What is the symbolic meaning of key jewellery

Stephen Einhorn Key Jewellery Collection

Key

noun

A small piece of shaped metal with incisions cut to fit the wards of a particular lock, which is inserted into a lock and turned to open or close it.

adjective

of crucial importance.

What does a key symbolise?

At its heart, a key is an opener of locks. Whether it’s a door, a treasure chest, or the metaphorical heart, keys let us into unknown worlds. Keys symbolise freedom, they open things up and lock precious things away. They reveal secrets. Superstitions and symbolism around keys abound. Jewish midwives used to give a key to a woman in labour to encourage safe delivery of the baby. In Eastern Europe keys were hung upside down over beds to ward off bad dreams. Several cultures have buried their dead with keys to unlock the afterlife. There are beginnings and endings, but they always lead on…

Stephen Einhorn Key Pendant Necklace

What is the meaning behind a key charm?

The ancient Greeks saw keys as symbols of knowledge. Key charms can symbolise this authority. They can symbolise love, they can symbolise possibility. What more fitting gift to bestow on someone then, than a piece of jewellery in the shape of a key? A key pendant necklace or personalised key necklace: a key hanging close to someone’s heart. It is a pathway, freedom, an expression of desire to open up the world. Or a way of making it clear to your loved ones who holds the key to your heart.

Stephen Einhorn Key Charm in 9ct Yellow Gold

What’s the significance of giving key jewellery for a 21st birthday?

In many cultures the age of 21 represents a significant coming of age. A gold key pendant is a traditional present for anyone, male or female. A piece of key jewellery represents the start of the rest of their lives, the opening of many exciting doors to come. Keys are also traditionally given to graduates, and indeed anyone at the threshold to their next adventure.

Stephen Einhorn Key Charm Necklace 9ct Yellow Gold

So whatever the occasion, you can use Stephen Einhorn’s new key jewellery collection to make your own meanings. You choose the occasion, let us do the rest.

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Why we need to talk about sustainability and traceability in the jewellery industry

Stephen Einhorn London Jewellery Workshop

When you buy an avocado do you look on the packaging to see where it has come from? Do you try to buy vegetables in season? Do you avoid high street clothing shops where the cost of a t shirt is less than the cost of the material to make it?

There is a level of accountability in both food and fashion that is now expected, helping us the consumer to make more ethical choices. You can spend more and buy organic food, you can support your local greengrocer or farm delivery service, buy better quality, handmade clothing. Because all of these products that you buy now are labelled. Made in or grown in, we have a certain amount of information about the provenance of these items, and therefore some information about how they came to be in your hands.

Labelling on jewellery is not the same, yet the same issues apply, and the shops you buy from, whether online or in person, should be able to answer some basic questions about the provenance and conditions in which a piece was made. Just as with choosing to buy decent quality food, not sprayed with chemicals, and clothes that are stitched by well paid adult labourers, we consumers have power, but we also have responsibility. By making sure you know what you are buying, you can hold the industry to account, and enjoy your piece of jewellery that much more.

Here’s our handy guide on what questions to ask when buying jewellery to help you to make informed decisions.

Where do your diamonds come from?

Where do your diamonds come from?

It’s really important that all jewellers know how to answer this question.

Stephen Einhorn only uses conflict free diamonds which have come through the Kimberley process. These are diamonds which have been placed in tamper proof containers and certified by this United Nations process, protecting the diamond trade from Blood Diamonds. All of our diamonds are certified which means we can tell you where they were cut, as well as all of the technical details about their quality, (the 4Cs of colour, cut, clarity and carat weight).

Stephen Einhorn Angel 1ct Three Stone Engagement Ring Platinum & Brilliant Cut Certified Diamond

Can you tell me where the diamond in my ring came from?

This is a slightly different question to where all of the stones are from. Jewellers have been known to stretch the truth slightly and tell customers that the place of origin will be on their diamond certificate. This isn’t true. Stones are sorted into containers with similarly sized stones before being shipped to a cutting centre, where they will be mixed with other, similarly sized stones from other countries. The centre is what will be shown on your certificate. And as far as we are aware there aren’t any diamond mines in Antwerp… Jewellers should be able to explain this to you, and assure you that all their diamonds are Kimberley certified.

