Given Gold

Friday, March 20, 2009


The last photos that I posted were of a ring that I designed which is made of Palladium and 18k gold. What is Palladium you ask?
Palladium is a cousin of Platinum. I have already posted a thorough explanation of the differences between Platinum and White Gold, so we know that Platinum family metals are naturally white. Palladium is a touch darker grey than Platinum, only noticeable when it has a softer finish, or the polished surface has abraded over time. the wear and aesthetic qualities are quite similar to Platinum, making it a dream for setting and keeping your heirloom gems secure.
So what's the dif you ask again? Palladium is much less expensive than Platinum for a number of reasons: The weight of Palladium is much less than Platinum, it is also much less expensive per ounce. In the end, you pay less per ounce for a piece that also weighs less than its cousin in Platinum.
Every metal has unique working properties, and Palladium needs to be treated as it demands. Many craftsmen become accustomed working with their metal of choice, and label anything else as difficult. If any of this were easy, who would need me to create their dreams? Learning about, and adjusting to the working properties of a new metal opens up a whole lot of doors to become more creative, practical, frugal, fashionable...just another option for those who dare.
Other metals that we have been selling much more this past year are geared towards mens' fashion and wedding rings:
Titanium has been in jewelry stores for quite some time, but never really was much of a factor until gold and platinum soared in value. Titanium generally has a brushed grey finish, but is occasionally polished. It scratches like most metals, and it is easy to restore the finish. Titanium is very light and very hard. Some men like the light aspect, others want for a bit more substance, ala Platinum. In the event of an emergency (or post marital digital obesity) a ring may be cut off, albiet with a great bit more effort.
Tungsten Carbide is another alternative metal which has become quite popular as of late. This material is actually sintered. A ring blank is created by compressing tungsten and carbon powders under high heat. This material is exceptionally hard. Diamond coated tools are used to lathe and polish the surface. This means that a Tungsten Carbide ring will be as bright and smooth on your 50th anniversary as it was the day your Bride first put it onto your finger. The color of Tungsten Carbide is a dark, glossy black. This metal is very heavy, so the substance thing is never an issue. Tungsten Carbide is so hard that it cannot be cut off of a finger in the traditional manner. It is, however, very brittle. If a ring needs to be forcibly removed, a good squeeze with vice grips or a firm tap with a hammer will shatter a ring into many little pieces. A drop on a tile floor or the accidental whack of a hammer will also cause this unanticipated effect.
Both of the above described metals have their limitations as far as manufacturing, so the styles tend more toward the machined look. Both are much less expensive than their more precious counterparts.
Quiz to follow.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Bi-Color Diamonds

Two photos of my newest favorite. Palladium, 18k with white and yellow diamonds. The simple shape lets the contrast of the metals and diamonds really do their thing. This is a wedding band that will be worn next to an engagement ring featuring a fancy yellow diamond in the center with white diamonds on the sides.
Sometimes I feel a bit embarrassed to fall for something that seems so simple, when in reality, this can be the hardest to pull off. Simple without being plain. Striking in the purity of shapes and elements. There is no where to hide inferior workmanship or disguise lower quality gems. An heirloom which is timeless and distinctive.


