Spring greens in May

Spring greens in May Sarah Hickey Jewellery

As the blossoms fade, our view is enveloped by a sea of fresh green as the new leaves unfurl.  May’s birthstone echoes this change in season as emerald sings with a lush vivid green hue.  They are also the official gemstone for celebrating a 20th and 55th years of marriage.  

Spring greens in May Sarah Hickey Jewellery

Emerald encourages growth, reflection, peace and balance.

Emeralds appear throughout history: Ancient Greeks dedicated this gorgeous green gemstone to the Goddess Venus and the word Emerald is derived from the Greek word ‘smaragdus’ meaning green.  The Ancient Romans believed that emeralds could cure complications associated with birth and fertility, and the Egyptians also believed that this precious gemstone could cure eye strain and help wearers see into the future. 

They were considered a symbol of eternal youth and therefore they liked to be buried with them!  

The Birth of Venus, (detail) by Sandro Botticelli, 1485

Spring greens in May Sarah Hickey Jewellery

Emeralds are part of the Beryl family. Pure beryl is colourless, but it is the base for a number of different gemstones such as Aquamarine, Morganite, and Helidor. Emerald forms when it comes into contact with trace amounts of chromium and sometimes vanadium, giving the emerald its vivid green colour.  

Emeralds are one of the four recognised ‘precious’ gemstones.  The others being rubies, diamonds and sapphires.  They are the most delicate and brittle of the four gemstones and don’t take pressure very well and are the only gemstone to have a cut named after them.  Because emeralds are so brittle, finding a good quality gemstone is difficult and other materials are often introduced into them. These inclusions are accepted, giving each emerald a distinct personality.

Emeralds are more than just a beautiful stone; they represent your past, present and future. In fact, it is said a gift of emerald jewellery to your loved one represents commitment and eternity. The Emerald is a definite favourite at SHJ, offering a bewitching and vibrant gemstone to work with within our handcrafted fine jewellery, creating eye catching, show stopping pieces for every pocket!

Click here to view our Emerald collection, some beautiful examples of which you can see below.

Shine bright like a Diamond in April!

Shine bright like a Diamond in April! Sarah Hickey Jewellery

April Birthstone – The Diamond

April’s birthstone pulls out all the stops!   The most prized precious stone on Earth, the diamond has been coveted for centuries for its breathtaking brilliance and symbolic meaning.  They are the classic gemstone, the one that everyone thinks of, but how much do you know about the worlds favourite gemstone?

Where do they come from?

Diamonds are the hardest natural substance on earth, and are formed 90 to 120 miles beneath the earth’s surface, under immense heat and pressure, where carbon atoms bond in a unique way that result in a diamond’s beautiful and rare crystalline structure. Diamonds are nearly as old as the earth and are increasingly rare as they take billions of years to form.  Rough diamonds are carried to the surface by volcanic eruptions, very few actually make it to the earths surface to be mined.  No two diamonds are the same and they carry their unique properties such as internal inclusions and colour.     Although they can be sourced from all over the world the majority come from South Africa, Russia and Canada. Some even come from outer space!  Well, some diamonds do. Carbonado diamonds found in South America and Africa are thought to have been deposited by an asteroid that crashed into the Earth 3 billion years ago. 

Shine bright like a Diamond in April! Sarah Hickey Jewellery

Diamonds come in every colour, usually pale yellow to colourless, but can be brown, blue, green, orange, red pink and black. 

 

Diamonds in history.

Ancient Romans and Greeks believed that diamonds were tears cried by the gods or splinters from falling stars.  Romans also believed that cupids arrows were tipped with diamonds, and therefore begining the long relationship of diamonds with romantic love.   The word diamond derives from the Greek word ‘admas’ which means invincible or indestructable,  which makes sense as the only thing that can scratch a diamond is another diamond!

In the first century AD the Roman naturalist Pliny is quoted as having said, ‘Diamond is the most valuable, not only of the precious stones, but of all things in this world.’

