Shop jewellery and bags

Buying Silver Jewellery – Everything You Need to Know

June 10th, 2017

We cherish our silver Jewellery – rings, earrings, bracelets, and necklaces. Silver is bright, beautiful, and eye-catching. It’s the perfect metal to set off the sparkle of a diamond or contrast with a colorful ruby. But how can we keep it from getting tarnished? What should we look for when buying it? What’s the deal with plated Jewellery? And what is sterling silver, anyway?

If you’ve ever wondered about how to buy and care for silver Jewellery, here are a few things you need to know.

What is sterling silver? There are several grades of silver. Fine silver is 99.9% pure silver; it is generally too soft to use for everyday function. All silver used in Jewellery is in fact an alloy: a mix of silver and another metal. Sterling silver is 92.5% silver and 7.5% another metal. It is sometimes referred to as “925 silver.” Most sterling silver contains copper as the second metal.

What is “silver-plated”? Silver plating evolved in the nineteenth century as a way to make otherwise expensive silver items available to the masses. Silver plating involves fusing a very thin layer of silver over a layer of another metal. If a piece of Jewellery is silver plated, it will not have a sterling mark.

Silver plated Jewellery is less expensive than sterling silver. However, since silver is so soft, it can wear off over time with polishing or simple wear and tear. In general, it’s better to buy sterling silver than silver plated Jewellery.

What should I look for when buying silver? Look for the stamp. Most sterling silver Jewellery will have a small stamp that certifies it is sterling. Sterling silver is marked in a variety of ways; the mark might be “.925,” “ster,” “sterling,” or “sterling silver.” This will tell you that the metal is solid sterling silver and not plated. No matter what country you’re in when you’re shopping, look for a mark that indicates the piece is sterling.

Why does silver tarnish? Most Sterling silver is combined with copper. Since copper tarnishes over time, so does sterling silver. Silver Jewellery eventually acquires a light gold cast; then it may bronze or turn black. This definitely dulls the look of your Jewellery, and it can also stain your hands.

Is there any way to buy silver Jewellery that won’t tarnish? Some silver Jewellery is finished with rhodium. Rhodium is a metal found in the platinum family. It is also used to finish white gold, and it does not tarnish. If you buy a rhodium-finished piece, however, it will have a bright white color to it-not a more silvery gray. Some sterling silver has platinum as its alloy metal. This won’t tarnish either, although it will raise the price of the Jewellery. These are both good options if you like the bright white look of platinum, because it will be much less expensive than solid platinum.

How should I store my silver? The metals in sterling silver react with their environment by tarnishing. Even exposure to air, light, and water can hasten the tarnishing process. While you may not be able to keep sterling silver from ever tarnishing, you can slow the process down with proper storage.

Store silver Jewellery in a tarnish-resistant cloth. This cloth has been treated with materials that slow the tarnishing process. Never store silver Jewellery in a wooden box, as the acids in the wood can tarnish the silver. Since silver Jewellery is so soft, it’s best stored away from other Jewellery. This way, it won’t get scratched during storage. Some jewelers advocate storing your silver in separate plastic bags to keep them away from air and other Jewellery.

How can I remove the tarnish? It’s never good to polish silver too hard or too often. However, that’s exactly what you have to do in order to remove tarnish. To get around this, use an extremely gentle method of polishing. Avoid using toothpaste or baking soda, as these can scratch and wear down the metal. Most Jewellery stores sell polish that is specially formulated for silver. This can be applied gently with a soft cotton cloth. Be sure to read the label to ensure it’s safe for any gemstones in your Jewellery. There are also chemically treated cloths available that make polishing easier.

Silver is an attractive, affordable metal that’s perfect for all types of Jewellery. Buy the right silver, store it properly, and buff it to avoid tarnish, and it will stay beautiful for years to come.

Shopping with Style – It’s Aberdeen City and Shire

June 2nd, 2017

If shopping tops the list of your favourite pastimes, then Aberdeen City and Shire won’t disappoint.

From designer boutiques to a host of high street names, you’ll find all the labels and top quality outlets you’d expect from a major city.

The city has for centuries been the main shopping destination for a huge catchment area, and a popular destination for European shoppers taking a weekend break. With its striking skyline, historical old town and impressive granite buildings this is a prosperous, cosmopolitan city.