If you really want to know the provenance of your diamond and it’s important to you, it’s possible to buy Canadian diamonds. The mining conditions are more controlled because they are mined there and the diamonds are also cut in Canada. The choice as the customer is yours.

Where do your precious stones come from?

There is no ratified treaty for the certification of other stones besides diamonds, but jewellers should be able to talk to you about which countries they do and do not accept stones from and how well they trust their stone dealers. Here at Stephen Einhorn we have been using the same dealers for years who adhere to our own ethical codes about the provenance of stones. We do not buy stones from areas of conflict, where the sale of stones is used to destabilise legitimate governments, or to fund the sales of arms. As the geopolitical climate changes so often, this means keeping abreast of current affairs and keeping in constant contact with our trusted dealers. We have long avoided Burmese rubies, for example, whilst the country was controlled by the military Junta. It is no longer, but we still do not buy stones from there after the treatment of the Rohingya people.

Stephen Einhorn London Jewellery Workshop

Who made my ring?

Do you want a ring handmade by a small, dedicated team, or do you want one made abroad on a large scale, by a huge company? Either is a legitimate choice but you should be aware you are making it.

A lot of larger jewellers no longer make their rings themselves, so any alterations to your piece won’t be made in this country, in fact if it can be altered, it will be sent back to the factory in the country it was made and this will probably take a matter of months. At Stephen Einhorn your ring is handcrafted in our London workshop, meaning if it needs to be re-sized it will be done by the same team who made it. They will know your piece and will give you the best and most personal service. And if you want to shake the hand of the jeweller who made your piece, well, that can be arranged too.

Do you use recycled and reclaimed precious metals?

All metals had to be mined originally (even if it was as far back as the 17th century) but using re-claimed and recycled metals means less environmental impact and less waste. Reduce, reuse, recycle is just as relevant in the jewellery industry as it is in every other walk of life. Here at Stephen Einhorn we use 100% recycled gold, platinum and palladium. We believe in all this, it’s part of who we are.

Stephen Einhorn Bespoke Flower & Vine Engagement Ring In 18ct Rose Gold, Diamonds & Emeralds

Do you use Fairtrade Gold?

This is really the Fairtrade tea question for jewellery. Do you buy Fairtrade or ordinary and don’t worry about the provenance? Whilst all of our gold is recycled (so you can be sure of minimising its environmental impact) we feel that you as the consumer should have the choice as to whether or not you feel able to purchase Fairtrade Gold.

We all know that Fairtrade is a bit more expensive, and rightly so, and we understand it is not a choice all customers are able to make. However, we want to be able to offer that choice, and are one of a small number of jewellers who can make our fine jewellery in certified Fairtrade Gold.

What is your repair service like?

Any reputable jeweller should be able to repair and maintain the jewellery that you buy from them. We offer jewellery MOTs. We can polish, tighten, size and repair because we know how much a financial and emotional investment your jewellery is, and how important it is to you. You will always be able to rely on us to keep your jewellery in tip top condition.

What is your packaging made of?

What is your packaging made of?

It’s all well and good making sure of the provenance of your beautiful piece of jewellery, only for it to be put in a plastic lined box, in a plastic coated (albeit fancy looking) bag. At Stephen Einhorn our packaging is just as much a labour of love as the beautiful jewellery that goes in it. (And as a bonus side note, our ring displays are made of wood, rather than plastic, too). This labour of love is a story still being written, however.

In the interests of transparency, we are happy to tell it. Until a year or so ago all of our packaging was made from fully recycled and recyclable embossed cardboard. However, when we redesigned our London showroom we needed to match the packaging to our re-brand, so Stephen and Jane searched for a company who could make beautiful, recyclable boxes. They thought they had cracked it. But when the order arrived they discovered there is a fine layer of plastic coating on the outside of the cardboard. Not wanting to waste the resources already gone into these boxes they kept them, but carried on researching. The next order will use a plant cellulose to coat the cardboard and thus the fully recycled boxes will be born again.

What’s it like to work at Stephen Einhorn?

What is it like to work here?

