At Brilldor we strive to create exceptional jewellery often using special and unusual technologies. Our attitude to gemstones is the same. We prefer to work with clear, nicely cut authentic gemstones. Customers can find exceptionally valuable as well as more affordable pieces in our collection, to suit their price range.
We are extremely careful when choosing larger diamonds. Every diamond is a unique creation of Mother Nature and no two diamonds are alike. Apart from relying on reliable and renowned sources, we also check that the cut of the diamond is ideal, as it defines its shine, as well as verifying that the colour and the clarity of the diamond is of high quality, when choosing the diamonds we work with. We provide an international certificate with all our larger diamonds, mostly from the renowned GIA, IGI or HRD laboratories.
We often use smaller diamonds to adorn our pieces, as they can create a wonderful effect and greatly enhance the appearance of jewellery. We have found that they wonderfully highlight the rich forms of our pieces, creating a beautiful contrast and a greater impact on polished or matte finishes. At the same time, small diamonds break down smooth surfaces thereby making the surface of jewellery more delicate and light, while also increasing the durability and strength of the pieces. Given their affordability, smaller diamonds do not significantly increase the price of jewellery, but do greatly increase their beauty.
Because of their lower value, the larger gem cutting workshops and gemstone traders are not as vigilant about the quality of small diamonds, and indeed some small diamonds on offer are of quite low quality. While this might not be an issue for companies who mass produce jewellery, but we want to create high quality valuables that last. As carefully selected small diamonds are not readily available, they have to be sought out. This had been a problem we have had to face for most of our career, but now, we can proudly say that we have found a dependable source for small diamonds, and so we are able to offer outstanding quality in this regard as well. Our diamonds are visibly superior to the diamonds generally on offer. While the difference is most profound under a microscope, one does not have to be a gemstone specialist to notice the difference in the sparkle of set diamonds.
About diamonds in Brilldor jewellery: Diamonds are sovereign among gemstones. Their hardness is exceptional and their ability to shine (refractive index) is outstanding, to name but two of their superior qualities. Perhaps it is only their price and cleavage that makes them short of perfection. We use diamonds both as central stones in our pieces and in rows of small diamonds that allow us to "draw" on the surface of jewellery. Brilldor jewellery items are usually richly designed intricate, multidimensional pieces with tangled lines. The application of small diamonds not only allows us to draw on the surfaces but is also instrumental in breaking down surfaces and creating a light, ethereal effect. The sparkling details created by rows of small diamonds create contrast on polished or matte surfaces, thereby highlighting and enhancing their effect.
Special gold alloys:
A great proportion of Brilldor creations have been designed and created with the use of special materials. These materials are more expensive than those used in mass production, or the metals used to make ordinary jewellery. However, they possess a number of positive qualities, including the facts that they are whiter than the common materials, hypoallergenic, safe for stone setting, and do not have to be plated.
Plating is most often used to conceal the yellow tones of white gold (with rhodium) which can wear off with time. While it is possible to re-plate such jewellery pieces, with time and wear, the plating will once again rub off.
Initially we have not included pearls in our jewellery designs, because their round shape is difficult to work with. However, due to various jewellery competitions we had to face and conquer this difficulty. In the process, we realized that these pieces are the most extraordinary, and based on the demand, our clients seemed to agree. So, we too have grown to like working with pearls. Pearls are perhaps the gemstones that are formed with the least human intervention involved, as they are not mined or cut, but rather are naturally formed in oysters and are merely cleaned by man before becoming commercially available, to adorn jewellery.
Unfortunately, due to climate change, environmental pollution and exploitative practices of mass jewellery production, very few natural pearls are born. These are not commercially available any more. Instead, pearls are farmed, by farmers artificially stimulating the oysters so that a pearl sac is formed. The culturing of pearls, which involves intervention and monitoring, is a widely used process. Such pearls are by no means all the same. There are processes that can artificially mass produce cheap varieties and processes that are very much like the birth of natural pearls, to create expensive pearls such as the Tahitian or the South-Sea pearls. There are also imitation pearls, treated and enhanced pearls.
However, at Brilldor, we take great pride in using exceptionally rare Tahitian pearls that have not been artificially treated. The value of pearls is determined by their shape, surface, lustre, size, colour and rarity. We like unique and rare pearls as they make our extraordinary creations even more exclusive and unusual.
Pearls are water based gemstones. They are sensitive to dehydration, physical harm, alkali, acid and other corrosive chemicals, perfume and perspiration. Storing them in a glass cabinet under direct light, in sunlight or even near a heat source (such as a fireplace or radiator) may dehydrate and destroy them.
