iedr

The IE Domain Registry (IEDR), the managed registry for Ireland’s official Internet address .ie, today announced the 15 winners of its OPTIMISE 2014 Fund. The winning companies include micro-enterprises, SMEs, emerging and established companies from the retail, travel, tourism, charity and service sectors, including JW Weldon!

The IEDR’s OPTIMISE e-Commerce Website Development Fund provides €150,000 worth of professional consultancy and support to help 15 Irish SMEs and micro-enterprises upgrade their online presence and grow their business using the Internet as a sales and marketing channel.

Now in its fourth year the OPTIMISE Fund has already benefitted a total of 45 small businesses across all industries and from all parts of the country who have had free professional consultation, practical training and e-commerce development from some of Ireland’s best known online business advisers. The Fund was originally created in response to strong demand from Ireland’s SME community for practical, hands-on assistance in the area of e-commerce and new technologies.

The €150,000 investment by IEDR is financed entirely from the company’s own resources and is driven by IEDR’s commitment to give more small Irish businesses the opportunity to ‘optimise’ their websites using professional consultancy, experience and insight that might otherwise be beyond their budgets or resources.

The 15 winning companies were selected from over 170 entries by an independent panel of judges comprising leading Irish business and technology experts.

Each of the winners will receive tailored e-commerce advice, strategies and practical support to begin upgrading their online presence or e-commerce functionality. The winning companies will be better placed to utilise the Internet’s 24 hour sales and marketing channel to gain a competitive advantage in today’s online marketplace.

The 15 recipients, who will each receive 10 days’ of professional technical and marketing support comprise both start-up and established businesses.

Congratulating this year’s OPTIMISE winners, Mr. David Curtin, Chief Executive of IE Domain Registry, said: “Ireland has a terrific brand in the .ie domain name and it’s imperative that Irish businesses use it to fulfil their potential online, which means embracing e-commerce technologies. With the OPTIMISE Fund, IEDR wants to help Irish small businesses achieve growth online. We know that companies in Ireland remain slow to capitalise on the Internet as a sales channel, and that small companies often need a helping hand to do so. I congratulate this year’s winners and look forward to helping them fulfil their enormous online potential with the OPTIMISE Fund.”

Spinel

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Spinel Weldons of Dublin

A very interesting gemstone that is not commonly seen is spinel, a red gemstone often confused with ruby. Indeed, until fairly recently all red gemstones were called rubies; however ruby is denser and slightly harder than spinel, (spinel is 8 on the Mohs scale) and the two can be easily differentiated by comparing refractive indices.

fine colour spinel

Spinel is a hard magnesium aluminium oxide that has been used as a gemstone for centuries. It is known to come in a range of colours, from a rose pink to a rich red, and also lavender, deep violet, light and deep blue, orange, yellow, brown and black. Below is a rough piece of spinel.

good spinel crystal

The name spinel is thought to have come from the Greek word for “spark”, in reference to its bright colour. One of the most famous spinels of all is the 170 carat “Black Prince’s Ruby”, set into the British Imperial State Crown (seen below), above the 317 carat Cullinan II diamond. It was acquired by Edward, Prince of Wales, in 1367. His nickname was the Black Prince, from which the name of the stone was taken.

black prince ruby

Spinel occurs in Cambodia, Myanmar, Sri Lanka and Thailand. There are some other locations where spinel deposits have been found, such as Afghanistan, Australia, Brazil, Madagascar and the USA.

The most desirable spinel colour is vivid red, followed by cobalt blue, bright pink and bright orange. Paler colours such as lavender tend to be less valuable. Other colours are black, violet-blue, greenish-blue, greyish, pale-pink, mauve, yellow and brown.

Good quality spinel gemstones should have good clarity, with no visible inclusions. Inclusions typically decrease the value of spinel except in rare circumstances where they can result in asterism (the star effect).

Other famous spinels in the world include

The Samarian Spinel, a red 500 carat gemstone that is part of the Iranian Crown Jewels

The Mogul Names Necklace, comprised of eleven red spinel gemstones with a total carat weight of 1,131.59 carats. It sold for over five million dollars at Christie’s in 2011.

