Cover Kai-yin Lo

Founder of an eponymous jewellery line, Lo is a historian known for making antiques wearable and bringing back semi-precious stones to everyday wear. Here are her top tips for breaking into the jewellery market

Look To Semi-precious Stones

Although the stones are less stringent than say, sapphires or emeralds, it’s all about your personal preference—your wardrobe, your lifestyle and your budget. For Lo the benefits of semi-precious stones are tremendous. They include:

Affordability: Semiprecious stones don’t break the bank the way precious stones do, and they come in different shapes, sizes and colours.

Durability: Semi-precious stones may not be as hard as diamonds, but they are still very resistant to indentation.

Imperfection: With precious stones, the need for perfection is very high, but with semi-precious, the flaws add to their charm.

Easy aftercare: Semi-precious stones can be wiped clean with damp cloth and look good as new.

See also: Looking Sharp: 9 Standout Jewellery Pieces From Chopard

Watch Out For Fake Amber

Real amber will float in water. To test whether you have bought real or fake, place the stone in one litre of water and dissolve 140 grams of salt in it. If the stone is real, it will float. If it’s fake, it will sink to the bottom. Real amber is lighter than fake, if you have pieces that are the same dimensions. Real amber should ideally be clear but streaks and cloud formation inside wax amber are deemed interesting by some.

Know Your Saltwater Pearls From Your Freshwater Pearls 

Freshwater pearls have become affordable since the bulk of production is managed in China, where freshwater mussels produce roughly 30 pearls each. Freshwater pearls are a great place to start collecting. They are more durable and available in a variety of colours, including lilac and pink.

Saltwater pearls are produced by saltwater molluscs. They are rounder in shape and more valuable— the molluscs only produce one pearl each. The pearls weigh more and have a superior lustre to freshwater pearls.

See also: Tatler's Guide To Being Conversant

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