When it comes to engagement rings, the classic diamond solitaire has long held the spotlight. However, as more couples seek to express their unique personalities and values, the world of alternative engagement rings has flourished. From different coloured gemstones to unconventional materials, alternative engagement rings offer a myriad of choices for those who want something truly special. Here, we delve into the diverse options available, highlighting their beauty and significance.

Gemstone Rings: A Splash of Colour

One of the most popular alternatives to diamond engagement rings is the use of coloured gemstones. Sapphires, emeralds, rubies, and other vibrant stones bring a unique flair however, each gemstone carries their own symbolism and meaning:


  • Colours: Typically blue, but available in a range of colours including pink, yellow, and white.
  • Hardness: 9 on the Mohs scale, making it very durable.
  • Meaning: Symbolises wisdom, virtue, and good fortune. Often associated with royalty and considered a stone of fidelity and sincerity.


  • Colours: Rich green.
  • Hardness: 7.5-8 on the Mohs scale. They can be more prone to chipping due to natural inclusions.
  • Meaning: Represents rebirth and love. Known as the stone of successful love, it brings loyalty and provides for domestic bliss.


  • Colours: Red.
  • Hardness: 9 on the Mohs scale, similar to sapphires.
  • Meaning: Symbolises passion, protection, and prosperity. Often associated with love and commitment, making it a fitting choice for engagement rings.


  • Colours: Near-colorless.
  • Hardness: 9.25 on the Mohs scale, excellent for everyday wear.
  • Brilliance: Higher refractive index than diamonds, making them very sparkly.
  • Meaning: Represents brilliance and clarity. Known for its exceptional sparkle and fire, it signifies an everlasting and luminous bond.


  • Colours: Pink to peach.
  • Hardness: 7.5-8 on the Mohs scale.
  • Meaning: Symbolises divine love and compassion. It is associated with attracting and maintaining love, making it ideal for engagement rings.


  • Colours: Light blue to blue-green.
  • Hardness: 7.5-8 on the Mohs scale.
  • Meaning: Represents tranquillity, harmony, and clarity. Historically, it was believed to protect sailors and ensure a safe voyage.


  • Colours: Varies widely, known for their play-of-colour.
  • Hardness: 5.5-6.5 on the Mohs scale, requiring more care.
  • Meaning: Symbolises inspiration and creativity. It is also associated with love, passion, and desire.


  • Colours: Purple.
  • Hardness: 7 on the Mohs scale.
  • Meaning: Represents peace, balance, and calm. Known for its protective and healing qualities, it is also associated with clarity of mind.


  • Colours: Typically red, but available in a variety of colours.
  • Hardness: 6.5-7.5 on the Mohs scale.
  • Meaning: Symbolises passion, energy, and regeneration. It is considered a stone of commitment and devotion.


  • Colours: Deep blue to violet.
  • Hardness: 6-7 on the Mohs scale, more delicate.
  • Meaning: Represents transformation and spiritual awakening. It is also associated with calmness and clarity.


  • Colours: Wide range of colours.
  • Hardness: 7-7.5 on the Mohs scale.
  • Meaning: Symbolises protection and grounding. Each colour variant has its specific attributes, with pink tourmaline often associated with love and compassion.


  • Colours: Various, including blue, pink, and yellow.
  • Hardness: 8 on the Mohs scale.
  • Meaning: Represents strength, intelligence, and beauty. Blue topaz, in particular, is associated with communication and clarity.


  • Colours: Green.
  • Hardness: 6.5-7 on the Mohs scale.
  • Meaning: Symbolises strength and vitality. It is associated with growth, renewal, and healing.

When selecting an alternative gemstone for an engagement ring, it’s essential to consider both the aesthetic appeal and the durability of the stone. Harder gemstones (higher on the Mohs scale) are generally better suited for everyday wear. Additionally, some gemstones require more care and might need protective settings to avoid damage.

Unique Metals: Beyond Gold and Platinum

While gold and platinum are traditional choices for engagement ring bands, many couples are exploring alternative metals for a distinctive look. Some unique options include:

  • Palladium: A member of the platinum group, palladium is durable, hypoallergenic, and has a natural white sheen. It offers a similar look to platinum but is lighter and often more affordable.
  • Titanium: Known for its strength and lightweight nature, titanium is a modern choice for engagement rings. Its sleek, contemporary appearance makes it ideal for minimalist designs.
  • Rose Gold: With its warm, pinkish hue, rose gold has gained popularity for its romantic and vintage appeal. It’s an alloy of gold and copper, which gives it a distinctive colour.

Vintage and Antique Rings: Timeless Treasures

For those who appreciate history and craftsmanship, vintage and antique engagement rings offer a treasure trove of options. These rings, often sourced from specific historical periods such as Victorian, Edwardian, or Art Deco, are unique pieces with intricate details and a story to tell. Vintage rings are not only beautiful but also environmentally friendly, as they are a form of recycling.

Customised Designs: A Personal Touch

Perhaps the ultimate way to ensure your engagement ring is one-of-a-kind is to have it custom-designed. Working with a jeweller to create a bespoke ring allows you to incorporate personal elements, such as birthstones, meaningful symbols, engraving or a combination of gemstones and metals that reflect your relationship. Customised designs ensure that your ring is a true reflection of your love story and is something that we can most certainly help you with here at The Goldmarket.


The world of alternative engagement rings is vast and varied, offering endless possibilities for those seeking something different from the traditional diamond solitaire. Whether you’re drawn to the vibrant colours of gemstones, the ethical appeal of lab-grown diamonds, or the unique charm of vintage rings, there’s an alternative engagement ring to suit every taste and value. Embracing these options not only allows for a unique expression of love but also often aligns with modern values of sustainability and ethical consumption. As you embark on the journey to find the perfect ring, consider the myriad of beautiful, meaningful alternatives that can make your engagement truly special.

If you are looking for an engagement ring for someone special, we would love to help. Our team at The Goldmarket are a bunch of romantics who can help you find something that truly reflects your love story and is personal and meaningful to you both. Pop in and see us at 23 High Street, Weston-super-Mare or contact us to find out how we can help you.



