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Jewellery 101
Frequently Asked Questions

At Chibnalls we know that there are many mysteries in the world of jewellery, so we have decided to set up this page to answer all the jewellery questions you have but were afraid to ask.

If you have any questions pertaining to anything about jewellery, please go to our Contact Us page and fill in our contact box and we will get back to you as soon as possible. We uphold complete confidentiality with all personal information and never ever pass details on or contact you unnecessarily.

In the mean time, have a look at our answers to some questions we have already been asked; we may have answered your question already!

Q: What should I look for when buying an Opal?

A: Opals are the national stone of Australia, and are truely unique stones, as no two are exactly identical. Buying an opal is highly personal so... we at Chibnalls think the best way to choose an opal is to consider the following:

1. Budget - Usually, the most expensive is black opal, as the colours are often the most vibrant, however, there are some beautiful black opals out there with a very reasonable price tag. Boulder opals can very greatly in price, however the matrix opals are usually more affordable - matrix opal being a boulder opal where the opal crystals are flecked on the surface of the stone. Light opals are often slightly less expensive and just as beautiful, and are often quite light in their colours. Doublets are more affordable, and triplets being the most economical of all, as they have only a very thin layer of opal in the stone.

2. Colour - Opals come in all different colours. Red is often the most sought after, and thus the most expensive. Many opals have more than one colour in them, and the different types of opal have different colour charateristics. Light opal is often quite subtle in colours (which vary greatly) whilst black and boulder opals are often more vibrant. Matrix opals can sometimes have nice, bright colours, scattered over the ironstone host. Doublets and triplets can be of varying colours and colour intensities. All opals have defferent colour characteristics - they can have a mosaic effect or a block of colour or sometimes a 'ribbon' appearance. See the pictures to the right for some examples.

3. Quality - If you can, obviously buying a quality opal is preferable! There are different qualities of stone to consider:

Triplets: This type of opal usually has very little opal in it, and they are prone to flaking where the layers meet each other. Triplets are regarded as very economical but not very high on the quality scale. Triplets often go cloudy and obscure the opal colours and sometimes even shatter as they are not very strong.

Doublets: These are usually stronger than their triplet cousins as they are only two layers with the opal layer on the top being secured to a dark rock backing and often have a brighter appearance. They are again quite economical and are a more resiliant stone.

Solid: The highest quality of opal, and these often have the best colours and durability. Black, boulder, matrix and light opals have different coloured host rocks which gives them their charateristic appearances.

If you would like to see more of our opal jewellery, or would like a little more information please feel free to contact us or visit our online store.

Q: I am looking into buying an engagement ring, and I would like to know the benefit of having a ring made over just buying a nice one off the shelf?

A: The answer to this partly returns to the answer to the question of why a hand made item is better than a mass produced item - the quality can be assured when it is made from scratch by an experienced craftsman, whereas a mass produced ring may not have the same quality assurance. The ring may fall apart later on and due to the way in which it was produced it may not be possible to repair it. The second point is that a ring that is made specifically for a person is so much more unique than something off a shelf. Many of our customers incorporate a unique something into their rings that signifies different things like their personality, their history together or a shared experience and their rings often come to mean so much more than a store bought ring would.

After all, you will be wearing it for the rest of your lives together, so shouldn't it be something extra special?

We at Chibnalls have over thirty years experience of making the perfect, personal engagement and wedding rings for locals and visitors alike.
Our designs are as varied as the imaginations of our customers and we have catered to all budgets so we are confident that we can make exactly what you are looking for.
If you would like to see some of the engagement rings we have made in the past, then check out our Pinterest Engagement Ring board or if you would like to inquire about having a special something made then please Contact Us to speak to one of our experienced jewellers who will be pleased to help you with your questions.

Q: I have heard a lot about Australian sapphires and Parti sapphires - what are they and how are they different to other sapphires?

A: Parti sapphires are unique in the fact thay they have both yellow and blue colours in a single stone, and, depending on the facets they can also produce green. It is because of this blending of colour that they can not be artificially made. The Parti sapphire is best known as a uniquely Australian gem, with the best examples in the world coming from various locations on the Australian continent. No two Parti sapphires are exactly alike, so the owner can be assured of firstly a genuine stone and secondly a truely unique and beautiful sapphire.

The term 'Australian' sapphire, when it is applied to sapphires in general and not just Parti varieties, refers to the slightly darker colouration - an idiosyncracy of Australian mined sappries. The term 'Ceylon' sapphire denotes a medium to paler colour.

If you are interested in sapphire jewellery, we have an extensive range at our Hilton Hotel shop with both loose and set stones featuring in our collection. We can also help you design a piece of jewellery unique to you, and find that perfect stone from our trusted network of sapphire cutters and dealers, or, if you already have your stone, we can set it for you into virtually any design. We also have some examples in our Online Store or please Contact Us for more information.

Below are some examples of our Australian, Parti, and worldwide sapphires.
Q: What exactly does 'congac' or 'champagne' mean when refering to diamonds?