The first known use of a diamond as an engagement ring was in 1477 when Archduke Maximilian of Austria gave Mary of Burgundy a gold ring featuring an M spelled out in diamonds. 

Diamond weight is measured in carats (not carrots or karats). The word carat is derived from keration, the Greek name for the carob tree whose seed was used for centuries as the standard of weighing precious stones. Because the seed could vary slightly in weight, in 1913, carat weight became metric; one metric carat is equivalent to 0.2 grams or 0.007 ounces.

In order for a rough diamond to reach its full potential it will undergo a cutting and polishing process; during which, the diamond will lose up to 50% of its original rough carat weight on average. The trade off? A diamond cut to perfect proportion and symmetry will display the ultimate combination of fire, brilliance and scintillation.

Diamonds in space

Scientists have discovered a planet that they believe is composed mostly of carbon and is one third pure diamond!  Discovered in 2004 the planet orbit the a nearby star in the Milky Way and is named ‘55 Cancri e’ Scientists have also discovered a star that is essentially a diamond of ten billion trillion carats.  They named the star lucy after the Beatles song ‘ Lucy in the sky with diamonds’ 

In 2017, scientists recreated the diamond rain they think falls on Neptune and Uranus inside a lab on Earth. To re-enact the magical moment, the scientist shocked a sheet of polystyrene with soundwaves to imitate the high pressure of the planets. The result was almost every carbon atom turning into a tiny diamond, just nanometres wide. Scientists think the diamonds on Neptune and Uranus could be much larger – possibly millions of carats in weight!

Shine bright like a Diamond in April! Sarah Hickey Jewellery

Our Diamonds come from three sources, one in London, one in Canada and one in Botswana, all three sources are committed to ethical, conflict free mining. In particular the salt and pepper diamonds which a speciality of my jewellery collection come from the Jwaneng Mine which is run in partnership with the Botswanan Government, there’s a link for more information below.

If you would like to learn more specifically about the incredible world of Salt & Pepper Diamonds head to this blog post.

Shine bright like a Diamond in April! Sarah Hickey Jewellery
Shine bright like a Diamond in April! Sarah Hickey Jewellery
Shine bright like a Diamond in April! Sarah Hickey Jewellery

March, the Gem of the Sea

March, the Gem of the Sea Sarah Hickey Jewellery

March brings us Aquamarine,

a mesmerising stone with a fascinating story.  Aquamarine is not only the birthstone of March but also associated with the zodiac sign of Pieces, the planet Neptune, and the traditional gift for a 19th wedding anniversary, pop it in your diaries!!

The name Aquamarine, not only reflects its physical properties, but also the word itself comes from the Latin aqua, meaning water and marina meaning sea.  Aquamarine, historically was called sea-green beryl, and as that name suggests it is well known for its blue-green colour and clarity.  They can range from deep teal to a pale crystal blue depending on how much iron there is in the gem’s structure.  Although darker blues tend to be the most valued aquamarine stones. As its historic name implies, Aquamarine is a member of the beryl variety of gemstones, as are Emeralds.  Emeralds are the rarest and most precious of the beryl gemstones because they are more fragile.

March, the Gem of the Sea Sarah Hickey Jewellery

The Ancient Romans believed that Neptune, God of the sea, had a special connection with aquamarine.  According to legend, Neptune obtained the stone when it fell out of the sirens jewel box and washed up on the shore.  Aquamarine has long been thought to protect people.  Sailors at sea believed in its guarding abilities, and many believed this stone had the power to bring them home safely thinking them to be treasure of mermaids.  Decorative jewellery and protective amulets dating back to 500BC have been found to back up these thoughts. 

“The lovely Aquamarine, which seems to have come from some mermaid’s treasure house, in the depths of a summer sea, has charms not to be denied”

Roman philosopher Pliny the Elder

Aquamarine is said to increase youth, intelligence, foresight, courage and happiness. The Romans believed that this magnificent stone could cure medical issues such as problems with the liver, stomach and throat, reduce fluid retention and calm nerves.  Whereas healers in the Middle Ages used it to get rid of toxins in the body.

