FAQs And Information
Here you'll find many of your questions answered, if not please get in touch
Niobium is a pure metal, not a precious metal but like titanium takes colouration well, in its raw form it is a grey and not very appealing - but once heat and electricity are applied to it in the process of anodization the surface will colour permanently (though this is a thin layer and will wear off eventually or if scratched persistently).
As this is a pure metal it is ideal for those with sensitive skin types, however due to the fact that it isn't very hard wearing (at least the surface colour) we usually use it only for decoration where will come into very little contact with anything else. That said, if you are really concerned, we can use it for ear-wires at your request.
Metal: Vermeil (layered)
Vermeil pronounced vur-may, is produced by powder coating sterling silver with carat gold. A base metal is never used here. It is sometimes called "gilded silver" and is made using a process of electrolysis (electricity and an acid bath) to attach the gold to the sterling silver. The gold in Vermeil needs to be at least 10 carat and at least 1.5micrometers thick. This is more hardwearing than electroplated items, but much less hardwearing than gold filled. We tend to use this for earrings only as a change and contrast, as the coating of gold could wear off in time due to its thinness
Metal: Rolled Gold/Gold Filled
Gold Filled - often called Rolled Gold (we use both these terms as many people will be familiar with one or the other)
Is made by fusing a layer of carat gold to a suitable support metal (or alloy) using equipment that carefully controls pressure, heat and time (this is NOT electroplating). The bond produced between the outer layer of gold and inner core of alloy is completely seamless. The gold layer has to be at least a 5th of the content (outer layer). We, as a standard use 14 carat 20% gold filled stock. The inner alloy will usually be made from jeweller’s brass. Like solid gold, it is tarnish resistant and hardwearing, it is also safe for those with sensitive skin and the gold layer will not peel or flake.
Although gold filled can be soldered, it cannot easily be forged, or fused together, thus creating limitations in its use. We tend to us it for chain woven pieces, or those that utilise wire in their construction where no direct heat is necessary. However, you will find a few instances where we have soldered rolled gold either for aesthetic reasons, or if the piece requires additional security.
Metal: Mokume Gane (alloy)
Is a Japanese metalworking procedure which produces a mixed-metal laminate with distinctive layered patterns, as well as that laminate effect. Mokume-gane translates closely to "wood grain metal" or "wood eye metal" and describes the way metal takes on the appearance of natural wood grain.
Several layers of differently coloured precious metals are layered together to form a sandwich of alloys called a "billet." This billet is then manipulated in such a way that a pattern resembling wood grain emerges over its surface. Numerous ways of working the billet of fused metal layers create diverse patterns. Once the metal has been rolled into a sheet or bar, several techniques are used to produce a range of effects.
Currently Firedrake Jewellery uses bought in sheet or billet of Argentium Silver/Sterling Silver and Copper which have been layered together to form the patterned mixed alloy sheets. It is usually backed with sterling or fine silver so that the copper is not likely to touch your skin.
Gold (carat) - 9ct is the lowest content solid gold alloy we will use for jewellery making. It is 37.5% gold alloyed with other metals - usually copper and silver. It is the most hard-wearing of all gold alloys and is ideal for rings and bracelets. It is usually safe for those with sensitive skin.
Note: Carat is the measure of gold content: 24 carat is pure gold, 9ct gold is 37.5% pure, 14ct gold is 58.5% pure and 18ct is 75% pure. 24 carat gold is unsuitable for most jewellery applications.
Another point to note is that some gold is alloyed with copper and nickel - the latter being strictly controlled by law due to its toxicity - we would never intentionally buy gold or silver that could potentially contain nickel, we check as best as we are able with our chosen suppliers to ensure this - as they are reputable and well known organisations we trust they have performed due diligence on the content of the metal they supply.
Metal: Argentium Silver
Argentium Silver 935 is 93.5% is a modern sterling silver alloy, containing 93.5% silver, in which the traditional alloy is modified by removing some of the copper and adding the metalloid germanium.
