Jewellery Advice

At Argenteus we've been helping people choose and care for their jewellery for over 21 years.  In that time we've been asked a range of diverse questions. Below is a list of some of the most common enquiries that we hope may help others in similar circumstances.

If you have a question that has not been answered feel free to contact us and we may add your question and answer to this page.  Please check all the questions below before posting your own to make sure that we haven't already answered the same or a similar question already.

DISCLAIMER Any advice given below is to be taken entirely at your own risk. The Argenteus questions and answers facility is a service provided free of charge and in good faith. Questions are answered to the best of our knowledge and ability, based on the information provided, our own technical knowledge and any research carried out into the issue on your behalf. We take no responsibility and give no guarantees, warranties or representations, implied or otherwise for the accuracy of any advice offered and no contract is being entered into by either party. Argenteus accepts no liability whatsoever for any loss or damage that may result from any answer or information we may provide through this service.

Allergies and Skin Reactions

Q - My husband has a reaction to his gold wedding ring. It leaves a scaly reaction and we don't know what to do.

A - This sounds a little like the ring is perhaps too small and is not leaving enough space between it and the finger. This may cause sweating under the ring that could cause this reaction. This is especially the case if the ring is quite a broad band.

A good tip is to take the ring off when you are washing your hands. Make sure the skin is perfectly dry before you put it back on. This helps prevent any build-up of moisture under the ring which can also cause the skin to get a bit scurfy.

It doesn't actually sound like a reaction the ring itself. Maybe just something your husband will have to live with if he really likes wearing the ring

Q - How can I tell if I have a nickel allergy?

A - All jewellery nowadays should be 'nickel-safe'. Under the 2000 Nickel Directive any metal alloy which comes into contact with the body (from jewellery to jeans zips) has to comply. Most jewellery can have some nickel in it but it has to be under a certain percentage and also be stable alloy, i.e. it cannot leach into the body. A nickel reaction will be shown by red itchy skin which will eventually calm down when the jewellery is removed.

Q - I have had my wedding ring for 3 years now, and over the last few months my finger has reacted as if I have an alloy allergy. Could this be because I need to clean my ring, or could I have developed an allergy?

A - An allergic reaction means that the skin in contact with the metal comes out in red sore patches like eczema. If this is the case it sounds like you have developed an allergy over time. It can happen sometimes after having a baby or having more piercings done on your body. If the skin has got a black mark then the metal needs a good clean and it can be that the hot weather (and sweat - sorry!)is affecting the skin.

You haven't stated what metal the ring is - but either way it would be advisable to see a good High Street jewellers and see what they can do. One option is to have the ring plated in either a high caratage gold or in rhodium (which is a bright silver colour). A plating will protect your skin against the metal but this will only last a year or so. Otherwise you could have a fine band of metal made to fit inside the wedding ring. Platinum is a good metal to use but it is very expensive and is a silver colour. Unfortunately any option is not going to be cheap.

I hope that helps a bit but try giving the ring a good wash with warm soapy water, dry it thoroughly and don't use any hand creams or detergents when you are wearing your ring. Try this for a few days as you may have some chemical residues under the ring which has caused a problem and it is still irritating the skin.

Q - Why do my 14K gold rings sometimes leave black/dark marks on my fingers? I clean them regularly and wash my hands before putting them on?

A - It is the mix of the other metals in the 14K gold which is causing the rings to react with your skin. I would check the cleaning materials you are using.

  • if you are using a liquid dip to clean the rings are you rinsing all the residue off thoroughly?
  • are you making sure that the rings are completely dry before wearing them?
  • do you use a cloth to buff up the metal? Again this could be leaving a residue on your fingers.

