An expression of integrity, platinum's purity endows it with a brilliant white lustre. Platinum is generally 95% pure, so platinum jewellery will not fade or tarnish and is kind to the skin. (It is very rare to have an allergic reaction to platinum). Platinum's unequaled durability, density and resistance to wear makes it the most secure, protective metal for settings, which means your jewellery will be protected for a lifetime of wear. As platinum is naturally silvery white in appearance, it does not require rhodium plating like white gold. Platinum is purer and rarer than white gold and it retains its whiteness better than white gold. Platinum does not wear away and holds precious stones securely.
As it is an extremely hard metai it is an ideal setting for diamonds and gemstones. This does not stop it from scratching when worn as a ring, which will occur with normal wear and tear and like gold, it will eventually acquire its own surface patina.
The hardness of platinum whilst being an attribute makes it very difficult to work with from the jewellers perspective, and many more hours go into making and finishing a platinum piece of jewellery than one in any other precious metal.
Horton stock a wide range of platinum jewellery including engagement and wedding rings and are accredited by the International Platinum Guild as a Platinum Recommended Retailer.
Storing and Cleaning Your Platinum
Store pieces seperately, in a jewellery box or chamois bag so they don't get scratched by other items of jewellery. Clean your platinum jewellery periodically. This will help ensure its fine appearance and will help it last. We offer a complimentary cleaning service to all our customers and should you wish to have your platinum jewellery polished we can arrange for this to be carried out by our workshop for a small charge. Should you wish to clean your jewellery at home we always recommend to our customers that they use only a soft bristled toothbrush and warm water with washing up liquid, then rinse and gently dry with a soft cloth.
18ct White Gold has a slight natural yellow tint. It is normal practice to finish white gold items with a rhodium plating which renders the piece 'silver' white. Items such as earrings, pendants, bracelets and necklaces do not suffer the wear and tear that rings do and as a consequence rings in white gold will show signs of the underlying yellow tint after a period of wear. This can easily be rectified with a re-polish and new rhodium plating.
Rings with large plain surfaces are more prone to this than others with a detailed surface. We always recommend that rings are removed when gardening or doing work which could cause them to get knocked or scratched. If you have any queries regarding this a member of our staff will gladly be able to offer advice.
Their are four main factors that determine quality and value. These are known as the four C's, which stand for colour, clarity, cut and carat.
The 4 C's - A Guide to Buying Diamond Jewellery
While many diamonds appear colourless or white, they may actually have subtle yellow or brown tones that can be detected when comparing diamonds side by side. Colourless diamonds are the rarest and most valuable of all.
Clarity is an indication of a diamond's purity, determined by naturally occuring internal characteristics called inclusions. These characteristics are sometimes not visible to the naked eye and they are what make each diamond unique.
To transform the diamond into a beautiful gem, it is cut with precise facets. Well cut diamonds have amazing brilliance and fire. This is caused by light reflecting off the diamond's surfaces. The key to desirable fire and brilliance is proportion. Light striking a shallow cut diamond or a diamond cut too deep is lost through the sides or bottom and is not reflected back to the top. Of all the cuts, the perfectly sparkling round brilliant cut is the most popular diamond shape, but there are many others to choose from, including the classic emerald cut, with its clean lines and sophisticated shape, or the elegant ovals or cushion cuts.
Diamonds are measured in terms of weight, not size. One carat is equal to 100 points. Two diamonds of equal weight can have different values, because the quality is still determined by the colour, clarity and cut.
Generally all our diamonds are F-G colour and no less than VS in clarity. We are happy to source diamonds on request for a particular quality and budget or to match an existing piece of jewellery.
We also offer certified diamonds. These are stones which are independently assessed by recognised gem laboratories in Europe and America. We are able to supply high quality stones from 0.25 carats upwards.
You can be assured that our diamonds come from recognised, reputable sources in line with the Kimberley Process which certifies the source of uncut diamonds from their country of origin.
We have a diamond information booklet by the Diamonds Trading Council giving information about the qualities of diamonds. Please email us to request one and we will gladly send you a copy.
Buying a Bespoke Engagement Ring
We offer a bespoke design service for engagement rings. If you are interested in this service, we would arrange a consultation at our shop in Richmond to discuss ideas and styles. Sketches can then be drawn up and the perfect, bespoke ring created!