Aquamarine is mined in many across the world.  Brazil, Zambia, Nigeria, Madagascar, Pakistan and Mozambique.  Brazil is the most common.  Colorado however is also famous for its aquamarine quarries and has produced some of the finest examples in the world.  Colorado recognised the aquamarine stone as the state gemstone in 1971. 

March, the Gem of the Sea Sarah Hickey Jewellery

The Dom Pedro is the largest known aquamarine gem. The original crystal was almost two feet in length and weighed nearly 60 lbs. In 1992-1993, gem artist Bernd Munsteiner fashioned the gem and named it after the first two emperors of Brazil. A pattern of tapering “negative cuts” is faceted into the two reverse faces of the obelisk. These facets reflect the light, making it appear to glow from within. The vertical “lines” near the base are hollow tubes that formed naturally in the original crystal.

Aquamarine is used extensively in jewellery and looks stunning, set in sterling silver, or white gold because the cool white of the metals sets off the light blue colour of the stone, and the contrast in gold gives it a etherial feel! Aquamarine would make a truly special engagement ring, or jewellery ready for your bridal, something blue!! Below are some images of our beautiful new Aquamarine set, that is coming soon to the website!

Caring for Aquamarine.  Unlike a diamond aquamarine stones can become damaged and scratched.  Take care to never store your aquamarine jewellery next to a gem that has a harder surface.  Aquamarine should only be washed in warm water, not hot water, and avoid any hard chemical treatment.  Also make sure you keep this stone sway from any intense heat.  Not many people know that besides its use in jewellery, Aquamarine has actually been used for glasses in the past.  In Germany the stone was used in eyeglass lenses to help correct shortsightedness! 

We are lucky that March brings us Aquamarine, such gorgeous tones and clarity that is underlined with a strong connection through history to the sea.
However this is not just for March, a beautiful gemstone to both work with and wear, anytime of the year!!

Claw or Bezel Setting?

Claw or Bezel Setting? Sarah Hickey Jewellery

Claw or Bezel Setting?

Which stone setting is the one for you?  Which one calls to you?!   

The two most common stone settings are the claw setting and the bezel setting.  

Claw or Bezel Setting? Sarah Hickey Jewellery

Claw Settings:

Claw settings are the classic choice.  They typically have three or more prongs of fine metal that protrude from the base of the setting, and bend slightly over the stone to hold it in place, like a claw.  

Claw settings allow a lot of the gemstone to be exposed. This allows the maximum amount of light to both enter and leave the gemstone.  This creates more brilliance, more fire, allowing the stone to truly sparkle.  This kind of setting however is more susceptible to knocks, or snagging on clothing, so more caution should be taken when wearing a ring of this style.  Claw settings should be checked to ensure that none of the claws are loose or broken, breaking a claw could possibly mean losing your beautiful gemstone!  However a well made claw setting should last for many many years.  

Claw or Bezel Setting? Sarah Hickey Jewellery

Bezel Settings:

A bezel setting has a strip of fine metal that partially or completely surrounds the gemstone to hold it in place. It is a solid continuous lip that outlines the whole edge of the stone.  A bezel setting is very protective of the gemstone it is holding, making it perfect for working with gemstones that are softer or more prone to scratches such as opals, turquoise and apatite.

Sometimes the bezel is designed with holes cut out to allow more light through to the gemstone.  A bezel has to be custom-made to properly fit the gemstone it is designed to hold, providing a beautiful and secure setting for the gemstone to be admired, in a more sleek and modern design.

Both have their own style and qualities.  There is no winner in this contest.  It comes down to personal preference so we would recommend you initially look at both styles,

and then from our experience once you see the one for you, you just know!!

Hello February, Hello Amethyst!

Are you ready to welcome a purple haze?! February’s birthstone is Amethyst, a stunning purple gemstone that has a lot to say for itself!

