As a goldsmith I work in a number of different precious metals, including sterling silver (mainly for my studio collections), and 9ct and 18ct yellow, white and red / rose gold. Precious metals are bought and sold as commodities and their price fluctuates daily. I use eco-friendly or recycled metals rather than 'new' metals wherever possible.
Sterling silver is a worldwide recognised form of precious metal. The fineness of the precious metal content of jewellery and silverware is expressed in parts per thousand. Sterling Silver items are hallmarked 925 to indicate it contains 92.5% silver. It is inadvisable to create jewellery from pure silver as it would be too soft and is therefore alloyed (mixed) with copper to make it durable. Please see the 'Jewellery Care' page for further information about how to look after your jewellery.
I am happy to make rings in silver but due to the relative softness of this metal I would not recommend this precious metal for wedding rings. It wears at a much quicker rate than other precious metals such as gold, palladium and platinum. Rings that are intended to be worn everyday need to be durable to withstand everyday use for an extended length of time, so for this reason sterling silver is not ideal. If you still want to consider silver for this type of ring and would like gemstones too, then I would recommend that the settings be created in gold (white or yellow) to protect them from wear.
Gold needs to be alloyed (mixed) with other metals such as silver, copper and zinc for it to be durable for use in jewellery. The ratio of the alloys used determines its properties, colour and carat i.e. 9ct, 14ct, 18ct & 22ct gold. 100% pure gold is 24ct and as such is too soft to use to create jewellery. Alloys are also used to change the colour (yellow, white and red) of the metal. For example, a higher proportion of palladium is alloyed to the gold to achieve white gold and a higher proportion of copper is added to create red gold. There are many differences between the carats and colours of gold, not just their cost but the general look, finish, colour, weight and tarnish resistance. Further details can be found below but in summary, I believe that 18ct gold offers the best all round properties to create fine jewellery. Its proportion of gold to other metals offers both quality and resilience.
18ct alloys are almost completely resistant to tarnish, whereas 9ct alloys are less so. This is because 9ct gold alloys is alloyed with higher quantities of base metal (such as copper). Base metals are susceptible to oxidisation (tarnishing) from chemicals in the atmosphere as well as perspiration, perfume, some fabrics and household chemicals etc. This means that like sterling silver, lower carat alloys such as 9ct and 14ct gold are susceptible to discolouration (tarnish). These alloys require regular cleaning to maintain their appearance or to remove tarnish but some areas maybe harder to clean by hand. I supply a polishing cloth impregnated with anti-tarnishing properties which can help to keep your jewellery clean but please see the 'Jewellery Care' page for further details.
24ct gold is completely pure and as such is not suitable for use in jewellery. 22ct gold, has a lovely rich yellow hue and although popular in the past, it still quite soft so I generally do not recommend it. The exception being when using an old piece of jewellery within a new design for sentimental reasons. A practical alternative to 22ct gold is 18ct rose gold as it has a very similar look but is more suited to withstand everyday wear, particularly when is used in rings.
18ct Gold is used for fine jewellery. The carat refers to the purity of the gold. The fineness of the precious metal content is expressed in 24th's. 18ct Gold items are hallmarked 750 to indicate that its gold content is a minimum of 75% in yellow, white and red colours. The higher the carat, the more gold the alloy contains, the heavier the metal and greater its resistance to tarnishing. I believe that 18ct gold offers the best all round properties to create fine jewellery. Its proportion of gold to other metals offers both quality and resilience. It is particularly suitable for wedding rings which are intended to be worn for an extended length of time and will need to withstand the rigours of everyday wear.
9ct Gold is the most commonly used carat of gold in the UK. The carat refers to the purity of the gold. The fineness of the precious metal content is expressed in parts per thousand. 9ct Gold items are hallmarked 375 to indicate that its gold content is 37.5% in yellow, white and red colours.
Gold alloys can be created to a number of different colours. The most common being yellow, red and white. This is achieved by changing the type and ratio of other metals used when it is alloyed.
18ct yellow gold is bold and bright due to it's high gold content of more than 75%, which also makes is highly resistant to tarnish. It's quality and resilience means this alloy is ideally suited for wedding and engagement rings.
