Coming to the Radisson Blu, Little Island Cork this March is a Charity Wedding Fair.
Based in Cork, Irish Dogs for the Disabled attempt to enhance the quality of life for young people and adults.
They provide fully trained assistance dogs that in turn provide physical and psychological support to their partners. They receive no funding.
So on the day there will be over 50 suppliers, myself included, covering every aspect of your wedding.
So what will I be doing on the day?
I will be on hand to offer advice on all things bling. Will be happy to talk with you about jewellery styles, metals, and of course Diamonds.
I also offer a pre-wedding service, which is a full complement of services for brides to be. Ring resizing, inspection of settings and mounts, polishing and plating service.
Do ask me on the day.
As well as the above I will be offering a Full Valuation Service** to include:
- A full Valuation service on ‘Multiple Items’ of Jewellery.
- An Itemised list of all Items of Jewellery.
- A full check of the Settings, and Stones in your Jewellery.
- A printed Schedule of all Items for Insurance Purposes.
Flat Rate of €60* for all of the above.
*I will donate €10 directly to the charity.
I will NOT be charging a ‘final value fee’ of the Item(s).
If you wish to make an appointment, you may call me on: 086 8687456 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Booking is advised. You can also drop by my stand on the day.
The Entrance Fee is €5 for adults. Prize giveaways and a fashion show throughout the day. There might even be a fabulous give away from me too!
Do please check out the wonderful work Irish Dogs for the Disabled are doing, and do please come along the 24th March 2013 to the Radisson Blu, Little Island.
Below is Breffni, held by Irish Dogs for the Disabled patron Graham Norton. Breffni was matched with 8 year old Patrick, a young man from Cork with cerebral palsy.
Patrick is now 10, walking independently and is also managing to ride his own bike.
For more information about the Wedding Fair visit Cork Weddings and Events:
For more information on Irish Dogs for the Disabled:
If you have any questions you can contact me by phone or by e-mail.
Alternatively you can join in the conversation on Twitter:
Would love your feedback, your comments and thoughts.
Michael**Multiple Items of Jewellery appraised by Michael Wall, Accredited Jewellery Professional. I am NOT buying or selling any gold, or precious metals. If you do have any items that you want to bring along to ask advice about, I will be happy to oblige.
There is an issue that seems to be confusing people. That is Carat.
Carat is the ‘weight’ of a Diamond. It does not refer to dimension size. One Carat or 1ct weighs 200 milligrams.
When I mention that a stone is 2.04ct or 3.15ct or 1.50ct I’m talking about weight. Not dimension size.
A 1.00ct Diamond with an ideal cut, will ‘measure’ approximately 6.40mm in diameter. That is the bit you see on top, the surface area of the stone.
Another point I must make. A 2.00ct Gem is ‘not’ twice the size of a 1.00ct Gem. It is twice the weight. Please do bear this in mind.
A 1.00ct will ‘measure’ approximately 6.40mm and a 2.00ct will ‘measure’ approximately 8.1mm. But a 2.00ct will ‘weigh’ twice as much.
Big is not better, as sacrifices are often made to accommodate and satisfy the need for dimension size.
Sapphires differ. Emeralds and all other Gems differ as they all have different specific gravity.
When I choose a Gem for you, I do so based on best cut grade, the optimum colour and clarity for the size and shape of your Gem.
For example I can put a 0.90ct Round with a 6.10mm size and ‘ideal cut’ beside a 1.00ct of 5.90mm with a lesser quality cut. The difference?
Does size matter?
‘Weight’ and see.
If you have any questions as to what you should be looking for, do get in touch:
086 8687456 Mon to Fri, and email@example.com
Do feel free to leave a comment, some feedback, or even a hello.
Call over to join the conversation on Twitter:
Queue the Billy May orchestration, the Al Hirt trumpet solo and it’s the makings of a superhero movie.
