The Goldsmith's Blog

Montana Sapphires

Kirsten Atmekjian - Thursday, July 19, 2018

Montana sapphire geological formationIs it peacock blue? Is it teal blue? It's Montana Sapphire Blue!

Montana is North America's top producer of gem-quality sapphires. In southwestern Montana there is a mountain range known as the "Sapphire Mountains". In addition, the sapphire is one of Montana's state gemstones (a designation it shares with agate).

What's special about Montana sapphires is their colours. Some of the most unusual and beautiful colours of sapphires come from Montana. When you're looking for a unique gemstone, you can't go wrong with a Montana sapphire.

Always a popular gemstone in engagement rings, sapphires are a naturally durable stone, easily lasting a lifetime of wear and tear. While diamonds may be tops on the hardness scale, sapphires and rubies (same mineral, different colours) are just behind them. Of course, you also get the benefit of the sapphire's unique and beautiful colour.

An often overlooked element of gemstones is how and where they were mined. Gemstones are valuable and human greed has led to mining practices harmful to people and the environment. Montana sapphires are considered an ethically superior choice since their supply chain is easy to trace and are guaranteed conflict-free.

High quality sapphires are rarer than similar quality diamonds, so will increase in value over time more than diamonds. But the real reason to consider purchasing a Montana Sapphire for a engagement ring (or any other piece of jewellery), is to enjoy the pure beauty of the stone. Come in and check this one out today!

Montana Sapphire Ring Close Up

Celebrating Our Unique Mothers

Kirsten Atmekjian - Friday, May 11, 2018
Celebrating Mother's Day

To many, the most unique and beautiful person in their lives is their mother.

Moms can be your biggest supporter while being your toughest critic.

Moms can stand by you, even when you're wrong.

As with all relationships, getting along with mothers may not always be smooth sailing, but they can help you weather life's storms like no other.

We were all part of our mothers, connected by our heartbeats.

Sometimes, we won't understand the sacrifices they made for us until we are parents ourselves. Sometimes, that appreciation comes too late.

ELLE Jewelry Moonshadow NecklaceWhile Mother's Day comes but once a year, we can let our moms know how much we appreciate them all year round. Jewelry is one way we can celebrate mom's unique and beautiful individuality. We suggest the ELLE Jewelry line, as the ELLE brand has been at the forefront of women's issues since its inception.

925 Sterling Silver

Pure silver is soft and unsuitable for jewelry. Sterling Silver is 92.5% pure, with the balance being mostly copper which is added for hardness. ELLE Jewelry uses 925 Sterling Silver which is then finished with a layer of Palladium and Rhodium. These metals promote shine and durability while also resisting tarnishing commonly experienced with silver.

The Hidden Ruby

All ELLE Jewelry pieces feature a ruby embedded in the design. This ELLE trademark symbolizes a woman's inner strength and beauty. When you examine a piece of ELLE Jewelry you'll find the ruby artfully incorporated.

Contemporary Daily-Wear Designs

ELLE Jewelry is designed to be practical. Quality materials and workmanship combined with contemporary design mean these pieces can be worn on a daily basis, for all occasions. With pieces that incorporate gemstones, pearls, cubic zirconium, mother of pearl, and crystals, there's likely to be an ELLE Jewelry item that reflects your mom's unique sense of style and character.

If you're looking for a way to celebrate mom this Mother's Day, please drop by and check out our selection of ELLE Jewelry. Or, if you're looking to make a larger gesture of appreciation, come in and talk to us about a custom piece of jewelry that will be sure to delight.

Adding Joy to Your New Year

Kirsten Atmekjian - Monday, January 22, 2018
Custom rings on mossy rocks

It's a new year. Welcome to 2018! Have you made any resolutions? If so, I wish you well in keeping them :)

Resolutions are tough to stick with. Researchers have shown that only 8% of resolutions are followed through for an entire year. More surprising is that 25% of new year's resolutions are broken within the first week of the year. Surprised? Personally, I thought it would be much higher.

I don't make New Years resolutions. They seem to be a setup for failure. Instead, I try to focus on decluttering at home.  Decluttering and organizing is trendy again (or did it ever go away?), largely thanks to a best-selling book by Marie Kondo- The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up (the Japanese art of decluttering and organizing). Marie has an interesting approach - the KonMari Method - to help you decide what to keep: hold an item and ask yourself "Does This Spark Joy?" If it doesn't, discard it. Note that discarding an item doesn't mean putting it in the trash. You can send the vast majority of things you discard to organizations such as Goodwill or Value Village. Most of the time, your discarded items can be lovingly repurposed in someone else's home.  