We also offer to tailor-make wedding bands to compliment engagement rings (the engagement ring does not need to be a Horton purchase for this service). The bands can then be produced to fit around prominent stones or the antique settings of a family heirloom.
Care of Diamonds
While diamonds are extremely hard, they can still suffer chips and fractures from sharp blows to the stone. Naturally, you should always try to protect your jewellery from sharp blows. Diamonds are also extremely scratch-resistant, however it is possible to scratch a diamond with another diamond, so care must always be taken to ensure that stones do not knock each other when worn or stored together.
To keep your diamond jewellery looking sparkling and brilliant, we advise regular cleaning. We offer a complimentary cleaning service to all our customers. Should you wish to clean your jewellery at home we always recommend to our customers that they use only a soft bristled toothbrush and warm water with washing up liquid, then rinse and gently dry the jewellery with a soft cloth.
We offer a wide range of fine quality pearls to suit every taste. Our cultured freshwater pearls from China come in different shapes, among them the traditional round ones or the very fashionable baroque pearl. Colours range from the natural such as creamy whites and pearls with pink or apricot hues, through to the stained version like the popular silver, dark grey and black pearls.
Our range of South Sea pearls from the North Coast of Australia are a very fine quality of pearl, round in shape, always above 10mm with a silver white lustre. We also have a select range of stunning Tahitian Pearls well known for their greyish to black colours.
We make bespoke pearl jewellery for special commissions or bridal jewellery. Please call us to discuss what you are looking for. We are happy to source any size or colour pearl, you can then choose the length of a necklace or how you would like the pearls set and we will make a piece of unique pearl jewellery for you!
Tahitian and South Sea Pearls
The rarest, most revered and finest pearls are those from Tahiti and the South Seas. In pristine waters around the north coast of Australia where the temperature is gentle and the atmosphere nurturing, the South Sea pearl spends two years within the host oyster. A pearl is born when a foreign particle makes its way into a host oyster. As a defence mechanism against the intruder, the oyster begins to secrete a crystal-like substance called nacre, comprising of organic and inorganic materials from within the living tissue of the oyster. After many layers, and over two to three years, the once small particle transforms into a beautiful glowing pearl. In cultured pearls this process is speeded up by the insertion of a round nucleus which the nacre grows on.
As in all things, true beauty comes from within, so the one virtue rated above all others in a South Sea pearl is its lustre. Lustre is the result of light reflected from the pearl's surface combined with its deep inner glow (iridescence). The quality and thickness of the nacre gives the pearl both its radiance and deep glow. The combination of light reflecting on the pearl's surface and light refracting between each layer of nacre within the pearl is what makes each pearl unique. Lustre has the magic to minimise other perfections and is considered the soul of the pearl.
The species of oyster and the environment in which they grow are the main factors determining a pearl's colour and complexion. South Sea pearls are highly coveted for their rich varied colours. Top quality South Sea pearls are cultured in a different oyster to the traditional Japanese cultured pearl. Pearls from the Pinctada maxima oyster come in shades of white, ivory, silver, blue, yellow and gold.
Pearls from the Pinctada margaritifera oyster (referred to as Tahitian or black pearls) grow in a large oyster similar to that of South Sea pearls, the difference being that these oysters have a shell with a 'black lip' which results in the cultured pearls being formed naturally black, the colour ranging from a silver/pewter colour, through blue, green aubergine to jet black.
Shape and Size
South Sea Pearls come in a variety of shapes and as a product of nature, each pearl is individual and unique. The major categories of South Sea pearls are round, near round, drop, button, baroque and circle. South Sea pearls are renowned for their large sizes and the Pinctada maxima oyster is the largest species of oyster capable of producing a pearl. South Sea pearls are generally more than 9mm in size and tend to average around 12mm to 14mm.
Freshwater Cultured Pearls
In the past few years there have been huge developments in the production of freshwater cultured pearls. What used to be known as 'rice' pearls have now developed through production methods into much larger pearls of even sizes, rivalling the traditional Japanese cultured pearl.
Freshwater pearls are available in a huge variety of colours, the pinks, pale purples and apricots are usually natural colours; other popular colours, grey and black are dyed. Other shades available include pale blue, green, yellow/gold, copper and red. All in an amazing variery of traditional and original shapes.
When not being worn, pearls are best kept in a chamois, silk or cotton bag. Store pieces seperately so they don't get scratched by other pearls or other items of jewellery. Annual strand restringing is recommended for longetivity for pearls worn regularly.