A: 'Cognac' and 'champagne' refers to a trype of diamond that is characterised by a brown tint. Until recently, the consumer market did not favour the poor brown diamond, however, they are steadily gaining popularity as a unique and affordable stone. They occour in shades ranging from light brown, some with a yellowish hint, all the way through to a deep, rich brown. They can look stunning when set with red, yellow and orange stones and they are often a little less expensive than their commonplace white cousins. Most of the worlds' champagne diamonds originate from the Argyle mine in Australia, and the rest come from African mines. It is still something of a mystery how they get their colouration - like the pink diamond, the best guess is that it has something to do with the miniscule imperfections to the crystaline structure and the presence of nitrogen.
The colour of these champagne diamonds, like all diamonds, is graded on a scale. The Congac diamond scale goes from a light champagne through to the deep brown of the cognac.
We at Chibnalls have an extensive network of trusted diamond dealers so we can find the perfect champagne or cognac stone for you. If you would like more information about diamonds in general, please visit our Diamond Eye page for all you could possibly need to know about diamonds. Alternatively, we have some beautiful examples of diamond jewellery on our Shopping page and our Engagement Rings page has more information about getting your ring made with us. If you would like to Contact Us about anything to do with diamonds, custom designs or jewellery in general please feel free to fill in our contact form and one of our experienced jewellers will get back to you as soon as we can.

Q: What is a pair ring?
A: A pair ring is exactly as the name implies: it consists of two parts, usually one for each partner. Anyone can wear these rings - unlike wedding bands and engagement rings, they are not reserved for those who have been married or joined together. Many couples buy these types of rings just to show a commitment to each other, to show their love and affection and if the couple do get married or joined then those rings are sometimes re-designed and turned into engagement rings (by being taken to a jeweller and melted down into a new ring, often with added diamonds or stones or other embellishments) or are worn on the same finger before the engagement and wedding rings.
And of course, Chibnalls has got you covered on pair rings. We design them to whatever style you like, and if you already know what you want then we can make virtually any style, so give us a call!
Below are some examples of some rings that we have made for some very happy customers.
You can see more jewellery we have made on our Pinterest boards and in our
Online Store.

Q: What is a pink diamond, and why are they more expensive than regular diamonds?

Pink diamonds are not chemically coloured - they are naturally pink and they come out of the ground the same colour as when thay have been cut and pollished. Nobody really knows exactly what makes the diamonds pink - the best guess at the moment is that they obtain their colour as a result of pressure beneath the Earth's surface. This pressure pushes the diamond closer to the surface, and in so doing alters its structure, allowing it to absorb light and producing the pink colouration.
They are so rare that the number of pink diamonds that are mined in one year that weigh over half a carat could be held in the palms of your hands. About 90% of the pink diamonds on the market today are produced by the Australian Argyle mine, located in western Australia, however it is estimated that this mine has only around a decades' worth of pink diamond supply, after which the only pinks will be produced from the remaining mines.

It is both the rarity and the beautiful, enigmaticly enchanting colour of the stones that makes them highly sought after, and thus usually pricier, than regular diamonds. However, we at Chibnalls stock a range of these stones that span a wide price range. If you are interested in buying a pink diamond please contact us.
Remember, we can help you design something truely unique, or make a design you already have in mind!
Q: What is the difference between a hand-made piece of jewellery and a piece that has been produced in large quantities?
A: The answer to this comes in two main elements of jewellery making. The first is that a piece of jewellery, be it a ring, a pair of earrings, pendant, bangle etc. when mass produced is often made in a very different way to a hand-made item. When something is mass produced, sometimes the quality of the metal and stones can not be guaranteed as the production company may want to make as many pieces for as little cost as possible. The item would almost certainly be cast from an original wax carving, or 'blank', then finished and polished by a machine so there is very little human involvement in the process. Because of this the quality of the finished piece can not always be guaranteed. When something is made by hand, care is taken over each step of the making process from start to finish. The metal chosen by the craftsperson would need to be of good quality or else the maker wouldn't be able to work with it, and it would be selected based on the individual needs of the customer, as would the stones used.
This point brings us on to the second part to the answer, which lies in the design and aftercare. When jewellery is made by hand, the jeweller can tailor it to suit your needs whether that be budget, design, materials, quality or whatever whereas a machine will only do as it is programmed to do. Once the piece has been made by hand, if in the future you want it cleaned, remodelled or repollished the jeweller that made it can guarantee the durability of the materials and will therefore be better able to carry out any further work you choose to have done. Poor quality metals and stones are often prone to flaking or cracking which can impede the efforts of the jeweller working on a machine produced piece that is in need of repair after it has been bought.

A machine can not match the precision and attention to detail that a person can offer and so can not produce the superior quality and beauty that a skilled craftsperson can achieve!
At Chibnalls, of course, all of our jewellery is hand crafted to the highest standard and tailored to each one of our customers. We provide a unique, friendly and personalised shopping experience and listen to our customers from the start right through to the finished piece.

Chibnalls Business Hours

Monday - 9:30am – 6:30pm
Tuesday - 9:30am – 6:30pm
Wednesday - 9:30am – 6:30pm
Thursday - 9:30am – 6:30pm
Friday - 9:30am – 6:30pm
Saturday - 9:30am – 1pm
Sunday - Closed
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