A red 398 carat spinel set into the Russian Imperial Crown

The 352 carat “Timur Ruby”. It was believed to be the largest ruby until 1851, until is was discovered to be a spinel.

Harry Winston Engagement Ring Dublin

 

After a break from blogging, we are back up and running and have uploaded 50 rings to the website in the last few days! We have an extensive collection of beautiful antique diamond engagement rings, in a variety of styles including Edwardian, Art Deco, Art Nouveau and Belle Epoque rings, in both platinum and gold. There is a skill and workmanship visible in an antique ring which can sometimes take your breath away – you can see intricate work which cannot be reproduced today, and will make your piece an absolute one-off. The majority of our engagement rings come with certificates from world renowned laboratories such as the GIA and the HRD. Below are some of the newest arrivals, but have a glance through the rings category to get a feel for what we have. We also have a good selection of signed jewellery from some of the world’s most famous jewellery houses, including Harry Winston, Tiffany, Cartier, Trudel, Fred, Van Cleef and Arpels and Bulgari.

Asscher Cut Solitaire Ring by Tiffany and Co.

Asscher Cut Solitaire Ring by Tiffany and Co.

Cushion Cut Engagement Ring

Cushion Cut Engagement Ring on Platinum

Antique E colour diamond ring, circa 1910

Antique E colour diamond ring, circa 1910

Weldon Antique Engagment Rings

Modern Diamond Solitaire Ring with Pear Shape Shoulders

Two Diamond Brooches

Jan 23, 2014

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In:Engagement Rings

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Antique Diamond brooches Dublin

 

One of the great pleasures of working with antiques is that one can see some quite extraordinary pieces. We have recently acquired two quite stunning antique diamond brooches, from the end of the 19th century. They are both of incredible beauty, and convey the skill and talent of goldsmiths of the era.

The first is a simply wonderful 19th century diamond and emerald brooch, with with two emeralds of incredible colour, the top stone in the centre of a diamond bow, the lower one in a diamond cluster. There is a smaller bow underneath the main one, and foliage style drops hanging off this bow leading to the bottom cluster. As was the fashion at the time, the lower section is articulated, and gently moves as the wearer does. It is set on silver-topped rose gold. The style is classic late 19th century, which featured ribbons and bows, and had the beginnings of the naturalistic Art Nouveau movement. Of particular note is the vibrancy of the emeralds; the value of an emerald is almost entirely based on the depth of colour, and how much it “glows”. These emeralds, well matched to each other, are extremely bright, and are probably Colombian in origin. The diamonds are a mixture of Mine cuts, (so-called because they were originally cut at the mine rather than in one of the cutting centres) and cushion cuts; the manner in which they are set, with each at a slightly different angle to its neighbour, and the articulation of the lower sections, means that from any direction there is great fire coming from the stones. Originally it would have been worn pinned centrally on a high-necklined dress, though later on they would have been put onto a shawl or tulle wrapped gently around the neck.

Emerald Brooch

The other is a lovely and beautiful diamond set brooch in the form of a flower, circa 1895. It is set with 106 round cut diamonds, this is an amazingly detailed and realistically executed brooch. There is a naturalistic look to it, with gentle flow to the piece. On the leaves, the metal in-between the diamonds is delicately curved, to echo the striations of a real leaf, and the bud of the flower is similarly decorated. You can see the outer leaves as well as the inner flower, and the size of the diamonds varies according to which section one looks at. A marker for how well made the piece is can be found at the back, where the pin is gently arched to perfectly match the curve of the stem of the flower. This is something that one would not see on many pieces.

Antique Diamond brooches Dublin

 

We have a wide range of beautiful and rare brooches at our shop in Clarendon Street in Dublin, you are very welcome to call in to have a look if you are passing. Our speciality is diamond and other gemstone brooches, though we also carry a range of gold brooches and bar brooches. To view a selection of these online, follow this link: Brooches

 

 

Antique Cork teaspoons Weldons antique Silver

Irish Silver Maker’s Marks

Photographs of Irish silver maker’s marks, first letter from M to Z, including some biographical background to each silversmith where possible, in alphabetical order.

Matthew Walker

Another member of the famous Walker family, Matthew Walker had a very long career, and was an excellent silversmith. He was a Freeman from 1716 until 1760, and was elected Warden of the Company of Goldsmiths from 1721-4, and served a term as master warden in 1724-5. In 1737 he was elected to the Common Council of the City of Dublin.

