November’s Birthstone: Autumn’s Gold is Precious Topaz

Rich Colours of Fall Leaves

Rich Colours of Fall Leaves

When November leaves drop in sudden gusts
Like a red and yellow flock of birds
– Thomas R Drinkard

I am rich today with autumn’s gold
Gladys Harp

November’s birthstone is the precious topaz, inspiring poets to write about a gemstone that dazzles through a range of magnificent autumn colours – shades of yellow, pink, purple, red, brown and black, the rich colours of falling leaves. In the Northern Hemisphere, these colours of autumn are the shades of the harvest and many a designer’s inspiration.

Deep topaz

Imperial Topaz RoughThe origins of the word ‘topaz’ are lost to history, increasing the mystery around this stone. Theorists ask if it comes from the Romans, who might have found the stone on a small island the in the Red Sea called Topazos. Some postulate it came from the Sanskrit word “tapas”, which means fire.

The Hebrew word ‘tapooz’, an orange fruit may be the answer.  Whatever the true origin of the word and the discovery of this wonderful gemstone, the topaz has much to offer its wearer with its rich variety of autumn colours and fascinating folklore and history.

Ancient History

The Romans associated topaz with their King of the Gods, Jupiter.  They believed that if topaz was near poisoned food or drink it would change colour and alert the stone’s wearer to the danger.  Set in gold and worn around the neck, topaz was reputed to dispel bad omens, heal poor vision and calm anger.

Yellow Topaz

Yellow Topaz

In Egypt, topaz with its brilliant golden glow and fiery intensity was symbolic of the sun god, Ra, giver of life.

During the Middle Ages, the topaz was used mostly by royalty and clergy. In the 13th century it was believed that a topaz engraved with a falcon would help its wearer foster the goodwill of kings, therefore bestowing peace and prosperity to the land. The topaz was often used in the crowns and rings worn by rulers, dignitaries and royalty.


Topaz Source Minas Gerais, Brazil

Topaz Source Minas Gerais, Brazil

Topaz’s folklore suggests it was a very powerful and magical stone indeed. It was believed to strengthen the mind, increase wisdom, and prevent mental disorders. Powdered topaz, added to wine, was used to prevent asthma and insomnia. A cure for weak vision called for immersing the stone in wine for three days and nights, then rubbing the liquid on the eyes.

It was reputed to make men handsome and intelligent and sterile women fertile and happy. The topaz was believed to have the power to cool boiling water. However, it was also claimed that you could put your hand in boiling water after a topaz had been thrown into it and retract it again uninjured.  Perhaps one might be prudent not to rely on the miracles of topaz!

Meaning, Significance and Symbolism Of The November Birthstone

The November birthstone is known for its associated qualities of strength, tenacity, dedication and resilience.  The gemstone is used to enhance spirituality, promote wisdom and bestow clear thought and reasoning prowess on the wearer of the stone.

Stone of the Czars

JAR Imperial Topaz Earrings

JAR Imperial Topaz Earrings

The most prized and valuable colour of topaz is called Imperial topaz after the Russian Czars of the 1800s and features a magnificent orange body colour with pinkish undertones.  The most valuable is the red topaz.

Imitation Diamond

Pure topaz is a colorless stone and when brilliantly cut is often mistaken for a diamond. It can be treated through a recognised and legitimate practice in the marketplace, with heat and radiation to produce a strong blue colour, making affordable blue topaz. Untreated natural strong blue gems are extremely rare and valuable.

Where is it Mined?

Brazil is the largest producer of topaz in the world.  Russia, the Ukraine, Pakistan, Scotland, Japan, Australia, Myanmar and Sri Lanka are a few important topaz sources and exporters.

What you Need to Know

Some colours are unstable and can fade away; for example, brown topaz mined in Siberia can be bleached by sunlight.  Make sure to source topaz from a gemologist who can attest to its provenance and explain how to treat it.

