This week on Facebook we invited questions from our followers to ask directly to John Greed. As it happens, we had so many questions we did in fact have to get the whole team answering them! Here are the top 10 questions this week:
Winning question – Why is a carat called a carat?
A Carat is now the standard unit of weight for precious stones. It is equal to 200mg. It originally came from using Carob seeds to weigh stones which wasn’t very accurate as all seeds vary in weight from one another for a given species. I imagine everyone had their “buying” and “selling” set of seeds!
What do you see for the future of jewellery with the rise of technology (3D printing etc)?
3D printing interests me greatly but it is still very expensive and requires a very sophisticated interface or process if the customer is going to design their own piece. Most people want to customise an existing best seller, It’s much cheaper and easier all round. So it’s this area that I believe will see the most development in the future. An example of this is our engraving where we have a few best selling base products that have a myriad of options for the customer to personalise according to their requirements.
What is the best way to clean a Platinum and Diamond Ring?
Both Platinum and Diamond are totally inert and therefore do not tarnish but do get dirty. Therefore all that is required is to remove the dirt that has built up over time. At home you could use some of our cleaning products or for a really deep clean you could take your ring to a jeweller who has an ultrasonic cleaner and get the Platinum shank rebuffed. The interesting thing is that rings get dull and dirty slowly over time and you hardly notice it. When you give them a really good clean and they sparkle again the effect is amazing and is really worth the effort.
I believe they can make diamonds in a laboratory now, can jewellers tell the difference and will it make a difference to the cost of diamonds in the future?
Yes, jewellers can tell the difference by viewing the diamond under lights of varying wavelengths but it isn’t easy. It is certainly cheaper to make diamonds in this way but the question is whether consumers want synthetic diamonds at their relative cost. The romance of real diamonds is that they were formed 3 billion years ago deep under the Earth’s crust with titanic natural forces and slowly worked their way to the surface and eventually into your ring. Synthetic diamonds are made in a lab, not quite so romantic.
How hard is it to get into jewellery making as a professional?
It’s not too difficult to get into making jewellery with relatively low start up costs, a jeweller’s bench and some tools you could probably pick up for maybe around £1,000 but then your difficulties really start. The question is then keeping going which in my opinion is very hard. Ideally you would need a USP, (unique selling proposition) that the customers really want that few people can imitate. Needless to say this is very difficult. My advice would be to study websites like Etsy and Not on the High Street if you want to be a designer / maker and do the maths before you start….. Can you actually make a living at what you do or are you about to ruin one of your favourite pastimes.
Will you incorporate medical alerts to your jewellery?
Yes, yes, yes, as a step-dad of a teenager who suffers from an anaphylaxis reaction to Brazil nuts this is on our project plan for 2020 since it is very difficult to obtain anything in the UK, we often have to purchase medical alerts (not on jewellery) from Australia. I suppose for teenagers, it has got to be cool otherwise they won’t wear it, tough enough to stay on all the time, conspicuous and contain all the relevant information. That’s quite a lot of design issues to cover. At present a Nomination composable bracelet with their special Medical Alert charm combined with the Double Engravable charm with all the information on makes a great start. You can also add on other charms to suit your tastes. My sister-in- law has MS and we personally engraved a Nomination Bracelet in this way for her.
What is the most common stone used in jewellery? Also who were the first people to wear engagement rings?
Written history would confirm that the Romans were the first to have a tradition of the engagement ring or in fact 2 rings, a gold ring worn in public and an iron ring worn in the home. It is likely that rings had been exchanged for this purpose in other ancient cultures too. It was believed that the fourth finger of the left hand held the “vein of love” and so began the tradition of where to wear the ring. As to what the commonest stone is currently in jewellery it’s probably glass or Cubic Zirconia, both of which are artificial and cheap hence their popularity.
Is there a way to stop silver from Tarnishing?
Silver reacts to air borne pollution to form Silver Sulfide which is the tarnish layer forming on the surface of Silver over time. So the best way to stop Silver tarnishing is simply to wear it, you will be continually polishing it in everyday use. Other ways are to seal it in a zip lock little bag with as much air excluded as possible. Also to use an anti tarnish cloth or cleaning agent which will both clean off the existing tarnish and put a thin film over the surface of the jewellery that prevents the reactive atmospheric pollutants attacking the surface of the silver for a while.
So that in mind, John if you were given £30 to spend on the John Greed Collection, what would you choose as a gift and why?
I personally would look no further than one of our stunning engravable necklaces as a Christmas gift, for example the Silver Floral Heart Necklace. The front of the necklace can be personalised with a name of your choice. We will also engrave your very own bespoke message to the back, included in the price, making a unique gift your loved one will treasure forever.
Where did you create your first ever piece of jewellery and what inspired you to make it?
I blame my sister as I worked on her jewellery stall as a kid. I realised back then that jewellery made people happy so it was a nice business to work in. When I built my first shop it was very small so the natural thing to sell in it was jewellery. Originally I never made jewellery but bought it on my travels and sold it in my little shop.