Archive for the ‘Blog’ Category

Valentines Day. Do you know your diamonds?

Jan 23, 2014



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Bespoke diamond jewellery

Valentines Day!  

 A time for love and surprises, but ….do you know your diamonds

 Diamonds tend to be the traditional engagement ring choice, because they are enduring, and match everything. Diamonds are the hardest material that’s why it’s suitable as a gemstone for diamond solitaire engagement rings. They don’t lose their polish and they are resistant to scratching. The only way for diamonds to be scratched is by other diamonds. As engagement and wedding rings are worn daily people prefer diamonds which suit perfectly for every day wear due to its above mentioned properties. The word “diamond” comes from ancient Greek and means “unbreakable”. They are said to have been first found in India. Diamonds have become popular since 19th century due to the progress in its technology. There are natural diamonds and diamonds produces synthetically as well as diamond stimulants such as silicon carbide and cubic zirconia which look like diamonds and even have qualities of it. To distinguish one from another several gemological techniques are used. Only deviate from a diamond if you know that your girlfriend loves another stone much, much more, or has voiced her intense dislike of diamonds. When choosing a diamond, be aware of the “Four C’s”, as follows:

Carat: This refers to the unit measurement of the diamond, and refers to weight (not size). Every carat has 100 points. Engagement rings are often 1 carat but the ring you choose will obviously depend on your budget. A 1 carat ring on a limited budget may not rate very highly in other areas, taking away from its overall beauty. Color: The color of diamonds varies considerably and most people prefer a very white colored diamond for an engagement ring. Colors are graded from D (colorless and rare) and most good quality diamonds will be around F and H and grades D to I are acceptable to buy as they are almost identical when mounted  Clarity: Being natural, there will be imperfections in the diamond.                The less imperfections, the greater the clarity and the more light is reflected from the diamond, causing it to “sparkle”. Naturally, more clarity increases its value. Perfectly flawless diamonds with no internal flaws or surface blemishes are very hard to find as they are extremely rare. Fewer flaws in a diamond result in greater brilliance as more light is reflected. The scale used to grade clarity goes from F1 for a flawless diamond, to VVS1 and VVS2 for very slight inclusions, to VS1 and VS2 for very slight inclusions, SI1 and SI2 for slight inclusions and I1, I2 and I3 for imperfect diamonds. Diamonds are magnified by 10 times to judge their clarity so very slight imperfections are difficult to see with the naked eye. This means that there is a range of diamonds available even for more modest budgets. If you can see a mark without magnification, however, think carefully before you buy. The location and darkness of an imperfection of any given grade (though probably not any “VVS” inclusion, which is simply too small, and rarely a VS inclusion) can affect its visibility so it is safest to see the imperfection magnified or in a magnified photograph before buying. Cut: There are different ways to cut a diamond and the type of cut impacts the sparkle of the diamond. The cut that produces the most sparkle is the round (or brilliant) cut, while radiant and princess cuts are good at hiding flaws. Other cuts including square, emerald, pear, marquise, cushion, and heart-shaped. The oval shape looks best with larger stones, and looks bigger than the round cut. A high-quality cut (not necessarily above “Ideal”) is more important than weight or an extremely high clarity or color grade: a diamond, like a road reflector, shines light back out the direction it came in and breaks it up a bit in the process. If the sides are ground at the wrong angles (sometimes through less-than-perfect workmanship, sometimes to increase weight with extra width or depth) quite a bit of light will not shine back out the right way–much more than would be lost to a very faint yellowish or brown tint or a speck visible under an eyeglass. It is also important to base your selection of diamonds based on objective data such as ASET or Idealscope images that you can acquire from your jeweler. This is particularly important if you are buying a diamond engagement ring online.


Valentines Day – Just be glad of present day celebrations!!

Jan 21, 2014



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Love Letters jewellery by Helen Swan Designer Jewellery

Valentines Day – Just be glad present day celebrations are a lot simpler!!


YES – It’s a lot easier to give a token of love now.

Browse my Love Letters collection of necklaces  say it with a KISS


What Jewellers don’t tell you

Jan 6, 2014



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GETTING MARRIED? Want to buy a Designer Engagement on Wedding Ring?

Designer White Gold rings versus Designer Platinum rings- confused?

Are you are trying to decide on a Designer Engagement and Wedding Ring, then the following article may be helpful to you

The fact of the matter is that both white gold and platinum  have their own unique properties and hence benefits. By and large,  these are not explained too well to the would be designer jewellery buyer, but are outlined below.


Two properties of metals that aren’t well understood by the jewellery industry as a whole and by jewellery consumers are hardness and malleability. Put simply, hardness refers to a metal’s resistance to scratching and denting. A hard metal, just like diamond, the hardest material known, will be resistant to scratches, whilst a soft metal will scratch easily.

Malleability refers to how easy a metal is to bend and turn into different shapes without breaking. A malleable metal will bend easily, whilst a brittle metal will not bend easily.

Whilst it may be true that platinum is harder than gold in its purest form, 18kt white gold is mixed with other metals, most commonly palladium, silver and copper to make it harder. This results in 18kt white gold being harder than platinum alloys, which are most commonly 95% platinum. On the other hand, platinum is more brittle than white gold, and is hard to bend and hammer into shape. What the hardness and malleability of white gold and platinum means in real life is that a platinum ring will be easily scratched and dented, but will hold diamonds and other gemstones more securely, as platinum is less prone to bending due to its brittleness. However, to get the best of both worlds, we have been encouraging our clients to buy rings with a platinum setting and a white gold band. This results in a more secure setting for the centre diamond, whilst the white gold band results in less scratches and dents.