For the purpose of this post it’s only going to be about a gem where in one of its rarest forms is an indicator in the search for Diamond. A gem that is used as an abrasive, as a sandpaper substitute in cabinetmaking and in some instance for cutting steel. A gem that was also used as ammunition.
Januarys birthstone Garnet is commonly seen in its red or reddish brown form but is in fact one of the lesser known gems. There are six recognisable species of Garnet, with at least 17 varieties. As with a lot of gems, Garnet will share a crystal structure but it is the chemical composition that gives them colour.
Unusually among gems Garnet will exist in hybrid from. That is, a mix of two or more of the species.
Let me start with the lesser known Garnet varieties.
Demantoid: An outstanding gem and highly desirable. It was used by Peter Carl Fabergé to encrust the Jewellery of the Russian Tsars as it had a similar dispersion to Diamond and exhibited a staggering array of rainbow coloured light. Not discovered until the mid to late 1800’s it is relatively new, yet occurs in different shades of green. From a pale yellowish green to a rich Emerald colour, the Demantoid commonly occurs in sizes no greater than 0.60ct. Stones above 1.00ct are rare.
Demantoid will include needle like inclusions that take the name ‘horsetails’. They do resemble wisps of tails or a mane, and are important when identifying the gem.
Tsavorite: A most wonderful variety of Garnet of the grossular species.
Tainted by murder, intrigue, and government controls, this gem only became recognisable by the use of a strong marketing campaign by Tiffany & Co.
Before that it was known as a green grossular and more familiar to gemmologists. Unlike Demantoid it takes its colour from chromium, and iron.
Spessarite: Possibly one of the most unique Garnet species. It occurs in one basic colour and one colour only. Orange. This is why it is sometimes given the name the ‘Mandarin Garnet’. It receives its colour from one fundamental element; manganese. First identified in Spessart, Bavaria the Spessarite is now commonly found in Namibia and Nigeria. Most have a sleepy or hazy appearance due to the fine inclusions and innumerable minute crystals.
As I mentioned earlier Garnet can occur in hybrid from. Mali Garnet is a hybrid of both grossular and andradite Garnet, and Rhodolite is a mixture of pyrope and almandite Garnet. Rhodolite occurs in a Purple colour.
Falling into the the grossular species is the Leuco Garnet, which as the name suggests is in fact colourless.
So from colourless through to orange, up to red and purple there is more to Garnet than meets the eye. Coupled with the rare greens, Garnet isn’t just a dull red stone. True, the reds are no Rubies, and the Tsavorite no Emerald, but these rare Garnets can command a €10,000 per carat price.
They are a precious gem in their own right.
Few little facts:
Garnet is the Birthstone for January.
It can be given on both the 2nd and 6th Wedding Anniversaries.
Garnet will not occur in Blue.
In early biblical writing, it was referred to as a ‘carbunculus’
Garnet gets its name for the Latin ‘granatus’, Greek ‘granatum’ meaning seed like.
Garnets were used by the Hunzas as ammunition. It was said the Garnet could add ferocity to the wound.
On the Mohs Scale Garnet ranges between 6.5 and 7.5
Should you contemplate buying a Garnet, do let me know. I’m happy to guide you through that purchase and give you some tips on what to look out for.
Do please leave a comment, a question if you have any, and your thoughts.
As always, you’ll find me over on Twitter here:
Many thanks for looking
A glorious little post. Get your wellies, fairy skirts and wellies on people! Thanks Belle.
Originally posted on limmster:
I think as we get older, we forget the simple things that make us happy and we forget where to look for them. Instead we take solace in new shoes, takeaways and trashy television. It’s like we have forgotten where to look for the things that can bring a smile to our face. Ask yourself a serious question? When was the last time you and your imaginary friend made the best mud pie ever?! I am telling you, kids have it sussed.