Caring for Your Topaz

The best way to clean topaz is with warm soapy water. Never clean topaz in a home ultrasonic cleaner or a steamer. It is important that the stone be protected from any sort of exposure to rapid temperature change, acids, or heat. A topaz stone will start to lose its colour if kept out in the sun or exposed to other kinds of heat. Topaz is hard and durable in jewellery.  However, it can crack if struck, so handle your topaz with care.

Consider Topaz for a Gift

Imperial Topaz Cocktail Ring - Brumani

Imperial Topaz Cocktail Ring – Brumani

As well as its interesting history and folklore, consider the durability and value for money when thinking about a gift. With so many beautiful colours to choose from, topaz jewellery makes a special gift for a birthday, anniversary or special occasion.  Imperial topaz is associated with the 23rd anniversary.

In November, the beautiful hues of topaz match with the days of autumn. With this guide and the help of your favourite gemologist, you can make an excellent choice for your fall collection.

Dede Marconato Signature

Handmade Pieces by Dede MarconatoDede Marconato is a  goldsmith and works at her studio bench in Sheung Wan, Hong Kong.  Dede is also a Graduate Gemologist from the prestigious Gemological Institute of America.

If you are interested in learning more information about gemstones or designing a custom piece, please contact her at

Craftsman Definitions 101: Who Does What Part 2

The Final Cut

Designer At WorkDesigner is the term used for the artist that has specialized in the jewellery field or specifically trained at college as a jewellery designer. A designer is not a goldsmith or silversmith. Unless they practised one of  the other fields, they would be dependent on the work of other, upstream practitioners. An analogy may suggest they are the architects  – they don’t build buildings or create construction materials, but have the creative flair to bring ideas to life.

A Designer/Maker is a term applied to those who are both trained in jewellery making and jewellery design. They may have a more hands on approach to making their designs a reality.

Great designer/makers of antiquity, like Fabergé, have names that resonate in the modern era and their works are highly prized as rare pieces of art.

Rene Lalique Dragonfly woman corsage ornament, 1897-1898

Rene Lalique Dragonfly woman corsage ornament, 1897-1898

René Lalique, for example, began his career as a jewellery apprentice at the age of 16, and by 1881 he was a freelance designer for many of the best-known Parisian jewellers such as Cartier and Boucheron. He was most well known for his works of art in glass. By 1890, Lalique was recognized as one of France’s foremost Art Nouveau jewellery designers. Today his works in glass and jewellery art continue to influence and inspire contemporary jewellery artists.

Golden Fleece Hat on display in Victoria and Albert Museum

Golden Fleece Headpiece, 2009, in 22 carat and 18 carat gold. On display in Victoria and Albert Museum courtesty of Adrian Sassoon

In the modern era, designers like Giovanni Corvaja, standing on the shoulders of artists before them, can work virtual magic. Corvaja can stretch gold to a diameter thinner than human hair. His many works are renowned and his Golden Fleece Headpiece is a modern marvel of the jewelry and art world.

Finally, Jeweller, is a very broad term that incorrectly incorporates anyone who works in the jewellery industry.  Traditionally, a jeweller meant a goldsmith.  Today, the term could mean someone who is a salesperson in a jewellery retail outlet or someone who makes jewellery, any type of jewellery.

Dede Marconato Signature

Dede forming a sterling silver cuff using the anticlastic method

Dede forming a sterling silver cuff using the anticlastic method

Dede Marconato is a designer/maker and works at her studio bench in Sheung Wan, Hong Kong.  Dede is also a Graduate Gemologist from the prestigious Gemological Institute of America.

If you are interested in learning more information about gemstones or designing a custom piece, please contact her at

October’s Birthstone: Tourmaline, Gemstone of the Rainbow

Radiant Pink Tourmaline

Radiant Pink Tourmaline

Few gemstones are endowed with the reputed magical properties and ancient cultural bonds with man as those boasted by the tourmaline, October’s gemstone. Imbued with heritage, history, and a mystical aura, tourmaline gems are known for their free and vibrant colour.