People talk about working conditions a lot. It seems obvious that a small company is not a sweat shop, and that people are being given proper breaks, but it’s a question always worth asking. Your ring will shine that much brighter if you know it was made by happy hands. Do staff stay for a long time? Do the bosses buy them birthday presents? Are pastries provided at their weekly meetings? Do they get really good coffee? (It’s true that Stephen Einhorn’s London shop is very close to some amazing bakeries but it’s easy to be a thoughtful employer whatever your location).

And most importantly of all, is the company investing in skill and craftsmanship? Not only do we train our gold and silversmiths to the highest standards but it takes months to train our salespeople so that they know the answers to any questions you might throw at them. Go, on, try us.

Stephen Einhorn Geo Eternity Rings_Small

Stephen Einhorn Geo Eternity Rings

Is your company committed to sustainable working practices?

This isn’t just about the provenance of the materials, it’s the ethos of a company. Any business should have ethical policies in place which are about the health and well-being of both their employees, and the environment. Here we look after both. As well as being a fun, supportive place to work, it is a place where no detail is too small. Lightbulbs are eco, paper is recycled, all cleaning products are ecological and we recycle as much waste as we can.

Ultimately you should know the company you are buying from. You should trust them. If they are prepared to answer your questions, to sit down and have an open conversation about their materials and working practices, then they are a company you want to do business with. So take this list anywhere. And if you come to us, we will happily talk to you all day. Maybe even over a really good cup of tea. Fairtrade, of course.

Shop our men’s and women’s jewellery collections online or instore.

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Meet photographer JP Masclet

We have been working with the very talented photographer JP Masclet on our new photographic project for Stephen Einhorn. We have long been fans of his inspiring and artful portraits of the most influential people of the day, these include, Vivienne Westwood, Judi Dench, Stephen Fry, Gary Oldman etc. It’s a long impressive list.

JP and Jane have put together what we think is a hugely enjoyable challenge. To photograph people that we admire and that also have a connection to Stephen Einhorn. We were extremely pleased and grateful that he agreed to work with us.

THE INTERVIEW

1. JP, Do you think the UK is a good place to live? Why?

I can’t speak for the entire U.K having only lived in London, but London in particular is an extraordinary place to live. The creativity, multi-culturalism and energy in this city is unparalleled in my experience. It’s why I moved here from Paris…

2.  If you were suddenly made Prime Minister what would be the first thing you would change?

Cancel Brexit. As if it never happened.

3. Whats your favourite piece of work or the piece you are most proud of ?

I have a few pieces of work that I’m proud of, but one portrait in particular is especially dear to me. It was my second paid commission, and it’s a portrait of Loulou de la Falaise (stellar designer and YSL’s muse). She became a friend, and it has since somehow become the iconic portrait of her.

Copyright JP Masclet.

 

4. Who has been the greatest influence on your life?

That’s a trick question. But if it refers to the greatest influence on my work, then that would have to be Richard Avedon. I was a huge fan of his as a student photographer, but then had the opportunity to assist him. I then became an even bigger fan.

5. If you hadn’t done what you are doing, what else do you think you would also have been good at? Is there another career you would have liked to have had?

Definitely music. I grew up in Laurel Canyon (LA) through the 1960s and was surrounded by musicians and bands. At least I managed to shoot quite a few album covers over the years…

6. What do you think it would be like being the opposite sex?

If I had prior knowledge of what it was like to be man, I think being a woman would be incredibly difficult. If I was born a woman, I imagine it would still be tough. Women in this world are dealt a shit hand by the patriarchy. That said, most of the women I know are strong, independent, free thinking people. So if I could be one of them, I’d be happy.

7. Who out of everyone alive or dead would you really like, or have liked to get to know, not just to meet?

Mark Twain. He had a wicked wit and sense of humour, and seems like he would have been fun to hang out with.

8. Do you think you would have carried on doing what you do if you hadn’t had any success? 

In some shape or form, I will always be a photographer.

9. What is the most valuable piece of advice that anyone has ever given you that you have actually followed?

I have a tendency to ignore advice…

10. Lastley which Stephen Einhorn piece of jewellery would you most like to own?

One of Stephen’s silver Skull rings.

 

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What is the birthstone for October?

October has two birthstones; tourmaline and opal. Tourmaline is a beautiful gemstone that is available in a variety of lovely colors. Opals come in a range of pale to rainbow hues but they shimmer under the light, appearing to favour one then another blue, green or pink. Here we answer some of your October birthstone jewellery questions and look at what makes these stunning stones unique.