If the cleaning materials are OK then it could be one of the following:

  • a high meat diet can cause an acidic skin which may react with the alloy
  • hand creams can cause a reaction
  • certain drugs can make you also react with the alloy
  • if your hands are still slightly damp after washing this maybe causing the problem.
  • do you notice this this when you are hot? If so then it could be the sweat from your fingers getting trapped underneath the rings (this is common when the bands are quite wide)

You need to check through the above and try and eliminate as you go along to see what the cause is. If you are still getting problems, some jewellers sell a clear lacquer which can be painted on the inside of the ring to act as a barrier, but this is temporary solution. Other wise you can get the rings gold plated but this will eventually wear away and may change the yellow of the gold rings (a high caratage gold will be very bright and yellow).

Q - My wife has had an allergy to her wedding ring from the moment she started wearing it 3 years ago. It is gold with a white gold rim which might suggest that it contains some nickel. Given the sentimental value of the ring, is it possible to have the inside plated with something to alleviate the reaction?

A - It sounds like the white gold is causing the problem. Most white gold is rhodium plated which gives it a nice clean silver like finish. Unfortunately you have a mixed metal ring and this is going to cause a problem. The yellow gold section will have to be masked off and the whole ring then rhodium plated to coat it. Usually rhodium plating is not too expensive but the masking time will add to the cost of the ring plating. If you go to a High Street jeweller they will be able to send the ring off for a quote and advice as necessary.

Also rhodium will wear away and will need to be done on a regular basis - this really depends on how deep the plating is and how often is cleaned etc. If this is then going to be too expensive over time the other option is to get a jeweller to make a fine yellow gold band to be fitted inside the ring to protect the skin against the white gold layer. This will last a lot longer than the rhodium plating. This will depend on how tight the original band is.

Discolouration of metals

Q - What is the best thing to do preventing silver from turning black?

A - Many things can turn silver black, it usually happens with rings. Here are some examples...

  • Hand creams and some perfumes can react with silver.
  • Acidic skin - people who seem to have a high meat diet often can turn silver black.
  • Working in an atmosphere which has more sulphur in it (general pollution in the atmosphere).
  • A tight fitting ring can make the finger under the ring surface sweat a bit - this can happen especially with wide band rings in warm weather.
  • It may have been polished beforehand and still have some residue of the polishing agent on the item.

Black marks can be removed quite easily. Try a silver cloth first although this is more for light tarnish and dirt. You will probably have better results from silver wadding which you can obtain from shops like Robert Dyas or Sainsbury's. This can produce some spectacular results. Make sure the item is thoroughly cleaned before wearing it and as a precaution I would wash it in warm soapy water and thoroughly dry it before wearing it again.

If you do have a propensity for turning silver black and none of the above helps then the item can be rhodium plated which gives the metal a shiny silver finish. Rhodium plating is quite common (most white gold is rhodium plated and sometimes silver items) and will form a barrier between the skin and the silver. This will have to be done at least once every 1 - 2 years depending on how often the item is worn. Rhodium plating can cost between £15 - £50 depending on where you go and how thick the plating is to be.

Finally a few miscellaneous tips:

  • When jewellery is not worn, keep it in a box with a piece of aluminium foil as this will react instead of the silver.
  • Never leave silver jewellery in a box containing copper coins - the silver goes a horrible colour and is a nightmare to clean!
  • If you go on holiday do not wear silver jewellery in a swimming pool - chlorine will react with the silver and it may eventually need a professional polishing. If you do forget, as soon as possible make sure you thoroughly wash your jewellery in lots of warm soapy water and rinse it well in clean water. Always make sure that the jewellery is dried using a soft cloth otherwise you can get watermarks on the surface.
  • If your silver hasn't got any set stones then you don't have to take it off when having a shower or bath - just make sure it is rinsed and dried thoroughly - in fact that is how mine stays clean

Q - I have worn my new silver ring for a few days and it has gone black. Does this mean it is not sterling silver?

A - Some people can react with silver. If you have an acidic skin you are more likely to react with the sulphides in the atmosphere, which will form a black edge on your jewellery. This can be cleaned off with silver wadding. Other possibilities are some ingredients in hand creams and perfumes can also react with silver.