His work is scarce, but generally of very high quality. His mark was a very distinctive MW intertwined. (Although it is a slightly rubbed mark, the intertwining is clearly visible. If I come across a clearer example I will replace this!)

Maurice Fitzgerald

Fitzgerald worked from 1760 until 1817.

Maurice Fitzgerald’s maker’s mark was MFG, with the vertical bar of the F being formed from the M. (another version is also known where the three letters are formed separately.)

Irish silver makers marks

Michael Homer

Michael Homer was a silversmith working in Dublin in the second half of the 18th century. His mark was a block capital MH, seen below, taken from a spoon from 1778. Interestingly, you can see that he stamped the spoon twice, and there is a slight ghosting of the first strike around the mark.

Patrick Laughlin

Patrick Loughlin worked in Dublin in the 19th century, from 1835-44. He had a workshop on Ship Street, at the side of Dublin Castle, a common area for silversmiths to base themselves.

His maker’s mark was PL, in block capitals, in a rectangular outline. It is seen below, taken from a large table centrepiece, almost 27 inches high.

Robert Breading

Robert Breading, who had a long career, from 1775 to 1822. He worked on Ship Street, just around the corner from Dublin Castle, where many silversmiths worked. His mark is RB. It is seen here on a teapot, date 1805.

He was a very talented silversmith, as can be sen in this example, a sauce tureen from 1788. In this example, there is a dot between the R and the B

The hallmarks on this piece are near the handle, as is typical for this type of item

Robert Calderwood

Calderwood was active in the middle of the 18th century, roughly from the 1727 until his death in 1766. He worked in Castle Street, at the back of Dublin Castle, in the centre of Dublin. He served time as both a Warden and Master of the Company of Goldsmiths of Dublin, and trained several apprentices.

It is thought possible that he worked for a time in London, as his work is slightly different to many other Irish silversmiths working at that time.

He also accupied Pew Number 75 in St. Werburgh’s Church, the church which stood around the corner from Goldsmith’s Hall.

His maker’s mark was the letters RC with a small device between the letters. The shape of the mark was usually slighly scalloped on either the bottom or both the top and bottom of the mark. In the example pictured, it is shaped on both the top and bottom of the mark.

Unusually, in this example, the harp crowned was stamped upside down!

Irish silver makers marks

Calderwood’s work was generally of superb quality, and is among the finest Irish silver one will see.

Samuel Neville

Samuel Neville was a silversmith working from the time of George III all the way up until his death in 1851. He had a few different workshops over the course of his career, including at Hoey’s Court, Ship Street and Stafford Street.

He was a specialist in flatware, and the example of his maker’s mark, SN, is taken from a meat skewer, Dublin 1810.

Samuel Walker

Samuel Walker was one of a famous family of silversmiths from Dublin. He had a long career, working from the late 1720s as an apprentice to John Taylor, until his death in 1769.

His father, Joseph Walker, was a wonderful silversmith, and other members of the family known to have worked in the trade are James (possibly an uncle), Thomas and Matthew (siblings?)

His mark was an SW in block letters, very easy to recognise!

It is seen here on a sauceboat from late in his career, circa 1765. You can also see wonderful, clear Hibernia and Harp crowned marks in this photo. :

Sharman D Neill of Belfast

Sharman D Neill was one of the finest silversmiths of the late 1800s, and one of the few Irish silversmiths who produced Art Nouveau and Arts and Crafts movement pieces. From his workshop on Donegall place, he produced items of outstanding quality; he excelled at items of Art Nouveau and Arts and Crafts styles. In 1885 he was appointed Jeweller to HRH the Prince of Wales, an honour that reflects his talents.

His mark was SDN in a shamrock shape, though another mark, SD Neill incuse, was used as his retailer’s mark. They are seen below.

Thomas Jones

Tom Jones was a silversmith working in Dublin in the late 18th century; his workshop was on Castle Street. He became freeman in 1774, and was master warden of the company of goldsmiths in 1791.

His mark was a TJ, seen below from a silver salver.

Thomas Sutton

Thomas Sutton was a famous silversmith from the first part of the 18th century.He worked from 1717 until 1744.