Stephen Einhorn Roundhaus Drop Stud Earrings 18 Carat Yellow Gold & Amethysts, Pink Tourmalines , Emeralds, Green Tourmalines, Diamonds & Tanzanites

Is October’s birthstone opal or tourmaline?

The delightful answer is: either! Lucky people. Whichever stone you choose for your birthstone if you are born in October you can have something multi-coloured, for both the opal and tourmaline come in an array of hues. Which of course is fitting for the person born in the red, yellow, orange and fading greens of early autumn. Have a look at our double October birthstone jewellery collection to match your colours to your choice of design.

What is a tourmaline?

Now for the science part: tourmaline is the term we use for a wide range of boron silicate minerals. The stones are variously compounded with elements such as potassium, aluminum, iron, sodium and magnesium. And what does this mean? That the gemstone comes in the widest variety of colours of any gemstone in the world. Not only are these translucent stones found in colours ranging from pink through purple and onto green but sometimes this can happen in the same stone, resulting in the famous Watermelon Tourmaline which resembles an eye-watering slice of the distinctive fruit.

Blue Tourmaline & Watermelon Watermelon Tourmaline

What is an opal?

Opals are an amorphous form of silica: a mineraloid. It is formed in the fissures and cracks in rocks where water has evaporated, leaving the silica behind. Opals, like their October companions, tourmaline, are multicoloured, but often within the same stone. They are pearlescent, exhibiting a shimmering array of colours, even more vivid in some varieties such as Fire opal or Blue opal. Opals are crafted into cabochon shaped stones, though many jewellers also work with doublets and triplets: layers of opal backed by a darker stone and topped by quartz.

Stephen Einhorn Oval Halo Ring 18 Carat Yellow Gold & Oval Cabochon Opal

Both tourmalines and opals have been used in fine jewellery for centuries. Opals were prized by the Romans, Ancient Greek and Arab cultures and they can be seen set into fine Edwardian and Victorian jewellery. Tourmaline’s history is harder to chart since it was often mistaken for the red rubies, green emeralds and blue sapphires it can resemble. Revered by the Chinese empress Tz’u Hsi and used in the Russian Crown Jewels, they grew in popularity in the 20th Century.

Chinese empress Tz’u Hsi

Whether it is the deep translucent beauty of a tourmaline or the seductive shimmer of the opal, your choice of stone as an October baby will be as eye-catching as it is unique. No bad thing for a birthstone.

Stephen Einhorn Radiant Light 2ct Solitaire Ring Platinum & Brilliant Cut Paraiba Tourmaline

Shop our October birthstone jewellery collection here.

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Our guide to yellow gold jewellery

This post was originally published on Jan 30th 2015 and updated on Sep 14th 2018.

Stephen Einhorn Mayflower Ring in 9 Carat Yellow Gold & Brilliant Cut Diamonds

All that glisters is not gold. Oh, Mr Shakespeare, you are never wrong. But when gold does glisten, it really shines. Chalices are golden, thrones are golden, the Crown Jewels are made of it. It is the colour of decadence and luxury. Rich, voluptuous, deep.

Stephen Einhorn_The Making Of the Mayflower Ring1

The making-of Stephen Einhorn’s Mayflower Ring in 9 Carat Yellow Gold & Brilliant Cut Diamonds

What is gold?

Gold is found in its natural state – meaning when it is mined or found gold looks like, well, gold. But pure gold, although very dense, is an extremely soft, malleable metal, and must be combined – or alloyed – with other metals in order to give it the toughness and durability it needs to have, to be used in objects that we need to have strength and permanence. When adding metals to gold, jewellers take into account not just their strength and physical properties but also their colour. More copper is added to pure gold to form rose gold, more palladium is added to form white gold, and a combination of metals such as copper and silver are added to pure gold in order for it to retain its colour and become what we know as yellow gold. Yellow gold carries the same hallmarks as rose and white gold: Its hallmarks are 375 for 9 carat, 585 for 14 carat, and 750 for 18 carat. These numbers translate as percentages of gold in the mixture: 37.5%, 58.5% and 75% and are the standard used by the British Assay Office which tests the validity of the metal carat and stamps it along with our makers mark (an SE in a small square box) to authenticate its quality. Yellow gold can also be found in 22 and 24 carats but these are extremely soft.

