Jewelry Frequently Asked Questions
We are pleased to offer extensive collections of Celtic Jewelry, Northwest Coast Indian Jewelry, Northwest Jewelry by Paul Wagner, Judie Gumm and Cavin Richie. Here are answers to the most frequently asked questions we receive concerning our jewelry.
- Where is your jewelry made?
Almost all the jewelry we offer is made here in the USA or in Canada.
Our Celtic Engagement Rings, Celtic Wedding Rings and Kalgoorlie Rings and gold Celtic jewelry are all hand polished lost wax castings made in the USA by a local manufacturing jeweler who shares our concern for quality.
Our sterling silver Celtic jewelry, with the exception of a few pieces made in Wales, are either lost wax castings or stamped pieces made in the USA. Much of our Celtic jewelry collection is exclusive to David Morgan.
Most of our Northwest Indian jewelry is made in the USA, here in the Northwest. Some of the pieces, such as the Tlingit Trade Bracelets and Rings, are stamped from the original dies made in the early 1900’s for trade with the Indians of the Pacific Northwest. Our pewter and copper jewelry by Frederick Design is made in Canada, as is the Sea to Sky Collection by Corrine Hunt.
Our Occulture jewelry is a collaboration with Australian indigenous artisans transferring ancient stories and knowledge into contemporary statement jewelry that celebrates and strengthens the songline of culture, knowledge, artists and community. The photoanodized aluminum jewelry with sterling silver fittings, lightweight by design, is handcrafted in Australia using cutting edge technology.
- What is a Lost Wax Casting?
Lost wax casting is used to produce many of our items of jewelry. In this process a model of the item is made (usually carved in wax, sometimes fabricated in metal), sprues and vents added to facilitate later casting, and a rubber mold cast around the model. The mold is cut into two pieces to remove the model, the cut being made in such a manner that the mold may be readily reassembled. Wax reproductions of the original model may then be cast in this mold. These ‘waxes’ are then either individually or in groups (as a ‘tree’) suitable sprued to allow access of the casting metal, set in a flask and the flask filled with plaster of Paris. The flask is then heated to evaporate and remove the wax, leaving a firm mold with a cavity having the shape of the original wax. Molten silver or gold may then be cast through the sprue into this mold. When the metal has solidifed the plaster mold is broken apart, freeing the metal. The sprues and any irregularities on the cast item are removed, and the piece is finished by polishing.
Lost wax casting is preferred when an item has deep or undercut indentations or a highly variable thickness. Detail may be reproduced well. Some variation in weight, detail and polish is normal as the result of differences in temperatures at the several stages of the process and in the hand work involved. Our Celtic Wedding Bands are examples of fine lost wax castings.
- What is Metal Stamping?
Jewelry may be made by stamping, forcing a hardened steel die into a sheet of silver deeply enough to impress a pattern on the surface of the die into the surface of the silver, much as you may impress a thumb print into cookie dough. A cutting die, much like a cookie cutter, is then used to remove the silver with the pattern from the sheet of silver. Stamping produces items that are highly uniform and require little in the way of further finishing. The sheet metal used, a rolled product, is much more uniform than an equivalent cast product, with greater strength. Stamping is generally referred over lost wax casting for jewelry where the design permits, most particularly for cuff bracelets where the strength and uniformity of the metal reduces breakage when the bracelet is bent. Stamping is not feasible with undercut designs. Because of the high cost of the steel dies, stamping is not cost-competitive with lost wax casting for short runs of an item. Our Northwest Indian Trade Bracelets and Rings, our sterling silver cuff bracelets, such as the Lovebirds Bracelet and Dragon Bracelet, are all stamped, as are some of our pendants and earrings.
- What is the weight of gold in the gold jewelry
Although the weight of a piece of gold jewelry is not a good measure of its value, it can give an indication of heft and substance when coupled with a photo. We give the approximate weight for some of our more popular gold pieces in the individual descriptions. For instance, our Gold Celtic Cross weights about 7.5 grams, the Gold Chi-Rho Necklet weighs about 3.3 grams. Since these are lost wax castings, the actual weight of any individual piece may vary from these values. For comparison, a U.S. penny weighs 2.5 grams, a U.S. quarter weighs 5.7 grams.
- What is your delivery time for jewelry?
Our sterling silver jewelry is usually available for immediate delivery. We are able to ship our most popular gold jewelry, such as the Gold Celtic Cross, within one week of receiving your order. Allow 3 or 4 weeks for shipment of our gold rings and some of our gold jewelry. The expected delivery times for a specific piece can be checked by placing that item in your cart. (The item can be easily removed from your cart if you choose not to purchase.)
If you are interested in purchasing our jewelry in quantity, for instance as bridal party gifts, please contact us at 1-800-324-4934 or by email at [email protected] We can usually fill larger orders within 3 to 6 weeks.
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