Gemstones have captivated humanity for centuries with their allure, rarity, and intrinsic beauty. But beyond their shimmering facades lie fascinating tales and intriguing facts that add depth to their mystique. Join us on a journey as we delve into the rich tapestry of gemstone lore and unveil some of the most intriguing facts about these precious treasures.

Diamonds: A Tale of Timeless Elegance

Diamonds, often hailed as the ultimate symbol of love and luxury, possess a timeless allure that transcends cultures and generations. Formed deep within the Earth’s mantle under intense heat and pressure, diamonds emerge as pristine gems of extraordinary brilliance and durability. Renowned for their unmatched sparkle, diamonds have captivated humanity for centuries, adorning crowns, engagement rings, and cherished heirlooms.

Beyond their breathtaking beauty, diamonds hold a wealth of symbolism, representing eternal love, strength, and resilience. Each diamond is as unique as the love it symbolises, with its own characteristics and story to tell. From the legendary Cullinan diamond to the iconic Hope diamond, these precious gems continue to inspire wonder and fascination, embodying the enduring power of love and the timeless beauty of nature.

Dubbed the “king of gems,” diamonds have long been revered for their unmatched brilliance and durability. Did you know that the largest diamond ever discovered, the Cullinan diamond, weighed a staggering 3,106 carats? This majestic gem, unearthed in South Africa in 1905, remains a symbol of timeless elegance and unparalleled beauty.

Emeralds: Treasures from the Earth

Emeralds, with their mesmerising green hues reminiscent of lush forests and tranquil waters, are among the most captivating gemstones in the world. Revered for centuries for their beauty and rarity, emeralds hold a mystical allure that transcends time. Originating deep within the Earth’s crust, emeralds are formed under precise conditions of pressure and temperature, resulting in their distinctive colour and clarity.

Associated with renewal, growth, and vitality, emeralds have been cherished by cultures throughout history, from ancient civilisations to modern royalty. Whether adorning the crowns of kings or gracing the fingers of lovers, emeralds symbolize love, prosperity, and harmony with nature. Each emerald tells a story of resilience and transformation, embodying the enduring beauty of the natural world and the timeless allure of precious gemstones.

Emeralds, with their rich green hues, have enchanted civilisations for millennia. Ancient Egyptians believed that emeralds symbolised eternal youth and rebirth. Interestingly, lighter-coloured emeralds are often referred to as “green beryls,” showcasing the diverse spectrum of this stunning gemstone.

Tanzanite: A Gemstone of Singular Beauty

Tanzanite, a gemstone of rare and captivating beauty, possesses a unique allure that sets it apart from all others. Discovered in just one small region near Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, tanzanite’s exquisite blue-violet hues evoke the majestic landscapes of its homeland.

Named after its country of origin, tanzanite was introduced to the world in 1967 by Tiffany & Co., sparking a frenzy of admiration and fascination. Its remarkable colour-changing properties, shifting from deep blues to vibrant violets depending on the light, add to its mystique and charm. Tanzanite is not just a gemstone; it’s a testament to the wonders of nature and the magic of discovery. Each tanzanite gemstone carries with it the spirit of adventure and the promise of beauty, making it a cherished treasure for those fortunate enough to possess it.


As a relatively recent discovery, tanzanite is found only in one small region near Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. Its mesmerizing blue-violet hues have earned it a place among the world’s most coveted gemstones.

Opals: Nature’s Kaleidoscope

Opals, with their mesmerising play-of-colour and ethereal beauty, are truly nature’s marvels. Formed over millions of years through the interplay of silica and water, opals possess a unique ability to refract light into a kaleidoscope of iridescent hues. From fiery reds to electric blues, each opal is a masterpiece of colour and light, reflecting the rich tapestry of the natural world.

Some opals, known as “boulder opals,” are backed by a mother stone, enhancing their vibrancy and depth. Revered by ancient civilisations as symbols of hope and purity, opals continue to captivate and inspire with their otherworldly charm. Whether adorning a piece of jewellery or displayed as a precious gemstone, opals enchant all who behold them, inviting us to marvel at the wonders of creation.

Opals are renowned for their iridescent play-of-colour, which gives them a mystical and ethereal quality. These captivating gems are as unique and diverse as the landscapes from which they are born.

Sapphires: Beyond Blue

Sapphires, with their captivating allure and rich history, stand as symbols of beauty, wisdom, and royalty. While commonly associated with the mesmerising blue hues reminiscent of the deep ocean, sapphires come in a spectrum of colours, including pink, yellow, and even orange. Each sapphire possesses a unique combination of colour, clarity, and brilliance, making it a cherished gemstone sought after by connoisseurs and collectors alike.

Renowned for their durability and lustre, sapphires have adorned the crowns and regalia of kings and queens throughout history, embodying power, prestige, and elegance. Beyond their ornamental value, sapphires hold deep spiritual significance in many cultures, believed to bring protection, wisdom, and good fortune to those who wear them. Whether set in exquisite jewellery or admired in their natural form, sapphires continue to win hearts and minds with their timeless beauty and enduring appeal.

The most famous sapphires, such as the Star of India, have achieved legendary status, fascinating gemstone enthusiasts worldwide.

Pearls: Nature’s Masterpiece

Pearls, born from the depths of the ocean and nurtured by the delicate balance of nature, are treasures unlike any other. Formed within the shells of molluscs, pearls are the only gemstones created by living organisms. Cultivating cultured pearls is a meticulous process that requires patience and expertise, resulting in luminous orbs of iridescence that captivate the eye and stir the soul.

For centuries, pearls have been revered as symbols of purity, elegance, and sophistication, adorning the crowns of queens and the necks of noblewomen. Their timeless beauty transcends trends and fashions, embodying the essence of understated luxury and refined grace. Whether strung into a classic necklace or set into a modern design, pearls exude a timeless elegance that speaks to the enduring allure of the natural world.

