What should I look for when buying a diamond?

Unless you are after a fancy coloured diamond, whiteness of colour and intensity of sparkle are key. You should also look for a reputable jeweller because of the following:

* imperfections are often hidden by the settings
* there are treatments which improve the colour or clarity of a diamond, most of which are only temporary
* there are synthetic materials which imitate diamond quite well and will often fool the less professional jeweller.

What should I look for when buying jewellery?

Jewellery should be closely examined before purchasing. What may look good in a jeweller’s window may not be of sound construction and could therefore be a waste of your money. Design is becoming more and more relevant in the appeal of jewellery. But don’t let design draw you away from the quality and practicality issues.

What should I look for when buying antique jewellery or silver?

To help you buy with confidence, your jeweller must have an understanding of the jewellery of the period in question. Condition is a consideration of utmost importance. We take great care in our purchasing to avoid pieces which have been the subject of inappropriate repair work and pieces showing significant signs of wear.

Our York store, Barbara Cattle, is a member of the British Antique Dealers Association and is particularly well qualified to give advice to the collector.

How should I clean and care for my jewellery and silver?

We sell jewellery and silver cleaning materials and advise you to call in to your nearest branch. The method of cleaning required depends on the nature of the article, and particular care should be taken over period items.

Does all jewellery need to be hallmarked?

Much jewellery produced before 1975 did not have to be hallmarked. However, for an unhallmarked item to be described, for example, as 18-carat gold, it must still be up to the correct standard. This is an additional reason why it is important to buy secondhand and antique jewellery from a reputable jeweller. Under the current law new items are exempt from hallmarking if they weigh less than: 1.00gms for all standards of gold.

How do I know that I am viewing a fine quality diamond?

In order to give you complete confidence in buying your diamond from us, we provide an idependent diamond report from internationally respected gemmological laboratories with all new diamonds weighing 0.50 carats and over. Our expert staff will be happy to guide you through the report an answer any queries.