The name Amethyst actually comes from the Greek word ‘amesthystos’ which means ‘not intoxicated’ or ‘not drunk’!!  It was believed that this stone prevented people from getting tipsy when drinking alcohol, we can’t promise that this is true!! As well as being February’s birthstone it is also Pisces’ traditional birthstone, and traditionally given for 6th and 17th wedding anniversaries, as it’s said to contain the energy of passion and love!

Hello February,  Hello Amethyst! Sarah Hickey Jewellery

What is Amethyst and where can it be found?

Amethyst is the most valuable crystal in the quartz family.  It is formed inside igneous volcanic rocks called basalts, which are created by volcanic lava. These rocks act as vessels that contain minerals and water over time, creating the well-known white-purple crystal formation. The inside walls of the basalt become the base for how Amethyst forms. Amethyst is relatively softer than most precious stones allowing cutters more room for creativity with their artistic designer cuts.  Amethysts are also classified as a type 2 gemstone meaning they are usually found with few inclusions. Inclusions within gemstones can be described as any material that is trapped within a mineral at any point of the mineral’s formation. Inclusions can range from gas filled bubbles to insects to fractures and much more.

The intensity of the colour purple, determines its value.  Those that are rich and deep in tone are more valuable.  The most prized amethyst is a Siberian deep purple with red and blue flares.

Hello February,  Hello Amethyst! Sarah Hickey Jewellery
St Gabriel’s Church

Amethysts can be sourced in most continents but Brazil is one of the most active locations for the mining and faceting of this semi precious gemstone.  Other places it can be sourced are Africa, United States, Argentina, Uruguay, Russia and Madagascar.  

In the Brazilian town of Ametista do Sul, St Gabriel’s Church is decorated with 40 tons of amethyst crystals covering the walls. The baptismal font is crafted from a large amethyst geode.

Amethyst and Royalty.

Amethyst is one of the most adored gemstones by royalty.  From ancient times till today, members of royalty from all over the world have used amethysts in their collections.  We know that amethysts were Queen Catherine the Great of Russia and Cleopatra’s favourite gemstone, so if you love it you are in good company!!  One of the oldest sets of jewels in the Windsor Collection is the amethyst ‘Demi-parure’, which belonged to Queen Victoria’s mother, the Duchess of Kent.  

Caring for Amethyst.

Amethyst is fairly durable, and will wear down slowly over generations as the dust in the air is quartz too.  The stunning colour is stable but it is best to avoid high heats. To keep rings clean don’t wear them when applying lotions or creams or when using cleaning products.  Clean with a mild dish soap and a soft brush behind the stone where dust can gather.  

Hello February,  Hello Amethyst! Sarah Hickey Jewellery
Siberian Amethyst

Amethyst’s energy.

Amethyst is said to be balancing and harmonising. A natural tranquilliser, relieving stress, soothing irritability, balancing mood swings, dispersing anger, alleviating sadness and grief, and dissolving negativity. Who couldn’t do with a little bit of amethyst energy in their life!!! Amethyst is also known to have healing powers especially for headaches, back pain and for the pancreas.  

If you are a believer in Feng Shui,  the amethyst is typically used in the knowledge and wisdom area to increase self love, reduce stress, enhance meditation and promote healthy sleep.

Apparently amethyst was also used for love spells!  It was believed that if someone spoke the name of their love into an amethyst stone, their love would be summoned. Let us know if you give this a go!  

Why we love Amethyst!

Amethyst comes in a range of hues from the lightest pastel purple to an intense rich vivid purple with rose coloured flashes inside.  It complements bath warm and cool colours so it looks right set in both yellow gold, rose gold, white gold and silver.   It is such a joyful gemstone to work with, it brightens up any day!

To visit our Amethyst pieces click here, and keep watching, there is more coming soon!!

Opals

Opalus – the Roman name for opals, means ‘Precious Gemstone’. One could argue that all the gemstones are present in opals, the ruby, the emerald, the amethyst, the citrine. The flashes of colour truly do ‘play’. You can look at an opal you’ve seen a hundred times and still see something different and new, that draws you in once again. Opal jewellery is a matter close to our heart here at Sarah Hickey Jewellery.