Amethyst: A Stone of Sobriety

Amethysts, with their regal purple hues and mystical allure, hold a special place among gemstones. Named from the ancient Greek word “amethystos,” meaning “not drunk,” these captivating gems were believed to possess the power to ward off intoxication in ancient times. Beyond their folklore, amethysts are prized for their beauty and spiritual significance, symbolising clarity of mind, inner strength, and protection from negative energies.

Found in various shades of purple, from delicate lilacs to deep violets, each amethyst is a testament to the wonders of nature’s creativity. Whether adorning a piece of jewellery or displayed as a standalone gem, amethysts radiate a sense of elegance and tranquillity, inviting us to connect with the deeper mysteries of the universe.


Rubies: The Gems of Passion

Rubies, with their fiery red hues and allure, are among the most coveted gemstones in the world. Symbolising passion, vitality, and love, rubies are renowned for their intense colour and exceptional clarity. These precious gems are often associated with power and royalty. Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, is celebrated as a primary source of the finest rubies, particularly those from the legendary Mogok region.

Whether adorning a crown, an engagement ring, or a piece of high-end jewelry, rubies exude a timeless elegance and sophistication that transcends trends and fashions. With their rich history and enduring beauty, rubies continue to hold a special place in the hearts of gemstone enthusiasts and collectors around the globe.


From the depths of the earth to the stars above, gemstones embody the wonders of nature and the creativity of mankind. Each gemstone has its own story to tell, and its own journey to embark upon. Whether it’s the timeless elegance of a diamond, the enchanting allure of an emerald, or the celestial beauty of tanzanite, gemstones continue to inspire and fascinate us, reminding us of the beauty that lies within our world.

So, the next time you admire a sparkling gemstone, take a moment to appreciate the rich history, lore, and beauty that it represents. After all, within each gemstone lies a universe of wonders waiting to be discovered.

Explore the diverse array of stunning gemstone jewellery at The Goldmarket. Whether you’re seeking a ring to commemorate a special occasion, a distinctive pendant, or even a custom-designed piece, our team of knowledgeable experts is here to assist you every step of the way.

When it comes to jewellery, we often marvel at the sparkle of gemstones, the luster of pearls, and the brilliance of precious metals. However, beyond their aesthetic allure lies a fundamental aspect that significantly influences their durability and longevity: hardness. Enter the Mohs scale—a simple yet indispensable tool in the world of jewelry that helps us understand and appreciate the hardness of gemstones and minerals.

What is the Mohs Scale?

Named after Friedrich Mohs, a German mineralogist who devised it in 1812, the Mohs scale stands as one of the most widely used systems for measuring the hardness of minerals. Mohs recognized the need for a practical method to differentiate between various minerals based on their hardness, and thus, he introduced this ingenious scale.

The essence of the Mohs scale lies in its simplicity and effectiveness. Rather than relying on complex scientific instruments, the Mohs scale employs a straightforward comparative method. It evaluates the ability of one mineral to scratch another, thereby establishing a relative hardness scale from 1 to 10.

At its core, the Mohs scale ranks minerals based on their resistance to being scratched by other substances. A mineral with a higher Mohs hardness value can scratch a mineral with a lower value, while it cannot be scratched by a mineral with a lower value. This principle allows for a quick and practical assessment of mineral hardness, making it invaluable not only to mineralogists but also to jewelers, geologists, and enthusiasts alike.

The scale begins with talc, assigned a value of 1, which represents the softest mineral. As the scale progresses, each subsequent mineral has the ability to scratch those preceding it. For instance, gypsum, ranked at 2 on the Mohs scale, can be scratched by talc but can scratch calcite, which ranks higher at 3. This hierarchical arrangement continues until it reaches diamond, the hardest naturally occurring substance known to man, which sits at the top with a perfect score of 10.

mohs scale

In the context of jewellery, the Mohs scale provides invaluable insights into the durability and suitability of gemstones for different types of jewellery. By understanding the hardness of gemstones relative to one another, jewellers and consumers can make informed decisions when selecting and caring for their prized pieces. Whether it’s choosing a diamond for an engagement ring or selecting pearls for a necklace, the Mohs scale serves as a guiding light, ensuring that jewelry remains not only beautiful but also resilient against the tests of time and wear.

Importance in Jewellery

1. Durability:

In the realm of jewellery, durability is paramount. Gemstones subjected to everyday wear, such as rings and bracelets, are prone to abrasion and scratches. Understanding the hardness of gemstones helps jewelers and consumers alike select stones that can withstand daily use without losing their luster or becoming damaged.

2. Protection against Wear:

Gemstones with higher Mohs hardness ratings are less likely to get scratched or abraded. For instance, diamonds, which top the Mohs scale at 10, are exceptionally hard and can withstand scratching from most other materials, making them ideal for everyday jewelry that experiences significant wear.

3. Care and Maintenance:

Knowing the Mohs hardness of gemstones guides us in their care and maintenance. Softer gemstones, such as pearls and opals, require gentler handling and storage to prevent scratches and surface damage. Additionally, when cleaning jewelry, understanding the Mohs scale helps avoid using abrasive cleaners or methods that could harm delicate stones.

4. Design Considerations:

Jewellery designers often take Mohs hardness into account when creating pieces. Pairing gemstones with similar hardness levels minimizes the risk of one stone scratching another. Alternatively, contrasting hardness levels can be intentionally utilised for aesthetic effects, but with careful consideration of the durability implications.

5. Identifying Gemstones:

The Mohs scale can also aid in identifying gemstones. By performing a simple scratch test using common materials with known hardness levels, such as fingernails (2.5) or a steel knife (5.5), one can determine the approximate hardness of a gemstone and narrow down its identity.

Practical Applications

Gemstone Selection: When purchasing jewelry, consider the hardness of the gemstones in relation to how and where you plan to wear them.

Jewellery Maintenance: Follow appropriate care guidelines based on the hardness of your gemstones to preserve their beauty and longevity.

Custom Designs: Work with jewellers who understand the Mohs scale to create bespoke pieces that balance aesthetics with durability.

Education: Equip yourself with knowledge about the Mohs scale to make informed decisions when buying, wearing, and caring for jewellery.