Q - I left a pair of earrings in a container with some pennies and the earrings have gone black - help!

A - The silver has reacted with the copper in the coins. If the surface is not too bad you should be able to clean them up using silver wadding or silver dip (assuming they do not have any dip sensitive stones). If this doesn't work then they can be sent off for professional cleaning and polishing.

Q - I accidentally put my 14K gold rings in silver cleaner overnight. The finish looks ruined. Can it be restored, buffed, refinished, etc.? If so, is it costly?

A - You will need to take your rings to a professional jewellery store and get them to give you a quote about cleaning your rings up. They can be cleaned and buffed up but if they have detailed patterns (or stones) then they will need some specialized cleaning. As to the price it shouldn't be that expensive but it depends on where you go and the state your rings are in. Whilst they are checking your rings it maybe worthwhile getting the workshop to check stone mounts, cracks, etc.

Q - I left a silver spoon in silver dip for too long and now have a tide mark across it. The spoon was only 50% immersed. What can be done to remove this staining?

A - You will have to take the spoon to a jewellers who can send it off to a workshop to get it professionally cleaned and polished. The workshop will use jewellers rouge which is a mild abrasive that will take off the 'tide mark' and will buff up the silver surface. You will need to get an estimate beforehand as it will depend on how ornate the spoon is and how much damage the dip has caused.

Q - I have a white gold wedding ring. Lately I have noticed some parts of my have a yellowish colour ...I have only had it for one month. What could be wrong?

A - I get this problem coming up time and time again - unfortunately some shops don't make sure you are aware that white gold is often rhodium plated. It is the plating which is now coming away and showing the gold metal underneath. White gold is a yellowish metal and can look really good by itself, but different white gold's can vary in colour a lot. So often the jewellery is rhodium plated to give it a white shiny finish and a more uniform look with other white gold jewellery. Plating can either be quite thick or quite fine, but all plating will wear away over time.

You have several options -
1) go back to the store and see if they can help you in any way, make sure you have your receipt and explain the situation. They maybe able to come up with another solution.

2) let the rest of the plating wear away and see what you think (you maybe quite happy as it will look then look the same) You may not notice that it is slightly more yellow than before (it is because you have the 2 metals contrasting right now). A jeweller will be able to send it away for polishing which can remove the rest of the plating but this will incur a cost.

3) get the ring re-plated, but this will again cost and you will end up with the same problem eventually

Q - My silver ring has been dropped into bleach and has gone black. I'm using a silver cleaning cloth to get it silver coloured again, but it has engraved markings on which are hard to get round with a cloth, can you offer an alternative to getting the whole ring back to its silver colour again?

A - You will need to buy some silver dip which is a liquid silver cleaner. You can get this from hardware stores/grocery stores or jewellers. This should do the trick but make sure you read the instructions very carefully. Using a soft toothbrush to get into the nooks will help. Use the silver cloth afterwards to give the ring a good polish.

If you are still having some problems then you will need to take the ring to a jewellers who can send it off for a professional clean and polish.

Q - My white gold wedding rings look like they are bronze or very tarnished. The only thing I can think of doing is adding shock to my pool and without thinking, I must have put my hand in the water while I poured it. Is there a cleaner I can get or do I need to take them to my jeweller?

A - White gold is usually quite yellow in colour even though it is called 'white gold'. White gold is usually rhodium plated to give it a shiny silver like finish, and it sounds like the rhodium plating has come off your rings. I would have thought you putting your hand in pool water wouldn't have caused too much damage as rhodium is quite a stable metal.

If you go to a jewellers they will be able to send the rings off to a workshop and give you a quote for the work. This can vary in price on how thick the plating is to be and the workshop involved.

Do's and Don'ts

Q - Will a necklace with 14kt gold and rhodium with stand sea water, say if the is a necklace charm and I am in the salt water almost daily?