9ct yellow gold is a very subtle yellow colour and lighter than it's 18ct gold counterpart. With a lower gold content of 37.5% it is a mellow yellow but with a higher amount of base metal, this alloy is susceptible to tarnish.
14ct yellow gold is somewhere in between in colour although not widely used in the UK, this alloy is more commonly used in the US.
Red gold is created by alloying gold with a higher proportion of copper than other alloys. 9ct red gold is quite a strong rich red rose colour due to it's high proportion of copper so it is a redder and more coppery colour. 18ct red gold is a more subtle 'rose' colour due to it's smaller proportion of copper than 9ct red gold and it's high yellow gold content which is a minimum of 75%.
It's richer hue has a similar appearance to that of 22ct gold. If you like the colour of 22ct gold, then 18ct rose gold provides a more practical alternative to 22ct as it is much softer and therefore less practical than 18ct gold.
18ct red gold looks stunning when used in contrast with 18ct white gold. When used in combination with yellow gold the difference it much more subtle but can add a rich warm colour to a design. I often use 18ct red gold for the leaves as it gives a wonderful autumnal feel to a piece.
White gold is created by alloying yellow gold with 'white' metals to achieve a 'whiter' appearance.
9ct white gold is similar to silver but has a slightly yellow tinge. This alloy contains a minimum of 37.5% gold, with the rest made up of copper, silver and zinc to 'whiten' the alloy. However, like other 9ct alloys, it contains copper which makes the alloy susceptible to discolouration (see 'tarnish resistance' above).
18ct White Gold is created by alloying yellow gold with other 'white metals'. Unlike most commercially produced 'browner' 18ct white gold jewellery, I use a high palladium content 18ct white gold alloy which is a lovely warm subtle grey colour (Palladium is a metal which is a member of the platinum family). Therefore it does not require rhodium plating (info below) as the subtle grey colour of this alloy is generally preferred.
However there are instances when you may want to consider rhodium plating, for instance if your engagement ring already has a rhodium plated finish, although plated and non-plated finishes can work well together. If you are considering this, I always recommend seeing the high palladium 18ct white gold alloy in it's natural state first.
Rhodium (a white metal which is a member of the platinum family) is commonly used to plate most commercially produced 18ct white gold to achieve a 'whiter' finish on greyer or browner 18ct white alloys. It's finish is nearly as white as silver but with a slightly cooler look. Rhodium is a hard wearing metal but with time (especially with rings) the finish will wear and require re-plating, which is far from ideal. The length of time in which this will need to be carried out is hard to predict and will vary from wearer to wearer.
Combining sterling silver and gold can be a great way to highlight the details of a pieces, although due to it relative softness to gold I don't recommend sterling silver for wedding rings.
A hallmark is an independent worldwide respected guarantee of the fineness and quality of the metal. It comprises a series of marks applied to articles of gold, silver and platinum. It indicates that the piece has been independently tested at an Assay Office and guarantees that it conforms to the legal standards of precious metal content, known as fineness.
This is my Sponsor's mark which is struck on all pieces and is registered at The Goldsmiths' Company, Assay Office, London, which has a record of testing the quality of gold and silver dating back to c1300. A Sponsor's mark takes the form of the makers initials surrounded by a shield design and is unique to the maker.
A Hallmark consists of a series of marks applied to articles of the precious metals including, platinum, gold, palladium and silver.
The majority of my work is hallmarked, with the exception of some smaller items such as silver items that weigh under 7.8 grams or pieces under 1 gram in gold, which is the maximum legal limit for un-hallmarked pieces and/or pieces that are exempted because hallmarking would damage the design. However, quite often pieces that are under this weight are often hallmarked anyway. If you have any questions to whether a piece is hallmarked, please contact me.
Designs can also be made to incorporate diamonds, sapphires or other gemstones. There are various options to consider when choosing one, for instance diamonds and sapphires are a good choice because of their hardness and ability to withstand everyday wear. This makes them particularly suited for inclusion into rings designs. Small 1mm to 2mm gemstones can range £15 to £80, increasing in price depending on the type, size, colour and quality of a gemstone.