This got me thinking about how many clients bring in their old jewellery or diamonds to be repurposed in a new custom-designed piece.  We have had the honour of serving thousands of people in this way. It is a beautiful thing to see the looks of joy and happiness on our customers' faces when they see how their old and once-loved jewellery is transformed into something new and joyful.

The value of jewellery given to us by our family and friends is enhanced by our emotional connections. This is also true for the pieces we purchase for ourselves to mark our own milestones and special occasions. Over time, styles and tastes change, but the sentiment we attach to our jewellery doesn't. Taking some of your most precious possessions and creating a new, custom, one-of-a-kind piece of jewellery is a wonderful way to live in the now and enhance the joy you have in life.

Above are a few examples of custom rings that Ken has made recently for customers. It's amazing how he can infuse old gold and diamonds with new vitality. If you'd like to declutter your jewellery box, please come in for a custom consultation. We'd love to have the pleasure of serving you and helping you bring more joy into your life.

Holiday Engagements

Kirsten Atmekjian - Thursday, December 14, 2017
Getting engaged for the holidays - engagement ring

According to a survey by The Knot, December is the most popular month for marriage proposals. 16 percent of those who asked "will you marry me" did so in December. Digging a little deeper, Christmas Eve is the number one day for proposals, followed by Christmas Day. New Year's Day is the third most popular day of the year to pop the question.

Part of the reason for this might be because the Christmas season is just so gosh-darn romantic! Christmas lights, cold weather making us all snugglebugs and so on. It could also be due to convenience. When far-flung family and friends are all gathered together to celebrate, it's a great time to propose so everyone can celebrate the newly engaged couple.

While it's great to have everyone around to celebrate, what does one do if one wants to propose in a quiet way while still being part of the group? I'm reminded of a story I read years ago about a young man who proposed to his girlfriend on Christmas morning, in front of his whole family, whom she had met for the first time on Christmas Eve. While the young man really wanted his family to be involved, he also wanted the moment to be special for just him and his girlfriend. What to do?

Cleverly, the young man gave his girlfriend a present of knitted mittens. Little did she know that inside one mitt was the engagement ring. When she tried on the mitten, she gasped, they locked eyes, and she tearfully said yes. The moment was quiet and special; a secret between just the two of them, even though they were in a room full of his family. I love this story because he found a way to propose that was comfortable for her and felt right to him.

Some people love the joyful party atmosphere of New Years Eve for their proposals. The celebration of new beginnings is a favourite time for getting down on one knee. Whether you prefer a quiet, private proposal or want a showy, public surprise proposal (think hockey scoreboards with "will you marry me Beth"), remember to keep things romantic. The idea is to choose a venue and moment that feels right for you both, keeping your feelings and her/his reaction in mind.

We are truly honoured to be the choice of engagement ring designers for so many couples who are planning to get engaged. Believe it or not, there are many couples who come in to design the woman's engagement ring together. While this might take a bit of surprise out of the proposal, keep in mind that your fiancée will be getting a ring design that she truly loves. And of course, the time and location of the proposal can be a fun and romantic surprise.

With this in mind, good luck to all planning on getting engaged this holiday season!

The Head and the Heart of Custom Rings

Kirsten Atmekjian - Thursday, October 26, 2017
Custom Ring

A customer's mother gave his wife two rings from deceased family members, with no other instruction or comment except "If you want them, they're yours". She politely accepted the rings, not knowing anything about their history or their former wearers. Those rings still sit, unused, untouched, and unloved, in his wife's jewellery box, as she ponders what to do with them.

Rings carry more emotional weight than most other pieces of jewellery. Engagement rings and wedding bands are among our customers' most cherished possessions. Sometimes the only tangible keepsake from a loved one is a ring. Fires and other natural disasters may destroy photographs and other mementos, but rings often endure, even when the loved one who gave the ring has gone.

It's truly an honour for us to work with so many people who trust us with their most precious pieces of jewellery. We're not just molding metal - we're helping re-shape lives. Many women and men who come to us bring rings from their earlier lives and ask us to help them create a new custom ring that represents their new beginning. We see their trepidation during the initial consultations. We work with them through the design, modelling, casting and finishing process. When they get to try on their new ring for the first time, it's often a very emotional event. There's often a lot of joy mixed with sadness and gratitude for what existed before. There's a reason we keep a box of tissues in our Design Studio!

