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Our “Kay”

It is with great sadness that we announce the passing away of our founder Kay Derriman at the age of 94 on the 15th March 2016. I first met Kay when I started working for her daughter Nicky at Kays Antiques in 2001. She was most welcoming and very accommodating to the millions of questions that I asked of her at the time. I was also very lucky to be under the guidance of her late husband Stanley Derriman who, with Kay, took me to my very first auction at Ashbey’s Galleries in the early months of 2001. It was this infectious generosity of theirs – sharing their knowledge and love of antiques – that got me completely addicted to this world of beauty. Kay was a very warm and bubbly personality and I personally had the honour of listening to stories about her fascinating life – stories about a bygone era of life in the war as one of the few female flight instructors to train young pilots to fly on simulators in Vereeniging before sending them back to Europe to fight on the front lines. This is where she met the love of her life Stanley where they married in May 1945.
She also thrilled me with stories of her early days in the antiques trade, being one of the first female dealers in Cape Town at the time. Also of her buying trips to the UK in the 60’s when it took 2 days to fly there on the old Trek Airways! Oh how times have changed!
Kay taught me so much over the years from how to string pearls to how to recognise the beauty in objects be they valuable or not, but most importantly, she taught me to respect and preserve the beauty of the past and for this I will always be forever grateful.
On behalf of the staff of Kay’s Antiques we would like to give our sincere condolences to the Smit and Derriman families.
May her dear soul rest in peace.

David Stockenstroom
Manager/Buyer

Diamonds by David Stockenstroom

WHAT IS A DIAMOND WHERE ARE THEY FOUND.

The word diamond is derived from the Greek word Adamas which means unquonquerable. There is nothing on this planet that is comparable to its hardness. It is 140 times more resistant to cutting than corundum (ruby or sapphire) which is the next hardest stone on the Mohs scale of hardness. It would seem that this stone is very special indeed yet its chemical composition is pure carbon ie. coal. Diamonds were formed millions of years ago under extreme pressure and heat. Mostly found in extinct volcanic formations where the pipe of the volcano is usually filled with a rock type called Kimberlite which is rich  in diamond crystal. In ancient times most diamonds were found in alluvial deposits, which is above ground but with more technology underground diamonds were mined. Also rivers were a great source of diamond as they usually originated from a source close to an extinct volcano were with years of erosion caused many to dislodge and travel downstream. Many diamond were found this way in earlier times. The largest exporter of diamonds of the ancient world was India. Only to be surpassed by Brazil in the 1800s and then by South Africa at the turn of the last century.   Today they are found all over the world in most parts of central and sub Saharan Africa to Russia, the United States,Canada, South America and even Australia.

WHAT MAKES A DIAMOND GOOD OR BAD?

About 80% of all diamonds mined are used in industry. From the manufacture of cars to surgical and dental instruments. Only 20% of all diamonds mined are considered gem quality. The first way to assess a gem quality diamond is by looking at what is commonly known as the 4 C’s this is an international grading standard using a X10 jewellers loupe. they are:

COLOUR

Most gem quality diamonds are found in the white to yellow colour spectrum. Although diamonds do occur in a variety of colours with are known as natural fancys, these are extremely rare and are not classified in the same way as most commercial stones. The diamond colour scale works with letters of the alphabet starting at colour D and ending in Z. colour D is the most desirable as it is the whitest of colours  with value going down the closer one gets to Z. very rarely do we see Diamonds used in jewellery beyond colour N as anything over this colour is not at all popular with the market so the value of these stones are not very high. To determine the colour grading of a diamond a polished or rough stone is placed in a light box and a set of “master stones” are used to compare the colour. The master stones are normally synthetic stones of varying colour from D to H. the grader then basis his/ her colour judgement by comparing the diamond to the colour spectrum on the stones in the box. As one can tell this process is not scientific but with skill and years of training it becomes second nature to most graders. Depending on the colour the closer to D the more valuable the diamond is. On the extreme side to this is the valuing of Natural fancy diamonds which are far more rarer than commercial white stones. So what this means is that a diamond of the same carat weight classified a colour D versus a diamond of the same size certified as a natural fancy yellow will be worth less money than the natural fancy yellow because of the colour stones rarerity. Colour diamonds also vary in prices from each other depending on fashion and also rarity. Pink diamonds today are considered to be the most expensive fancy colour on the market with the highest price paid at Christies New York for a pink diamond was $83 million just over 1.1billion rand in our money for 59.6 carats.