Gemstones can be set in various ways. I tend to use round gemstones as I find that they lend themselves to the organic flowing lines of my designs, but occasionally I use other shapes. Whether they are set into the curls of the tendrils or a rub-over or claw setting, they can be used to enhance a design with their size, quality and colour or be used to represent something. For instance, birthstones can be chosen to represent your birthday or family members birthdays. Existing 'family' gemstones can be considered for inclusion for sentimental or environmental reasons. Please get in contact to discuss things further.
Due to their hardness, diamonds, sapphires and rubies are a particularly good choice for rings, especially those such as wedding and engagement rings that are intended to be worn everyday for a long time.
Diamonds are the hardest naturally occurring substance found on Earth. All diamonds are sourced from reputable suppliers that adhere to the Kimberley Process, providing the assurance that all diamonds are conflict free.
The price of a diamond, as with all gemstones, is affected by the colour, clarity, cut, and carat (weight), commonly known as the four C's. Generally diamonds larger than 0.25ct are certified and smaller ones are not. Certification, means that a diamond has undergone quality analysis by a trusted gemological laboratory such as the GIA (Gemological Institute of America) and have been issued with a certificate. This is a grading system recognised worldwide.
A good alternative to using a diamond would be a sapphire or ruby. They are hard wearing and also available in a range of colours. Sapphires are precious gemstones that are widely known to be blue (ranging from dark blackish blue to light cornflower blue) but are also available in other colours such as pink, purple, yellow, lilac, green, white, black and even orange. A sapphire is a variety of mineral called corundum, with the red colour being known as a ruby. Only small amounts of colouring trace elements separate rubies from other colours of sapphires. On the Moh's scale of hardness which is defined by a minerals resistance to scratching, where 1 is the softest and 10 is the hardest, diamonds rate as 10 and sapphires are 9.
Other gemstones can be incorporated. Please get in touch to discuss you requirements.
If you don't already know the ring size you require, you are welcome to visit me at a craft event or arrange a time to visit my workshop to determine it. Alternatively, gauging a ring-size is a service that most high street jewellers will provide free of charge.
UK ring sizes are measured from A-Z and in half sizes. I can also take International orders so please let me know what country you are ordering from.
Ring Sizing Systems: Different countries use different ring size systems.
The size of your hands can change over the course of the day and can also be affected by temperature (your fingers will be smaller when it’s cold and larger when they are hotter). It might be best to have your finger measured a few times to ensure you order the best size, usually in the afternoon or evening when your fingers are likely to be at their largest. Remember your hands will be slightly larger in the warmer months and smaller in the colder ones. Therefore ideally you want a ring to fit snuggly in the warmer months but not so tight as to be uncomfortable or too loose in the cooler months.
Please note that the width of the ring you are measuring is also another factor to consider as this can also make a difference to the size. Wide rings are usually one size larger than the actual finger size. If you are not able to visit me then I would suggest trying on rings in the width and size you require.
I hope this information has been of help. Ultimately, the ring size is your decision, but I hope this has given you a good guide. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to get in touch. Below is some information about possible ways to obtain the correct size for a surprise.
Using and existing ring that fits
If the commission is intended as a surprise for the recipient and you need to find out the ring size, there are a couple of ways to determine this. If there is a ring that the person already wears on the finger it is intended for, the best way to determine the size it to take it to a local jewellers for them to gauge the size. Make sure it is a ring that has been recently worn as finger sizes can change over time.
Measuring an existing ring yourself
It is possible to measure the inside diameter of the ring to determine the size, but if you do so, please make sure this is with an accurate tool, like a micrometer. A ruler will not be sufficient to give you an accurate reading. Fractions of a millimetre will mean the difference between one size and another. 1mm either way can make a difference of more than two sizes.
If the ring is intended as an engagement ring the intended recipient may not have a ring that is already worn on that finger. I would recommend that you either ask for the size or see if a close friend or family member would take the person shopping for jewellery and see if they are able to find it out. Another option, although not full proof, is to get a size for a ring that is worn on the right hand ring finger. However, in general, the primary hand (the one you write with), usually measures a half size bigger than the other, though this is not always the case.