In conclusion, while the Mohs scale may seem like a simple concept, its significance in the world of jewelry cannot be overstated. By understanding the hardness of gemstones and minerals, we can make informed choices that enhance the beauty and longevity of our cherished jewellery pieces, ensuring they sparkle for generations to come.

Gemstones have been prized for their beauty and rarity for centuries. They are used in jewellery, adornments, and religious ceremonies around the world. But what is it about gemstones that makes them so special, and so sought after?

What makes gemstones unique?

There are a number of factors that make gemstones unique: 

They are all-natural minerals, which means that they were formed over millions of years by the Earth’s geological processes. This gives them a unique beauty and character that is unlike anything else in nature. 

Gemstones are often very rare. This is because the conditions necessary for their formation are very specific. For example, diamonds are formed deep underground under extreme heat and pressure. This makes them one of the rarest and most precious gemstones in the world.

They come in a wide variety of colours, which is another thing that makes them so special. The colour of a gemstone is determined by the presence of certain impurities in the mineral. For example, the red colour of rubies is caused by the presence of chromium, while the blue colour of sapphires is caused by the presence of titanium. In actual fact, they are both varieties of corundum. Ruby is red corundum and gets is colour from the presence of chromium. All other varieties of corundum are classed as sapphire which may contain a mix of chromium, titanium and iron traces. 

There are four main precious gemstones 

As well as the aforementioned diamonds, sapphires and rubies, emeralds are the fourth of the main precious gemstones. 

Emeralds are a type of gemstone, coloured green by trace amounts of chromium or vanadium. They are a variety of the mineral beryl, which also includes aquamarine and morganite. They are typically found in shades of green, ranging from yellow-green to blue-green. The most desirable emeralds have a medium to dark tone and a vivid saturation of color. 

The price of a precious gemstone is determined by a number of factors, including its size, color, clarity, and cut. 

Some believe they have special powers

In addition to their beauty and rarity, gemstones are also believed to have special powers. For centuries, people have believed that gemstones can bring good luck, health, and protection. There is no scientific evidence to support these claims, but they continue to be popular beliefs.

Whether you believe in their magical properties or not, there is no denying that gemstones are truly special objects. They are a reminder of the beauty and power of nature, and they have been cherished by people for centuries.

Interesting facts about gemstones:

  • The hardest gemstone is the diamond, with a Mohs hardness of 10. The softest gemstone is talc, with a Mohs hardness of 1.
  • The most expensive gemstone is the blue diamond. The Hope Diamond, a 45.52-carat blue diamond, is estimated to be worth over $250 million.
  • The most popular gemstone in the world is the diamond. Diamonds are used in engagement rings and other jewellery all over the world.
  • Gemstones can be used for healing purposes. Some people believe that gemstones can help to improve health, promote well-being, and protect against negative energy.
  • Gemstones can also be used for meditation and spiritual practices. Some people believe that gemstones can help to connect with the divine and promote spiritual growth.

Did you know? More than 50% of the world’s emeralds come from Columbia. 

Sure, here is a UK gemstone blog post:

The prettiest gemstones in the UK

The UK is home to some of the most beautiful gemstones in the world. From the deep blue of the Scottish sapphires to the fiery red of the Cornish rubies, there is a gemstone for everyone to love.

Here are a few of the prettiest gemstones found in the UK:

  • Scottish Sapphires: Scottish sapphires are known for their deep blue color and their clarity. They are often used in jewelry and are considered to be one of the most valuable gemstones in the world.
  • Cornish Rubies: Cornish rubies are known for their rich red color and their durability. They are often used in jewelry and are considered to be one of the most valuable gemstones in the UK.
  • Lakeland Greenstones: Lakeland Greenstones are known for their unique green color and their rarity. They are often used in jewelry and are considered to be one of the most collectible gemstones in the UK.
  • Devonshire Diamonds: Devonshire diamonds are known for their small size and their clarity. They are often used in jewelry and are considered to be one of the most affordable gemstones in the UK.
  • Yorkshire Jet: Yorkshire jet is a type of black gemstone that is known for its deep color and its ability to polish to a high shine. It is often used in jewelry and is considered to be one of the most unique gemstones in the UK.

The national gemstone of England

While the UK does not have an official national gemstone, the Koh-i-Noor diamond is often considered to be the unofficial gemstone of England. The Koh-i-Noor is a 105.6 carat diamond that is believed to have originated in India. It has been owned by several different rulers over the centuries, including the Mughal Empire, the British East India Company, and the British Crown. The Koh-i-Noor is currently on display in the Tower of London.


The Koh i Noor diamond sits in the front cross of St Marys Crown worn for the coronation of Queen Camilla

At The Goldmarket, we stock a variety of gemstone jewellery from exquisite diamond, sapphire, ruby and emerald pieces to amethyst, topaz and amber. We can create bespoke pieces using the gemstones of your choice and can also undertake a variety of repairs. For more information come in and see us at 23 High Street, Weston super Mare or call us on 01934 628361. 


Gold – in essence it’s a metal, a chemical element that is found in the ground. But why is gold so valuable, why does it incite such fascination and how did it become to be as coveted as it is today?

What is Gold?

Gold is a chemical element with the symbol Au and atomic number 79. It is a bright, slightly orange-yellow, dense, soft, malleable, and ductile metal in pure form. Chemically, gold is a transition metal and a group 11 element.

The History of Gold?

Gold has been known and used by humans for thousands of years. The earliest known use of this precious metal dates back to 4000 BC, when it was used to make jewellery and other decorative items. It was also used as a form of currency in many early civilisations, including the Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans.

In the Middle Ages, gold became increasingly important as a form of currency. The coins were minted in many countries, and gold was used to pay for goods and services. It also became a symbol of wealth and power, and was often used to decorate royal palaces and temples.

In the 19th century, gold was discovered in California and Australia. This led to a gold rush, as people flocked to these regions in search of fortune. Gold also became an important commodity in the industrial revolution, as it was used to make electrical wiring, jewellery, and other products.

In the 20th century, gold’s value fluctuated significantly. It reached a high point in the 1970s, when it was used as a hedge against inflation. However, its value declined in the 1980s and 1990s. In recent years, gold’s value has increased, as investors have seen it as a safe haven asset during times of economic turmoil.

