Posted February 20th 2016

Aluminium is a chemical element with the symbol AI and atomic number 13. It is the third most abundant element and the most abundant metal in the Earth’s crust, making up approximately 8% of it. It has an extremely low density and is highly resistant to corrosion making it a popular metal for many everyday objects. Its chief uses are in the aerospace industry, food & beverage packaging, window frames and many more.

Aluminium is a highly reactive metal and it can produce intense fires, which means it is rarely found in its pure form but combined with other metals. After its initial discovery it remained rare and was priced more highly than silver for several decades because of this.

The chief ore of aluminium is bauxite, names for the French town Les Baux where it was first discovered. Since then it has been found across the globe and today remains the world’s main source of aluminium. The primary mining areas are Australia, Brazil, China, India, Guinea, Indonesia, Jamaica, Russia and Suriname. Extracting aluminium from bauxite
A key benefit of aluminium is that, in theory, it is 100% recyclable without any loss of its natural qualities. In the last 50 years this has become increasingly important as recycling becomes a key part of society. Recycled aluminium is known as secondary aluminium, but it maintains all the same physical properties as the primary aluminium it was borne from.

Aluminium is the most widely used non-ferrous metal with global production reaching 31.9 million tonnes in 2005. It is almost always alloyed to improve its properties, with popular alloying agents being copper, zinc, magnesium, manganese and silicon. Aluminium is very light, with a density that is one third that of steel, yet extremely strong and unlike steel it does not become brittle in low temperatures.



Posted February 16th 2016

In today’s society, a ring is used to symbolise commitment, love and loyalty to one another. Usually made of a precious metal, which may or may not contain gemstones, there is a large amount of sentimentality behind rings that does not often apply to other pieces of jewellery. Everyone is familiar with the tradition of wearing rings, but how did this tradition develop?

The custom of giving and receiving rings as a token of love for one another dates back roughly 6000 years – although it is quite difficult to trace the exact history. Inhabitants of ancient Egypt wore finger rings, most famously the iconic scarab design, as did the ancient Greeks and Romans. The Romans had stringent rules about rings with different metals being used to symbolise different things. A gold ring, for example, could be worn for most occasions but would always be set aside for an iron ring if one was attending a funeral.

It is difficult to say for sure where the tradition of wedding rings came from, but there is a school of thought that believes the wedding ring is worn on the left hand ring finger because there was thought to be a vein in this finger known as ‘Vena Amoris’, or the vein of love. This vein was believed to be directly connected to the heart during Egyptian times and the ring placed on the finger represents eternal love – the circle being the symbol for eternity. As weddings have developed over time, the tradition of presenting your partner with a ring has remained.

Whilst Ancient Egyptians might have exchanged rings of braided hemp or reeds, todays modern brides are far more discerning. The most common materials used for rings are gold, silver and platinum, however, it is also possible for rings to made from palladium, white gold, rose gold, titanium, tungsten, zirconium, tungsten and steel, with each metal having unique properties. Palladium, for example, is popular due its white colour and resistance to tarnishing, as well as its affordability in comparison to something like platinum. Tungsten, on the other hand, is a darker grey and very resistant to tarnish, but cannot be re-sized.

Some cultures celebrate by giving additional rings to the traditional wedding ring. In India some cultures may use a toe ring for women, particularly if they are Hindu, and many cultures observe the tradition of giving eternity rings for milestone anniversaries.



Posted February 9th 2016

A wedding anniversary is the date of each year when your wedding took place. In today’s society these are traditionally marked by something which corresponds to the year – for example, your first wedding anniversary is marked by paper and several of the milestone years are marked by different metals. The origins of this can be traced back to Medieval Europe when husbands would present their wives with a silver wreath on their twenty-fifth anniversary, and a golden wreath on their fiftieth. Gold and silver are still used to mark these dates today.

Metals are often used to mark these dates and as well as gold and silver, anniversaries are also marked by iron, copper, bronze, tin, steel and platinum. A full list can be seen below.

1 – Paper
2 – Cotton
3 – Leather
4 – Flowers/Fruit
5 – Wood
6 – Sugar
7 – Wool/Copper
8 – Bronze/Pottery
9 – Willow/Pottery
10 – Tin
11 – Steel
12 – Silk/Linen
13 – Lace
14 – Ivory
15 – Crystal
20 – China
25 – Silver
30 – Pearl
35 – Coral
40 – Ruby
45 – Sapphire
50 – Gold
55 – Emerald
60 – Diamond
70 – Platinum

Some of the earlier anniversaries can vary depending on which country you are from and their specific traditions which is why some have more than one option. The significant dates such as 25, 50, 60 etc. always remain the same though. Before the 1930’s only the first anniversary and milestone years, such as 10, 15 etc, had a material to represent it, with the additions being made after this for a suggested material to mark each year. It was in 1937 that the American National Retail Jewellery Association issued a more comprehensive list than the existing one with materials to represent every year up until 15.

The representative material is often used as a guide for the couple to purchase gifts that will mark each year as it passes, with the focus often on sentimental value or practicality in the earlier years. It was common for friends and family to give gifts that were useful in the house, with the focus shifting more towards luxury gifts the longer the couple remained together.

Each material is chosen to represent something essential in making a good marriage. For example, tin, which marks the 10th anniversary, symbolises the flexibility of a good relationship, whereas paper, which marks the 1st anniversary, can be seen to represent the strength of a marriage obtained from its interlocking fibres.