All About Hallmarking
My first hallmarked parcel has arrived back from the @theassayoffice ✨ Oh the excitement! ✨
So here is my very own hallmark! And a little ‘did you know’ too-
✨Each mark is made up of 5 sections from L-R- the sponsors/makers mark (mine is KH in a diamond), the fineness symbol (the lion), the fineness mark (925 for sterling silver), the assay office mark (the London leopard for me, obviously I was going to choose a cat!!), and the year (W= 2021).
✨When an item is sent for hallmarking, it’s metal purity is tested- if it doesn’t reach the required specifications, it can’t be hallmarked.
✨It’s a legal requirement to hallmark silver items over 7.78g in weight- without a hallmark, the item can only be sold as white metal.
✨It’s called a hallmark because the first UK assay office was Goldsmiths Hall (founded in 1300), and the term originates from that.
✨There are 4 assay offices in the UK- London, Birmingham, Edinburgh and Sheffield, and each have a different symbol- London is the leopard, Edinburgh is the castle, Birmingham the anchor and Sheffield is the rose.
You can find my full Silver Dealers Notice HERE.
Biz’ee Women Chat
Here’s a little interview I did with the lovely Sharon Hawkins of Biz’ee Women Networking on May 6th. She asked me lot’s of questions about my business, and I did my best to answer them! I hope you enjoy it finding out a little bit more about me and Little Black Cat Jewellery!
What is Gold Filled jewellery? And what’s the difference between Gold Filled and Gold Plated?
Gold Filled is fast growing in popularity within the jewellery making world, giving the look and feel of gold with a more affordable price tag. I had the chance to work with some gold filled products for my latest Cooksongold tutorial (which you can find here: https://www.cooksongold.com/blog/project/make-a-gold-filled-heart/), and I was really impressed with how lovely the products were to work with. Once the tutorial piece was finished, it wasn’t possible to tell any difference from using solid 14k gold in the jewellery design. Given that gold filled can be soldered and hand stamped, this versatile metal will definitely be making it’s way into my designs- so I thought I’d tell you a little more about the benefits of gold filled jewellery, and why I think it’s a great alternative to solid gold.
‘Gold Filled’ is the term used when a gold alloy (usually 12k and 14k gold) is bonded to the surface of a core metal (such as brass) with heat and pressure.
Gold Filled is a long lasting product when well cared for, because the bonded gold layer is thick- it has 100x more gold in than gold plated jewellery! By law, the amount of gold is 5% of the weight of the item. As the gold layer is on the surface, gold filled offers great protection from tarnish and wear.
Gold filled jewellery is a reasonably priced alternative to solid gold, giving you the same look and great durability for a more affordable price point.
Gold filled is most often made from recycled gold, creating an ethical material which reduces the need for further gold mining.
Gold Filled is much better for people with metal sensitivities than gold plated, due to the thicker gold layer, which is just like wearing solid gold next to the skin. But of course, if you are allergic/ unable to wear gold jewellery, then gold filled will cause the same effect.
Gold filled is perfect to use for meaningful gifts, birthdays etc, as it can be worn daily and lasts for decades.
Gold Filled is also known as ‘rolled gold’ or ‘bonded gold’, and can be soldered and hand stamped.
Gold plated jewellery is a very small amount of gold plated onto a brass base, which means that the plating wears off much faster than gold filled, and wearing daily is not advised.
Gold plating contains no measurable portion of the products weight in gold (0.5%), whereas Gold Filled contains 5%- 100x more gold! So gold plated jewellery is best for fashion and costume jewellery.
I hope that’s given you a nice insight into why gold filled jewellery has grown so much in popularity, and is a great alternative to solid gold for your jewellery pieces! Any questions- please do drop me a message!
Do you ever wonder how my pieces are made?