The great range of excellent shopping centres ensures that you’ll always be able to find exactly what you’re looking for and if it’s something more exclusive or a little quirky that you’re after, one of Aberdeen’s independent retailers will be able to provide that too.

At a mile long, Aberdeen’s Union Street is Britain’s longest high street and is jam packed with a host of household names and high street favourites. At the upper end you’ll find the newly opened Hugo Boss, G -Star Raw and Cruise, along with premium stores like Jaeger and Jones the Bootmaker.

Cruise, which opened in the autumn of 2007, is one of the UK’s leading independent luxury retailers with a fantastic reputation not only for designer brands, but as a showcase for fresh cutting edge fashion. Brands currently available at Cruise include Gucci, Prada, Dolce and Gabbana, Versace, Dior, Hugo Boss, Paul Smith, Vivienne Westwood, Fendi, Chloe and Jimmy Choo to name a few.

At the bottom end of Union Street, just before it meets the historic Castlegate, is The Bon Accord St Nicholas Shopping Centre.

Right in the heart of the city it has a fabulous range of stores and is the prime retailing area in Aberdeen. The biggest shopping centre in the city, it is split into two buildings and has three floors extending to 630,000 sq ft over two levels. Built in a serpentine shape to maximise shop unit frontage, it is covered by a barrel vaulted glazed roof with a 90-ft high glazed dome.

Flagship stores include New Look and Monsoon, one of the largest in Scotland, a large Boots and Woolworths and shops such as The Body Shop, River Island, Miss Selfridge, Dorothy Perkins, Ortak and Oasis. A new Costa Coffee will revive the most weary shopper, while the restaurants within the Upper Mall, John Lewis and Marks and Spencer, located at either end of the Centre, remain a poplar rendezvous for a casual lunch and a catch-up with friends. And of course, there’s a Starbucks, with an outdoor sitting area, if you fancy a spot of cafe culture.
Just across from the city’s Union Terrace Gardens, The Mall Trinity is a great, one floor shopping centre with around 27 stores including Debenhams, Argos Extra, T-Mobile, HMV, Superdrug, Waterstones and a large Primark.

Cobbled Belmont Street, known for its trendy bars, cafes, and art house cinema, is also the location for The Academy shopping centre. Surrounding an Italianate style piazza, it has an excellent range of upmarket brands and individual shops, coffee shops, bars and restaurants, and the open-air piazza is often a focus for live entertainment throughout the summer months. Here the style conscious will find independent shops such as Attic, AB10 and Concept, which specialises in casual designer-ware for men. A true style leader in Aberdeen, Attic is constantly introducing new collections including U.A.R.M, Green Apple Tree and Six Pack. AB10 has everything from footwear to accessories, with many main stream brands including G-Star, Ted Baker, Miss Sixty, Replay, Firetrap and Gio-Goi.

Nicknamed ‘Little Chelsea’, the Thistle Street area of the city is the acknowledged style quarter of Aberdeen with a range of independent shops stocking everything from clothes, shoes and accessories, in addition to gift shops, delicatessens, French bakers, florists and art galleries. Bellino and Hamish Munro both have excellent ranges of shoes by continental designers, and if you need a dress for a big night out, try Frox – with everything from funky to formal, it’s evening wear with attitude. Esslemonts and Esslemonts 2 stock a stylish choice of menswear and women’s fashion from leading brands such as Camel Active, Tommy Hilfiger, Remus, Hobbs and Turnover.

Verdict, also on Thistle Street, stocks a wide range of really unusual designer clothing and accessories that are both wearable and glamorous. From contemporary evening wear and associated accessories through to casual jeans and edgy tops, Verdict was named by style guru Caryn Franklin as one of the top ten independents in Scotland.

For stylish, classic designs Kafka, just around the corner in Alford Place, has the latest from Armani, Burberry and Prada, while Kafka for men can be found on Rosemount Viaduct.

Aberdeen’s up and coming area, The Green, is home to a range of first class bistros and fine dining, and a number of trendsetting shops have also opened in the area, including Coco Violet, designs for the cool and trendy. It houses an eclectic collection of fashion for the woman that wants to stand out from the crowd, with stunning items you won’t find anywhere else in Aberdeen, let alone the UK. For shoes with a difference take a look at Fenner and Coburn at Netherkirkgate with an impressive collection of distinctive designs.