The name tourmaline originated from the Sinhalese word “Turmali”, which was used to describe mixed gems and was the name given to all coloured gemstones found in Ceylon, modern Sri Lanka. The name was adopted by Dutch merchants in the 17th century who shipped vast quantities of the gemstone to satisfy growing European demand for mineral curiosities.

Tourmaline Rough PebblesKnown as the “gemstone of the rainbow”, tourmalines are found in an unmatched array of colours which, according to Egyptian legend, resulted from passing through a rainbow during its ancient journey upwards from the centre of the Earth. It is also found in combinations of two or three colours within the same stone, making it the dream of jewelry designers everywhere to work with tourmaline.

The “Ceylonese Magnet”

For over a thousand years, various cultures across the globe have had different interactions with tourmaline, shaping an intimate bond between stone and man that defines the gemstone today.

In medieval Europe, it was widely believed that tourmaline possessed medical power, such as the ability to alleviate physical and mental maladies, prevent death, induce a peaceful sleep and dispel fear, negativity and grief. Alchemists prized it for its apparent relation to the legendary philosopher’s stone due to it becoming electrically charged when heated and then cooled. It was also called the “Ceylonese Magnet” by European explorers who were baffled at the phenomenon of tourmaline attracting and repelling hot ashes, later proved to be caused by its unique pyroelectric properties.

Russian Crown Jewels

Russian Crown Jewels with Rubellite Tourmaline

Because of the wide variety of colours that tourmalines are found in, they are often confused with other gems, such as rubies. Originally believed to be rubies, the Russian Crown jewels from the 17th century were later revealed to be rubellite tourmalines.

The Empress and her Tourmaline

Aside from uses in alchemy and jewelry in Europe, a long and flourishing tradition of manufacturing luxury products using tourmaline existed in China. The Chinese have used it to produce exquisite jewellery, decorate intricate snuff bottles and statuettes, and embellish ornate buttons for robes worn by the royal court and noblemen. The gemstone found a special admirer in Empress Dowager Cixi, the last empress of China who ruled from 1861 to 1908. She was especially fond of the rubellite tourmaline, so much so that she ordered nearly a ton of the gemstone to be shipped across the Pacific from a mine in San Diego, California. Unwilling to part with her gems even in death, the Empress was laid to rest on a pillow carved from pink tourmaline.

Tourmaline Today

GIA Paraiba Colour

Electric Paraiba Tourmaline, Courtesy GIA

In 1989, Brazilian miners discovered a new kind of tourmaline unlike any before it. Known as Paraiba tourmaline, this spectacular gemstone is found in bright shades of cyan and green. It is now one of the rarest gemstones in the world and eagerly sought after by connoisseur collectors. The largest cut Paraiba tourmaline in the world, known as the Ethereal Carolina Divine Paraiba, is owned by Montreal financier Vincent Boucher. It weighs nearly 192 carats is valued between $25 million and $125 million USD.

In modern times, the gemstone is also used by tribal shamans in Africa and aboriginal groups in Australia as a talisman that protects against all dangers, while Native Americans continue a millennia-old tradition of using pink and green tourmalines as funeral gifts.

As the traditional home of the gemstone, Sri Lanka is still considered an important source of gem-quality tourmaline. However, today’s biggest suppliers of tourmaline are Brazil, Tanzania, Nigeria, Kenya, Madagascar and Afghanistan.

Treatments for Tourmalines

Heat treatment may be used on some tourmaline gems, especially pink to red colored stones, to enhance their color. Clarity-enhancing treatments using oil to make rubellite and Brazilian paraiba appear less included are not uncommon.  Clarity-enhancing treatment significantly devalues the gemstone (especially paraiba). When considering a purchase of expensive rubellite and paraiba, make sure to ask your jeweller if the gemstone has been treated and how. These gemstones should be accompanied by certification from a reliable lab such as the Gemological Institute of America (GIA). While treatments are common and acceptable, they should always be disclosed so consumers know what they are paying for.