A - Generally gold jewellery and jewellery that is rhodium plated will be OK with minimal immersion in sea water. Silver is a different story to some extent as it can be more reactive and may change colour if worn in the sea or in a swimming pool.

There also may be a problem if you have any jewellery set with stones, especially amber or opals as these a quite absorbent materials. Also any mounts may eventually accumulate salt inside or behind them as the sea water dries.

The general rule with any jewellery that gets wet either deliberately or inadvertently is that it should be dried as soon as possible. If the water is salty or chlorinated you should rinse the item thoroughly in clean fresh water before it dries and then dry it completely with a soft cloth or with GENTLE heat such as near a moderate radiator. Never use direct heat or anything like a hairdryer or similar device.

Q - Is it safe to wear my gold wedding ring and gold/diamond engagement and eternity rings when swimming?

A - Gold is a pretty inert metal and will withstand more variations in the atmosphere than silver which is a quite reactive metal. Sea water will not harm your rings and I shouldn't think a lightly chlorinated swimming pool will do much harm either to the metals and diamonds. Gold is an alloy though with many other different metals making up the mix, so the chlorine could react with any of these. If you do decide to wear them when swimming make sure you wash your jewellery thoroughly afterwards to remove any residues and dry thoroughly away from direct heat.

Having said the above though, we have come across many customers who have lost their jewellery when swimming due to it getting caught or slipping off. If your rings are fairly loose normally, the cold water can make your fingers shrink slightly and the rings can slip off which has caused quite a heartbreak.

So my advice is not to wear any jewellery at all when swimming unless you really have to for security reasons. Losing jewellery is more likely to happen than damaging the jewellery by the chemicals found.

Cleaning and Care

Q - Can I use silver dip on my new Blue John pendant?

A - No , Blue John is a porous stone and will absorb the silver dip which can then damage the stone. Lapis lazuli and turquoise are also porous and should be treated with care. If the stone accidentally gets wet, leave it in a warm (away from direct heat) airy place for a few hours to allow any water to evaporate.

Q - I have some amber which looks a bit dull, can I polish it up?

A - Give it a wash in luke warm soapy (washing up liquid) water and dry it thoroughly. It can then be buffed up using a soft dry cloth and a dab of linseed oil (or olive oil) on it. Amber is a soft stone so be careful not to store the jewellery where it can be scratched which will eventually dull the surface. If this doesn't help then the amber can be sent away to be professionally buffed up using polishing mops.

Q - I left an amethyst necklace on a window sill and the stones seemed to have faded - am I imagining it?

A - If the window is very sunny and you have left the necklace in situ for a long time the stones can start to fade. When not wearing jewellery keep it in a box wrapped in tissue paper or in a pouch.

Q - I left my silver chain in silver dip for a week and it has ruined it - what can I do to refinish it?

A - Silver dip works by taking off a fine surface layer of the silver. If you regularly silver dip an item it will eventually go slightly dull; this is because the surface is not as smooth and shiny as it was originally. Always read the dip instructions carefully as to what you can clean and what you shouldn't clean using this method to save any problems. Always make sure that you thoroughly rinse off all silver dip with lots of warm clean water. It will feel properly rinsed as dip feels slimy to touch. Dry the jewellery with a soft cloth and leave it to thoroughly dry in a warm dry place for an hour or so - this is especially important if the item is very detailed or hollow. Unfortunately your chain may be beyond repairing, it would be advisable to take take it to one of our branches or to another competent jeweller who can give it a professional clean.

Q - My 18 carat gold wedding and engagement rings have discoloured. When I took my rings to a jeweller they said the only thing which was likely to have caused such an effect was mercury and I did drop and break a mercury thermometer earlier in the day. What can I do? Why has this happened?

A - Substances like mercury can react with metals (even precious metals) and cause discolouration. Because the effect is a chemical reaction its not really something that you can simply remove with a domestic cleaning product. The rings will need to be sent to us or another competent jeweller for more comprehensive refinishing. This will most likely be in the form of a chemical bath cleaner using ultrasonic agitation and a final full re-polish using a polishing wheel and a buffing medium.

