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Buying guide

James Ness & Son has been committed to helping our customers find the perfect piece of jewellery for that special occasion for over 100 years. We are experts in our field and are proud to have built our reputation as one of the UK's finest suppliers of fine antique jewellery.

We are here to make your jewellery buying experience an enjoyable one. You will find some jewellery related explanations below which will hopefully assist you in finding that perfect piece of jewellery.

Antique Jewellery: Jewellery that is at least 100 years old.
Vintage Jewellery: Jewellery at least 50 years old.
Pre-owned Jewellery: Jewellery that was previously owned, from any era.

Antique Jewellery Periods

Gemstones

Birthstone list

Jewellery Settings

Claw setting
Also known as Prong setting. This is the most popular style of setting for most items of jewellery. A claw setting will hold a stone securely whilst allowing optimal light to reflect through the gemstones.

Rub-over setting
Also referred to as Bezel setting. The gemstone is surrounded by a metal border. Half rub-over/half bezel settings are also available.

Channel setting
Setting stones of similar size into a metal channel. This is a popular setting for eternity rings.

Pavé setting
A technique using very small stones on a metal surface to give the illusion that the surface is made up entirely of stones. Pavé is the French word for pavement or cobblestones.Pronounced pa-vey.

Cluster setting
A style where numerous stones are set closely together. The centre stone is commonly larger than the surrounding stones.

Bar setting
Gemstones are individually held by a bar of metal to either side.

Tension setting
The gemstone is held in place by the pressure of the metal giving the illusion that the stone is floating.

Invisible setting
A shiny metal setting surrounds the stone and is shaped to give the illusion that it is part of the gemstones. This setting is often used to enhance the appearance of small gemstones.

Precious Metals

Gold

Pure gold is naturally yellow in colour. Mixing it with different alloys can change the colour of a gold item of jewellery. The most popular colours of gold in jewellery are yellow, white and rose.

There are several carats of gold available. The carat of gold refers to the unit of purity for gold alloys.

9ct gold is 37.5% pure gold, containing 9 parts gold and 15 parts other alloys.
18ct gold is 58.5% pure gold, containing 18 parts gold and 4 parts other alloys.

Other carats also available: 10ct, 15ct, 14ct & 22ct gold. 24ct gold is considered too soft for use as jewellery.

Gold colours: yellow, white and rose.

White gold is commonly coated with rhodium. Rhodium is a white metal and plating white gold with rhodium will give the white gold a much whiter appearance than in it's natural state. The rhodium plating will wear over time so re-rhodium plating will be necessary, particularly with rings. This is a service we provide in store.

Platinum

Platinum is a white-grey metal. Unlike gold it is used in almost it's pure form making it an ideal metal for people with sensitive skin or jewellery allergies. It is very strong and durable. It does not require rhodium plating like white gold. Platinum is not commonly used to make earrings, pendants, bracelets or necklaces.

Hallmarks

In the UK it is illegal to sell or describe any item as Gold, Silver, Platinum or Palladium unless it is hallmarked*.

One of the requirements of the Hallmarking Act 1973 is that all dealers supplying precious metal jewellery shall display a notice explaining the approved hallmarks. This must be the notice produced by the British Hallmarking Council. Click here to view the Dealers' Notice (this link will open in a new window on your browser)

* "Jewellery which was manufactured before the year 1950 and has not since the beginning of the year 1950 been the subject of any alteration which would be an improper alteration if the article had previously borne approved hallmarks."

Source: Hallmarking act 1973 - click here to view in its entirety (this link will open in a new window on your browser).

Ring size guide

UK United States and Canada Ring Size Diameter in Inches France Germany Japan
D 2 0.52 41 1/2 13 1/4 2
D-½ 2 1/4 0.528 42 1/8 13 1/2 ---
E 2 1/2 0.536 42 3/4 13 3/4 3
E-½ 2 3/4 0.544 43 3/8 --- ---
F 3 0.553 44 14 4
F-½ 3 1/4 0.561 44 5/8 14 1/4 ---
G 3 1/2 0.569 45 1/4 14 1/2 5
G-½ 3 3/4 0.577 45 7/8 14 3/4 6
H-½ 4 0.586 46 1/2 15 7
I 4 1/4 0.594 47 1/8 15 1/4 ---
I-½ 4 1/2 0.602 47 3/4 15 1/2 8
J 4 3/4 0.61 48 3/8 --- ---
J-½ 5 0.619 49 15 3/4 9
K 5 1/4 0.627 49 5/8 16 ---
K-½ 5 1/2 0.635 50 1/4 16 1/4 10
L 5 3/4 0.643 50 7/8 --- 11
L-½ 6 0.652 51 1/2 16 1/2 12
M 6 1/4 0.66 52 1/8 16 3/4 ---
M-½ 6 1/2 0.668 52 3/4 17 13
N 6 3/4 0.676 53 3/8 --- ---
O 7 0.685 54 17 1/4 14
O-½ 7 1/4 0.693 54 5/8 17 1/2 ---
P 7 1/2 0.701 55 1/4 17 3/4 15
P-½ 7 3/4 0.709 55 7/8 --- ---
Q 8 0.717 56 1/2 18 16
Q-½ 8 1/4 0.726 57 1/8 18 1/4 ---
R 8 1/2 0.734 57 3/4 18 1/2 17
R-½ 8 3/4 0.742 58 3/8 18 3/4 ---
S 9 0.75 59 19 18
S-½ 9 1/4 0.759 59 5/8 19 1/4 ---
--- 9 1/2 0.767 60 1/4 19 1/2 19
T 9 3/4 0.775 60 7/8 19 3/4 ---
T-½ 10 0.783 61 1/2 20 20
U 10 1/4 0.792 62 1/8 20 1/4 21
U-½ 10 1/2 0.8 62 3/4 20 1/2 22
V 10 3/4 0.808 63 3/8 --- ---
V-½ 11 0.816 64 20 3/4 23
W 11 1/4 0.825 64 5/8 --- ---
W-½ 11 1/2 0.833 65 1/4 21 24
X 11 3/4 0.841 65 7/8 --- ---
Y 12 0.849 66 1/2 21 1/4 25
Y-½ 12 1/4 0.858 67 1/8 21 1/2 ---
Z 12 1/2 0.866 67 3/4 21 3/4 26
Z-½ 12 3/4 0.874 68 3/8 --- ---
--- 13 0.882 69 22 27

 

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