Tuesday, October 14, 2008

"Green" Gold

We are all aware of our responsibility to be proper guardians of this wonderful planet, but there are resources that we need to tap into as well. I have always been aware of the impact that mining has on our environment. The town my mother was born in was excavated decades ago and engulfed by the copper mine that her father worked in. I have always supported responsible mining regulations so that we leave as small a footprint as possible.
Now, finally, the best of both worlds is upon us! All of the gold and platinum that we use at Given Gold Jewelers is alloyed from reclaimed metals. No newly mined resources are used at all. With the value of precious metals, especially now, there is great incentive for us all to recycle any unused jewelry and precious metal scrap. I buy as much gold from clients as I can, not just to make or save money, but to keep that stream of fresh unused metal flowing. I feel much better about the pieces that we create when I know that elements of the gold experienced previous incarnations as treasures from a different time.
I remember a story that I learned at GIA about the amount of jewelry that has been melted from the British Royal Jewels over the years. The story goes that virtually every piece of gold jewelry that has been made over the last hundred years has a very small amount of gold that once made up a piece of that most esteemed of collections. Now we can count Grandma's jewelry in that alloy as well.
Along with responsible diamond supply, inlcuding Canada, and supporting Artisan miners of colored gemstones, we can appreciate the art of jewelry even more. One craftsman on Piedmont Avenue cannot change the world alone, but it sure feels nice to know that we are helping our planet and small miners around the world. We are only helping, however, when you fall in love with one of our creations and adopt it as your own.
You can easily contribute to the cause. Other than buying our jewelry, you can sell us your unwanted pieces. Gold, platinum, silver, palladium, if you have anything that you do not and will not wear, bring it in. We can recreate a piece to your tastes, or buy it from you so that the legacy of reclaimed gold continues. Gemstones enjoy a similar benefit, so dig deep into that drawer or jewelry box and see what you may find to aid the cause and put some "Green" in your own pocket.
A quick note about the ethics of buying jewelry from the public: Most of the metals we buy are from well known clients. We do make a copy of ID and assess anyone that we have not dealt with before. We do not wish to contribute to the premature separation of an heirloom from it's guardian.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Platinum/18k White Gold

Friday, April 07, 2006

High Tech tools and Old School craft

I recently took the plunge and invested a considerable amount of both money and time to incorporate computer aided design (CAD) into Given Gold Jewelers. I had forgotten how exciting learning a new craft can be! I am spending way too much time and learning too slowly for my tastes, but I just cannot get enough.. I have designed several virtual pieces of jewelry on my computer, and we are in the process of manufacturing these new creations as we speak. The cool thing about CAD, is that a solid foundation in jewelry design and manufacture is essential to desgning a piece that will be practical, yet it allows the precision to keep precise symmetry which would be impossible to achieve by hand. Once I complete a design, it is sent to a milling machine, and may be milled in one, or several pieces to be hand assembled once the wax is cast.
I am in love with the fact that I can imagine things now that were once virtually impossible to make by hand, yet the personal skilled hand work is still necessary to bring a design to reality. We are able to speed up the approval process, with much more confidence by offering a computer generated rendering of the design before any wax has been carved. This leaves less room for misinterpretation, and facilitates changes much more efficiently.
I am posting a couple of designs here as renderings, and as they are completed in gold and platinum, I will post the final piece as well. It will give you an idea of what is possible, and convey the excitement that both we and our clients feel as we go through each phase of a project.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Aquamarine with a Diamond boa

OK, Here is an actual post sans Tanzanite. This is a very fine Aqua that I had been holding for quite some time. I needed a special piece of jewelry for this gemstone. This ring was commissioned by a well known author and playwright. She shares my affinity for this Aquamarine, and gave me the freedom to create the perfect setting to compliment the beautiful gem.
We are both very pleased with the finished ring, and I am excited to see her modeling it on opening night of her newest play this Saturday evening.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Holy ...!

Our latest creation for an aspiring male model is one heck of a cross! This all began with the center cross in gold. We covered that cross in diamonds and designed the background cross in 18k. To add a little spice, the ends are set with Tanzanite (honest, we don't set this in all of our pieces) and Pink Sapphire. It's difficult to imagine the time that went into this piece, but trust me, all other work came to a virtual standstill for nearly a week solid. This pendant has a hidden hinged bale on the back, as it is worn on an endless chain.
Regardless of your opinion of the style and scale of this creation, it certainly has accomplished the intended objective. This cross is like a free pass to any club in town. I could never imagine wearing it myself, but I must admit that I find the shapes and colors appealing as a piece of art. Knowing first hand the effort that went into this project only adds to my affection.
Variety is part of the appeal of the design profession. Both in style and technical execution, new challenges keep the old juices flowing, and this project sure contributed on both counts.
Let me know what you think of this piece, and I promise that the next photo posted will not have any Tanzanite!