It is always best to make the ring to the correct size first, so if you are able to find out the exact size this is ideal. If required, it may be possible to successfully resize a ring within a couple of sizes. However, due to the detailed nature of my work some are more difficult than others and there can be issues in either making a ring larger or smaller, especially if set with gemstones. Therefore it is best to discuss the options on an individual basis and will be quoted for as such. In most cases, it is far easier to make a ring larger than to make it smaller, as sizing down requires removing a section of the band. This is not ideal as this involves cutting, reshaping and soldering the band, which can possibly alter the flow of the design or position of a feature (possibly breaking the flow of a tendril). There is a possibility with settings that the gemstones in the ring can be disrupted and may require being re-set. There is usually a greater cost associated with making a ring smaller than larger. To discuss this further, please get in touch.
There is another option if you decide you would rather wait to have the ring made after your proposal. I can make up a presentation box for you to give to the recipient when you propose. This consists of a printout of the proposed design on high quality paper, along with information about my work. This is enclosed in one of my large 'Georgina Ettridge' branded presentation boxes. With this option the recipient will see the thought and effort that you have taken to think about the ring, but you have the peace of mind that the ring size and design can be checked before it is made.
The presentation commission box is £25 but if for instance you wish me to source a gemstone or have anything else included, this is worked out on an individual basis. Should you proceed with a commission, the cost of the box will be deducted from the total of your commission. If you are interested in this option, please get in touch to discuss this further.
Chains are available in different lengths including 16" (which is a standard length), 18" & 20", which can be selected during the ordering process. If you are unsure, please place the order and add to the 'notes' box that this is to be confirmed and this can be discussed after the order has been placed, and charged accordingly.
Longer chain lengths from 22" to 30" chains are available on request and are quoted for on an individual basis. Please get in touch via the Contact page to discuss your requirements.
A guide to determining the correct chain length:
Either measure a favourite necklace of a length that you like or if you are unsure about which length you require, use a piece of string with a knot in one end and bring the other end loosely around to where you wish the necklace to sit. (Please remember that the pendant will sit below this line - look at the approximate dimensions of each individual piece).
If the necklace is a gift, if you can measure a chain that the person already wears. If this is not possible, please note that 16" is the standard length. If the length you purchase is incorrect I am happy to exchange it, provided the chain is returned unworn in its original condition.
If you would like more than one length of chain, extras can be purchased from me. Please Contact me to discuss your requirements.
If you have a bracelet that already fits you, measure the length of bracelet and make a note of it on the order. From this I can make it to your exact size.
Alternatively, measure your wrist and then add 2cm as this will give you the length required. A standard length bracelet is 19cm to 20cm (7.5"-8").
If you have a bangle that already fits you, measure the inside diameter and make a note of it on the order. From this I can make it to your exact size.
Measuring your hand
To measure the correct fit, hold your hand outstretched as if you were putting on a bangle and measure the widest part of your hand that the bracelet will slide over. The average size is around 19cm-20cm (7.5" - 8.0") depending on how big or small your hand is.
Earrings on hook fittings instead of posts?
All earrings, unless otherwise stated, have a 'post' fitting. If you prefer hooks, many of my designs can be altered to accommodate this fitting. Please contact me stating the piece you have in mind. There is normally no extra charge for this service.
Can earrings be made into clip-ons?
A lot of my designs can accommodate clip-on or screw back fixing earrings. Please contact me with the design you have in mind and I will be able to advise if it is suitable for the style and the additional cost.
In the past I have supplied galleries and retail outlets, including the various branches of the John Lewis Partnership, including Southampton, Glasgow, Bluewater and the Oxford Street branch in London. However along side my 'Collections' my passion lies with working one on one creating bespoke pieces. I feel very privileged to have created many pieces over the years to celebrate or commemorate big life events such as engagements, weddings and anniversaries. I take great pride in my work and it means a great deal to me that the pieces I create will be treasured for years to come. Please see the various pages in the 'Bespoke' and 'Wedding & Engagement Rings' section of the website. Once you have reviewed these, please use the 'Bespoke Enquiry Form' and I look forward to discussing things further. I am based in Hampshire UK, near to the beautiful New Forest, which provides inspiration for my work. However, your location is no barrier to me creating a piece for you.
If you would like to see what other people have said about my work and images these are featured on the 'Testimonials' page.