Q - Is it true you should not wear a 9ct gold ring alongside an 18 carat gold ring as they may "wear?"

A - The higher the caratage of gold the slightly softer it is. 22ct gold is usually very malleable and should be treated with care. All caratages of gold are a mix of gold and other metals such as silver, tin, copper, etc. It depends on what the caratage and shape of your rings which are worn together.

Without having seen either ring I cannot give you an answer but it is more important to enjoy wearing your jewellery! If you wear the rings constantly (e.g. wedding rings) over the years they will wear at the back and will possibly need repairing. I have come across wedding rings which have worn in this way whether they are 9,14 or 18ct, it just shows how long the marriage has lasted!

It is more important to enjoy wearing them and that they look good together. If you think that one is scratching/rubbing against the other ring then stop wearing them together. You will see any damage pretty soon so if they look OK after a few weeks of constant wear then don't worry.

Q - If amber gets wet and turns white in places how can I restore. It may have been in salty sea water.

A - I have never heard of this problem before!

Are the amber white patches on the surface of the stone? If so, could they be a sort of limescale mark which may just need a good polish down with some olive oil?

If the white spots are below the surface then it could be impurities within the amber which can not be polished out.

I would give the amber piece a good wash with luke warm soapy (washing up liquid) water using a soft tooth brush to get into the nooks and cranny's. Then rinse the stone well with luke warm water. Dry it carefully with a soft cloth and then the stone can be buffed using a soft cloth and a dab of olive oil. This will bring up the shine. If the white marks are still there after this then I would take it to a reputable jewellers who can send it to a workshop for a professional clean. We could also do this for you if you live near one of our stores.

There is a lot of amber found on beaches and is formed under the sea so I would not have thought that sea water would have caused any problems. If jewellery ever gets wet, always make sure it is dried thoroughly before either storing it or wearing it. This is especially important if you have been swimming in chlorinated water.

Follow up - Thank you! It worked. It is very old and not cared for, but what you said to do made a huge difference

Q - Which country or countries produce the best quality sterling silver?

A - Sterling silver is a standard of fineness that is universally applied to the metal. If it is described as Sterling silver and is hallmarked as such it will be the same quality as any other piece of sterling silver. It means that the material contains at least 92.5% pure silver otherwise it cannot legally be described as Sterling.

Therefore the country of origin really makes no difference if the above criteria are fulfilled. In terms of the best quality work and design this really comes down to personal preference so we really couldn't comment. Argenteus features work by many UK designers and manufacturers as well as many international ones. We apply our own quality control standards to these individual workshops to ensure great workmanship throughout. So really the best guarantee of quality is to buy from a reputable jeweller such as Argenteus.

Q - We just bought two matching silver rings, my partner has worn hers but it has made a black mark around her finger and it has black spots on it now. What does this mean?

A - As you have matching rings I am assuming they are from the same workshop or designer and that they will be getting their silver from one source. If this is the case, it could be that your partner could be different from you in the one of the following;

Hand creams and some perfumes can react with silver. Her skin maybe more acidic - people who seem to have a high meat diet often can turn silver black. She maybe working in an atmosphere which has more sulphur in it. Her ring maybe of a tighter fit than yours which maybe making the finger under the ring surface sweat a bit - this can happen especially with wide band rings in warm weather. It may have been polished beforehand and still have some residue of the polishing agent on the ring.

The black marks can be removed quite easily. Try a silver cloth first although this is for light tarnish and dirt. You will probably have better results from silver wadding which you can obtain from shops like Robert Dyas or Sainsbury's. This can produce some spectacular results. Make sure the ring is thoroughly cleaned before wearing it and as a precaution I would wash it in warm soapy water and thoroughly dry it before wearing it again.