Platinum’s softness versus white gold is also the main reason why we don’t recommend platinum for mens’ wedding rings.


Platinum alloys are about 20% denser than white gold. This results in a ring that feels more substantial, and thus more luxurious, even though it may be very fine.


With the spot price of platinum and gold being very much the same nowadays, many people ask us why platinum is still more expensive that white gold. There are four main reasons for this: Platinum is denser, and thus more material weight is needed to produce the same ring than from white gold. Platinum alloys used in jewellery are purer. Since most platinum alloys are 95% platinum and 18kt white gold is 75% gold, less gold is require to produce an 18kt white gold ring.

Platinum is more difficult to work with, and often needs a jeweller with experience to produce a good job. Therefore, the labour cost is roughly 20% more than with white gold. Platinum can not be re-used and re-melted like white gold. Therefore, any scraps and filings must be sent to a refiner which is very expensive.


One of the benefits espoused by The Platinum Guild is that platinum is hypoallergenic. Whilst this is true, so is most 18kt white gold.. Whilst nickel was commonly used to alloy white gold in the past, most manufacturing jewellers use a palladium based alloy that is free from nickel. However, nickel, being a much cheaper metal than palladium is still used widely overseas, and thus some people may suffer from nickel allergies with imported jewellery.

For me the ideal ring for longevity is a white gold band with a platinum setting and I hope this article explains why.

Ring in the picture in by Paul Spurgeon.




Seasons Greetings and New Year Celebrations for 2014

Dec 27, 2013



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New Year 2014

New Year Celebrations for 2014.

The year of Scottish Home Coming and the Commonwealth Games.

I may be a bit late with my Xmas Wishes but let me be one of the first to wish you all a happy prosperous and successful 2014.

Happy New Year when it arrives.


Winter Season

Dec 14, 2013


In:Blog, Publications

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The winter season is such a busy time for a Jeweller, it all starts in September and as such my Blog has been neglected.

As you may know this year I had a recent career change  when I ended my 31 year Jewellery Design and Manufacture teaching position and became a full time Jeweller.

I am loving it and it didn’t go unnoticed by my good friend Liz of Liz Leonard Media who contacted the Glasgow Herald on my behalf.

This article is about my new Studio Venture and just shows that it’s never too late to follow your dreams.

I hope you enjoy reading it and tell other about my Leisure Classes and Corporate events

Hidden Gems Jewellery Exhibition

Nov 19, 2013



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Scottish Jewellery Designer Helen Swan

Angela from Angel -maker dropped in to my studio today to prepare for the next Hidden Gem Jewellery Exhibition on 1st December.

You can see Angela’s work and  mine at the exhibition which is held each month in the Landsdowne Bar and Grill in Glasgow’s Westend

Scottish Jewellery Designer Helen Swan opens the doors of her studio to other jewellers looking for bench space.

Let me know if you would like more information.


Designer Silver and Gold bangle donated to The Carers Trust Charity Auction

Nov 18, 2013



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Designer silver and Gold bangle donated to The Carers Trust Charity Auction

I donated one of my designer silver and gold bead, leaf shaped bangles and a pair of silver earrings to the Carer’s Trust Charity Auction on Sunday 17th November in Glasgow, Scotland.

I hope it went well and helped raised funds for this well deserved charity.

You can find similar bangles on my website

New Venue for Scottish Jewellery Designer Helen Swan

Nov 11, 2013



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Contemporary Mixed Material Dedsigner Brooch with Anodised Aluminium


Contemporary Mixed Material Brooch with Anodised Aluminium by Scottish jewellery designer Helen Swan.

Just Dropped of a range of my Designer Anodised Aluminium Jewellery at Neo Design, a lovely contemporary designer jewellery shop in Dundee.

Just in time for Xmas

Prince Georges Christening

Oct 23, 2013



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Contemporary silver designer kilt pin designed and made by Helen Swan a  Glasgow jewellery designer whose studio is in Glasgow’s Westend

Hearing of Prince Georges christening today brought to mind the time when I was phoned at 10am on Boxing Day by a customer looking to buy a Kilt Pin. It turns out that he was his way to the christening of a close friend’s son and forgot all about a gift.

Needless to say I had a Kilt Pin ready and waiting for him as he arrived at my door.

That’s a big advantage of having my studio at home, I am open all hours.

You should take a look at my Kilt pins and Cufflinks, they can be engraved with a personal message.

For a baby girl, I have lovely baby bangles and pretty necklaces. It is however best to give me a bit more time than ten minutes, especially if you want it personalised

Studio upgrade in Glasgow’s westend

Oct 8, 2013



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Scottisn Jewellery Designer Helen Swan. Studio upgrade in Glasgow's westend

Got them!!

My final piece of jewellery equipment, here at last and now in place in my new studio, my brand new rolling mills. I’m so pleased with them, they’re so shiny and new.

My studio is really quite well equipped now in, Glasgow’s westend, it’s lovely bright and warm.

Well that’s it , I’m now open for business to any designer jewellers looking for bench space. I’m open days, evenings, weekends and holidays so please spread the news. My leisure classes also will be available in the new year.

Hope to see you sometime