While getting a new ring made from an old one can be a very emotional decision, there's a lot of logical reasons to do so. Recycling is better for our planet. That's especially true for precious metals, gems, pearls and other precious stones. Mining is a very resource-intensive activity. Previously-loved gold, silver, and other precious metals can be melted down, purified and re-cast into something new. This also helps keep down the expense. With gold currently sitting at almost $1300 USD per ounce, reusing what you have makes a lot of economic sense.

When you're ready to re-purpose an old piece of jewellery into something new, that reflects not only where you've been and who you are, but where you're going, come on in and see us. We'll be with you, each step of the way, while your new custom jewellery is crafted, and we'll be honoured to be there, sharing in your joy.

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From Ephemeral to Timeless

Kirsten Atmekjian - Thursday, August 10, 2017
Grandfather Clocks made from Niagara Cherry Wood

The cherry blossom is often seen as a reminder of both the beauty and fragility of life. It's short-lived splendour has been an inspiration for centuries. In this way, the cherry blossom has become timeless.

Grandfather Clock CabinetsIn the world of jewellery and timepieces, we have our own versions of timelessness. For over 3 centuries, "grandfather clocks" have graced homes and businesses. They are properly called "longcase clocks" and originate from the designs of William Clement, a British clockmaker starting around the year 1680. The name "grandfather clock" comes from a popular song from 1876 called "My Grandfather's Clock", written by American songwriter Henry Clay Work. His song was inspired by the story of a longcase clock at The George Hotel in Yorkshire, England. After the death of the first owner, the clock no longer kept time accurately and after the death of the second owner, it stopped working completely.

At Steadmans, we continue to sell grandfather clocks. Their elegance and ornamentation make them sought after for their decorative value. There is only one company in North American that still manufactures handmade grandfather clocks using traditional methods. They're located in Toronto and they make one-of-a kind grandfather and mantel clocks for us.

Grandfather Clock Face - BrassWe are pleased to showcase this particular clock as the case is made using solid cherry wood which comes from Niagara. Because of our local climate and soil, Niagara produces some of the finest cherry wood in the world. Three coats of sealers and five coats of hand-rubbed lacquers are applied to the case to give the clock a very rich appearance and long lasting finish.

The clock's face is German made from solid brass. Each number is cut and applied separately. Inside, the clock's movement is German made, featuring 6 bronze bushings, milled ratchet wheels and an upgraded gearing system to extend the life expectancy of the clock. Three different melodies are available with the movement, as well as an optional silent mode. Taking over 40 hours to produce, this grandfather clock will last for many generations.

If you're looking to add some timeless beauty to your home, give us a call!

Natural Sapphires in Glorious Colours

Kirsten Atmekjian - Thursday, June 29, 2017
Sorbet Sapphires come in a variety of colours

Sapphires are gemstones formed from the mineral corundum. They're typically blue in colour. At least, that's what most people think when they think of a sapphire. Truth is, sapphires come in many different beautiful shades, including clear, gray, black, yellow, purple, orange, green and pink.

Take a look at the stones above. They're untreated sapphires. Their natural colours are beautiful and just like a blue sapphire, these extraordinary gemstones sparkle and shine.

These sapphires come from a Canadian company called Sorbet Sapphire. The founder, Justin Obert visited Bankok, Thailand in 2012. Bankok is widely considered to be the gemstone capital of the world. While there, he was astonished to learn that sapphires came in colours other than blue. He was even more shocked to discover the blue-ness of sapphires is something that usually has to be enhanced by interventions, including treatments with heat, chemicals and other procedures.

Justin was impressed with the beauty of untreated, natural sapphires and decided to bring them to the Canadian market. We agree that these are an excellent choice of gemstone and are pleased to be able to offer them to our customers.

Here are a few facts you may not know about sapphires:

  • Sapphires can not be red. Why? Because we call gemstones made of red corundum RUBIES :)
  • Queen Elizabeth's 65th year on the throne was marked by a SAPPHIRE jubilee
  • Sapphire is the birthstone for SEPTEMBER
  • The 45th wedding anniversary is called the SAPPHIRE anniversary
  • Diamonds are the hardest minerals, clocking in at 10 on the Mohs scale. Sapphires are the third hardest, ranking at 9. What is #2?