Yellow Gold Jewellery

Where does gold come from?

Gold is often found in underground veins of quartz but it is also found above ground as small yellow grains or flakes that have been freed from other rocks by erosion or glacial movement. This is known as alluvial gold and it is often located in rivers or streams. It can be found by panning – a process whereby water is swirled round and round in a deep dish, causing it to slosh over the edge with less dense metals, leaving the heavier gold flakes at the bottom. But before you trek to your local river, dish in hand, you need to consider its rarity. On average every 5000 tons of earth yields just 20 grams of pure gold.

Stephen Einhorn Radiant Light Diamond Shoulder Solitaire Engagement & Wedding Ring Set in 18 Carat Yellow Gold

Gold throughout the ages

Perhaps its rarity, combined with the quickened heartbeat in the fleck of discovery, has contributed to its rich history and value over many centuries. Artefacts have been found from the Romans, Incas and Ancient Egyptians. They have discovered pieces in the Balkans from the 4th millennium BC, from Ancient Greece and South America, and gold is referred to in many ancient and religious texts.

Gold objects from the Inca: miniature llama

It is also the stuff of legend. The Gold Rush of 1848 in California in many ways shaped America, precipitating a mass migration of people to the west. Legends of gold hunters looking for lost treasures abound. King Midas suffered an unfortunate fate when granted the unique ability to turn everything he touched to gold. Be careful what you wish for. And alchemists have for centuries looked for – and failed to find – ways of turning other base elements into purest gold. (You may remember an episode of Blackadder where Lord Percy tries his hand at alchemy but only manages to produce purest ‘green’). It cannot be done.

Stephen Einhorn Liquid Slim Ring in Gold

Stephen Einhorn Liquid Slim Ring in Gold

Yellow gold jewellery is classic and timeless

As with all other metals there is a finite, and small amount of gold in the earth so every bit is precious, making it the perfect metal for precious jewellery. Yellow gold never goes out of fashion. It is as classic as the ancient cultures that revered it, and as modern as the new designs and twists that the 21st Century has given it. Stephen Einhorn has used gold in his jewellery designs for over 20 years and loves to use it in his elegant and simple pieces as well as in his more masculine and heavier jewellery designs. It is a durable metal that it can be easily moulded and sculpted by his team of skilled jewellers, allowing the creation of daring designs as well as comfortable classics. It is an un-reactive metal so rarely tarnishes, and can be re-polished to look like new with ease.


Stephen Einhorn Viper 8 Bangle in 9 Carat Yellow Gold

Gold is an heirloom; watch it glisten

Gold is the crowning glory in the Olympics. It is the postbox for sporting heroes. It is the colour of the UK’s most valuable coin. And yellow gold is beautiful. It warms the skin and shines with promise. It holds diamonds carefully and reflects their coolness with its warmth. It contrasts with emeralds and deep blue sapphires, compliments rubies and sets off pearls. Yellow gold is the perfect choice for an engagement and wedding ring set as its colour can take you from classic and feminine to modern and sleek. It is not a metal you buy just to look at while you wear it. It is one you pass down. Gold is an heirloom. Watch it glisten.

Most of our men’s and women’s jewellery designs can be made in 9 carat, 14 carat and 18 carat yellow gold (simply use the metal drop down menu on each product page).

If you’re shopping for gold jewellery online and require a little help with your search for the perfect piece, please don’t hesitate to give us a call on +44 (0) 20 7359 4977 or email us at shop@stepheneinhorn.co.uk. Our expert jewellery advisers have years of experience and will be able to demystify the wonderful world of gold luxury jewellery.

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What is the September birthstone?

Stephen Einhorn Bespoke Flower Pendant Necklace 9ct White Gold, Diamonds & Blue Sapphires

Sapphire: the September birthstone

Just as all that glitters is not gold, not every stone named for its blue colour is actually blue. Sapphires, named after the ancient Greek and Latin for blue, come in a range of colours from violet through orange and pink to grey and green, making them a gorgeously versatile gemstone for those lucky things born in September.