Meanwhile Zoomp, tucked away in Jopps Lane behind John Lewis, has a wide range of clothing covering everyday casual to Jimmy Choo and Matthew Williamson.

If it’s a retro feel you’re after, head to The Closet in Jopps Lane for quirky, vintage retro – an Aladdin’s cave of retro finds and one off pieces , or nearby Retrospect, which was recently featured in Vogue magazine, while Vintage Phoenix in Chattan Place will tailor your finds to fit.

Jewellery, art and antiques

Aberdeen is not known as the Silver City for nothing – the sparkling granite buildings that make up much of the city are testament to that – however the city is also the home of some independent jewellers who can design that signature piece to celebrate a very special occasion.

Family-owned Finnies the jewellers, has Scotland’s largest stock of diamond jewellery – and biggest collection of grandfather clocks. As well as over 26 watch brands, you’ll find unusual gifts including silver snooker chalk holders. Jamieson and Carry is another family firm, established in 1733. From pearls to pendants it’s a firm favourite with jewellery lovers. You can even commission a special piece to be individually designed and made in-house. Sandy Menzies Designer Jewellers present a constantly evolving range of contemporary jewellery. The design and production of commissioned pieces in precious metals and gemstones is also available, while George Kite on Holburn Street features a range of modern Scottish designers.

For antiques, head for the city’s West End, where you’ll find Elizabeth Watt on Thistle Street, specialising in ceramics, silver and jewellery while Rendezvous, on Forest Avenue, has great art deco finds as well as contemporary art. Thistle Antiques on Esslemont Avenue is the place to go for gorgeous antique mirrors and lamps, and Atholl Antiques on Great Western Road has quality furniture and paintings. For antique maps, go to Colin Wood on Rose Street, who carries a very fine range.

Gallery Heinzel specialises in contemporary Scottish art from its base in Aberdeen’s Thistle Street. The gallery hosts up to 10 exhibitions a year showcasing the work of established and emerging Scottish artists. The Carby Art Gallery, in a contemporary art space, offers a unique gallery experience. Resident artist Ian Carby, famed for his vibrant landscapes and shoreline scenes, exhibits alongside international and local artists with sculptures, ceramics, jewellery and photography

If you’re searching for that special gift that’s a little bit different from the run of the mill, Nova on Chapel Street has long been a favourite with Aberdonians. Its comprehensive gift selection ranges from the cool and funky to the classic while Annie Mo’s, on Holburn Street and the bottom end of Union Street, also stocks an unusual range of gifts along with some beautiful furniture.

Markets

Aberdeen’s Country Fair is a monthly market with over 30 stalls of fresh farm produce, local crafts, home-baking, food and drink. The main market takes place on the last Saturday of every month and there’s a smaller weekly version every Saturday at the Academy Shopping Centre. One of the largest markets in Scotland, it provides local farmers and crafters the opportunity to showcase their quality home-grown and handcrafted products. A typical Aberdeen Country Fair will feature everything from Aberdeen Angus beef, fish landed at Aberdeen and Peterhead Harbours, local fruit and vegetables, baking, cheeses, confectionary, Scottish whisky, wines and handmade
crafts.

Three or four times throughout the year, and in the weeks leading up to Christmas, you’ll find Aberdeen’s popular International Market, one of the largest and most successful of its kind. The annual three-day event offers a wide range of European and British foods with 70 stalls including fresh French fruit and vegetables, French, Dutch, Scottish and English cheeses, hams from Spain, biscuits from Brittany, and a variety of French breads. You’ll also find an array of fine textiles, accessories, and arts and crafts on offer.

Shopping in the Shire

You don’t always need to visit the City for shopping, as Aberdeenshire also has a great range of shops. Quirky craft shops abound, and there are a number of stylish clothes shops that are well worth a visit. In Inverurie try Altro Designer Wear on North Street for D&G, Versace, Armani, Guess, Hugo Boss, and G-star. B’s Knees Too (and original B’s Knees in Oldmeldrum) carries a fabulous range of clothing and accessories from casual wear to exclusive evening wear and a wide range of bags, shoes and jewellery. A branch of Attic has recently opened in the town too.