Today, gold is still used as a form of currency in some countries, but it is more commonly used as an investment. Gold is also used to make jewellery, coins, and other decorative items. Its unique properties, such as its malleability, ductility, and resistance to corrosion, make it an ideal material for these applications.

Here are some of the key events in the history of gold:

  • 4000 BC: Gold is first used to make jewellery and other decorative items.
  • 3000 BC: Gold is used as a form of currency in Egypt.
  • 2000 BC: Gold is used as a form of currency in Greece and Rome.
  • 1000 AD: Gold is used to make coins in China and India.
  • 1500 AD: Gold is discovered in the Americas.
  • 1848: Gold is discovered in California, sparking the California Gold Rush.
  • 1851: Gold is discovered in Australia, sparking the Australian Gold Rush.
  • 1970s: Gold reaches a high point in value, as it is used as a hedge against inflation.
  • 1980s: Gold’s value declines.
  • 1990s: Gold’s value declines further.
  • 2000s: Gold’s value begins to increase.
  • 2010s: Gold’s value continues to increase.

Why is Gold so Valuable?

Given as it is just a piece of metal, how has it become so valuable. Why for example, does it hold more value than silver, iron, copper and other metals? Here are a few reasons:

  • Rare is a relatively rare metal, it is difficult to find and extract.
  • Durable, meaning that it withstands and awful lot.
  • Beautiful with a bright, yellow colour that is highly prized for jewellery and other decorative items.
  • Malleable, meaning it can be easily shaped and moulded into different forms.
  • Conductive: a good conductor of electricity, making it useful in electronics and other applications.
  • Non-toxic, which makes it safe to use in jewellery and other items that come into contact with the skin.

Why is it considered a good investment?

  • A hedge against inflation: Gold prices tend to rise when inflation is high. This is because gold is seen as a store of value that will not lose its purchasing power in the same way that fiat currencies can.
  • A safe haven asset: Gold is often considered a safe haven asset, meaning that it tends to hold its value or even rise in value during times of economic turmoil. This is because gold is not subject to the same economic factors as other assets, such as stocks and bonds.
  • It has a limited supply: The supply of gold is limited, which means that there is a finite amount of gold available to invest in. This can help to keep gold prices relatively stable over time.

The Risks of Investing

Of course, there are also some risks associated with investing in gold. These include:

  • High volatility: Gold prices can be volatile, meaning that they can fluctuate significantly in a short period of time. This can make it difficult to predict how much your investment will be worth in the future.
  • High storage costs: Gold is a physical asset, which means that it can be expensive to store and insure.
  • Illiquidity: Gold can be illiquid, meaning that it can be difficult to sell quickly if you need to access your investment.

Most Valuable Gold Ever Found

The most valuable gold ever found is the Pepita Canaã, a 60.8-kilogram lump of gold unearthed in Brazil during the Serra Pelada Gold Rush in the early 1980s. It is estimated to be worth over $2.8 million at today’s gold prices.

The Pepita Canaã was found by a miner named Valdir Pereira, who was working in a small mining operation in the Serra Pelada region of Brazil. Pereira was using a shovel to clear away some dirt when he hit something hard. He dug further and found the Pepita Canaã, which is Portuguese for “Canaã nugget.”

The Pepita Canaã is a large, irregular-shaped lump of gold. It is estimated to be worth over $2.8 million at today’s gold prices. The Pepita Canaã is on display at the Banco Central Museum in Brasília, Brazil.

pepita canaa

Photo courtesy mining.com

Here are some other notable gold finds:

  • The King Henry, or RNC Minerals 1, ‘nugget’: This giant specimen was found in 2018 in the Beta Hunt mine, near Kambalda in Western Australia, by RNC Minerals employee Henry Dole. It weighs 93 kilograms and has an estimated gold content of 45 kilograms. Its precious metals content would be worth about USD 2.4 million at today’s gold price.
  • The Staffordshire Hoard: This Anglo-Saxon treasure trove, discovered in 2009, contains over 4,300 gold and silver objects, including coins, jewellery, and weapons. It is estimated to be worth over £3.3 million.
  • The Atocha: This Spanish galleon was shipwrecked off the coast of Florida in 1622. The wreck was discovered in 1985 and has yielded over 500,000 gold and silver coins, as well as other artefacts. The Atocha treasure is estimated to be worth over $500 million.

Overall, gold is a valuable asset that can be a good investment for some people. However, it is important to understand the risks involved before investing in gold.

At The Goldmarket, we have bought and sold gold for many years and we happen to know a lot about this popular commodity including it’s value in today’s market. If you have unwanted gold to sell, pop it along and let us give you a price for it.

Ahead of one of the most bejeweled events to have been witnessed in a number of years, the Coronation of King Charles III and Queen Consort Camilla promises to be full of the usual pomp and pageantry that we, as a nation, cannot help but be beguiled by. We take a look at the regalia involved in the day and delve a little deeper into the history and facts behind some of the key pieces of the Crown Jewels. 

All photos sourced and credited to Royal Collection Trust 

The Crown Jewels

Consisting of 142 objects which include seven sovereign crowns and 6 consort crowns, the Crown Jewels collection is made up of so many artefacts ranging from the 12th century to the more modern Elizabethan age. These pieces are usually on display behind secure, toughened glass at The Tower of London however, ahead of the Coronation, they have been moved, not least so that King Charles III can actually practice bearing the weight of St Edward’s Crown. 

St Edward’s Crown

At the centre of the Crown Jewels collection is St Edward’s Crown which will be the one used to crown Charles III at the forthcoming coronation.

st edwards crown

Photo credit – Royal Collection Trust

Designed and produced for King Charles II in 1661, this crown was made as a replacement for a medieval crown which had been melted down in 1649. 

It weighs a whopping 2.23kg and there have been monarchs that have been unable to carry its weight. Queen Elizabeth wore it only for a few moments at her coronation.

It is made of 22ct gold and is decorated with 444 semi precious and precious gemstones. 