Tourmaline in Contemporary Jewellery

Tourmaline and Diamond Cross in 18 Karat White Gold, Designer Dede Marconato

Tourmaline and Diamond Cross in 18 Karat White Gold, Designer Dede Marconato

The stunning diversity of colours offered by the tourmaline affords the contemporary jeweller a plethora of design options. Beautiful autumn colours of jazzy greens, pastel yellows and deep reds make this gemstone a superb choice for striking pendants, earrings, and rings. For a more contemporary style, I love to mix the colours and use cabochons, smoothly polished, non faceted gems, in big bold pieces like the Cixi Cross. These gorgeous colours in the gems magnify the colours in the wearer’s eyes, making the gems a must-have addition to any jewellery box. Wear tourmaline with formal wear or wear it to dress up jeans. For an artful and affordable option, consider versatile tourmaline over diamond for a one of a kind contemporary engagement ring.

Dramatic Watermelon Tourmaline

Dramatic Watermelon Tourmaline

Bi-coloured tourmaline can also be given as an 8th wedding anniversary stone.

Caring for Your Tourmaline Jewellery

As tourmaline possesses many natural internal characteristics – especially the pink and red gemstones – ultrasonic cleaning machines should not be used. Tourmaline can be cleaned with most commercial jewellery cleaner or plain soap and water using a soft brush.

Dede Marconato Signature

Dede Marconato, Jewellery Designer, Hong Kong

Dede at her bench in Hong Kong

Dede Marconato is a Graduate Gemologist from the prestigious Gemological Institute of America. As a goldsmith, Dede works at her studio bench in Sheung Wan.

If you are interested in learning more information about tourmalines or designing a custom piece, please contact her at

Craftsmen Definitions 101: Who Does What? Part 1

Melting Gold

Goldsmith Pouring Melted Gold into an Ingot

Goldsmith or silversmith? Jeweller? Lapidary or gemologist?
Knowing who you’re dealing with is important in the world of jewelry.

Smith Smithy Smite

Smith may be the most common name in the English language, suggesting that, at one time, there must have been a lot of smithing going on somewhere in Ye Olde Englande. A ‘smith’ is someone who works with metal (with the possible exception of a wordsmith). As a verb, it means to work with metal by hammering or forging. The word “smith” was derived from the German and Dutch words (Schmied and smid, respectively), themselves derived from the word “to smite” which is to hit or to strike.

Goldsmith v Silversmith: Size Does Matter

Goldsmith Hammers

Goldsmith Hammers

As it turns out,  it isn’t how you use your tools – it is the size of them, after all.

The difference between a goldsmith and a silversmith is not the material they work with. A goldsmith can do his job in silver and a silversmith his job in gold.  The difference is in the size of the objects they normally make and the size of the tools they use.  Typically, a goldsmith uses the smallest hammers, everything from tiny riveting hammers with heads less than 1 ½ inches (3.8 cm) long to hammers with heads measuring 3 ½ inches (8.9 cm). Silversmith hammers usually start around 2 ¾ inches (7 cm) and up.

Goldmiths are skilled craftsmen that take precious metal and saw, pull, bend, roll it with traditional tools. They heat or anneal the metal to soften it and make it more malleable.  They can melt the metal back to a nugget and reuse to make beautiful objets d’art.

They assemble the pieces they have sawed and filed together with heat and gold solder.  Finally, filing and polishing results in a small object, often jewellery. A goldsmith has to understand a designer’s drawing and work out the best technique and method to execute. The tools are often made by goldsmiths for their own use. The style and purpose of these tools have not changed in hundreds of years.  Those tools include hammers, pliers, anvils and chisels.  Goldsmiths specialise in certain areas in the fields.  Some specialise in engraving, stone setting or working with platinum.