He was apprenticed to Thomas Bolton, one of the most famous Irish silversmiths of all time. His brother, William Sutton, was also a silversmith of note, and was active at the same time.

His mark was TS with a crown over it, seen below, taken from a silver mug made in 1728.

Another interesting feature on this mug is a scratch weight. As the fee for assaying depended on the weight of the object, this was often scratched into the base. In this case, this mug weighed seven ounces and fourteen pennyweight. Over a period of hundreds of years, sometimes a piece lose a little bit of weight (through repeated polishing, for example), and can weigh a little bit less than this. However, it should never weigh more!

William Cummins

Dublin silversmith William Cummins, who worked from 1813 to 1846, worked prolifically, and was an expert maker of flatware. His name was sometimes spelled “Comyns”.

His mark was a plain WC in a square outline, as seen below, from a soup ladle from 1827.

William Duggan/Dugan

This is the mark of a rare silversmith, William Duggan of Dublin. His name was sometimes spelled “Dugan”

Little is known of him, other than that he worked from about 1723.  His mark was a WD, in script, in a plain surround. In this example, it is on the base of a silver brandy warmer, dating from about 1745. It has a scratch weight of 11=15.


William Homer

William Homer worked from 1754 until his death in 1773. His mark is a WH in italics, in a plain surround, though a variation with a four leafed surround is also known. It is seen below, taken from a small salver, circa 1770

William Nowlan

Here is the mark of a wonderful silversmith, William Nowlan of Dublin, active from 1811 until 1835. He worked on Whitefriar Street. His mark is WN in a rectangular outline. It is seen here on a coffee pot from 1829.

William Williamson

William Williamson of Dublin was part of a silversmithing family whose work spanned the 18th century. His father, William Williamson I worked during the reign of George I. His son, William II, the subject of this post, probably worked with his father on Cole Alley, and then at Castle Street. He was a freeman of Dublin in 1740. He served as assay master from 1754 until 1770. His son, also called William, worked in the same street, and possibly in the same workshop.

Williamson’s maker’s mark was WW, with a distinctive star above. His father’s maker’s mark was similar, but the outline of the punch was different.

It can be seen in this photo, taken from a pair of salvers.

The Pink Star Diamond

Nov 23, 2013

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Pink Star Diamond

The Pink Star Diamond, which sold this month for $83 million dollars, is one of the most fabulous diamonds in the world. It is the largest fancy vivid pink internally flawless diamond in the world, and weighs in at an astonishing 59.60 carats, making the price paid almost 1,400,000 dollars per carat. It is the highest price paid at auction for a gemstone. It is mounted as a plain ring, and is one of the most beautiful stones in the world. It has been graded by the GIA, the world’s foremost authority on gemstones, who gave the colour and clarity grade, and also took the unusual step of issuing a letter to state that it is the largest such diamond that they have ever graded. Within this colour and saturation grade, the next largest stone is less than half its size. It was bought by New York dealer Isaac Wolf, who has renamed it the Pink Dream. Investment grade diamonds like this have made headlines recently, and appear to offer stability against volatility in world markets.

pink star diamond 2

We wrote about it previously, in 2011, in this blog post: http://www.weldons.ie/the-steinmetz-pink/

The rough diamond weighed 132.5 carats, and it took years to cut. Experts made over 50 resin models of the rough diamond in the process of deciding how to cut it, a process which took a long time! It is a type IIa diamond, the rarest type, which accounts for about 0.5% of all of the diamonds in the world. This type of diamond is the purest, even at a crystal level; while most diamonds contain trace amounts of nitrogen or boron, type IIa diamonds are comprised almost entirely of carbon atoms.

It was first in the public eye in 2003, when it was modelled by Helena Christensen at an event held in Monaco. It was later exhibited at the Smithsonian Museum, as part of a display of the finest diamonds in the world, where it was alongside the Hope Diamond, the Millennium Star (203 carats), the Moussaieff Red (the largest known red diamond in the world), the Harry Winston Pumpkin Diamond, the Allnatt Yellow Diamond, The Heart of Eternity Blue, and the Ocean Dream, a blue-green diamond. It gives an idea of the rarity and magnificence of the stone that it can hold its own in such company.

