Q & A

1) What are the differences in the precious metals used for jewellery making?


This is the most exclusive and costly precious metal. It is very robust and has a uniform grey / silver colour that can be polished to a bright finish or brushed to a matt finish. In a finished jewellery piece, the maintenance involved with platinum is minimal. It does not tarnish and does not require to be rhodium plated. It is an ideal choice for a ring where there may be regular contact with other day to day objects. Like all precious metals, platinum will be susceptible to superficial scuffs and scrapes, but these can be easily polished out.


In the U.K. gold tends to be made into jewellery in either a 9kt or 18kt Alloy. In real terms this equates to 37.5% or 75% gold content respectfully. The remaining percentages are made up of other metal elements to give the jewellery strength or a particular colour. 24kt gold is far too soft to be used in jewellery and needs to be alloyed in this way. Broadly speaking gold can be best described in the following terms: yellow gold, white gold, rose gold and red gold. It is a superbly versatile precious metal and can be used in many aspects of bespoke jewellery design to give a particular look. 18kt gold sits just below platinum in terms of price and 9kt gold is positioned below this due to its lower gold content. Gold is also an ideal metal to work with when remodelling jewellery as it can be melted down easily and reworked into a different design. White gold is usually rhodium plated in finished jewellery to give it bright lustre. Over time white gold, particularly in rings, requires to be re-rhodium plated. This may even be as frequent as every year depending usage.


This is the newest of the precious meatls to be given hallmarking status. The Edinburgh assay ofice recognised it as so in 2001. It is part of the platinum group of metals and has an almost identical colour, melting point, lustre and hardness. The two most recognisable differences between platinum and palladium is its price and density. Palladium is less dense and less expensive than platinum. Palladium is a very popular metal used at Blair and Sheridan. When our clients are designing a ring to a specific budget it can allow for more costs to be applied to a higher quality centre stone(s).

2) Buying a diamond ring? - What to look out for.

Most people when thinking about buying a diamond piece of jewellery, can go online and read about the basics and the 4Cs:
Carat: The size or mass of the stone, which is a very straight forward measurement.
Clarity: The amount of inclusions or flaws in a diamond.
Colour: The range of how white or how yellow a diamond is.
Cut: How well the diamond has been cut with reference to proportions (round brilliant only), polish and symmetry.

At Blair and Sheridan, we like to give our clients more in-depth information and advice on what types of stones to buy. With this information, we can source the appropriate diamonds direct from the Antwerp Diamond District.

For Clarity, we advise to go for diamonds that are around the VS to good SI categories (very slightly included to slightly included). The reasons for this are multifactorial. Firstly, you will seldom see any inclusions with your naked eye. You will require a level of experience looking at diamonds through a loupe (10 x magnification) to see any inclusions. Secondly, the difference in price at market between a VS2 / SI1 compared to a Flawless / VVS is vast and can account for as much as £1000 for a similar size / quality of diamond. This can allow clients to focus on a better colour or cut of diamond.

For Colour, we advise our clients to go for diamonds that are colourless (D-F) to near colourless (G-H minimum). To the trained and untrained eye, this is often the most noticeable of the ‘C’s. A yellowish tinge to a diamond lessens it’s quality and lessens its value in the diamond market. It is the presence of nitrogen atoms that are slightly bigger than carbon atoms that give diamonds their yellow colour. However, if a diamond has a very intense yellow colour, these are very rare stones and command a high price at market. These diamonds are called Type 1b and have a very high presence of nitrogen that absorbs green and violet visible light. The result is a very bright yellow, yellow-orange or orange colour.

For Cut, we advise our clients to go for diamonds that are good, very good or excellent proportions, polish and symmetry. This is the only true human element that can influence a diamond’s value. If a diamond is cut poorly, it will be a ‘dead’ stone with poor light qualities. If a diamond is cut well it will have good brilliancy, dispersion and scintillation. In plain speaking, the diamond will have ‘life’. Computers are not as good as humans for cutting diamonds. Computers have an inability to ‘feel’ the grain of a diamond which is essential when making each individual facet. Every diamond we sell at Blair and Sheridan has been cut by humans to ensure the best quality for our clients.

For more information about buying a diamond, please give us a call for expert advice.