In antiquity, they were also bankers. In the modern era, goldsmiths have drills and even laser welders to create beautiful jewellery, but if a bench jeweller cannot use a hammer to make their jewellery, they cannot call themselves a goldsmith.

Mihwa Joo - Korea: Winner of Hollowware Award at 15th Silver Triennial, Sterling Silver, 215x130mm

Mihwa Joo – Korea: Winner of Hollowware Award at 15th Silver Triennial, Sterling Silver, 215x130mm

Silversmiths are skilled craftsmen that make large scale objects such as cutlery, candlesticks or vases.  The skills and techniques are similar to a goldsmith but the objects made by silversmiths are much larger.  The tools, anvils, heating devices and even workshop stations used to form the silver or any metal for that matter are significantly larger – a completely different operation.

Lapping up gemstones

Dede at her microscope

Dede at her microscope

When it comes to gems, knowledgeable buyers are one thing, skilled craftsmen something else.  Gemologists are trained to identify and grade gemstones.  Often gemologists work directly with the mines and are diamond dealers or coloured stone dealers who sell gemstones to goldsmiths or work in the manufacturing field. They may also be sorters, who take a collection of rough gems and conduct the initial sorting, separating the wheat from the chaff.

Rough and Polished Diamonds

Rough and Polished Diamonds

After that, the Lapidaries take over.  They are craftsmen who cut the rough and transform it into gemstones. Lapidaries require gemology knowledge and it takes many years to master the skill and precision needed to take a gemstone from its rough state to a beautiful gem which has brilliance and fire.  These stones will have nearly perfect angles.   Quality rough is very expensive and fine cutting can add tremendous value to the finished stone.  

Fantasy cut ametrine by Bernd Munsteiner

Artisan lapidary, Bernd Munsteiner has been cutting gems into shapes known as fantasy cuts since the 1960s.  Each stone is one-of-a-kind.  Bi-colour stones like ametrine are stunning when carved by a master.

Part Two of Craftsmen Definitions will talk about jewellery designers and their role in the industry.

Dede Marconato Signature

Dede at the Jewellery Bench

Dede at the Jewellery Bench

Dede Marconato is a goldsmith and works at her studio bench in Sheung Wan, Hong Kong.  Dede is also a Graduate Gemologist from the prestigious Gemological Institute of America.

If you are interested in learning more information about gemstones or designing a custom piece, please contact her at

Wedding Bands: A Once in a Lifetime Decision

His and Hers Gold Wedding BandsHis and Hers Wedding Bands

Buying perfect wedding bands is one of the most significant decisions you will make when getting married.  Symbolically, wedding bands represent a lifetime of commitment and love, so choosing the best type of metal to last forever is important.

The noble metals, silver, gold, platinum are the traditional choices for wedding bands, but palladium is on the rise. Each of these metals have individual characteristics of hardness, durability, and scratch resistance. While one metal may be harder than the others, this does not necessarily mean it will last longer than other metals.

The decision you make depends on your budget and what colour metal you prefer. With regard to cost, consider your baseline about $1,800HKD per ring for a simple 3mm wide yellow gold wedding band.

Like you and your nascent marriage, each metal also has it’s own unique characteristics – one of them will be the perfect match as your symbol of eternal devotion.

White Metals

White Metal Wedding Bands

Silver, platinum, and white gold are considered “white” metals when used for jewellery, although they are all silver in appearance. The three metals may look similar, but they are very different in content.

Stately Silver

Silver is comprised of 92.5% silver and 7.5% other metals or alloys. An alloy is a mixture of metals. The alloys are added to make the silver more durable. Look for the 925 stamp inside your ring which verifies it as Sterling silver.