Opals Sarah Hickey Jewellery
One of a Kind: Opal Ring

I absolutely love to work with Opals. They’re not always the jewellers best friend, certainly not the hardest stone and sometimes when you set them you have hold your breath! Opals are a truly a magical stone, and it requires a ‘sleight of hand’. However the dexterity and skill involved in setting opals, is part of the challenge and the fun.

The first known source of opals was from the ancient mines of Slovakia, a source that has long been depleted. The opals that we use here at Sarah Hickey Jewellery are from South Eastern Australia, most particularly the mines of Coober Pedy and Lightening Ridge. A rich source of opals, a land of underground houses, deep opal mines in an arid landscape.

Opals Sarah Hickey Jewellery
The arid landscapes of Coober Pedy, where many of the resident miners live in underground homes where they are protected from the relentless sun.

What exactly are Opals?

An opal takes about 5-6million years to form – yes, read that sentence again! The process involves a hardening of silicon dioxide and water.

As water runs down through the earth it picks up silica from sandstone and carries this silica-rich solution into cracks and natural faults in rocks. The water evaporates and the silica is left behind. Most of the opal that is formed is called ‘potch’ or ‘common opal’ by miners, the same physical composition as the opal gemstone, but without the beautiful colour play. The opals who’s magical dancing fire is visable from their white snowy bases, are the opals that are mined for the unquestionable beauty, and the ones that I love to work with. 

Opals Sarah Hickey Jewellery
Claw Set Opal Pendant: One of a Kind


We have many opal pieces in the collection that you can explore here, the one of a kind, opal necklaces are some of my favourites and I wear one along with the gold letter pendants of my childrens names every day. 


Opal is the birthstone of October, but it can most certainly be enjoyed by all. It makes a beautiful gift, and there is much lore in it’s history to know for those who went to take a deep dive. The Romans believed it would bring the wearer good luck, and we certainly like to think that’s true.

Opals Sarah Hickey Jewellery
Round Opal Ring

Tanzanite

There is a 20 square mile stretch of land near the foothills of  Mount Kilimanjaro, in Tanzania, it is the only source, in the entire world, of what we know as the gemstone Tanzanite.

In 1967, truly a recent date in the gemstone world, local tribesman stumbled upon a deposit of this majestic blue, violet stone, a local prospector Manuel d’Souza quickly thought a vein of sapphire had been found and lay claim to mining in the area. It was in fact not Sapphire but a deposit of Blue Ziosite and what we now know as Tanzanite, so named by Tiffany and Co after they struck a deal to be its main distributor in jewellery.

Tanzanite Sarah Hickey Jewellery

Tanzanite Leaf Hoops

Tanzanite Sarah Hickey Jewellery

Tanzanite Solitaire Ring

In 2002, the American Gem Trade Association chose tanzanite as a December birthstone, the first change to their birthstone list since 1912!

I’ve enjoyed working with Tanzanite for a number of years, it’s a truly arresting colour, I would describe it as blue with flashes of indigo but as with all colours, and gemstone, the hue is in the eye of the beholder. 

What particularly interests me about Tanzanite are the gorgeous speckled inclusions present, although you can buy it almost eye clear, but I prefer when a gemstone almost wears it’s formation on on it’s sleeve, showing the tiny speckles and deposits as the crystals have grown over the years, to be precise, wait for it…………….. 585 Million years!

That’s correct, Tanzanite was formed 585 Million years ago, by massive plate tectonic activity and intense heat in the area that would later become Mount Kilimanjaro. The mineral is located in a relatively complex geological environment. Deposits are typically found in the “hinge” of isoclinal folds. 

It’s always fascinating to know the back story of such gems and I hope it enhances your enjoyment of the pieces of Tanzanite Jewellery we have available in the collection. 

