FAQs

Do we make custom order pieces? 

Yes.  Please contact westofthewaves@outlook.com to arrange.

Custom order pricing? 

Each piece is quoted individually & agreed prior to work commencing.  I also ask for full payment on custom orders prior to work starting.   

Do we bigger or smaller sizes?

Yes.  These would be considered as custom pieces due to the fact that I don't carry them as normal stock items. 

Is the silver real?

Yes.  All silver is 925 sterling silver.

Is the gold real?

Yes. 

What is 14k Gold Fill / 14k Rose Gold Fill?

Gold-filled material is 14 karat gold bonded over a base metal core.  This is not like a plating.  It is a thick layer of gold - thick enough to be hammered.  

Are the pearls real?

Yes.  The pearls we use are cultured.  This means that a live mollusc is "seeded" & the mollusc then coats the "seed" with nacre in a natural process. 

What is the difference between the pricing of the pearls?

Quality.  To simplify in order of quality / price we use freshwater pearls, Edison pearls and Tahitian pearls.  Edison pearls are a new technology pearl (described below) and a far glossier than a standard freshwater pearl.  Tahitian pearls are our highest quality pearl and therefore attract a much higher price. 

How thick is 12 & 14 gauge wire? 

12 gauge wire is 2.06mm thick.  14 gauge wire is 1.63mm thick. 

Are the pearls fixed in place on the bangle? 

No - the pearls are drilled and threaded onto the bangles.  They are free to move around the bangle. 

Are the accessories able to be removed from the bangle? 

No - the accessories are drilled and threaded onto the bangles.  They are not able to be removed from the bangle. 

Are the bangles solid? 

Yes - all bangles are made from solid wire.  

Can I wear my bangles to the beach? 

Of course jewellery stays new looking longer if you don't often expose it to certain elements that can wear on it however, many pieces in my shop are beach/water friendly.  Some bangles have certain accessories on them that might not stand up as well over time.  I would not suggest any items be worn in swimming pools because of the chlorine.  If you do happen to wear your jewellery in a pool you should rinse it off when you get home and put it somewhere to dry thoroughly.  If you have specific questions feel free to contact me.   

Sea Glass - What is it? 

All of our sea glass is genuine & was found on the beaches of the Hawaiian Islands. 

Naturally produced / genuine sea glass begins as pieces of glass from broken bottles, broken tableware or even shipwrecks.  The broken glass is then rolled and tumbled in the ocean for years until all of the edges are rounded & the slickness of the glass is worn to a frosted appearance.

The colour of sea glass is determined by its original source.  White sea glass is reasonably common whilst turquoise, teal, cobalt & cornflower blue are among the rarest colours of sea glass found.

 Cultured sea glass is recycled broken glass tumbled and made to look like sea glass or beach glass.

The source of the sea glass used on our bangles is always disclosed in the product details.

Natural vs Cultured Pearls

Natural or wild pearls are formed without the interference of humans, while pearl farmers grow cultured pearls using a technique called ‘nucleation’.

Nucleation starts with inserting a foreign object, a nucleus, into the mollusc.  This process triggers the mollusc to cover the nucleus with nacre until a pearl is formed.  The nucleus can either be a bead or a piece of mantle tissue from another shell.

Contrary to what many people think, most pearls on the market today, whether saltwater or freshwater, are cultivated, not naturally formed.

Generally, the longer the growing period for a given pearl, the better the formed nacre is in terms of quality.

"Edison Pearl" - The Name 

The Edison pearl is named in homage to Thomas Edison.

He famously said “There are two things which couldn’t be made at my laboratory – diamonds & pearls”.

What are Edison Pearls  

Edison pearls are the brainchild of brother and sister Weijian Zhan and Weiyu Zhan.  Their family has over 40 years’ experience in pearl farming.

They have cultivated a new species of giant freshwater pearls with exotic colours & saltwater pearl quality.

Most freshwater pearls are nucleated by tissue, but Edison cultured pearls are nucleated with beads in exactly the same way as saltwater pearls.

The beads are implanted into molluscs, selected through genetic research, with a special technique – a secret which is guarded closely.

Only one pearl is cultured in each mollusc, allowing a much larger sized pearl to grow inside the shell.

Edison pearls are of high quality and have a brilliant bright lustre that can be compared to that of high-end saltwater pearls such as Tahitian or South Sea pearls.  The highest-grade Edison pearls are perfectly round.  Their sizes vary but they can grow to almost ¾ of an inch.

Freshwater vs Saltwater Pearls: Lustre & Nacre

Interestingly, Saltwater pearls have a thinner nacre coating, ranging from 0.5mm to 6mm while freshwater pearls, are made almost entirely of nacre.

Because the nacre of a freshwater pearl is thicker & differs in composition from that of saltwater pearls.  The freshwater pearls are less lustrous and not as glossy.  However, in recent years, there have been improvements in farming techniques and now there are freshwater pearls whose lustre is comparable to that of saltwater ones (ie. the Edison pearl).

However, since the nacre layer of freshwater pearls is thicker, they are more durable than saltwater one, which are more vulnerable to wear and also more prone to chipping.

Saltwater pearls, on the other hand, are more lustrous and generally have a rounder shape.

As you can see, when choosing between these two pearl varieties you need to weigh appearance against durability and decide what trade off you are more comfortable with.

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