Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Astley Clarke's Gemology Event

Hello lovelies.
 Last week I was fortunate enough to be one of the few invited to the Astley Clarke jewellery showroom for champagne, sushi and looking and learning about the prettiest gems I’ve ever seen.
 Now, compared to the Carrie Bradshaw’s of the world, my level of girlynesss and love of shoes is probably easily beaten. I’m a firm, black high heels or ballet flats kind of girl … but my love of jewellery and handbags? Second to none. Therefore I was practically dancing my way down the train from Brighton to London at the prospect of getting to look at beautiful stones I’d never heard of.

Walking into the Astley Clarke showroom gives you the same feeling you get when you’re a little girl peering into your mother or grandmothers jewellery box. A complete sense of awe and wonderment at all the glittering surfaces and a delight in the glass boxes holding hidden treasures. For a visual magpie like me with a penchant for all things reflective and shiny, it’s basically heaven. Shortly after arriving and after meeting Founder and Managing Director, Bec Astley Clarke and her team, it was patently obvious that these women have such a passion for what they do and the messages they want to convey about jewellery and how it should make you feel. You can tell they genuinely love the jewellery and hearing them talk about the pieces they personally liked was far more interesting and gave a greater insight to each person individually than just looking at the gems alone.
After being given a gift of a jewellers 30X-21mm magnifying loupe to look at the gems very closely, we were introduced to the incredibly interesting gemologist Amanda Good, who showed us how to use it to view the intricate gems (making sure your hands touch to keep steady) and passed around different gems to see how strikingly different, and even more gorgeous each gem was when viewed close up.  We looked at many different gems including moon stones, (a huge new favourite of mine) labradorite, sapphires, tourmaline, opal’s and many others and listened to her explain the mythology and meanings behind each one as well as the more technical side of which gems are good for everyday wear and which are more suited to be worn only for the best occasions. 

Top tips

Don’t keep your jewellery all together in a draw or bag where they may clash or hit each other. Each gem has different properties and softer ones can be easily damaged by general wear and tear. Try to keep them in soft pouches or separately in boxes.

Nothing beats a toothbrush and soapy warm water for home cleaning of your jewellery to get everything sparkling again!

I think the most important thing I learnt was to stay true to your personality when choosing jewellery. Unlike diamonds, I think gemstones really have the ability to portray you as a person. For instance, gemologist Amanda really likes sapphires and optical effects, especially in quirky jewellery. Other girls were more interested in the meanings of the gems, whether it was their birthstone or what the mythology was behind the piece. Whilst others simply loved certain gems for favourite colours and would pick things for purely visual reasons. I also learnt not to stick to what you know. Titanium for instance is something I never would have gone looking for, but the material is so light and easy to wear and looked so different to everything else that it’s something I’ll now definitely seek out.

My personal favourite out of the many lovely things we looked at (and shown below) was the Astley Clarke take on the Victorian tradition of creating a ring spelling out ‘dearest’ as an acronym, using six different types of gemstone. To update it, the ‘darling’ ring was created (a much sweeter term in my opinion) where each gem represents a letter in the word. On the train home back to Brighton and mentally running through all the pieces I’d seen that night, this ring was definitely my favourite. It’s delicate, meaningful, and something not everyone would have (If I could afford to be frivolous toward myself and get this I’d be the happiest girl ever. Although may become transfixed by it and never leave the house). Definitely the gem of gems. Serious swooning. Below I’ve shown this ring and a few of my other favourites, all in different price ranges for you to fawn over.

One. Aventurine Pebble Pendant by Astley Clarke Pebble £125. This piece is so delicate and beautiful. The colour is light and fresh and I love the way it’s left to speak for itself with minimal fuss. Very clean and contemporary. 
Two. Labradorite Cobachon Ring by Anne Sportun £1,150. This is perfect for autumn/winter. It’s a dark and moody gem, but lightened by the 18ct gold ring that it’s set in. I’d never heard of labradorite before, but up close it’s one of the prettiest things I’ve seen. 
Three. Ionian Islands Enamel Ball Pendant by Astley Clarke Colour £145. For those looking for something a bit different but still special, this green enamel ball pendant is spot on. This necklace features rose cute white topaz and comes from the Astley Clarke colour collection which is full of bright, stand out jewellery. 
Four.  Darling Ring by Astley Clarke Couture £850. It’s perfect. That’s all I have to say about this ring. Perrrrfect. 
Five. Amma Cluster Earrings by Vinnie Day. I can’t believe I never realised how pretty moonstones were before. This is a cluster of them designed exclusively for Astley Clarke and would look beautiful with minimal make up and sleeked back hair. 
Six. Mini Luna Ring by Monica Vinader £70. I adore this ring, and at that price I might actually by this one for myself. It’s part of a collection where you can buy more than one ring and stack them in different ways as they all fit seamlessly together. I’d also wear this one by itself because it’s so understated and pretty. 
Seven. Gemstone Bracelet by Pippa Small £550. Beautiful and colourful. I like that it has other gems hanging down slightly from the main bracelet so the piece has some movement. Great for catching the light and making the gems sparkle. 
Eight. Double Spinel Ring by Astley Clarke Aravalli £1,225. This ring features a deep pink and blue faceted spinel. Considering the price, it really is one of those pieces you would look after carefully and pass down to your granddaughters. A gorgeous investment piece.

If you’re a lover of all things that sparkle I’d definitely recommend giving Astley Clarke.com a visit. The gems really are beautiful and the extremely broad price ranges mean you can save up for an investment piece (or cheekily ask for one as a gift) or you can buy slightly lower priced jewellery, one piece at a time to create one of their quirky stacks. You can also create a wishlist, which is really helpful for keeping track of the items you’re really swooning over or just give them a call on ‘personal shopping’ for help, information or to buy. They’re really friendly and really knowledgeable about everything they sell.
Also, it was lovely to meet other people who blog about similar things and even though I didn’t have time to chat a lot, as I had to travel back to Brighton, I have looked at their blogs and they’re pretty fantastic, so take a look at Rebecca’s blog, FlorenceFinds, A Small Scoop by Kerry, In Detail by Beanie and Harry, Or Flase Glitter by Sarah, The Style PA by Jenny and Alannah’s site – you’ll probably lose hours looking at all their visual delights.

I seem to have swooned and rambled my way into far too many paragraphs now so I will shush and try to stop thinking about jewellery now.

Natasha x

1 comment:

gemologists said...

Your tips are of great help. Thank you for sharing this wonderful blog and fantastic tips.