue and purple golds, which are made by alloying gold with iron and aluminium respectively.

Silver

Pure, fine silver is usually too soft to mould in to objects, so the substance is usually alloyed with copper to make it strong enough to work with. It has previously been a particularly popular material for dining implements, but looks just as beautiful when used in jewellery. Although it is not very chemically reactive, silver still needs to be polished to stay looking its best.

Platinum

Silver coloured precious metal is the most ductile, meaning that it is easily moulded or shaped into items such as jewellery. Despite this, it still has a good resistance to wear and tarnish, making it a long lasting choice.

If you need further advice on the types of previous metal available, why not visit the jewelers of Hatton Garden? The jewellery experts of the district will be able to answer all your questions and help you to choose a stunning item of jewellery that will stand the test of time.

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Pearls of wisdom

Pearl jewellery is a classic style, often associated with glamorous Hollywood stars of yesteryear (think Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s). However, pearls aren’t just a symbol of times gone by – they can and should be a modern addition to any jewellery collection.

Natural pearls are a rare find – they develop in oysters as a result of biological processes, in both saltwater and freshwater environments. Cultured pearls are still created in this way, but the natural process is giving a biological boost by the harvester, encouraging the pearl to grow more quickly.  Because of this interference, cultured pearls tend to be less expensive than natural pearls, but they are still as striking and opalescent as their organic counterparts.

Fully developed pearls vary in size and shade, but all have the same milky white finish that the gems are known for. According to experts, pearl jewellery should be matched to the owner’s skin, to set off the shades in the best light.

If you’re looking to purchase some pearls for yourself, pay a visit to the Imperial Pearl Company, located in the heart of Hatton Garden. The business dates back to 1840, so they’re experts in the field, and stock a wide range of pearl necklaces, earring, broaches and more. If you’re already the owner of a piece of pearl jewellery but need to restore its shine, they also offer repair, restringing and polishing services, to help you keep your pearls in perfect condition.

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