4 February 2010

Grays February Issue

Love is in the Air at Grays!

With Valentines day in just a few weeks time, Grays in on hand to help you find the perfect Valentine's Day gift for your loved ones. Whether you are looking for a small token of affection or you are planning to propose this month, Grays is here to help.

Exquisite Engagement Rings

Emerald Cut 'Crossover' Diamond Ring from John Joseph

Grays is world renowned for its selection of fine engagement rings - from 18th Century rose cut diamonds, to splendid Victorian clusters, stylish Edwardian, elegant Art Deco and contemporary classics.

The History
The betrothal ring, the precursor of the modern engagement ring, was invested with symbolism that is still relevant. The single diamond set in a band of gold was esteemed by Medieval Italians as a ‘pieta della reconciliazione’, a stone of reconciliation, for its supposed power to maintain harmony between man and wife.
Its successor, the solitaire diamond ring, remains a favourite with today’s engaged couples. Around 70% of women choose a diamond engagement ring, for diamonds are the symbol of everlasting love and universally recognised as the most beautiful precious stones in the world. They are also known as the hardest mineral, a factor which gives them their unalterable beauty.

Diamond & Ruby Ring from Anthea AG Antiques

What do you choose?
The style of jewellery your partner usually wears is a good indication of their taste. For example, if their jewellery box is full of paired down simple pieces, they are unlikely to be thrilled with a very exotic theatrical piece.  If you are really unsure, call their best friend. Short of asking outright, this is the next best thing.
Timeless settings are the most sensible and suited to the wearer’s lifestyle. For example, Art Deco rings from the 1920s are usually flat and less vulnerable than raised settings for the more active ring wearer.

1920s Diamond Cluster Ring from Wimpole Antiques

The Budget
The traditional etiquette dictates that you should spend at least one month’s salary, although some buyers are tempted to spend two months'. The best advice is to set a limit and then be prepared to bend it a little.

The Band
Silver – the cheapest metal and the least suited to holding large stones as it tends to lose shape over time. It also tarnishes and makes diamonds appear darker.
Gold – still the most popular choice. It is a soft metal, so often alloyed with silver and copper. White gold has a higher silver content.
Platinum – The most precious, whitest and expensive. Retains its shape and offers the best protection for diamonds.
Victorian 3 Stone Engagement Ring from John Joseph

The Diamonds
When choosing a diamond engagement ring, you should first acquaint yourselves with “the four Cs” – Cut, Colour, Clarity and Carat weight, which combine to give each diamond its uniqueness. And is certifiable by the Gemmological Institute of America (GIA)

Generally speaking, the larger a diamond, the rarer it is. But do bear in mind that two diamonds of the same weight will have different values if they are not of the same colour, clarity or cut.  You can read a more detailed guide of "the four Cs" by clicking here.

Whatever the carat weight of the diamond you choose, Grays is proud of its 30 year tradition and reputation for assured quality and unsurpassed range to suit all tastes and budgets – from a Georgian rose cut diamond cluster ring to a fabulous 1940s diamond cocktail ring – Grays is your oyster.

Click here to view Grays large selection of beautiful engagement rings.

Gift Ideas for Him

Grays can help you solve the age old conundrum of what to buy for the man in your life. From cufflinks to pocket watches here is a little inspiration.

Gold English Lever Pocket Watch, from Pieces of Time

18ct Gold Ladybird Cufflinks, from Nigel Norman

Silver Mounted Locking Decanter from Jack Podlewski

Grays Showcases

In Grays Mews you will find a series of showcases full of smaller antique, vintage and collectable pieces that make for perfect gifts, especially if you are on a budget. From stunning costume jewellery, compacts, ocean liner memorabilia, ceramics and interior items there is something for every collector of curios and lovers of beautiful adornments.

Pink Lea Stein Heart Brooch, from Unicorn
A Small Silver Art Nouveau Frame, from Himiko

Pretty Clarice Cliff Dish, from Deco-Etcetera

If our guide is not enough to help you choose a special gift why not opt for the safer option of a Grays Gift Certificate. They are valid for a whole year, can be used within any stand at Grays and come in denominations of £10, £20, and £50.
 For even more Valentines inspiration have a look at Grays Flickr profile here.

Grays is open Monday - Friday from 10am - 6pm and EVERY Saturday from 11am-5pm.

Follow Grays on the following social networking sites and keep up to date with the largest antique centre in London!

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