These non-blue sapphires are known as ‘fancy’ and come in a breath-taking variety of shades. In fact, the ruby is the same mineral as sapphire (corundum) but it has its own name to differentiate it from the reddish/pink hues of fancy sapphires. The most desired blue sapphire is ‘Cornflower Blue,’ a beautiful deep mid blue, which, nestled into a gold or platinum setting really draws the eye.

Sapphire Sky by Henrieta Angel

Sapphire meaning and history

Sapphires have, in fact, long been desired. The Ancient Persians believed the sky was painted blue by their reflection and treasured them as holy stones. Many religions thought the colour represented the heavens, and ancient kings wore them as a defence against harm. Worn by film stars and royalty alike, these stones take millions, even billions of years to form, and represent a tiny piece of mesmerising history. They form in the earth and reflect the skies. What more could you wish for in a birthstone?

Stephen Einhorn Liquid Slim Cufflinks 9 Carat Yellow Gold & Brilliant Cut Blue Sapphires

September birthstone jewellery

Whether you are looking for a sapphire ring, a pair of earrings, a necklace dangling elegantly at the nape of your neck or a pair of cufflinks with some stones set into them, we have something for you or your beloved. Have a look at our sapphire: September birthstone jewellery collection. In fact simply have a look at our collection: anything you see can be customised with a sapphire of your choice, any stone changed for a stone which commemorates you or someone you love.

Stephen Einhorn Oval Halo Ring 18 Carat White Gold & Oval Cut Blue Sapphire

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Stephen Einhorn & Fairtrade Gold Jewellery

This post was originally published on Aug 17th 2011 and updated on Aug 10th 2018.

Fairtrade Gold means that the people who mine the gold get a decent price for the raw material.

If you think about it, ‘fair’ really is a pretty good word. It means that everyone is happy with their piece of the pie, no one’s trying to swindle anyone else, and no one is trying to profit from someone else’s misfortune.

We’ve always tried to be fair here at Stephen Einhorn. We think it’s fair that our local community should benefit from a thriving business so we support it, we want our wages to be fair (not minimum), we make sure the precious stones that we use in our jewellery don’t come from countries where human rights abuses are rife.

Our Halo Jewellery Collection can be made in our London workshop in Fairtrade Gold

Recycled and Fairtrade Gold

Fairness is something we have always considered and which we give great importance to. Which brings me to Fairtrade Gold. We have long used recycled gold in our men’s and women’s fine jewellery, which we will continue to do. This gold has been in the supply chain for hundreds of years, it may have been in computer chips, pirate bullion, or an old beloved broach, and it has its own story because of this. Our Fairtrade Gold jewellery is a brand new story, another to add to our ‘fair’ collection alongside non-Burmese rubies and adult labour.

Stephen Einhorn Liquid Slim Ring in 9 Carat Yellow Gold

So what does Fairtrade Gold mean?

It means that the people who mine the gold – just like Fairtrade farmers of coffee or tea – get a decent price for the raw material. It means it’s mined using safe working practices including the management of toxic chemicals, such as mercury and cyanide which can be harmful to both environment and miner. It means that Fairtrade Standards are met regarding working conditions, health and safety, handling chemicals, women’s rights, child labour and protection of the environment.

Fairtrade Gold Jewellery

How much more is Fairtrade Gold?

You will be paying a little extra for jewellery made from Fairtrade Gold, so that small-scale miners and their communities can benefit from its sale with a minimum guaranteed price. In addition, miners receive the Fairtrade Premium of 10% which goes towards the social, environmental and economic development of their community. The additional cost of having a piece of Stephen Einhorn jewellery made in Fairtrade Gold is approx. 10% on top of the standard retail price.

Stephen Einhorn Wedding Rings For Men & Women

Stephen Einhorn was one of the first jewellers to sign up back in 2011.

After trying to be as ethically sound as we could, it finally became possible for us to use a certifiable, Fairtrade Gold stamp. Doesn’t that pie taste good now? So you now have the option when buying a piece of men’s or women’s fine jewellery from us, or commissioning a bespoke jewellery design, to pay a bit extra for the Fairtrade Gold. You get to choose the story you want. It’s only fair.

If you are interested in having one of our jewellery pieces made in Fairtrade Gold please contact us.

