Website design By BotEap.comWhat makes a piece of jewelry worthy of being called “heirloom quality” and what does the term mean? Simply put, traditional jewelry is recognized as jewelry that is passed down from generation to generation, whereas a “family quality” piece may or may not be passed down, but exhibits several main qualities that one should expect from jewelry that is meant to last for many years. of use. dress. An heirloom-quality piece is best described as high-end jewelry that exhibits quality materials, precise craftsmanship, and solid construction. Precious heirloom jewelry also exhibits unique design, special treatment, and sentimental value. This two-part article will help readers distinguish between precious pieces meant to be treasured for a lifetime and pieces that are less valuable. Website design By BotEap.comquality materials Website design By BotEap.comThe most obvious characteristic of heirloom-quality jewelry is that it is constructed of quality materials. Such materials may include, but are not limited to, high karat gold, fine and sterling silver, platinum, precious and semi-precious stones, and organic gemstones. Website design By BotEap.comThe precious metals gold, silver and platinum are valued for their rarity and beauty. Although malleable, these metals are remarkably resistant to corrosion, making them highly desirable for jewelry making. Website design By BotEap.comPure gold is measured as 24 karats and is generally considered too soft to be worn as jewelry, therefore it is commonly alloyed with other metals such as copper, silver, and titanium to strengthen it. The result is gold of different carats and hues, and generally the higher the gold content, the more precious the piece is considered to be. In the United States, 14-karat gold predominates. In Europe, 18-karat gold is the most common, and in parts of Asia and the Middle East, 22- or 24-karat gold is the standard. In high-end jewelry, the karat content is often stamped on the piece. Website design By BotEap.comSilver is the most abundant of all precious metals, and when given a high polish, its reflective properties are unrivaled. It has been perhaps the most coveted precious metal throughout the centuries, probably due to its durability in combination with its beauty. One of the secrets of silver is that it easily flatters all skin tones. Although more durable than pure gold, like gold, pure silver on its own is too soft to be used as jewelry. Sterling silver is an alloy of 92.5 percent silver and 7.5 percent copper. This combination strengthens silver while retaining its precious metal properties. Website design By BotEap.comPlatinum’s popularity as high-end jewelry began over 2,000 years ago in indigenous South American cultures and, like silver, it is prized for its highly reflective color. Another defining characteristic of platinum is its durability, which is unsurpassed by any of the other precious metals. Even the most delicate styles made from platinum permanently retain their shape; this allows jewelry artists wide creative freedom when forming complex pieces. Most platinum jewelry is made from at least 85 percent pure platinum. Palladium, ruthenium, and iridium, which are also members of the platinum family, are often alloyed with platinum to enhance their brilliance and durability. Website design By BotEap.comIn addition to metal, heirloom-quality jewelry can feature a variety of skillfully set stones and organic materials. These materials can range from the very expensive and rare to the semi-precious and lusciously colored. Most important is how well these materials are incorporated into the overall design and how securely they are placed in the part. Just because a 5-carat diamond is set in an 18-karat gold ring doesn’t mean it qualifies as a family heirloom. Website design By BotEap.comExpensive gems like diamonds, emeralds, rubies, and sapphires represent precious stones. Although diamonds enjoy instant recognition as rare and precious, sapphires are theoretically four times rarer than diamonds. Sapphires are highly durable, second only to diamonds in hardness, and sometimes come in colors rarer than blue, called “fantasies” or “party colors.” Treasured by the ancient Incas and Aztecs, emeralds are the most valuable gemstone in the world, by weight. Colombian emeralds are among the most beautiful in the world, prized for their pristine, undiluted green. The incredibly deep red luster is the signature of the beautiful ruby and the finest and rarest are called “pigeon’s blood” due to their unrivaled deep red color. . Website design By BotEap.comSemi-precious stones are, by definition, more abundant than their higher-priced relatives and are valued primarily for their beauty. Examples of semi-precious stones include turquoise, amethyst, bloodstone, cubic zirconia, garnet, onyx, and opal. Although coral and pearl are not technically stones, they are also considered semi-precious. Website design By BotEap.comOther materials considered semi-precious include amber, ivory, fossils, and exotic woods. These materials are often referred to as “organic gems” and feature a unique and unusual treatment for jewelry of distinction. The amber is fossilized pine sap, most of which comes from the Baltic states of Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. Website design By BotEap.comIvory can come from a variety of animals, including prehistoric mammoths, but for centuries elephant ivory was the most prized. In an effort to conserve species decimated by the ivory trade, international ivory bans have been enacted, making it a criminal offense to slaughter an animal simply for its tusks. Of course, caches of ivory taken before the start of the global bans still exist, this is known as “pre-ban ivory” and while its use is legal, many scrupulous jewelers choose to use ivory alternatives instead. One such alternative is the hard fruit of the Ivory Nut Palm, which bears a remarkable resemblance to mammalian ivory. Website design By BotEap.comIn the second part of this article, we’ll examine the importance of high-quality craftsmanship, sentimental value, and proper care for a highly prized piece.