Are you tough on your jewellery? Silver is the softest of the three metals and prone to scratches. It can look beautiful and aged but the look doesn’t appeal to everyone. Many couples choose silver because the price is substantially lower than gold or platinum. This wonderful noble metal is a great choice for the budget conscious. For some people, adding an expensive ring to the wedding planning bill is just not affordable. Some couples will buy less expensive silver with the view to upgrading their rings to a more durable metal at their one year wedding anniversary. Silver does tarnish over time, but with frequent and proper cleaning it can look wonderful for many years to come. Silver is often plated with rhodium, a hard and shiny white precious metal, to avoid tarnish.

Wonderful White Gold

White Gold Wedding BandsWhite gold is a harder metal than silver. It does not tarnish and it holds its shine very well. To increase durability, white gold is an alloy of yellow gold and at least one white metal, usually nickel or palladium. The higher the karat of gold, the softer the alloy. Of all the colours of gold, white gold is the most durable due to the mix of alloys.

Many people are allergic to nickel.  I make sure to use white gold alloy with palladium to ensure the metal is hypoallergenic. 18K white gold is 75% gold and 14K white gold is 58.3% gold. Hence jewellery made from these metals have a slightly yellow colour. To enhance the whiteness, almost all white gold is plated with rhodium. Depending on the amount of wear and tear on your jewellery, over time the rhodium plating may wear off, revealing the original metal colour. Jewellery can be replated with rhodium to restore the whiteness, if needed.  Replating may need to be done annually,  but is quite affordable for a nominal fee of $150 Hong Kong.

Princely Platinum

Platinum is the hardest and most durable white metal. It is much denser and heavier than gold or silver.  It can take much more day-to-day abuse before needing to be repaired, whereas silver and white gold need more care, particularly if they are rhodium plated.

The stamp for platinum is 950 which means 950 parts out of 1000 or 95% pure. The other 5% alloy is either iridium or ruthenium – expensive materials in their own right. In other words, the metal is almost pure platinum unlike the other metals that have a greater proportion of alloys mixed to give them more durability.

It’s rarer than gold and silver and more expensive, but a platinum wedding ring will last forever.

Premium Palladium

If a platinum wedding ring is beyond your budget, consider buying a palladium wedding ring instead. In recent years, palladium has gained in popularity as a comparable, more budget conscious alternative to platinum. In terms of rarity and price, palladium rests between gold and platinum.

Palladium is softer than gold, but not as soft as silver. Like platinum, the metal of palladium will be displaced, rather than lost, when scratched. Palladium is much lighter in weight than platinum and will scratch and bend more easily. A plus for palladium is that it retains its original shine longer than platinum, although it will eventually acquire the same dull, matte finish over time. Like white gold and platinum, palladium can be refinished to regain its original lustre.

Yellow Metals

Yellow Gold Wedding Bands

Due to its softness and malleability, gold is rarely used in its pure 24 karat form when forging a jewellery piece. Malleability means the ability to hammer, stretch and pull metal into new shapes. Instead, it is alloyed with other metals for hardness and durability. When pure gold is combined with these metals, it takes on a variety of rich shades that have become desirable in their own right.

Classic Yellow Gold

The most popular shade of the precious metal, yellow gold is used to create a majority of the fine jewellery on the market today, especially engagement rings and wedding bands. It gets its warm, lustrous hue from the silver and copper alloys with which it’s mixed. Within the yellow gold family, there can be a marked difference in colour based on the mix of the alloys and resulting karat weight. An 18 karat yellow gold ring will be richer and more brilliant in colour than one measuring 14 karats. However, a higher karat gold will generally be softer.

Whatever ring you choose, it’s ideally for life. The above guide should get you started on making the best choice for your symbol of eternal love!

Dede Marconato Signature

Two tone wedding bands made at my bench in Sheung Wan

Dede Marconato is a goldsmith and a Graduate Gemologist from the prestigious Gemological Institute of America.

If you are interested in more information about designing custom wedding bands, please contact her at

Peridot: A Goddess’s Tears are August’s Gemstone

Peridot Earrings, Dede Marconato

From ancient Egypt to Hawaii’s beaches, peridot is a striking green gemstone with a fascinating history. Peer into peridot’s romantic story.