Fair trade and Fair Mined Gold Jewellery

Fairtrade Gold Miner

For more information on Fairtrade Gold jewellery please visit www.fairtrade.org.

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What you need to know about opal jewellery

Stephen Einhorn Oval Halo Ring 18 Carat Yellow Gold & Oval Cabochon Opal

What is an opal?

An opal is not technically a gemstone, although its beauty belies its classification as a mineraloid. A form of silica, it has been used as a precious stone by jewellers for centuries. Prized by the Romans, ancient Greeks and many Arabic cultures, its modern use can be attributed to – as is the tradition in the history of jewellery –  being favoured by the monarchy. After opals were discovered in Australia (then a British colony) under Queen Victoria’s reign, she started wearing the stone, also gifting it to her daughters. And thus our modern fascination with this multicoloured, enigmatic gem was born.

Coober Pedy Australia

Where do opals come from?

In the centre of Australia, amidst vaste swathes of hot, barren, orange sand, is Coober Pedy. Stand on a mound of hot earth and look all around and all you will see is orange. The closest settlement is 8 hours drive either way. Yet this seeming wasteland hides a sparkling bounty. This is the largest known source of opals, bringing miners from all across the world to live in the town’s network of dug-out underground homes. A huge proportion of the world’s opals come from this small area, with over 90% of opals found in Australia. The remainder are found in other parts of the world such as Mexico, Brazil, Indonesia, Czech Republic, Ethiopia and the USA.

Opal stone meaning and opal colour

The name opal comes from the word ‘opalus’ meaning to see a change in colour. The name is apt as not only do opals come in a range of pale to rainbow hues but they shimmer under the light, appearing to favour one then another blue, green or pink. Some cultures thought them rained down from the sky as droplets of water, whilst others attributed luck to them. The Romans also imbued them with dreams of hope and purity.

How is an opal formed?

And now for the science bit. Opals, unlike other gemstones, are not compressed elements or crystals, but droplets of layered silica. Allow me to explain: opal is formed from a solution made of silica dioxide and water. It is found in places with rich sandstone which, as water runs through it, deposits the silica into it. This silica rich water then trickles through the earth, finding small fissures and holes, formed by cracks or decomposing fossils, and pools there. Over time the water evaporates, leaving behind the solid silica. Or opal. It’s no wonder opals are often associated with fortune given the conditions under which they are formed just seem so very unlikely…

Stephen Einhorn Oval Halo Ring 18 Carat Yellow Gold & Oval Cabochon Opal

How to care for opal jewellery

Opals are relatively soft so need to be loved and looked after with extra care. Used in a lot of antique jewellery, with proper handling there is no reason why your opal ring or necklace cannot last your own and your children’s lifetimes. As you should when wearing all fine jewellery, avoid doing sports or manual labour such as gardening or changing a car tyre…  (see our jewellery care guide for more informtation). Water will not harm your opal so clean it in warm soapy water with a soft cloth, or with a jewellery cloth. Easy!

Types of opal

The opals you see in many pieces of jewellery are often not simply opals, but doublets or triplets. Not always marked as such it is a good idea to quiz your jeweller to make sure you know what you are getting. Because opals are so soft, and it takes a skilled craftsperson to work with a solid opal, many jewellers opt for a thin opal backed by a harder material such as plastic or black ironstone, either with two layers of opal and backing – a doublet – or three layers of clear quartz, opal, and backing – a triplet. Stephen Einhorn is fortunate in the fact that we have a brilliant team of skilled in-house jewellers and the best quality stones; the ones you see in our London jewellery shop and on our website are the real deal.

Stephen Einhorn Making Of Our Oval Opal Ring

Opal prices

As with all precious gemstones from diamonds to rubies and pearls, opals vary in size, quality, and therefore price. The customer always has a choice to purchase an opal within their means, and the opal’s beautiful variation makes the choice easier. Here at Stephen Einhorn we use the finest, pure opal stones, each one hand-selected. Have a look at our new Opal oval Halo ring and you will see the lustre is worth the price tag.

Whether opals symbolise hope or luck, resemble droplets of water or tiny pools of dappled light, their delicate beauty is without question. But don’t take our word for it. Come in and see for yourself.

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Why do we have a gay and lesbian section?