We are pleased to be offering Sorbet Sapphires. Like Justin, we think the beauty of natural, untreated sapphires make them an exceptional choice when you're considering a piece of custom jewellery. With all the colour and shape choices available, we're sure you'll find a Sorbet Sapphire that resonates with you. Come in and see these beautiful gemstones in person at 29 Front St. S., Thorold.

Is Your Jewellery Missing Stones?

Kirsten Atmekjian - Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Massive timekeeping devices just aren't the same when they're missing stones. Neither is your jewellery. As jewellery ages, the posts and claws that hold in gems can become brittle and damaged. If you have a ring, necklance, pendant or broach that has gemstones in it, we advise you have it inspected yearly. This is especially important for rings as they are more likely to be damaged just through daily living.

Check out our video of Ken using his new laser welder to repair a broken ring claw. The claw is what holds your ring's gems in place. When these are weak, damaged or broken, there's a chance you can lose your precious jewels.

Steadmans offers free jewellery inspections. We suggest you bring your jewellery in annually to make sure your gems are being held securely. We'll also do an ultrasonic and steam cleaning for you, so come on by the shop!

The Man Who Repairs the Hands of Time

Kirsten Atmekjian - Wednesday, March 29, 2017
Raymond Belanger

Have you met our new watchmaker Raymond Belanger? He's been a busy fellow since he started with us at Steadman Jewellers. It's for good reason though. Now that people know where to go for quality clock and watch repairs, he's turned into a bit of a superstar at the shop. We're worried he might get mobbed on the street, so we've kept his face concealed ;)

Raymond graduated from George Brown College's watch technician program waaay back in 1990. We know - he doesn't look that old. He has over 25 years of experience repairing antique and more modern clocks of all shapes and sizes. From mantle and wall clocks to the venerable, multi-generational grandfather clocks, Ray's worked on them all.

In addition to larger clocks, Ray's days are focused on repair and restoration of watches. While Ken, Kirsten and the rest of the Steadman staff are quite capable when it comes to strap replacement and repair and new watch battery installations, Ray's the guy we've called upon for years when we've had internal issues with mechanical watches. Have a Rolex or Omega sitting in a drawer because it's not been working for years? Bring it in and Ray will be happy to have a look at it.

Just give him a call (905-227-5412) to ask him about your cherished timepiece, or come into the store and meet him in person. A bonus: you'll be one of only a few who will recognize this talented artisan!

Ray and three Pequegnat wall clocks in for repair
Raymond Belanger with three rare Pequegnat wall clocks
brought in for repair.

An Engagement Ring With Secret Powers!

Kirsten Atmekjian - Friday, February 17, 2017
SuperFit Engagement Ring

Many people have fingers that are narrower than their knuckles. This could be hereditary, but could also be caused by an injury to the finger or arthritis. Whatever the cause, putting a ring on can be painful. And, once the ring's on, the ring itself will often spin around the finger with the stones facing down and the plain part of the band always at the top. That takes the joy out of wearing a ring.

Fortunately, there are options that can deal with this issue. One of the best we've found is a patented design called the Superfit from a company in Philadelphia. The Superfit is a shank (back part of the ring) which we can order in different karats of gold and in different widths so we can create a custom ring with secret powers!

If you look closely at the picture to the right, you'll see some lines near the midway point of the ring. While these lines are easy to see in an enlarged photo, they're hardly visible when you're wearing the ring. To create this custom engagement ring, we fused the Superfit shank with a custom designed face (the top side of the ring) to create a custom ring that opens wide around the finger. No more painful attempts at putting a ring on or taking it off.

What does this look like when it's open? Kind of like this.

The Superfit Engagement Ring - opened

As you can see, the Superfit shank lets the ring open up to make it easy to slip the ring onto a finger. To open the ring, you press the tip of a ballpoint pen or a similarly pointed object into a button on the shank. This allows the release of the lock. To close the shank, just press firmly until you hear it click into place. Once the band is closed securely, the shank is completely smooth and comfortable. This gives you a custom, tailored fit without having to sacrifice comfort or style.

If you have an existing ring that is giving you comfort issues, it may be possible to add the Superfit shank to your ring. Just give Ken a call (905-227-5412) and ask him about the possibilities. 

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