CLARITY

This refers to the diamonds degree of perfection. When louping a diamond through a X10 magnification a grader will assess the stone to see if there are any inclusions in the stone or on the surface. This grading is a little bit more accurate that colour grading as the formula is pretty standard where colour is sometimes if not most times a matter of opinion. If there are no inclutions visible with the naked eye through a X10 magnification loupe inside or on the surface of the stone it is considered flawless. If there are minor surface imperfections (which in most cases can be removed by polishing) the stone is classified as internally flawless. The scale moves all the way down I1-3. See chart provided. An inclusion is a natural spot which may be carbon or tiny bubbles which are called feathers. Sometimes they are also cleavage cracks  called feathers. Marks on the surface of the stone are also called inclusions, but these can be mostly polished out. The less inclusions the stone has the more perfect it is and therefore the more valuable the diamond is.

CUT

Diamonds are cut in a variety of shapes. The most popular being the round brilliant cut. The skill required by a diamond cutter is a combination of mathematics and artistry. In the old days and sometimes even now for larger stones the diamond is cut by hand using a cuyying wheel and diamond powder which slowly erodes the crystal until a facet is formed at the precise angle the cutter is trying to achieve this is done by hand until all 58 facets are polished creating the modern brilliant cut. Most antiques jewellery containing diamond are what we call old European cuts which have fewer facets than modern brilliant cuts. There are also rose cuts  and eight cuts among many but these are the cuts that we mainly find in antique settings. This is also how we can tell if a piece is old or modern. See attachment of different cuts.

CARAT

This is the weight of the stone. In the ancient days they used the seeds of a carob tree as a measuring unit as the seeds are quite uniform in weight, hence the name carat. Today a more international standard of measurement is used. 1 ounce is equal to 142 carats. That is 1 carat is equal to 0.2grams. the carat is divided into 100 points therefore a half a carat is 50 points or 0.50ct.

THE BEST DIAMONDS?

Well as by now you can tell the best diamond would be a perfectly cut, flawless, colour D with a large caratage! The wonderful thing about a diamonds size and value is that the differences can be quite astronomical for example a 1 carat colour D FL perfectly cut could sell for R100 000 a 2 carat single stone colour D FL perfectly cut could sell for R350 000. This is because the larger the stone the rarer. It takes between 200-250 tons of rock to sort through in order to find 1 carat of diamonds. That equates to one quarter of a million kilograms of dirt to find 0.2g of diamonds!

Of course due to its rarerity diamonds have been copied and faked for centuries. Here are some of the stones that are used to simulate it please note that some of these are synthetic and not natural.

Paste: this is a high density lead glass that was the most common synthetic used to simulate diamonds. It was used for centuries and is still used in the manufacture of costume jewellery.

Synthetic spinel and synthetic sapphire: these are lab grown stones and are colourless and also used to simulate diamonds.

White topaz, rock crystal and zircon were also used to simulate diamonds

Moissanite: this is a synthetic stone that is closest in composition to diamond some diamond testers also can’t distinguish between real diamonds and moissanite. These are very rare on the market because they cost a lot to manufacture but a trained professional can easily tell the difference by using a microscope or refractive index test.

Diamonds are also colour enhanced by a process called irradiation (heat treatment). A diamond lab can easily detect if a diamond has been heat treated for colour and these stones are not as valuable as their natural counter part.

How do you tell a real diamond from a fake?

We typically use a diamond tester but with years of experience one can generally tell through a loupe. This is not something that I would encourage a novice to do rather take it to the experts!

 

The Story of the Potato Ring

We have recently been lucky enough to acquire a piece that many people may have difficulty identifying – An Irish Potato Ring.