Someone contacted us recently to say… “Why do you still have a gay and lesbian section? Surely we are all the same now? Isn’t this ghettoisation?”

We would love to say… Yes! You are absolutely right. There is no longer prejudice, everyone in the LGBTI community is treated equally, but sadly we know this is not true. We launched our e-commerce store in 1997, and have always had a gay and lesbian wedding and commitment jewellery section.

If there where no longer instances when a gay or lesbian couple or a transgender person and partner go into a shop to buy wedding rings and are made to feel uncomfortable, then we would probably also feel that we no longer needed this section and would change it. Yes we are all the same, we are all humans but sadly society doesn’t always see differences between us that way, and the reality is that a lot of retailers and sales assistants are not as open minded. Why should you have such a special occasion and what should be an exciting experience spoilt by some narrow minded idiot?

If everyone in the whole world was accepting of the LGBTI community, wouldn’t that be great?

We sell globally not just in the UK and we all know that there are countries where you will be imprisoned or even face a death sentence simply for being yourself. So… until these things change we want all our customers to feel accepted and wanted. We want our customers to see by looking at our website that we welcome you, we value you, whoever you are.

Stephen Einhorn Enamel Geo Rings

Here at Stephen Einhorn we can make anything in any size in any style as we make it all ourselves here in London. We make luxury jewellery for everyone. We can make whatever you want, whatever you need for that special day. If we don’t have your size, just ask us about it, we can accommodate all of you. Most of our jewellery is made to order.

In honour of Pride in London 2018 we are going to donate 10% of this weekends sales to the charity Stonewall. Their mission is to let all lesbian, gay, bi and trans people, here and abroad, know they’re not alone. We need to do all we can to make the world a better place and that starts with education which in turn leads to acceptance. So let us all stand together today and have some fun whilst supporting our fellow human beings at Pride in London #PrideMatters.

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June birthstones: everything you need to know

If you were born in June then the world really is your oyster, for the beautiful pearl is your traditional birthstone. Worn for centuries, pearls have been discovered in use in jewellery in ancient Persia, Rome, and China. Worn by medieval knights for luck in battle, crushed into a glass of wine by Cleopatra, and restricted to none but the noblest by Julius Caesar, pearls are a treasure with a rich history. In this blog we discover the history of pearls and other June birthstones. Read on to find out the origin of your much-loved birthstone.

Elizabeth Taylor playing Cleopatra with a cup of crushed pearl wine, naturally…

Spotting the real deal

Although pearls share a history that reaches far back across time, each perfectly round sphere is unique, coming from a single oyster. Fine jewellery is made from these lovely gems, whilst costume jewellery uses a lot of fake pearls. The way to tell the difference is to hold the pearl in your fingers and gently rub it across the tips of your teeth. If you can feel a slightly gritty texture, then the pearl is real, and you are feeling the layers that have built up as the pearl was formed. If the pearl is completely smooth it most likely isn’t the real deal.

Posey Pearl Fine Jewellery Collection

Our pearl origins

Of course, most jewellers will not appreciate you putting their wares into your mouth before you buy them, so make sure you are shopping somewhere reputable. Here at we only use the highest quality saltwater pearls, made in oysters, as well as freshwater pearls which are formed in mussels. Take a look at our pearl jewellery collection. Not only will you find sumptuous necklaces and bracelets in a range of shapes and sizes, single droplets and lavish strands, but also our unique South Pacific pearl ring complete with a stunning South Sea pearl, adorned with diamonds, and our romantic Posey collection.

Other June birthstones: alexandrite & moonstone

But there is more for the lucky June baby – they get two more birthstones, alexandrite and moonstone. Alexandrite is the perfect choice for the indecisive. It is a colour change stone, responding to different wavelengths of light as it turns from a rich ruby red to a deep emerald green via blue and purple. Dreamy romantic Moonstone also plays tricks with colour, but rather than change, it shimmers with a translucent glow, with sheens of green and blue: moonlight.

Alexandrite

Moonstone

Whatever your preference, we offer a bespoke jewellery service offering totally unique and made to measure jewellery with your choice of precious gemstone in our London workshop. Any men’s or women’s jewellery design that you see in our collections can be customised with your choice of birthstone, or designed, from scratch, just for you. There are lots of June babies. But each one is as singular as a pearl.

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