Thirty minutes drive from Aberdeen City centre, Royal Deeside is a treasure trove of galleries, craft shops and exclusive outlets, many of them with Royal Warrants.
The royal village of Ballater has a good selection of individual shops and boutiques, many carrying the Royal seal of approval. There are a few surprises too, such as the Chocolate Box, which also sells Lulu Guinness handbags, and Foxy for an eclectic range of clothes, jewellery and furniture.

Future developments
Aberdeen will see huge changes in the next few years as part of the Bon-Accord Quarter Masterplan which will completely redevelop the city centre around the Bon Accord St Nicholas Shopping Centre, Marischal College and St Nicholas House. This will involve building a second floor on the single-storey St Nicholas Centre and then connecting it to the Bon Accord Centre via an enclosed bridge across Schoolhill. Further phases of the Bon Accord Quarter scheme will see the total retail space expand to in excess of 1million sq ft. The plans include a glass walkway to connect the Bon Accord St Nicholas centres and an improved link to the John Lewis department store, which will form an anchor at the far end of the shopping mall, with Marks and Spencer at the Union Street end. The scheme is expected to be completed by 2010.
The Bon Accord Centre will also see a new entrance being built at Gallowgate with another wing added to house more retail units. This is currently under construction and is due for completion next year, and will include a huge new Next, the largest in Scotland.
A new retail centre on the corner of Market Street/Union Street is also proposed. This will refurbish and reconfigure existing properties, including Aberdeen’s Indoor Market, to create modern retail space and it will also provide improved access to the historic Green area of the city.
Due to be completed in 2009, the Union Square project will provide Scotland’s second-largest shopping centre, complete with a multiplex cinema and links to a new transport hub at the nearby Aberdeen railway station and the Guild Street bus station.
The new developments are expected to bring a number of new stores to the city and will confirm Aberdeen’s position as the premier shopping centre in the North of Scotland.

To find out more about Aberdeen City and Shire visit:
http://www.aberdeencityandshire.com

Fair Trade Jewellery and Handbags

May 26th, 2017

The fact is that as an organization having a positive effect on otherwise disadvantaged peoples of the world works. Since its inception, the number and types of goods and products that are available certified as Fair Trade has grown steadily to the point where its no longer an obscure trade and business concept. To the contrary, Fair trade is now accepted mainstream.

Jewellery & Handbags – The List Is Huge!

One problem that many people have though is that so much of the media attention on has been on agricultural or food products. It just makes for more “tastier” stories in colorful green settings such as coffee and cocoa plantations as lush backdrops. The fact of the matter is however, that the list of gift items and fashion accessories that are now registered Fair Trade is huge!

Hand Made Gift Products From Peru and Kenya

For instance, now operates in Peru. A country all too well known for it silver production. So wouldn’t you know it, there is now a huge selection of fantastic silver Fair Trade Jewellery available, much of it in amazing indigenous design motifs. All hand made of course. Its the same in Kenya where Fair Trade Jewellery and handbags are produced incorporating authentic neolithic tribal methods and designs.

Silk and Woven Reed Products From Cambodia and Vietnamn

Cambodia and Vietnam are becoming all too well known for their intricately woven reed bags of exceptional quality and also for their exceedingly fine silk fabrics that are produced using natural organic dyes and methods that have been in use for centuries. The scarves with their traditional designs that are produced from these silk fabrics simply can’t be reproduced anywhere else on the planet.

Workers Escaping Sweat Shop Conditions In Thailand

In Thailand where clothing production has been an integral part of the economy for generations, production workers are finally escaping brutal sweat shop conditions and receiving fair livable wages producing high quality Fair Trade jewellery and handbags for export to countries like the United Kingdom, the United states and Canada.

Working To End Forced Child Labor On the Indian Sub-Continent

has also made extensive inroads into India where exploitation of children and impoverished people has always been an excepted way of doing business. Now Indian Jewellery makers and textile workers who produce Fair Trade Jewellery and handbags receive far pay working eight hour days, rather then the twelve hour days they used to work that often left them saddled with crippling repetitive movement disorders.

Developing Permenent Solutions with Trade Rather Than Aid

Fair Trade is working to bring positive change to third world countries by way of trade rather than aid, with a proven system that works. Remember that aid may feed the the stomach but it starves the spirit and turns proud people into beggars. When you buy Fair Trade Jewellery and handbags you not only send more of your money to third world workers and craftspeople, you also send a message to those who would exploit them that their way of doing business is coming to an end.