If the above doesn't help and you cannot pinpoint the problem, the ring can be rhodium plated which gives the metal a shiny silver finish. Rhodium plating is quite common (most white gold is rhodium plated) and will form a barrier between the skin and the silver. This will have to be done at least once every few years depending on how often it is worn.

I hope the above helps - if you have any further questions please do not hesitate to e-mail me. But you are the third person who is having this problem right now - so summer must be on its way!

Finally when the ring is not worn keep it in a box with a piece of aluminium as this will react instead of the silver and never leave silver jewellery in the same box as copper coins - the silver goes a horrible colour and is a nightmare to clean!

Q - What is the best thing to do preventing silver from turning black?

A - Many things can turn silver black, it usually happens with rings. Here are some examples…….

Hand creams and some perfumes can react with silver - Acidic skin - people who seem to have a high meat diet often can turn silver black - Working in an atmosphere which has more sulphur in it (general pollution in the atmosphere) - A tight fitting ring can make the finger under the ring surface sweat a bit - this can happen especially with wide band rings in warm weather - It may have been polished beforehand and still have some residue of the polishing agent on the item

Black marks can be removed quite easily. Try a silver cloth first although this is more for light tarnish and dirt. You will probably have better results from silver wadding which you can obtain from shops like Robert Dyas or Sainsbury's. This can produce some spectacular results. Make sure the item is thoroughly cleaned before wearing it and as a precaution I would wash it in warm soapy water and thoroughly dry it before wearing it again.

If you do have a propensity for turning silver black and none of the above helps then the item can be rhodium plated which gives the metal a shiny silver finish. Rhodium plating is quite common (most white gold is rhodium plated and sometimes silver items) and will form a barrier between the skin and the silver. This will have to be done at least once every 1 - 2 years depending on how often the item is worn. Rhodium plating can cost between £15 - £50 depending on where you go and how thick the plating is to be.

Finally a few miscellaneous tips:

When jewellery is not worn, keep it in a box with a piece of aluminium foil as this will react instead of the silver - Never leave silver jewellery in a box containing copper coins - the silver goes a horrible colour and is a nightmare to clean! - If you go on holiday do not wear silver jewellery in a swimming pool - chlorine will react with the silver and it may eventually need a professional polishing. If you do forget, as soon as possible make sure you thoroughly wash your jewellery in lots of warm soapy water and rinse it well in clean water. Always make sure that the jewellery is dried using a soft cloth otherwise you can get watermarks on the surface - If your silver hasn't got any set stones then you don't have to take it off when having a shower or bath - just make sure it is rinsed and dried thoroughly - in fact that is how mine stays clean!

Miscellaneous Questions

Q - How can you tell if a sterling silver chain is real or not, because I recently Purchased a 20 inch chain and a 4 inch bracelet please help because I think its to heavy and sparkling to be real

A - The only way to tell absolutely is to see a hallmark on the item.

If its not got a hallmark you will need to find a local assay office to run tests on it for you. I can’t tell from your email where you are located but most countries have their own assaying services although there would be a charge for this. If the jewellery is not expensive it may not be worth it.

The other option is to return them to where you bought them and ask them to verify it for you. In the UK it is illegal to sell an item described as silver or gold over certain weights unless it carries a hallmark from one of the 4 UK assay offices. If you are not located in the UK you will need to check with local advice centres as to the laws in your country.

Q - what is white gold made of % to %

A - The caratages of gold are the same for yellow, white or rose:

9ct is 39.5% gold and the rest are other metals

14ct is 58.5% gold and the rest are other metals

18ct is 75.0% gold and the rest are other metals

22ct is 91.6% gold and the rest are other metals

The other percentage in the mix can be various metals such as silver, copper, tin, etc. In white gold nickel and/or palladium were used but nickel is now banned so other metals have had to be found.

Much of the white gold found on the High Street has been rhodium plated to make it really white and shiny. White gold is often a yellowish colour in its unfinished state.

Q - Is it forbidden to try earrings in the shop before buying them?