This ring served a simple function – to hold baked potatoes. The ring, which is open on the bottom, would be placed on a large round plate and then filled with potatoes which could be removed with tongs. Alternatively, a round dish holding the potatoes would be placed within the ring, thus protecting the table from the heat of the dish.

In more modern times, a silver bowl was made to fit into the ring so the piece could be used as a centrepiece holding flowers.

Though invented in London in the early 18th century, it was in Ireland that they developed into desirable items of beauty.

What makes these pieces even more sought after as collector’s items, is that they were used by the elite in the time of the Great Irish Famine (1845-1952). So not only are they extremely rare, but they signify the diverse living standard of the people of Ireland during the period.

AS11463 (2) AS11463 (3)

An Easter Story: The Faberge Egg

Faberge eggsThe Fabergé egg was a jeweled egg made by the House of Fabergé from 1885 to 1917. Most were miniature eggs that were popular gifts at Easter. They were worn on a neck chain either singly or in groups.

The eggs are made of precious metals or hard stones decorated with combinations of enamel and gem stones. The Fabergé egg has become a symbol of luxury, and the eggs are regarded as masterpieces of the jeweler’s art.

The first Fabergé egg was crafted for Tsar Alexander III, who decided to give his wife, the Empress Maria Fedorovna, an Easter Egg in 1885. The Empress was so delighted by this gift that Alexander appointed Fabergé a ‘goldsmith by special appointment to the Imperial Crown’. He commissioned another egg the following year.

After that, Peter Carl Fabergé, who headed the House, was given complete freedom for future Imperial Easter Eggs, as from this date their designs become more elaborate. According to the Fabergé family tradition, not even the Tsar knew what form they would take: the only requirement was that each one should contain a surprise.

Following the death of Alexander III on November 1, 1894, his son presented a Fabergé egg to both his wife and to his mother.

At Kay’s Antiques, we stock a range of Faberge-style enamel pendants with marcasite set in sterling silver. These make great gifts for Easter, or any other occasion, as they are unique, affordable and elegant. And unlike chocolate, don’t add any weight to the hips 🙂

Christmas Gifts for R250 and Less

We know that every year money gets a little bit tighter and everything seems to be getting a little more expensive. So, this year we would like to give you some gift ideas for R250 and less. These pieces of jewellery are classic, timeless and are suitable for any age group. They are all made from the highest quality marcasite and gemstones and are set in Sterling Silver. So, whether you are looking for stocking fillers, teacher’s presents or a gift for that relative who has everything, take a look at our selection and hopefully you will be inspired to pop into our store to view the full range. There are loads more products for every taste, style and budget.

How To Avoid Disappointment This Festive Season

  •  Shop early
  • Remember that certain items do sell out quickly
  • Bear in mind that all repairs will take a minimum of 3 weeks over December
  • Our stone-setters and rhodium-platers close for a month, re-opening mid-January
  • Remember the shopping centres are at their busiest from about 10am-4pm
  • Try get a lift to the shopping centres to avoid busy parking lots
  • All items bought as gifts will have an exchange card attached. If you would like to exchange a gift please remember that you need to bring the exchange card back with you
  • The exchange card states that we will allow a 2 week exchange from the specified date. If you are away and cannot get back within the specified period, please give us a call (021 671 8998)
  • Festive Trading Hours are as follows:

10-23 Dec: 9am – 8:45pm

24 Dec: 9am – 6:45pm

25 Dec: CLOSED

1 Jan: CLOSED

NB:         Please remember that our store closes 15min before the rest of centre to allow us time to pack our stock away

 

  • And most importantly…enjoy the holiday, time with family and festivities

MERRY CHRISTMAS!!

MOVING ON UP from THE EIGHTIES….

MOVING ON UP from THE EIGHTIES….

What is it about the Eighties that so many people are stuck there?  So I am a student of the Eighties and if it is for the music (but even I am getting over that…) then I could understand it, but let’s move on from that way of thinking where marketing (a buzzword in itself then) was limited to either the age-old medium of paper or still-quite-young medium of television.  Nowadays consumers consider both of these to be one-dimensional in that they take the form of the seller talking TO the customer and get treated like an interruption or “white noise”.  Whilst I have not been guilty of still believing that these forms of advertising actually work, I have been guilty of just sitting back and resting on the laurels of good ol’ word-of-mouth advertising.