This morning my head was full of things I had to do, housework, washing, play with my new fancy steam mop thing, pot up plants, fence the field out the back… In-between jobs, I checked in with T to make sure she was ok and as she was playing away happily I snuck out to empty the compost. For once I left the baby gate (which is actually for the benefit of the dogs) and the back door open. I squished what I could into the compost, turned around and who did I see? Tabitha! She had pulled on her fairy skirt and wellies over her pajamas and made a dash for freedom! I didn’t fancy arguing with her to try and get her back inside so we stayed out in the sun pottering. I watched her very carefully for a half an hour and learned about the silly simple things that made her sparkle! They go something like this:
Running was the first thing, she tried to race the dog, he won.
As I mentioned the last few weeks ‘Guess the Gem’ competition will be starting.
Some of you have taken part in the daily posts at Michael Wall Bespoke
Some of you are just asking when the competition starts.
It will be starting this week. So keep your eyes peeled.
All you will have to do is Guess the Gem. Or Gems in this case.
Below you will see an image. An image of 4 Gems.
Call over to Michael Wall Bespoke during the week ending 11th November 2012. Look for the same ‘Guess the Gem’ image as above somewhere on the site (it won’t be too difficult to spot), and follow the instructions given. I will be asking you for the Gem, and not the ‘Family or ‘Group’. An example: If you want to guess ‘Emerald’, say ‘Emerald’. I will not accept ‘Green Beryl’.
It will amount to nothing more than having a guess and then e-mailing the answers to me along with your name and address.
Easy as that.
Or maybe not as you’ll need to guess correctly. If you are not the only one who guesses correctly, you will be entered into a draw, and a winner will be chosen at random.
So what do you win?
This year is the first year I have ran a Competition through the Blog. To celebrate, the lucky winner will win:
A Diamond to the value of €2000.
A 0.52ct, F Colour Diamond to be precise. It is also G.I.A. Certified.
What do you need to know.
Firstly, the Competition is only available to residents of the Republic of Ireland (R.O.I). I apologise if this causes you offence, it is not intended to do so.
Secondly, the Competition is open to Fans of Michael Wall Bespoke residing in the R.O.I. I am not asking you to like, or comment. If you feel you would like to, I would appreciate that as all comments and feedback are welcomed.
Only one entry per person.
There will only be one Winner. There are no 2nd or 3rd prizes. If there is more than one correct answer, a random winner will be picked from these entries.
The Gems are marked above as being 1 to 4 left to right. I will only accept answers in that order. No exceptions.
See below for Terms & Conditions:
- This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed, administered by, or associated with, WordPress, Facebook or Twitter. By entering this competition you are providing a your answers to Michael Wall, not to WordPress, Facebook or Twitter. The information you provide will only be used for the purposes of this competition.
- You must be over 18 to enter the competition.
- The prize is a 0.52ct Certified Round Diamond and is not exchangeable for cash.
- Employees of the promoter are not eligible to enter the competition.
- We reserve the right to contact you via e-mail based on the e-mail collected when you enter the competition.
- We reserve the right to remove any comments we deem inappropriate.
- Entry to this competition will be deemed as a full acceptance of the terms and conditions.
- The competition ends on the 20th December 2012.
- The winners name will be published with any relevant promotion after the competition is over and the winner may be required to participate in unpaid publicity related to the prize.
- The promoter cannot be held responsible for problems with the network, computer hardware or software or any breakdown or failure that results in the entry not being submitted.
- The promoter reserves the right to amend these terms and conditions.
As always I welcome your feedback. If you have any questions prior to, or during the Competition, do ask. Happy to answer them.
Do share, vote if you will, and leave a comment if you like.
You’ll also find me on Twitter:
There is an ad on the telly box that annoys me slightly. Now I don’t really mind the fact it is mainly trader’s puff, and in all fairness the claims in the advert are true. It will clean anything.
However even though it may ‘clean’ your Diamond Ring it may do serious damage to the metals, other stones and finish.
When I sent a Tweet pleading with all you lovely people not to clean your Diamond Rings with this product, I forgot to say do not clean any jewellery in that manner. There are one or two correct ways, and a plethora of incorrect ways.