Over 1.6 million people came to see the diamonds. It was also a feature in the “Diamonds” exhibition held in London’s Natural History Museum in 2005.

It was sold privately in 2007 and renamed the Pink Star.

Of all of the grades of pink that one can see in a diamond, “Fancy Vivid” is the highest possible grade, and is a gorgeous deep colour. The cause of colour in diamonds is dealt with in more depth in another blog posting: http://www.weldons.ie/fancy-coloured-diamonds/

Below is the Pink Star actually being sold. It took mere minutes for bidding to reach almost $60 million dollars, breaking the pre-sale estimate, and within a few more minutes a new world record for a gemstone at auction had been set, which, including fees, was a little over $83 million dollars.
pink star being sold

 

Diamond engagement ring Dublin

The diamond is the universal symbol of love. Of all its many roles, it is as a messenger of romantic love that the diamond has resonated through the centuries to emerge today as powerful as ever. This began with the belief that Cupid’s arrows were tipped with diamonds. The word diamond is derived from the Greek word “adamas”, meaning “unconquerable”; over the centuries the belief evolved that people who owned and wore diamonds were indestructible. The Greeks even believed that diamonds were the tears of the gods. Diamonds were also believed to be splinters from stars, which fell to earth. Roman soldiers would wear diamonds into battle because they believed it made them undefeatable. Eventually the attributes of courage, unfailing virtue, perpetual youth, good fortune, marital bliss and sweet dreams became associated with diamond.

Engagement Rings in Antiquity

Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics depict eternity as an unending circle or ring; it is believed that a ring as a symbol of a wedding pledge comes from an old custom of two people pledging a bond inside a sacred circle, (often a created by a ring of stones). The reason we wear wedding rings on the third finger of the left-hand comes from the Egyptian belief that the vena amoris, (the vein in your left-hand), connected that finger to your heart. The Romans used a plain iron hoop as a wedding ring, but among the elite, the iron ring was worn while indoors and replaced with the more valuable gold band when outdoors. Sometimes there would be inscriptions carved on the inside of the band.

roman ring 2

According to a 5th century Roman writer called Macrobius, the wedding ring was to be worn on the fourth finger of the left hand. However, the Catholic Church tradition was to have couples wear rings on their right-hands; this is still the tradition in much of Europe today.

As with many of our traditions regarding rings, the engraving of a ring also started with the Egyptians. In the 16th century the British and French took ring engraving to a whole new level, engraving posies, or small love poems inside the ring. These posy rings are still available today, indeed we have had them in stock many times over the years.

A Posy Ring

Just as the symbolism of the wedding ring has developed over the years, so has the use of diamond changed.

The earliest references to diamonds are dating from about 300 B.C. However, it was not until much later that diamonds were first mined in significant quantites, in India, in the now mythical mines of Golconda. Many of the world’s most famous diamonds came from Golconda, including the Hope Diamond, the Koh-i-Noor and the Regent Diamond. They finally made their way to Europe, as the Roman’s trade routes spread across the Eastern world.  It was the 12th century that the first use of diamonds was seen in royal western jewellery, in the Crown of St. Stephen of Hungary.

Throughout the ages royals have adorned themselves with diamonds, as a show of power and wealth. Indeed, in the 1200s Louis IX of France declared that only royalty could wear diamonds. However, it was not until the 1400s that women joined in, when Agnes Sorel (a mistress of the King of France) became the first recorded woman to wear diamonds.

Engagement Rings in The Middle Ages

This is an 15th century diamond ring; you can see that the natural shape of the rough is intact, and simply mounted on a gold band.

roman ring

By the fifteenth century, the diamond ring was a common feature of royal weddings. The first recorded diamond engagement ring was given in the year 1477, a gift of Archduke Maximilian to Mary of Burgundy.

However, the news of the ruling elite wearing diamonds was not always pleasing to the common citizen. The rumour that Marie Antoinette, Queen of France, plastered the walls of her country retreat with diamonds did not go down well with the French people!

This following poem was written in 1475, to mark the wedding of Constanzo Sforza to Camilla d’Aragona,

‘Two torches in one ring of burning fire / Two wills, two hearts, two passions, all bonded in marriage by a diamond.’