Whether it is a traditional diamond solitaire ring or something more unusual there are variety of styles, gemstones and precious metals which can be used to create the perfect ring to mark this important life event.
It's also a good idea to consider what designs would work well with a wedding band too. I can create designs to fit alongside a traditional plain wedding band, or if you want to consider something more elaborate, there are suggestions I can make, (examples are copied below).
Examples of two and three ring Bridal Sets:
I can create two rings designed to be worn together. They can be made so they look like one ring when worn together, but will also equally look good when worn individually. I have also made designs that incorporate three rings, one engagement ring and two weddings rings. However, the third could be added later as an eternity ring if you so wish.
If you already have an engagement ring and would like a wedding ring created to fit with it, this is possible. There have been many occasions where I have done this even, with unusual shaped rings. Please see the examples below and visit the 'Shaped Wedding Rings' page in the Bespoke Gallery.
Please contact me via the Bespoke Enquiry Form to discuss the various options further. If known please let me know the carat of gold and the type and size of the gemstone that you have. If you can email me a photo it's a really useful way to initially determining what would be feasible and what designs work best.
Wedding Rings created to fit with unusual shaped engagement rings:
I also create matching rings or ones in a similar stye if you would like yours and your partners ring to be the same or have a similar look. Please visit the 'Matching Sets' page for examples.
Engraving can be a lovely way to personalise jewellery. Rings can be engraved with text, a date, initials or even a motif. Quotes are dependant on what is required. Please note that in some instances this can add to time-scale but this is looked at on individual basis, so to discuss your requirements please contact me.
Precious pieces that will last a lifetime and serve as a reminder of a wonderful wedding day.
Wedding and bridal jewellery can be created for the bride, groom, bridal party or as thank you gifts for bridesmaids, ushers, family members and other members of the bridal party to present on the day. Designs can be tailored to your requirements and compliment existing pieces such as the wedding and engagement rings.
The 'Collections' displays a variety of different pieces including matching necklaces, bangles and earrings that are perfect for you and your bridal party on the special day. These precious pieces will last a life time to be worn again and again and serve as a reminder of your special day.
You can commission me to create a special piece of jewellery, designed and handcrafted especially for you. I am also able to create matching sets for your bridal party. These can be 'Bespoke' designs created to your own requirements or one of my existing designs that can be customised for you.
There are many pieces of jewellery in the Collections pages that are ideal for bridesmaids and make wonderful thank you presents.
If you would like to see what other people have said about my work, please see 'Testimonials' pages.
Sterling silver is a precious metal that is prone to tarnishing. Several ways which will accelerate this process are;
It is a good idea to store your jewellery separately from each other to prevent small surface scratches from occurring when they rub together and will also prevent them from becoming entangled. If you look after your jewellery it will continue to look beautiful for years to come. I provide an anti tarnish care cloth with every order which is ideal for use on sterling silver. Silver does tarnish with exposure to the air, but regularly using this care cloth will help prevent this and even when the cloth blackens it still works well. Keep it in the plastic holder provided and do not wash it as this will remove its anti-tarnishing properties. It can also be used to clean heavily tarnished pieces and instructions for use are also enclosed.
The cloths are also available for £2.80 on the website 'Polishing Cloth' page.
Prevention / Removal
If your jewellery does become badly tarnished it should be noted that tarnishing is not a permanent effect on silver and can be removed. It is also possible to retain/restore a high bright shine with the proper care in a number of ways as mentioned above. If your jewellery has a build up of dirt and grime then a mild detergent and a soft toothbrush is a good way to remove this.
Please note that with regards to tarnish I do not recommend using Silver Dip. It hastens the speed in which silver tarnishes afterwards as well as the possibility of pitting and damaging the metal in the process.
An 'Ultra-Sonic' machine will thoroughly clean pieces, removing tarnish and any grime that has built up (even from areas that a cloth cannot reach). However, it should be noted that pearls and some gemstones are not suitable for this. To restore the ultimate in high shine finishes and also remove small surface scratches, it is preferable to use a combination of re-polishing with mops and various polishing compounds and using a 'ultra-sonic' machine. These are services that I also provide so if you would like to discuss things further, please contact me to discuss your requirements. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to get in touch.