Salt and Pepper Diamond

salt and pepper diamond ring uk

Salt and Pepper Diamond Engagement Rings UK

Salt and Pepper Diamond engagement and promise rings are a movement that have grown in recent years, the are a personal favourite of mine and have thus become a mainstay of the collection. Lets discuss them in all their beauty, Salt and Pepper diamonds are a trend that’s here to stay.

Browse the Salt and Pepper Diamond Ring Collection Here
Salt and Pepper Diamond Sarah Hickey Jewellery
Salt and Pepper Diamond Sarah Hickey Jewellery

The eternal nature of a diamond, a stone that really will last forever, beyond all of us, has made them the favourite for engagement rings for many years. The first being given to Mary of Burgundy by Archduke Maximilian of Austria when he proposed in 1477, what a trail blazer!

More recently though people are keen to express the individuality of their love through a stone with a difference, and what better way than through a salt and pepper diamond.

There are actually no two ever alike, each with its own, tone of light and dark, unique inclusions, size and shape. From palest smouldering grey, to dark as night, there’s much to catch your eye and heart.

Salt and Pepper Diamond Sarah Hickey Jewellery

What exactly is a Salt and Pepper Diamond? Salt and Pepper Diamonds have all the qualities and hardness of a regular diamond but they have inclusions, dark carbons spots, clouds, feathers, sprinkles of tiny milky way type peppered patterns that create their unique look.

Salt and Pepper Diamonds lend themsleves to a rose cut, and the nature of the stones own character often informs the shape it’s not one size fits all, look at these breathtaking pieces in the rough, ready to be cut and shaped into their glory on the polishing wheels.

Salt and Pepper Diamonds go someway to proving beauty doesn’t always lie in perfection. they are more affordable and frankly often a lot more interesting than a classic diamond, a little bit of edge, certainly a talking point. I work closely with diamond dealers who supply these stones to me, deciding cuts and colours. I rest in the knowledge that they are conflict free, and I can pass that on to my customers. My sources are Botswana and Canada. If you have any questions or would like to chat about a salt and pepper diamond ring, welcome, and be my guest, I’d love to help.

Salt and Pepper Diamond Sarah Hickey Jewellery

Moonstone, a life long love affair…

Where to begin! Rainbow moonstone appears time after time in my collection, and that’s because I love working with it, and I love wearing it myself. For almost 15 years now I have been working with the same moonstone dealer, knowing the source, is knowing the stone, the provenance and traceability of this stone are important to me, and this notion speaks with in the pieces I make with moonstone. I know this bewitching gemstone in and out, I take pride in the quality of moonstone that I offer in my jewellery.

Moonstone, a life long love affair... Sarah Hickey Jewellery

Here’s a little bit about the history of Moonstone; it isn’t difficult to see where it gets it’s name. Hindu mythology believed moonstone was literally solidified moonbeams, the dancing light and glow of moonstone can definitely be likened to the lunar light, as seen through a thin veil of cloud. A glow from within.



Moonstone, a life long love affair... Sarah Hickey Jewellery



Moonstone, a life long love affair... Sarah Hickey Jewellery



Moonstone, a life long love affair... Sarah Hickey Jewellery



The glow, or ‘blue fire’ as it is sometimes called, is actually caused by the stones internal structure which scatters and refracts as the light hits it. This phenomenon is known as adularescence. The most marvelous thing, as all moonstone lovers know, is there are no two pieces a like, the refractive structure of the mineral changes from one cm of material to the next, so the light play and the look will also change – magical.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FEUSgetKXoU

Moonstone is a really beautiful bridal choice, it’s white, light, delicate and whimsical, and wearing moonstone on your big day will also mean you’ll have those moonstones to wear throughout the years, it doesn’t age or fade, it’s sparkle within the stone always stays alive.Rainbow Moonstone, like labradorite is a feldspar gemstone, formed from lava seeping upward in veins through the earths mantal thousands of years ago.I work with so many shapes and sizes, cuts and finishes, it’s always a delight just to see the raw product though too, above is some being cut by the gemstone dealer before it wings it’s way to me. Fascinating…