I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to be asked to write a hand stamping tutorial for the wonderful Cooksongold jewellery blog- At The Bench, at the end of last year. My first time writing anything jewellery related, I was super nervous about it turning out well- I definitely went with my standard approach, and just wrote as myself! Luckily, their web team loved my tutorial, and went ahead and published it, asking me to write some more pieces for them (I’m so excited by this!). Cooksongold are one of the biggest bullion suppliers in the UK! One day, when the pandemic is hopefully under control, I’ll definitely be making a special trip to Hatton Garden- it doesn’t seem right that I’ve never been as a jeweller!
A few years ago, there were a great selection of British jewellery magazines available to buy, and I always told myself that I wasn’t good enough to apply as a designer for them. I really wish I’d given myself a talking to and actually gone for it. Now these magazines have ceased trading, I really regret not giving it a go! There’s definitely a message there- stop doubting yourself and go for it!
If you’d like to see the making process behind this hand stamped ring, and what goes into making it, you can find my tutorial here.
How it all began- an inteview with WI Life Magazine, Nov/Dec 2020
This lovely interview, recently published in the Nov/Dec WI Life magazine gives a great insight into why I started making jewellery, my inspirations, my health issues, and what I get up to behind the scenes! I hope you enjoy reading it!
Words by the lovely Chloe Davies | Photography by the lovely Melissa Page.
Free Christmas Gift Wrap!
There’s an option on each item for you to add the gift wrap for free, and there are no limits to how many items you wish to have wrapped! So why not take the pain out of Christmas and let me do the hard work for you? You can even have your items sent straight to the recipient!
*Music ‘I saw mummy kissing santa claus’ by the fantastic Dionne Bromfield*
Here’s to a stress free Christmas!
My interview with the lovely Emma of 24 Fingers
Fancy a giggle? Here’s my interview with the lovely Emma of 24 Fingers, where we had great fun and lots of laughter! I hope you enjoy it!
A Prickly Matter
Hello! This is my very first blog post for my website, and I thought I’d use it to tell you a little bit about my inspiration for my hedgehog jewellery collection.
As I sit here typing this, there are currently 2 hedgehogs having a ‘huff off’ in my garden while I watch them through the patio doors! We’re very lucky to have lots of prickly visitors here, after a few years with none at all. I still remember them rustling in the bushes when I was small- it’s so lovely to have them back! These gorgeous little guys have unfortunately diminished in numbers over the last few years- caused by loss of natural habitat, not helped by concreted gardens and astro turf lawns, along with solid gravel boards under fencing which prevents them from travelling to eat and mate. These little cuties are really in trouble.
So when my local wildlife hospital put out a call on social media, asking for suitable release sites for their recovered hedgehogs, my hand went straight in the air! Having hedgehogs naturally already, we knew that we had the perfect habitat for hogs, and have now taken just over 30 (yes, really!!) hedgehogs for the wildlife hospital. The hospital take in sick and injured hedgehogs (and plenty more besides hogs!) treat them and when they’re well, they need somewhere safe to be released back into the wild. We provide houses, food, water and a watchful eye- sometimes the hogs hang around for months visiting us most nights and using the nesting boxes, other times they disappear back into the wild on their first night here. We have hedgehog highways under our fences to allow the hedgehogs to travel- and nearly our whole street has got involved too- creating more habitat and holes for the hogs to travel through! Our neighbours across the road currently have 4 hoglets and a mum, and I’m hoping that we’ll see more hoglets here before the end of the summer!
These little pricklies bring so much joy to myself and my family, that they inspired their own collection of hedgehog jewellery pieces- each piece is hand sawn and crafted in sterling silver by myself in my workshop- where I have a perfect view of Hedgehog HQ from my windows! A percentage of each sale goes to the wildlife hospital too, to help fund their work! You can find my collection of hedgehog pieces HERE.
You can also support South Essex Wildlife Hospital with a donation HERE, and read about their wonderful work- they really are heroes!
I hope you’ve enjoyed hearing a little about our hogs- if you have any questions, please do feel free to get in touch!