After 1689 it was not used to crown a monarch until 1911 when King George V revived the tradition.

The Imperial State Crown

Once the ceremony is over, the King will swap St Edward’s Crown for the Imperial State Crown. This is the crown he will wear as he exits the Abbey. Many will be familiar with this crown as it was the one that was placed on the top of Queen Elizabeth II’s coffin. 

Photo credit – Royal Collection Trust

This crown was made for King Edward’s Coronation in 1937 and features three large stones, 2,868 diamonds in silver mounts as well as 17 sapphires, 11 emeralds, and 269 pearls in gold mounts. 

It famously features the Cullinan II diamond which is also known as the Second Star of Africa. 

The Queen Consort’s Crown

Camilla, the Queen Consort, will wear a crown made by Garrard that was produced for Queen Mary when she was crowned Queen Consort in 1911 at the Coronation of King George V. This silver framed crown is lined with gold and is set with 2,200 diamonds.

Photo credit – Royal Collection Trust

This crown, produced in 1937 for the coronation of Queen Mary has not been worn by a Queen Consort since – it is the first time a consort crown will have been reused since Queen Caroline’s coronation in the 18th century.

The Sovereign’s Ring

The Sovereign’s Ring was produced in 1831 by Rundell Bridge & Rundell and is placed on the fourth finger of the monarch by the Archbishop of Canterbury during the coronation ceremony.

Photo Credit – Royal Collection Trust

Each sovereign since Edward VII has used the ring which was originally commissioned for William IV – traditionally sovereigns always had a new ring made however since , it is customary for this one to be used. Traditionally always belonging to the monarch and kept in their own private collection. This particular ring was given to the crown in 1901 by Queen Victoria and snow forms part of the Crown Jewels collection.

The Sovereign’s ring consists of a mixed-cut octagonal sapphire which is set in gold and overlaid with four rectangular-cut and one square-cut rubies. These are butted together in a gold strip setting to form a cross with a border of 14 cushion-shaped diamonds and a diamond on each shoulder, with a gold hoop.

The Sovereign’s Orb

Symbolising the Christian world, with its cross on the top and its globe shape, the Sovereign’s Orb represents the sovereign’s power. The band of jewels around the middle of the globe divides it into three sections to represent the continents that were recognised in medieval times. 

sovereigns orb

Photo Credit Royal Collection Trust

The orb is mounted with clusters of jewels – emeralds, rubies and sapphires which are surrounded by rose-cut diamonds and single rows of pearls. The cross is set with rose-cut diamonds. On one side in the centre is an emerald, on the other a sapphire with pearls at the angels and the end of each arm.

This piece is a key part of the coronation ceremony as it is placed in the right hand of the monarch as they are invested. 

The Sceptres

As the sovereign is the head of the Church of England, the sceptres will represent the King’s spiritual role. The dove on the top of the Sovereign’s Sceptre with Dove, represents the Holy Ghost. Also known as the Rod of Equity and Mercy, this is one of two sceptres that will be presented to the King Charles III during the ceremony. The other, the Sovereign’s Sceptre with Cross is topped by a cross to represent temporal power. 

Photo Credit – Royal Collection Trust

The entire collection features 23,578 stones which include the Cullinan diamonds I and II, the Koh-i-Noor, Black Prince’s Ruby, Stuart Sapphire and St Edward’s Sapphire. The oldest piece within the collection is a 12th century spoon, the most recent, Elizabeth II’s Armills added in 1953.

The current owner of the Crown Jewels is Charles III in right of the crown.


We are always delighted when we are able to restore original pieces of classic jewellery back to their former glory and take immense pride in being able to give new life to pieces that hold sentimental value and, in many cases, have their own story to tell. 

Our jewel in the crown

Some jewellery restoration projects require more work than others and this particular piece was certainly the jewel in the crown for our jeweller Mat who says that it’s probably the toughest restoration and revival he has done to date.

The piece in question was actually a ring that we had bought into stock. Looking at the original state of it, you may have wondered why:

  • We bought it in the first place
  • We didn’t elect to melt it down as scrap
  • We spent so much time on a restoration project

Ever one to rise to a challenge, Mat wanted to see what he could do with this piece and so set to work proving that with the right amount of care and attention, even those pieces that you think have had their day, can be bought back to life. 

The restoration journey of this vintage ring

The collections of images below show the journey before, during and after the restoration process. 

The first step was to try and clean some of the original gunk off – years of dirt and grime that has become embedded in the ring. So much so, they were a part of it. After days soaking in sulphuric acid, we managed to make some headway.

As well as being extremely worn and congealed with dirt, there was another ring soldered into the centre which Mat decided to remove. It didn’t want to come out so he decided to cut it and then re-shank the horseshoe.

There was also a cracked diamond that needed replacing to finish it off. 

Now that it has been repaired, restored, cleaned and polished, it’s like a new ring! This piece will now become part of a new story for its next owner and carry on being worn as it should be. 

Repurposing jewellery

We have worked on so many pieces over the years from simple repairs to completely repurposing a piece. Repurposing is an alternative to jewellery restoration and a wonderful way to create a new piece using a precious gemstone or metal. We’ve turned diamond rings into pendants, used gemstones from bracelets to make earrings and much more. The below is just one instance of where we have taken a broken piece of jewellery and created something new from the assets. 

Benefits of jewellery restoration

As well as being able to revive and restore pieces of jewellery to make them wearable again, there are many other benefits to jewellery restoration:

Sustainability – We live in a society where we are in planet protection mode. We need to do everything we can to reduce our carbon footprint which means looking after what we have, repairing, restoring, recycling and reusing. Often, that piece of old jewellery that you think has seen better days can become a beautiful new piece that you are proud to wear and show off.

Creating stories and memories – It’s amazing how many pieces we see that hold such sentimental value – that are family heirlooms that have been handed down through generations and carry such beautiful stories.

Beautiful gifts – You may be aware of an old piece of jewellery languishing in your partner’s drawer that could do with some tlc – having a piece restored is a beautiful, and thoughtful gift to someone.