Evil spirits that plagued ancient Egyptians were kept at bay by a powerful charm: peridot. This magnificent green gemstone has been mined even since Biblical times, when it was known as chrysolite. In 1912, it became the official gemstone of August. To commemorate the gem’s history and power, Dede Marconato Contemporary Design has drawn on the Hawaiian legends of a fiery goddess to create “Pele’s Tears”.

Ancient Egypt
Peridot was a powerful element in the life of ancient Egyptians, and not just as jewellery. A very spiritual stone in Ancient Egypt, peridot drinks were especially popular among priests of the goddess Isis. Drinking crushed peridot was believed to bring them closer to nature, bring happiness, attract love and foster friendships.

Queen Cleopatra was described as adorned in emerald jewellery. Historians and gemologists have hotly debated whether her emeralds were, in fact, mostly peridots, given that both were mined in Egypt during her reign.

Ancient Rome
Imperial adoration wasn’t limited to the Pharaonic era. The ancient Romans were quite fond of the gemstone and coveted the brilliant green sparkle. They nicknamed the stone “Evening Emerald”. The Romans believed that peridot burned with an inner fire that would glow at night. In some ancient cultures miners searched for peridot during the early evening or at night when they said it was the easiest to find.

Ancient Hawaii
Halfway around the world, peridot crystals had a more mystical quality. It was once believed that the green peridot crystals found in volcanic ashes were the tears of Pele, the goddess of volcanoes, fire and lightning. When set in gold, this gem is said to protect the wearer from nightmares.

Today, the island of Oahu’s beaches consist of tiny grains of peridot. Although Hawaii’s volcanoes have produced some peridot large enough to be cut into gemstones, virtually all peridot sold in Hawaii today is from Arizona.

Contemporary Jewellery

Pele's Tear's Peridot EarringsThe spirit of the story, however, still inspires modern jewellers who feel for Pele’s tears. I have channeled my inner volcanic goddess, and designed a peridot collection called Pele’s Tears. While traveling in Burma, the perfect peridot specimens caught my eye. As a gemologist, I collect gems that tell a story and felt these gems spoke to me.

My story – Pele’s story – took the form of a beautiful pair of peridot earrings, 6.24 carats set in 18 karat gold with 0.24 carats of G colour diamonds. The force of the volcano can be felt in their striking and contemporary form. Their brilliance matches the summer sun, making them perfect for a summer combination – and perfect to be August’s birthstone.

16th Anniversary
If you are married do not forget that peridot is the anniversary gemstone for the 16th year of marriage. A beautiful ring, pendant or pair of earrings look stunning set in yellow gold. Harkening back to the mystique of ancient Egypt, the gems bring the wearer success, peace, good luck, and most importantly, helps his or her dreams to become true. They are a wonderful and heartfelt gift for a loved one.

The wellspring of the tears
Zabargard (St. John’s Island), Egypt produces some of the prized versions of the gem. The island was rediscovered about 100 years ago and small quantities of peridot are still produced there. Today gem quality peridot also comes from Arizona, Burma, China and Pakistan.

Caring for Your Peridot Jewellery
Like all gems, peridot must be treated with respect. Steam cleaning is not recommended as rapid or extreme temperature change can crack or break peridot. The best method for cleaning stones is to wash with warm soapy water, rinse and dry with a soft cloth.

Whether it is the tears of the goddess that move you, the connection to ancient queens and Pharoahs or simply its brilliance in a gold setting, peridot is a gemstone that is a vital addition to your summer collection.

Dede Marconato Signature

British Hallmarking – 700 Year Old Tradition

British Hallmarking, Dede Marconato

Precious metals are rarely used in their purest form and are usually alloyed with other metals to either enhance the beauty or wear-ability of the metal. It isn’t yet possible to detect an article’s precious metal content by sight or touch, but only through testing that requires damaging the piece in question, previously leaving consumers vulnerable to charlatans and malefactors. Thus, Hallmarking was introduced. Hallmarking is the world’s first known instance of consumer protection law, dating back to about 1300 AD. It is a quality control mark on jewellery made of precious metal. Countries having no precious metal control tend to suffer from undercarating.

