Advice Articles

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John Hume Proprietor

John Hume has been involved with the business for over 40 years and strongly believes customers, both new and longstanding, are the most important part of the business, and the key to its success. Throughout this time, John has gained a wealth of knowledge in all aspects of the trade, and offers you some of his advice online.

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We all know about and are wary of 'genuine' designer items that are sold for a song because they are fakes, but not so obvious are the precious jewellery items that look like the real thing but are not. Buyers need to beware of the tricks used to lure the unguarded and should not be fooled by an incredibly low price (compared to jewellery bought in the UK) that can signify the item has simply not been made or constructed properly.

To save on costs some rings are cast with diamonds actually 'in situ', dispensing with the need for the item to be sent to a Setter for the stones to be accurately and properly set. Beautiful "invisible" set diamonds (no claws to be seen) look great - but take care! The stones used often have a tongue and groove arrangement just below the girdle of the stone and each stone relies wholly on its neighbour to stay in place with no other means of holding the stones in their setting. One knock and they are all out.

Another trick to improve the visible appearance or quality of diamonds is for very poor quality stones to be glass filled. This means that any work to the mount or alteration in finger size of the ring when back home in the UK could cause a dramatic deterioration in the diamonds.

Holidaymakers often choose to buy jewellery abroad because they believe that foreign gold is less expensive than at home and no V.A.T is charged. These are popular misconceptions. The truth is that even though a certificate may be issued for authenticity it is no real guarantee that you are buying what you genuinely believe to be real gems and/or precious metals. We have seen jewellery purchased abroad and described as 18ct gold which is immediately striking to the trained eye as being gold plated. This was the case for one lady who had spent the equivalent of £600 on a bracelet, then brought in to us for valuation, only to be shocked when discovering that it was gold plated and worth approximately £20.

We urge people to think carefully before spending their hard-earned money on jewellery abroad, and also when shopping on the internet. All too often the jewellery pieces appear to be bargains but turn out to be the opposite. Some of the items are fraudulently sold - the untrained eye can't ever know if stones are real or synthetic. Some stones can only be identified using laboratory equipment.

Shopping locally is a much safer way to buy jewellery and watches of genuine value, particularly as Sudbury is blessed with a choice of good, honest and reliable members of the National Association of Goldsmiths. This highly respected body was founded in 1894. Angelo Smith was a founder member and is also a member of the British Watch and Clockmakers Guild.

Everyone looks forward to a great Summer vacation after a year of hard work, but do remember to be careful when buying jewellery or watches abroad. Trust your instinct and be guided by it. Remember the saying, "If it appears too good to be true, it probably is"!

It is important to replace the battery in your watch annually or once the battery has expired to minimise the risk of leaking into the watch movement.

Contrary to popular belief it is not possible to over-wind a mechanical watch. It is essential to wind until you can go no further to ensure that the watch will operate for the full 24 hours. Try to wind your watch at the same time everyday, setting a routine, perhaps in the morning before putting it on.

Due to being subjected to constant wear and tear, rings are the most vulnerable item of jewellery.

We recommend that you have your ring checked annually, just to ensure the settings are still secure. We advise that you clean your rings weekly. Simply fill a bowl with warm, soapy water and soak the ring for a few minutes. The bowl ensures that if any stones become lose, they are not lost. Once fully soaked, use a soft toothbrush to gently massage the ring, being careful to avoid catching any claws.

Porous materials such as pearls, coral or turquoise should not be cleaned in chemical products. Instead, wiping with a moist chamois leather, or similar soft cloth will work well.
We are always happy to examine your jewellery annually for peace of mind.

Gold is a soft, bright yellow metal that occurs naturally, formed millions of years ago. In order to make gold more durable for the jewellery making process, it is often alloyed with other metals.

 Pure gold is 24 carat, or 99.99% fine. This is marked as 999.
 18ct gold is denoted by 750, meaning 75% fine gold to 25% base metal.
 9ct is 375, meaning 37.5% gold to 62.5% base metal.
In Britain the minimum standard has been 9 carat since the First World War.

Since gold is a soft metal it is essential to keep your items of jewellery separate from each other to prevent scratching and damage. Always try to remove your jewellery before doing household chores such as cooking, cleaning and gardening.

Do try to clean your jewellery regularly to maintain its true beauty. If you prefer, you can do this yourself, we provide good quality jewellery cleaners which contain gentle cleaning agents. Simply soak the items in this, and with a soft toothbrush, carefully massage. For a more thorough clean, you might consider coming to us, where we can offer a professional cleaning service.

If you are concerned about possible damage you may have caused to any item of jewellery, always feel free to call into the shop for us to inspect and reassure you.

Your peace of mind and assurance in your purchase is crucial to our continuation in business. When you purchase a watch from us, not only are you investing in a quality timepiece, but also in our uninterrupted 140 year history and untarnished reputation.

We stand rigidly by everything that we sell, supported by our on-site workshop, and believe strongly that as a responsible and ethical retailer we have a duty to offer good quality after-sales care.

Before you buy from any other source, in particular, the internet and large multiple outlets, please be sure it can be backed by the same level of service.

We charge 100% and always deliver at least 100%. Our experience shows, however, that some retailers and online suppliers, who offer great ‘deals’ and huge reductions appear to charge 70% but deliver only 30%.