Modernising pieces – While many vintage trends will make a comeback at some point, you may want to repurpose or restore a piece and give it a bit of a twist to make it more modern and in keeping with more modern trends. Replacing the shank of a ring with white gold or platinum instead of yellow gold, is one example of this and something that we are often asked to undertake.

If you are now turning your thoughts to your the pieces of jewellery that you could have restored or repurposed, why not pop in and see us? Much of our work is carried out on site at our Weston super Mare workshop where you can just pop in and discuss your thoughts and wishes with us. You will find us at 23 High Street, Weston super Mare. From jewellery cleaning to complex repairs, we are always happy to take a look.

Discover more about our restoration projects over on social media pages. You can find the links to our Facebook and Instagram here.

As a business that specialises in buying and selling gold, fine jewellery and luxury watches, we often meet people that want to sell their gold items. There are many reasons for coming to this decision, but commonly we find it’s because the individual wants to upgrade to something else, simply fancies a change, or they want to realise the asset into cash. In light of this, we carry out daily valuations on a huge range of individual items of jewellery. Of course, as experts, we have a well-trained eye for what is real and what’s not. For those that are unsure as to how to tell genuine gold from fake gold, it can be a little trickier.

While the best way to be sure of the authenticity of your gold is to bring it along and have it inspected by our experienced team, there are other tell-tale signs that should help you establish if your piece is the real deal.

The most widely recognised go to bench mark for this is called a ‘hallmark’.

What Is A Hallmark?

Perhaps the best way to tell the difference between real gold and fake is by looking for what is called a ‘hallmark’. Be mindful real gold doesn’t always carry this stamp, depending on a range of factors including which country it was produced in, the age of the item, the style of the piece and how much wear and tear it has had. Many countries however, do have a hallmarking system.

Here’s what to look for:

Until 1998, a Hallmark had to include four compulsory marks.  Since 1998, this has reduced to three (the date letter has become optional).

how to tell real gold from fake gold

The symbols must include:

  • The maker’s stamp – who made the item
  • It’s guaranteed standard of fineness – is it 9ct, 18ct, 22ct etc.
  • Assay Office at which the article was tested and marked
  • The year that the article was tested and marked (not compulsory on more modern pieces)

As mentioned above, with pieces made since 1998, the date mark is no longer compulsory.

In the example below, the RJ symbol is the maker’s mark. The crown refers to gold and is an optional mark. The number 375 represents 9ct gold and is the standard mark to verify the fineness of the metal. The lions face is the symbol of the London Assay Office where it was verified.


These symbols tell us that this is a 9ct gold ring that has been certified by the London Assay Office and is therefore a genuine piece of gold. It tells us everything we need to know in order to provide an accurate valuation of the item.

You can find a full explanation here.

No Hallmark

If the piece is not hallmarked, it is much harder to tell and you will need to get it verified by an expert who is trained to differentiate real gold from gold plated metals using other methods. Even if the item is verified as real, it can be tricky for the jeweller to resell the item without a hallmark so please bear this in mind.


While something might contain gold, it needs to be a certain purity to have value. Anything that is less than 37.5% or 9cts of gold is considered fake in the UK market.

DIY Ways to Spot Fake Gold

Not by any means conclusive or fool proof, these “do it yourself” home tests may assist with how to spot real gold from fake or plated:

Does it Float?

Drop your ring in a jug full of water. Gold is denser than other alloys and will sink to the bottom. If your item is fake, it will likely float although this is not the case in all circumstances.

Try the Vinegar Test

If you drop a few drops of vinegar onto a ring and wait 15 seconds, real gold won’t change colour. Fake gold will.

Look for Faded Spots

If your ring is gold plated, over time the plating will wear away and you may find that your ring, necklace, bracelet etc is discolouring. Solid gold will not discolour so this is a pretty obvious sign that item is genuine.

Does it Leave Green Marks?

If your jewellery leaves a green mark on your skin after wearing it, it’s a sign that you are possibly wearing copper. Ever seen what happens to bathroom pipes etc? Over time they too can become green. This is the same with any copper that is exposed to the elements.

If your item is a mixture of gold and other base metals, the same may happen so this is not a definitive that your jewellery is not gold to some extent, but will give you an indication.

Understanding the Value of Your Jewellery

If you own a sentimental piece of jewellery and are unperturbed as to whether it is real gold or fake gold then you need not worry. The meaning is there to you regardless of its intrinsic worth.  If you want to ascertain the monetary value of something for insurance purposes however, then it is prudent to understanding your jewellery, or jewellery collection and arrange to have it formerly assessed. If you are looking to sell something and want to know if what its worth, getting the right price for your gold is key.

At The Goldmarket, our staff are trained to identify real gold from fake gold and are also licensed and certified to carry out written insurance valuations on items. In addition to this we buy gold at competitive prices and also purchase items of jewellery for resale. If you have a piece of jewellery that you would like valued, please bring it along to our High Street store in Weston super Mare and our friendly, expert team will be only too happy to help.

It’s the same story every year and has been since the year 1916. Every spring and every autumn, we have to change the clocks. As we get used to one season, it’s all change and we either welcome lighter nights or say goodbye to some daylight. But why do the clocks change and how did this tradition begin?

Why Do the Clocks Change?

The tradition of changing clocks was first suggested by William Willett in 1907. He wanted to introduce lighter evenings in the summer months and stop the waste of early morning day light. It was in 1916 that British Summer Time was passed as an Act of Parliament.

Since this time the clocks have moved forward an hour in spring and back an hour in autumn. The only exception was during the Second World War.

Which Way Do They Go?

Many people get confused over whether the clocks go back an hour or forward an hour. It doesn’t matter how old you are – it can often cause confusion. The easy way to remember it it ‘spring forward and fall back’ They go forward one hour in spring on the last Sunday of March at 1am, making the time 2am, and then back one hour on the last Sunday of October at 2am making the time 1am. This process is known as British Summer Time or Daylight Saving Time.

What is the ‘Correct’ Time?

Greenwich meantime, or GMT as it is known, is the yearly average (or ‘mean) of the time each day when the sun crosses the Prime Meridian at the Royal Observatory Greenwich.

