Jul
30
2009
2

What is mourning jewellery?

Mourning brooches. Victorian grieving hand - photo by et sans. Georgian enamel picture brooch - photo by perfectjewels - both CC-BYIf you were bereaved in the 1800s, your clothes and jewels had to be black for a period of mourning, the length depending on whether you were widow, daughter, sister etc. Apart from the usual gold and silver settings, mourning jewellery was made of black jet – a “stone” derived from coal -  onyx, black [more...]

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May
19
2009
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Which celebrities have been given a claddagh ring?

Claddagh rings - photo by Athena - CC-BYWhen Buffy the Vampire Slayer script writers put a claddagh ring on Sarah Michelle Gellar’s hand in 1998, millions of Buffy and Angel (David Boreanaz) fans began to take an interest in this traditional Irish love ring. The internet has added to that new wave of popularity with thousands of sites explaining how to wear [more...]

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Mar
17
2009
1

What is a conflict-free, ethical diamond?

Diamonds (Photo by swamibu - CC-BY)What story could a sparkling diamond tell about its journey from mine to engagement ring? More and more people want jewellery with no hint of the storyline in Blood Diamond where Leonardo DiCaprio plays a mercenary smuggling diamonds against a background of civil war in Sierra Leone. The film reflects the way diamonds mined in [more...]

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Mar
03
2009
2

What is a gimmel ring?

Gimmel rings - 16th and 17th century - 19th c. engravings - PD-EXPTwo lovers each wear a ring for their engagement; then on marriage they fit the two together to make a wedding ring. This romantic custom, using a double-hoop gimmel ring, was at a peak of popularity during the 16th and 17th centuries. Gimmel rings have been revived by modern jewellery designers, and seem to have [more...]

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Feb
14
2009
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Do we know the true history of Claddagh rings?

Claddagh rings - photo by Athena - CC-BYCladdagh rings, with a crowned heart held by two hands, are named after a fishing community in Galway, on the west coast of Ireland, where they were used for betrothals and marriages, and handed down from mother to daughter. When I first heard a well-known story about their origins it seemed too fanciful to be [more...]

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