In the UK, it is a legal requirement under the UK Hallmarking Act (1973) to hallmark articles containing precious metals if they are described as such. Sometimes known as an assay mark, the hallmark is applied after independent testing at an Assay Office.

Dede Marconato pieces can now be traced by the assay mark and have historical reference.

Dede Marconato Signature

Quality Assurance, Fairtrade and Ethical Mining

Lava Collection, Fairtrade Gold

Quality Assurance
Silver and gold are purchased from the United Kingdom ensuring quality of the metal.

Fairtrade Gold and Ethical Mining
Dede Marconato Contemporary Jewellery is pleased to be registered in Hong Kong with Fairtrade Gold. Fairtrade Gold is the world’s first independent ethical certification system for jewellery. Clients can now choose to use Fairtrade gold in commissions in Hong Kong.

Fairtrade Gold jewellery is more expensive than non-certified jewellery, but clients can be confident that the gold has been sourced in an ethical manner, miners are paid fare wages, and work in safe conditions. The Fairtrade premium allows miners to invest in social, environmental, and economic projects that benefit their communities. Physical traceability for Fairtrade gold is compulsory at all times.

Fairtrade and Fairmined certified gold is unique in offering the first transparent and traceable supply chain for gold. Certified gold is kept separate from non-certified gold during processing, refining, and manufacturing.

Dede Marconato Signature

Handmade vs Manufactured

Handmade Pieces by Dede Marconato

The art and craft of hand fabricating jewelry is an ancient one. In a truly hand-fabricated item, every element is formed, assembled, joined, and finished entirely by hand or with hand tools. Manufacturing, on the other hand (pun intended) often means the metal is never even touched by a factory worker until it is time to polish it.

Following the guidelines of the US Federal Trade Commission at Dede Marconato Contemporary Jewellery each piece is hand crafted by me using traditional techniques.

Handmaking each piece ensures that quality will never be compromised. Clients can be assured that when they wear a piece made by me, it has been crafted with meticulous care.

I conceptualize, design and make one off custom pieces as requested by the client.  My artisan collections are limited editions ensuring exclusivity of the design.

Dede Marconato Signature




Dede Marconato, Jewellery Designer, Hong Kong

Dede at her bench in Hong Kong

Dede Marconato is a goldsmith and a Graduate Gemologist from the prestigious Gemological Institute of America. She works exclusively from her jeweller’s bench in Sheung Wan, Hong Kong. If you are interested in more information about designing a unique custom piece, please contact her at

The Design Process

Dede Marconato Design Process

I am fortunate to have lived as an expatriate for over half my life and to have travelled extensively.  The visual senses are consistently provoked. When we travel, the accumulation of experience influences our perception.  For myself, this drives the direction of my designs. These experiences influence the beauty and versatility of each piece of jewellery art.

Each piece is an original creation designed to emphasize the natural beauty of the metal. Most pieces are conceptualised from elements in nature or architectur. Sometimes,  I am inspired by powerful women and their connections to gemstones, such as Pele, Goddess of Volcanoes.  My ideas, however abstract are enhanced by drawings and followed by development of structural and technical components before working with the metal.

Each piece is then crafted through traditional techniques, assembled, polished, and finished by hand. There are no shortcuts to exceptional jewellery. The commitment to perfection is an involved and labour intensive process, but wonderfully gratifying when the final piece evolves into a work of art.

Dede Marconato Signature



Dede Marconato, Jewellery Designer, Hong KongDede Marconato is a goldsmith and a Graduate Gemologist from the prestigious Gemological Institute of America. If you are interested in more information about designing a custom gift or jewellery, please contact her at