The most you need to do is use a soft lint free cloth, or a polishing cloth.
There’s a distinct difference between cleaning and removing a tarnished look.
Is your Ring dirty? Is there grit or dirt or foreign substances on it? If yes, it may need a clean. If it’s a little off colour or tarnished then it needs a polish etc.
Now I hear you all saying ‘Oh I clean mine in Baking Soda’, or ‘Granny cleans hers in Gin’, ‘I use Vodka’, and ‘I scrub mine with an old toothbrush’.
Firstly, if you are using Gin, or Vodka, or any other clear Alcohol here’s what you do. Take a glass, fill with ice, add sliced lime (or lemon), then pour in a decent measure of Gin or Vodka, top with your favourite mixer (I use Tonic, but any mixer will do), some garnish if you are so inclined, then sit, relax and enjoy. End of. The Gin is for drinking. So is the Vodka, so no more of that.
Toothpaste is an abrasive, especially the whitening pastes etc. It can scratch stones, even the metals. Yes it can, as Gold is not indestructible, and neither is Platinum. So no more of that either.
Using a toothbrush to clean it can be a dangerous method if it is old or stiff bristled. As well as dislodging dirt, it may dislodge a stone. Dirt may have also dislodged a stone as it caked on, so an overnight soak in a proper cleaning solution would be the best option. From there you can see if your stone(s) are loose. I’ll get to that in a bit. If not, use a soft bristled brush and the same cleaning solution to gently clean the setting and the stone(s).
Let’s just look at the simplest, most effective method to clean your Rings.
As I mentioned previously if it is caked in dirt it is best to soak overnight in a solution of warm water and washing up liquid. Yes, washing up liquid. What you need to do is just use that soapy solution to allow the dirt to soften so it will become easily dislodged with the minimum of effort.
For the majority of you they won’t be caked in dirt, so here you go.
Take a small bowl, preferable plastic or any material that won’t damage the Diamond Ring lest you drop it.
Using warm water and a drop or two of washing up liquid, immerse the Ring in and leave to soak. Take the ring by the shoulder (the pieces to the left and right of the setting), hold firmly, and clean gently with a soft brush. An artist’s bristle brush or a soft unworn toothbrush is fine for this.
Rinse with clean water and dry with a soft lint free cloth.
Your Ring is clean. If there is still some dirt remaining repeat the process, or consider soaking for a longer period.
That is it. No more.
If your Ring still has scratches or looks dull after cleaning that does not mean you have done it incorrectly. Cleaning won’t remove that. To remove scratches it will need to be professionally done.
There are a few points I want you to note:
Ultrasonic cleaners: Never ever put an Emerald, Tanzanite, Opal, Coral or Pearl in. Some mineral and organic Gems will crack, fracture and even dissolve! Stones that have been thermally enhanced or treated in some way can lose their colour. Be aware of your Gems, even Diamonds can come out worst for wear. So if in doubt leave it out.
Vigorous Cleaning: There is no need. As mentioned earlier a stone can be dislodged or pushed aside if dirt has built up. Here’s something you may not know. A Diamond will scratch, erode and wear metal if it is loose in its setting. Surprised? I thought so. Diamond is a very hard substance and will wear a setting if it is loose. If a stone is loose in its setting it can become looser over time by wearing away the surrounding setting.
Loose Stones: After you soaked the Ring overnight how can you check if the setting is loose? Here is a very handy way of doing this. Get yourself a cotton bud (cue-tip) remove the cotton ball, and just tip the Stone with it. If the stone moves, or appears to move, get it checked as soon as you can.
Detergents and cleaning agents: Some of these leave a soapy scum, some remove oils from Emeralds and other porous minerals. Some contain harsh chemicals and abrasives, that not only affect the Gems, but the Gold or Platinum and the metals mixed with them. So no more use of toothpaste’s or any chemical substances that could damage your jewellery.