 

WHOSE FAULT IS IT?

Everyone from my teenage kids to younger colleagues at work has been going on about Social Media and what amazing things it can do for your business, but a couple of us older, non-“techies “have failed  to understand – or maybe have it explained properly to us – the HOW part of this process.  I went to a presentation by a guy called Mark Sham, a real Joburger – but hey, that’s not his fault! – who explained how social media, by giving your voice a platform/microphone, allows one to engage in a conversation, share experiences and ultimately build relationships with your customers – making big companies appear small and small companies appear big.  The thing that is Mark Sham’s fault is inspiring me enough to overcome my indifference to social media and to unleash my voice out there on all of you.

 

…AND SO IT STARTS

Our mandate was to tell you stories about us – how Kay’s Antiques started, how and why our stock offering has evolved over the years, interesting back-end stories in our everyday work lives…and anything else you would like to know!  But you are going to have to wait until next week for my first instalment as it is going to take me all weekend to learn from my kids how to do all this on Facebook – yes, this was typed on Microsoft Word…!  Let me know what you think?

CatchMe@Kays

 

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Forecasting Bridal Trends 2015

 THE ENGAGMENT RING:When it comes to engagement rings, trends are branching out. We are seeing colour stones being chosen instead of the classic white diamond. Gemstones such as sapphires, rubies, emeralds & topaz are becoming the focal point of the engagement ring.

THE ROMANTIC BRIDE:

A traditional white dress is accompanied with touches of champagne, gold and pink. White, yellow, rose-gold and silver are the metals used in necklaces, bracelets, earrings, brooches & tiaras to help complete the romantic style.

THE DOWN-TO-EARTH BRIDE:

Reflecting nature’s own colour palette, gemstones range from peachy tones to pale pinks and greens to watery or dark blues. This theme draws inspiration from the outdoors and reflects the beauty of nature.

THE URBAN MINIMALIST BRIDE:

For this bride, black is the new white. Gemstones portray monochrome black and white effects and vibrant colours to brighten up the look, while designs remain simplistic and modern.

Blue diamond unearthed in South Africa among largest ever

122.5 carat stone retrieved from the Cullinan mine could achieve record price

The value of a 122.5 carat blue diamond retrieved from the Cullinan mine near Pretoria could exceed the world record figure of $35.3 million (€26 million) paid for a 507 carat white diamond,  also recovered there. Pictured is a similar cut diamond  weighing 10.48 carats sold at auction in 2008. Photograph: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP/Getty Images

Fri, Jun 13, 2014

Miners in South Africa have unearthed a diamond thought to be one of the largest ever found of its variety.

The 122.5 carat blue diamond was retrieved from the Cullinan mine near Pretoria. The mine is owned by British-based company Petra Diamonds Ltd., and is the latest in an illustrious list of discoveries throughout its history.

The mine first shot to international attention in 1905 after it produced the storied 3,000 carat Cullinan Diamond, which was subsequently cut into two gems that are now held in the Crown Jewels collection in the Tower of London.

Although far from the largest diamond that has come from Cullinan, it is estimated that the value of this latest discovery could well outstrip the world record figure of $35.3 million (€26 million) paid for a 507 carat white diamond which was also recovered there.

It has been a lucrative year so far for mineowners Petra, after another 29.6 carat blue diamond found in Cullinan sold for $25 million (€18.5 million) in February. Its shares have risen 7 per cent since its latest major retrieval was announced, and company chief executive Johan Dippenaar believes it to be an extremely important find.

“This sale result affirms this stone as one of the most important blue diamonds ever recovered. An additional allure is the diamond’s heritage from the Cullinan mine in South Africa, which is well known as the source of many of the world’s most spectacular diamonds and is the world’s most important source of very rare blue diamonds,” he said.

www.irishtimes.com

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