If we didn’t change our clocks, we would all operate on GMT which doesn’t change for BST. In fact GMT is shown on the Shepherd Gate clock which can be seen at the gates to the Royal Observatory and which is never changed.

Changing the Clocks

For many years, clocks had to be changed manually with delicate clocks having their hands moved twice a year. Then came the age of cars when the clock car was a mystery to be solved by many. Some people just used to leave their car at the same time all year round without moving it – at least it was correct for 6 months of the year.

The Digital Age

With the advance in technology, many of us don’t even realise that the clocks have changed. We go to sleep and wake up to discover all of our smart and digital devices have been updated.

Changing a Watch

For those that own a watch including a Rolex or Omega, there is a particular method to changing the time. Unfortunately, as sophisticated as these timepieces are, they don’t change themselves. Let’s take Rolex as an example and give you some tips on how to set the date and time.

Quickset Rolex Adjust

  • Step 1 – All Rolex watches have a screw-down winding on the outer edge. This screw-down function is used to change the date and time as well as to enhance water resistance
  • Step 2 – Unscrew the winding crown counter clockwise until it releases from the casing
  • Step 3 – Rotate the crown clockwise to manually wind the watch. The number of turns required will depend on your model. Most will be 25 revolutions but it can range from 20-40. You will need to check your watch manual or contact us for this info
  • Step 4 – Pull the crown head to the first notch. You will notice that the time hands continue to move
  • Step 5 – To set the date you need to rotate the crown first setting the date to the day before today
  • Step 6 – To set the time, pull the crown to the second notch. Rotate crown clockwise or counter clockwise.
  • Step 7 – Set the time to midnight – today’s date will appear
  • Step 8 – Now set the time accordingly taking into consideration whether it is PM or AM
  • Step 9 – Press the crown head back into the case to lock it. Wind it in a clockwise direction to ensure it is secure to the body of the watch. Never leave a winding crown screwed up as this can allow dust and moisture into the watch

Non-Quickset Rolex Adjust

  • Step 1 – Locate the screw-down winding and unscrew until it releases from the casingNow manually wind the watch
  • Step 2 – Pull out the crown to the second notch (skip past the first notch)
  • Step 3 – Rotate crown in either direction until correct date appears ensuring it is either am or pm.
  • Step 4 – Now set the correct time
  • Step 5 – Push the crown securely back to the casing

Should you have an issue with setting the time or date on your watch, we would be happy to assist. Just pop into The Goldmarket, WSM and let us help.

To the untrained eye, spotting a real diamond from fake can be a real dilemma. How do you tell what’s real and what’s not? How can you be sure that you aren’t going to get ripped off to the tune of hundreds, or even thousands, of pounds? How to tell a real diamond from a fake is a job for the experts but there are a few tell tale signs that can help you spot a fake. Before you part with your hard earned cash, we share the benefit of our experience and offer you some real pearls of wisdom! 

A fake diamond is what’s known as a synthetic diamond – one that is produced in a lab or ‘above the ground’. Unlike those found in the ground, they are mass produced for the unsuspecting market and hard for the untrained eye to spot. They are for all intense and purposes diamonds, just not the pure ones you find in the ground therefore they don’t have the same value as a real mined diamond. 

There are a few tests and methods that you can try yourself which may help you to spot a synthetic diamond from an organic one which will also make anyone trying to sell you a fake, uneasy too!

The Line Test

Place the diamond on a single black like drawn on a piece of white paper. The black line will appear more visible through a fake diamond. With a real diamond, the line will virtually disappear! This is because white light bends when passing through a diamond.

Weigh Your Diamond

Possibly the simplest way to tell if a diamond is real. A 5mm round diamond should weigh almost bang on 0.50ct. It may be a few points either side but it will be there or thereabouts. A cubic zirconia of the same size will be weightier. The chart below shows you what your diamond should weight if it’s real.

The Breath Test 

If you breathe on a genuine diamond, the moisture beads that form will quite quickly disappear. If the diamond is not real, the moisture will fade much more slowly. This method is used by many experts to spot a fake from a real diamond. The simple truth is that diamonds are the best thermal conductors on the planet. 

Touching a Rock with Your Tongue 

While writing this we have visions of people licking their diamonds to test this theory but it really is something that can only be determined by an expert. The feel of a diamond on the tongue is much different than a non-diamond due to that icy feel and the thermal conductivity we mentioned above. A diamond will take the heat away from the surface of your tongue. 

If it Looks Too Good to be True….

Sadly, if it looks too good to be true then it probably is! If your diamond looks flawless, is very in white in colour and has no visible imperfections, you are probably looking at a fake. While flawless diamonds to exist they tend to be out of many peoples price range. To ascertain a diamonds authenticity, magnifying equipment is required. 

How Sharp are the Facets?

A diamond has very sharp facets when compared to CZ stones which tend to have more rounded ones. Again, magnification is required if you want to look in fine detail. A diamond never loses the sharpness of the facets.

Wear on the Diamond 

Genuine diamonds don’t wear like other gemstones. One reason that the popular “diamonds are forever phrase” was coined. They keep their sharpness and so don’t chip or scratch. If a diamond looks worn and tired, it’s probably not the genuine article. This is a great indicator of how to spot a real diamond from a fake if you are buying a vintage piece. 

Does it Have Small Marks?

Genuine diamonds, unless flawless, have small marks which are known as inclusions. There is a grading scale of how included a diamond is which is used as one of the considerations when valuing a diamond. If your diamond has no inclusions it’s either worth a small fortune or it’s not real. 

guide to choosing diamonds

Still Not Sure?

If you’re not convinced and none of the above tests have made your mind up, we are happy to help. We provide experienced, professional diamond valuations for sale and insurance purposes and have the knowledge and skill to accurately assess your diamond. If you need help and advice with how to spot a real diamond from a fake, get in touch with us and we will offer the benefit of our experience to help you find your perfect gemstone. 

Just give us a call on 01934 628361 or pop along to 24 High Street, Weston-super-Mare where we will be happy to help.