Care: Yes I’m going to tell you to keep your Jewellery in a pouch, or a box. I know in the real world we all don’t sit at home in front of mirrors unclipping our Diamond Earrings before we go to bed, but a little care and attention goes a long way towards maintaining your Jewellery. It minimises the amount of knocks, and possible damage.
So there you go. I hope that covered the basics. Any questions feel free to ask. As always I welcome your feedback.
As always you can connect on Twitter:
As mentioned in my previous post, Sapphire isn’t just the blue stone that the majority of consumers are familiar with. It occurs in a variety of colours. All these colours coupled with their origins and type, will lend each Sapphire the qualities that define it.
As well as a multitude of colours, Sapphires can exhibit two unique phenomenal occurrences.
Both these phenomena are typical to Sapphire and both will affect value.
One such phenomenon is Colour-Change.
Many colour-change Sapphires come from Sri Lanka and East Africa, particularly Madagascar.
Some in the trade compare them to fine colour-change Alexandrite.
Typically, with strong change, the actual colours are blue and purple.
Colour-change Sapphires will be blue in normal light and purple under incandescent light. Occasionally they may be pink. They will change to a green colour under incandescent light.
Many Sapphires will simply ‘Shift’ colour.
There is a distinct difference. Colour-shift can occur in a Violet stone shifting to Purple. A stone that can ‘change’ from a ‘blueish green’ to a ‘brownish red’ is truly a rare specimen. Colour-change Sapphire will be predominately small in size, and their value differs. Unlike a faceted Gem such as a Padparadsha, clarity and colour take second preference. Here it is the degree of colour-change that is important.
The other phenomenon is Asterism.
It is an optical occurrence visible on the surface of the stone in the form of star-like Rays. Hence the title: ‘Star Sapphire’.
Star Sapphires have traditionally been very popular, and have been making a comeback. The sharper and straighter the rays and the purer the blue, the more valuable a blue star sapphire.
So how does Asterism occur? You may have heard the term ‘Silks’. If not, don’t worry. ‘Silks’ are fine needle like inclusions found in the stone. They lend that magnificent velvet appearance you see in Blue Sapphires.
In Star Sapphires the resulting Star is due to the reflection of light on parallel arranged inclusions within the stone.
For Star Sapphire, the silks cause a 6, or occasionally a 12 ray Star.
Unlike Faceted Gems, the Star Sapphire is cut in a Cabochon.
When it comes to value, all Sapphires have their own depending factors. Colour is premium when valuing Padparadsha, the degree of colour-change will take precedent when assigning value to a Colour-Change Sapphire.
I’ll explore this in Part 3. As always comments welcome.
If you would like to get in touch and Tweet me:
The title would make a marvellous Robert Ludlum book don’t you think? Yes? No, ok I’ll stick to the day job.
What is Corundum?
Corundum is a Mineral. If it’s Red, it’s a Ruby, if it happens to be a specific Pink-Orange colour it may well be Padparadscha.
For the purpose of this blog post I will be referring to all other colours of Corundum. The Greens, the Pinks, the Whites, and the Blues.
The Corundum otherwise known as, Sapphire.
Sapphires are most readily recognised as being Blue.
The blue Sapphire has been compared to Hyacinths and the Heavens.
The ancient Persians believed the Earth sat on Sapphire, and the stones colour was reflected in the skies. And who could blame them. The silky powder hue of a Cornflower Blue Sapphire is certainly evocative of hazy summer skies.
Pre eighteenth Century it was very easy to distinguish Sapphire, as blue stones were categorised as ‘hyacinth’. In fact it was a lot simpler as Stones were classified by colour alone. Anything Green was Emerald, anything Blue, Sapphire and so on.
Pliny the Roman encyclopaedist understood that properties other than colour were essential in identification of the Gem; however he was under a distinct disadvantage. He did not know where the stones originated, and had no others to compare them to.
So for all their good and grace, the stone was classified by colour. It wasn’t until the late eighteenth Century that crystallographers determined Sapphire and Ruby were the same species.