A - In general this is the case. This is for hygiene and health reasons. There are many quite nasty things that can be transmitted between people if for instance the first person that tries on the earrings had broken skin in their piercing. This potentially can transmit blood or other bacteria or viruses and you could then be prone to catching these. The major concern in such cases will be HIV and Hepatitis. It is theoretically possible for these things to be transmitted in this way as well as some other nasties!

For that reason we (and most other reputable jewellers) do not allow earrings for pierced ears or any body jewellery to be tried on in the store. We also do not allow exchanges on these items unless they prove to be faulty.

When you purchase one of these items from our online store we send them out in tamper evident sealed bags. These allow you to see the item inside the bag but not to try them on. If you are happy with what you see you can then remove it from the bag. Once it is removed we do not offer a refund or exchange as we do with other online purchases, unless it is proved faulty.

I hope that helps explain the very sensible reasons behind this rule.

Q - Is it possible for me to get my gold wedding and engagement rings dipped in white gold and would it be very expensive?

A - I am assuming you have yellow gold rings which you want turning into white gold colour rings? If so then they can be plated with rhodium not white gold.

The majority of white gold is quite yellow in colour (almost a nicotine colour) - this is due to the gold content and the mix of other metals in the alloy. Unfortunately many people are under the misapprehension that all white gold is a bright silver colour; it can come in some quite unusual grey colours depending on the other metals (such as palladium) in the alloy. To make a white gold item more shiny and white, they are often plated with rhodium (which is one of the noble metals and is an expensive metal in its own right).

Unfortunately though all plating will wear over time, this can take 6 months to 1-2 years; it all depends on how often the items are worn, care taken with them, plating thickness, etc. You can get different thicknesses of rhodium plating and it can cost between £20 - £60 per ring depending on how thick the rhodium is to be - any reputable jeweller should have an associated workshop where you can get a quote and advice. We could certainly carry out this work for you if required.

With rhodium plating over yellow gold you will probably need a thicker plating and once it starts to wear away it will be quite noticeable as compared to a white gold piece of jewellery which would need re-plating.

So to sum up, it probably wouldn't be that expensive to change the colour but the upkeep will be expensive. Once the plating starts to rub away it could make the rings look quite 'messy' and sometimes a particular style can look better in yellow gold. But if you really hate the rhodium plating, then so long as there are no complicated designs, the rhodium plating can be polished off but again that is going to cost! So I would be very careful about advising to go ahead.

Another option is to go for a 2-tone combination. We are having an engagement ring updated with a white gold band to complement the diamond setting which is in yellow gold (this option is dependent on the style of the engagement ring). This can look really effective, especially if the white gold band mimics the yellow gold wedding band. Although initially more expensive it maybe the easier option in the long run.

Q - I have a diamond ring and the stone has chipped - is it really a diamond?

A - All stones can chip if hit in the wrong place. Diamonds have to be accurately hit to get them in the shape required - unfortunately it sounds like you have been unlucky. Diamonds can be in-filled to repair them, but you would need to send it off to a repair workshop.

Q - As I have arthritis, my finger size changes frequently. At the moment my rings are very loose ....somewhere. I have seen small plastic sleeves which can be placed over rings at the back to prevent them slipping off but I can't find them anywhere. Do you know where I can get these?

A - I don't know of any plastic retainers that are available for this kind of thing although I would imagine it would be fairly easy to adapt any sort of plastic ring of the correct size to do the job.

You can obtain metal ring clips from many jewellers that fit on the inside of an oversize ring which then makes it smaller. These can be easily removed and replaced as required. There is a bit of a downside to these though as they can sometime snag on clothing. We do not sell them but they can usually be ordered in specially if you have a local friendly jeweller. I did a quick bit of research on the internet for you and there were a few sites on the web selling these. If you do a Google search for 'ring clips' you should be able to find someone. If you really have trouble let me know and we may be able to source some for you.

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