The obvious symbolism of the diamond being as unbreakable as a marriage (and vice versa) is clear to see!

Gradually, during the Renaissance, these rings became more and more elaborately decorated. New techniques such as enamelling, and improvements in goldsmithing allowed the manufacture of increasingly intricate designs.

Engagement Rings in Georgian and Victorian Times

With the discovery of diamonds in Brazil in the 18th century, diamond jewellery became more readily available, and was no longer soley for those at the very top of society; more and more people could afford to wear diamonds, and diamond cluster rings were the height of fashion. A common design is seen below, a cluster of small rose-cut diamonds arranged around a larger centre diamond.

georgian ring

It is worth noting that the metal is every bit as important as the stone; historically it was a widely accepted belief that gold was the metal of the sun, while silver was the metal of the moon and platinum was the metal of heaven. Prior to about 1900, you will find that most rings are made of gold, while after that rings were predominantly platinum. In the modern era, both are used.

Below is another antique engagement ring, comprising of Rose Cut diamonds, which look best in candlelight. This is interesting in that it reflects the societal rule that diamonds were for evening wear, and not for daytime wear. This did not begin to change until the 19th century.

georgian ring 2

This is a classic carved mount vintage engagement ring from the late 19th century, with ornate decoration, swirls and beautiful Old Cut diamonds.

antique engagement rings through the ages weldons of dublin (6)

This is a similar ring, set with five stones. You can see the skill that would have been required to made such a ring!

The simple effortless style of the Tiffany setting, created in 1886 and almost unchanged ever since, offered an ideal way to showcase to the beauty and fire of the diamond. Developments in diamond cutting in the later 1800s and early 1900s maximised the sparkle of a diamond, making the solitaire a perfect way to display a diamond. Below is a classic Tiffany setting, showing off a diamond to its best!

Tiffany Solitaire Engagement Ring

This is a modern Tiffany style ring, you can see how little the pattern have changed in 120 years

Art Nouveau Engagement Rings

Art Nouveau style focussed on Naturalistic motifs, emphasizing soft lines, fine detail and heavy ornamentation. In the ring below you can see the filigree style typical of the era, with lots of intricate work. This was made possible by the use of platinum, which allows one to create a ring with more detail than gold will typically allow.

antique engagement rings through the ages weldons of dublin (2)

The ring in the video below is a classic Art Nouveau ring; see the swirls and curves below the gallery of the ring, and the fine piercing and cutaway sections of the shoulders.

Art Deco Diamond Rings

Art Deco engagement rings were almost the complete opposite of the Edwardian style – simple and geometric, and alost totally focussed on the diamond as opposed to the setting. Below is a classic Art Deco ring, with straight diamond baguettes.

 antique engagement rings

As it spins around in the video clip below, you can get a feel for how pure the lines are, and how it captures the Art Deco crispness perfectly.

Finally, you can learn more about diamonds here: Weldons Diamonds Information Pages

Amethyst

Sep 27, 2013

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In:Learn about diamonds

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Amethyst brooch

Amethyst is a purple coloured gemstone, the most prized member of the quartz family. It has been known of and treasured since the time of the ancient Greeks. It’s wine-purple colour lead the Greeks to believe that it would protect one from drunkenness, and keep the wearer clear headed and quick-witted. According to Aristotle, it was also the name of a nymph who invoked the help of the Diana to protect her from the attentions of Bacchus; she did this be transforming the nymph into a precious gem. In remembrance of his love, Bacchus gave the stone its colour and the quality of preserving its wearers from the noxious influence of wine. Good specimens were found in Aztec graves, but it is not known from where the stones were mined.

 

Georgian Era Amethyst Cross, circa 1840

Georgian Amethyst Cross, circa 1830

Amethyst has been thought to have many attributes throughout history, and all of them are good. It was thought to control evil thoughts, quicken intelligence, and to make a person shrewd in business. On the battlefield, it was thought to preserve soldiers from wounds and aid the warrior to victory. In the Chinese philosophy of Feng Shui, the amethyst enhances the “wealth corner”, focusing on the giving and receiving of material wealth. It is associated with the crown chakra at the top of the head where divine essence enters. In Renaissance magic, an amethyst engraved with the image of a bear was worn as a protective amulet. If worn round the neck on a cord made from dog’s hair, it even affords protection against snakebite!