Now here’s the part when it all falls apart. Sapphires are not just blue.
Corundum is an Aluminium Oxide. There’s a science bit about all that, but essentially it’s Titanium and Iron impurities in the Aluminium Oxide that makes Corundum blue.
If a trace amount of iron is present, the Corundum will exhibit a yellow colour, or even a green colour.
If Vanadium is present it will yield a purple colour. If less than 0.01% of Titanium alone is present the mineral will remain colourless.
For Corundum to be called Ruby, it has to have 1% or greater than 1% of Chromium impurities present.
Up to that point it will vary in shades of Pink and Reddish Pink.
It will still be a Sapphire.
So now knowing what they are, let’s look at where they are.
Kashmir, sitting high in the Himalaya’s yielded the best. The Stones found here had an intense dark silky blue that exhibited the same velvet appearance of the petals of the Cornflower. Hence the desired name ‘Cornflower Blue’.
Burmese Sapphires are also much desired. A beautiful stone, and along with Ceylon Sapphires were also coveted.
Connoisseurs put quite a premium on the stunning pink-orange Padparadscha from Sri Lanka. Blues from here are usually attributed the title Ceylon Sapphire.
They are often lighter and brighter than their Burmese counterparts.
Today the major sources are Madagascar, eastern Africa, Sri Lanka and Australia.
In Part 2 I’ll introduce some phenomena that occur with these stones. Don’t worry it won’t be all technical. I’ll put in some pretty pictures too.
If you would like to get in touch and Tweet me:
You can always get in touch and leave a comment below:
Think of tailor’s chalk marking fine outlines on a Cashmere and Wool fabric. A client taking 3 or 4 fittings to make sure the hand cut, hand sewn and hand finished Suit is cut to fit. That is ‘Bespoke’.
A suit that hangs on a rack albeit hand cut, and hand finished to a standard specification is ‘Hand-Made’.
What’s the difference? The difference between these two processes is great. Why? It is because of you the customer. Let’s look at how this affects Jewellery.
A ‘hand-made’ Ring or other piece of Jewellery is just that. Made by hand. A Kabbalah bracelet is made by hand, as is a woven piece of leather gauntlet. A Platinum Band fashioned by hand on a Bench, polished by hand and finished by hand is also Hand-Made. Yet there may be thousands of hand-made pieces all readily available, in standard sizes.
Bespoke is however, an entirely different experience.
From conception and design, creation to finished piece it is ‘you’ that makes the bespoke process unique.
Like a tailored Suit, a bespoke piece should reflect the same principles.
Take a look at your hands and fingers. Notice the knuckle, the length of your ring finger. Is it fleshier at a certain point? Is it entirely even from top to bottom? The answer will be different for everyone. You are unique, and so should your jewellery be unique.
When I talk Bespoke I speak about an exact measurement of your fingers, taking into consideration all the unique details about you. Do you require a comfort-fit band, what thickness and weight best fits your finger, how will we set the Stones, and how would you like the Ring to sit.
It is the small intricate details that make your piece unique to you.
Along with the above you get Diamonds or Gems chosen by you. You get to choose colours, clarity, sizes and shapes. You get designs drawn and drafted, and ideas put down on paper.
We can talk about metals and finishes, styles and fashions, and get your ideal piece made just for you.
Your initial idea of a 1.00ct White Gold Solitaire will be just that. You wanted 6 claws, it will have that. You would like a ‘Tiffany’ style setting? You shall have that.
But above all, while it looks to the world like a ‘Tiffany’ style 1.00ct Solitaire, there is one subtle difference. It is ‘your’ bespoke piece, and no one else in the World has one.
You have been measured for it. The band has been designed, made to fit and compliment you. The stones individually set, and the work completed by hand.
This is the difference between ‘Bespoke’ and ‘Hand-Made’. It is significant.
I hope that cleared up any questions about the two types.
As always you can chat to me on Twitter:
Do feel free to leave a comment below. Questions always welcome.