We suggest that pearl jewellery be put on after make-up and styling, and taken off immediately after an event. It is advisable to clean pearls with a damp cloth before putting them away, which not only cleans but also helps rehydrate the pearls. In fact, pearls can be stored with a damp cloth to aid rehydration. Soaking of pearls is not advisable, as they might loosen. When pearls are strung, an adhesive is used to secure the beads onto the metal wire. The life expectancy of this is limited, so it is a good idea to renew the fastening of the pearls from time to time. Moreover, pearls are relatively soft, so their beauty can easily be tarnished by outside influences. It is worth taking special care of them. Larger pearls are less vulnerable, and, in the long run, a protective design can significantly help to preserve beauty and value of pearl jewellery.
Our love of Tahitian pearls goes back to our days competing for the famous Tahitian Pearl Trophy, also known as the Olympics of Jewellery-makers, which had brought us great success. Nowadays, we also work with many varieties of freshwater and salt-water pearls, from the less expensive mother of pearl to the South Sea pearls, depending on our clients' needs. Regarding the use of Tahitian pearls to adorn our jewellery pieces, we pride ourselves in using only those very rare pearls that are guaranteed to not have undergone any kind of treatment.
We recognize the superior hardness of diamonds, their outstanding sparkle and the amazing effect they have adorning jewellery, but nothing can be as diverse and unique as an opal, of which no two are alike. Opals come in different shapes and in all the colours of the rainbow. In terms of shape, the possibilities seem endless. From oval or round shapes to free shapes, fantasy and all kinds of unusual shapes, they are a dream come true for designers. Their size is significant, because they provide an opportunity for creative expression and interestingly shaped designs. Opal jewellery pieces are quite special, but they require exceptional care when being worn or stored. As they are water based gemstones they must be protected from dehydration and it is advisable to store opals wrapped in a damp cloth over night to rehydrate them. Storing them in a glass cabinet under direct light, in sunlight or even near a heat source (such as a fireplace or radiator) may dehydrate and destroy them.
Opals are mineraloids which are formed from precipitation picking up minerals and then collecting in puddles in voids and fossilizing. As they start life in liquid form, only small quantities can collect, and the available opal stones are not thick. In fact, in most cases they are very thin, thus they are extremely sensitive to impact, pressure of physical harm. Larger solid opals are rare and expensive, but there are several ways of protecting and setting beautiful but thin opal gemstones. One solution is called doublet, whereby the thin slice of opal is adhered together with another gemstone to gain stability. It is a less expensive method, but still brings exceptionally beautiful results. The other solution is creating a meticulously designed protective setting. It is important to keep this in mind, when buying opal jewellery. While opal pendants, earrings, necklaces, brooches are less likely to be harmed as they are less exposed or vulnerable, rings, bracelets and cuff-links have to endure more physical harm during wear.
14k/18k gold alloys:
Due to cultural differences the number of karats in the gold used varies from country to country and region to region. Meaning, that the gold used within a given country or region has the same fineness (9k, 10k, 14k, 22k). However, we feel that 18k is used to make special jewellery around the world. It is perhaps this fineness that has the optimal level of physical and chemical properties. 18 karats is a great choice in terms of the workability of the metal and gemstone settings as well.
In many cases, Brilldor's white gold pieces are crafted from 14k gold. The reason for this is that traditional white gold alloys have some shortcomings and so we have chosen to work with a special gold alloy. With this variety of gold, it is the 14k rather than the 18k gold that is best for our purposes. Naturally, we can craft these jewellery items out of 18k gold upon request.
Oxidation does not occur on gold, but gold alloys may react to their environment. Lower karat metals have more alloys in them which may cause them to yellow or brown. This phenomenon is most common with yellow or red (rose gold) jewellery. Fortunately, this is not an irreversible change. Restoration returns such jewellery to their original colour. Traditional white gold also has yellow tones and carries the original colour of gold. Most often such jewellery is plated in rhodium, which is a platinum metal to make used to make jewellery look whiter, but rhodium flashing is not permanent. Daily wear can cause the rhodium plating to rub off allowing the white gold to yellow. Jewellery retailers are not necessarily upfront about rhodium treatments on their jewellery, which often makes customers feel cheated. This is why at Brilldor, we mostly use a special material for white gold. Rather than using the traditional alloys with gold, we add a platinum metal (palladium) to the alloy, which is much more effective in whitening the yellow gold. So it is the material of the jewellery itself that is clear white, because the whiteness is not caused by plating. Another reason to use these types of alloys is that they are less likely to cause allergies or irritation, and the gemstone settings made from them are more attractive and provide more protection.