Where Does Amethyst Come From

Today, most amethyst comes from Brazil, though there are minor sources in India, Sri Lanka, the USA and Zambia. Historically, however, the main source was in Siberia. The inaccessibility of Siberia made it a very rare gemstone, and only available to Royalty and aristocracy. The discovery of huge mines in South America at the start of the 20th century made it suddenly available to a wider public, who embraced it with gusto; as a result, much of the amethyst jewellery seen today dates from that era. What was presumed to be the largest-ever cavity was discovered in 1900 in Rio Grande do Sul. The deposit measured ten by five by three metres, and was estimated to weigh eight tonnes. There is a piece weighing 200 kilogrammes, taken from this, in the Smithsonian Museum. In recent times, a find in the USA contained well over 1000 kilogrammes of cuttable amethyst; some crystals were 19 cm in length. There is a three metre tall geode – a hollow rock filled with amethyst crystals – at the Crystal Caves at Atherton, south-west of Cairns.

3 metre tall amethyst geode, "The Empress of Uruguay"

3 metre tall amethyst geode, “The Empress of Uruguay”

Properties of Amethyst

As a member of the quartz family, amethyst is very suitable gemstone for jewellery; it has a hardness of 7 on the Mohs scale, and is of good toughness. The finest colour is a rich royal purple with reddish overtones, often found in African amethyst. Steam cleaning is not recommended, though it is safe to clean with warm, soapy water. It is also the birthstone for February.

Art Nouveau Amethyst and Pearl Brooch, circa 1910

Art Nouveau Amethyst and Pearl Brooch, circa 1910

Tanzanite

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Tanzanite

Tanzanite is a transparent blue gemstone that was first discovered in 1962 in Tanzania, in East Africa. It is a variety of a mineral called zoisite. Initially only small pockets were discovered, but in the late 1960s a large deposit was discovered, and large-scale mining began.

Its immense and sudden popularity was almost entirely due to the fact that Tiffany and Co began a huge marketing campaign in 1968 to promote it; it was the gem of choice for cutting edge designers and sellers, and was instantly in demand. However, supply was intermittent and unreliable, and this is still true today. Prices and availability are subject to fluctuations depending on the political situation in Tanzania.

tanzanite crystal

The main appeal of tanzanite is that it is highly pleochroic, that is that it will show different colours from different viewing angles. The two main colours are blue and purple. Because of the way in which the crystal grows, a cutter will typically get a larger finished stone by cutting the gem to show the purple colour. This has made predominantly blue tanzanite rarer and more valuable.

The Properties of Tanzanite

Tanzanite is graded on the mohs hardness scale at 6-7, with fair to poor toughness. (It is worth bearing in mind that this is still more durable than steel!) This means that it can be susceptible to cleaving and to thermal shock. It should not be cleaned in a steam machine, worn in a manner likely to give it a strong knock, or exposed to sudden temperature change. Most examples are mounted in necklaces or earrings, where they are less likely to receive such a knock. It is safe to clean tanzanite with warm soapy water.

Fine blue examples (“top blue”) are sometimes confused with sapphire, but there will almost always be a degree of purple visible.

Tanzanite Crystals

Vintage diamond engagement ring from Weldons of Dublin

Now that the new website is fully set-up, and all of the little tweaks have been made, it’s business as usual with uploading diamond rings, jewellery and antique silver to the site! We have also moved a lot of the previous blog posts into a smaller number of larger, in-depth articles.

You can find our new page about choosing a diamond ring from Weldons of Dublin HERE

Our newest selection uploaded to the site include a wonderful Art Deco engagement ring by Lambert Brothers of New York, once owners of the famous 69 carat pear shape diamond that Richard Burton gave to Elizabeth Taylor. Our ring is a 0.94ct E colour, and is certificated by the Gemmological Institute of America, the world’s leading experts in gemmology. It is on platinum, and has graduated diamond baguette shoulders. It is pictured below.

Vintage diamond engagement ring from Weldons of Dublin

There are lots more to view, simply click HERE! No appointment is needed, but you can call us on 01-6771638, or simply drop in to see us from Tuesday to Saturday, 10am until 5.30pm.