Argentium silver 960 is a high purity jewellery alloy that meets the hallmarking requirements for the U.K. Britannia standard. It is slightly more tarnish resistant than Sterling Silver (again due to the reduction of the copper content).
Metal: Sterling Silver
Sterling Silver is 92.5% silver, usually alloyed with copper to give it strength while preserving the ductility and appearance. This is the standard we will use for most "Silver" items. It is the most hard-wearing and will be used for structural items as well as finer detailed components. It can tarnish, however the finish can usually be restored. It will usually be safe for those with sensitive skin as the copper content is not toxic. (Unlike Nickel silver - which most certainly is!)
Metal: Britannia Silver
Britannia Silver 95.8% pure silver. It is the second fineness of silver available for jewellery making. It has in effect all the best qualities of Fine Silver and Sterling Silver. It is quite soft so will emboss easily, it has a beautiful high shine when polished and it is nearly as strong as sterling without the majority of the tarnishing issues as it has less copper content
Metal: Fine Silver
Fine Silver 99.9% pure silver. It is the highest fineness of silver available for jewellery making. Being pure it is very soft and can only be used for delicate and non-structural elements of a jewellery piece (i.e. for a pendant, or earring dangle, but not for the chain or ear wires). It is the most tarnish resistant the silver precious metal family. As a pure metal, it should be safe for those with sensitive skin
Jewellery is not a toy
Please remember that jewellery items are not toys and should never be given to small children or left in the way of the family pet.
We go to great pains to ensure our products are safe, have no sharp edges and are clean, however we cannot take any responsibility for loss, damage or harm should the item be misused, stolen, broken or swallowed.
Any transactions you make with us are treated in confidence between us and the relevant banks we (and you) are currently using. In our case we use Paypal, iZettle, WorldPay and Barclays Bank all of which conform to regulatory standards as set by the UK authorities.
Due to the nature of our business we may have obtained your contact details including but not limited to your name, address, email address and phone number (either mobile or landline). These are kept on password protected devices secured by standard anti-malware software. Backups are kept securely.
You are welcome at any time to ask us to remove any references of you from our records.
We will never share your information with a third party.
What "Handmade" means to us
Handmade/crafted - in the context of Fire-drake Jewellery means that all items unless otherwise stated have been formed from sheet/tube/wire metal by us.
One notable exception (currently and this may change) will be the rings that are used for the chain woven pieces, are sourced by us as rings then fashioned into a weave.
Most findings (clasps, fine neck chains, earring parts, metal beads, spacer beads etc.) are bought in to add to our pieces, if the clasp or ear-wire has been made by us - we will note this in the item description.
We do sometimes purchase pre-made cast items such as small charms which are used to add interest and definition to a piece. We ensure as much as possible that we have added value to the component and incorporated it in a larger piece of work. These items are always sourced from reputable companies who ensure the metal is as specified.
All beads and gemstones are also purchased finished to use in our designs
As every piece is handmade, each will be slightly different
We hope you are happy with your purchase, but if for any reason you are not, we encourage you to contact us before you attempt to return the item.
If you do need to return it to us, you will need to contact us first for a return address and the postage is your responsibility unless we have specifically indicated that we will bear the return cost.
All returns must be made within one month of your receipt of the item, if the item is faulty. At this point we would offer you a full refund or replacement.
If the item does not fit the intended recipient and requires alteration:
For example, you have supplied the size and we have made the item to that size in good faith, we will charge you for any alterations and you will be required to bear the transit costs.
If the item cannot be resized due to the nature of its construction, we will discuss this matter with you and hopefully come to a suitable resolution.
Postage, Packaging & Customs
Our standard rate for postage and packaging are listed in the cart selection once you've chosen the items you would like to buy. We use standard UK Royal Mail for UK and collection Courier services for the rest of the world, the costs have been summarised into groups in order to make shipping easier for you to select and for us to manage.
Each item will be gift boxed separately - unless you ask otherwise
We will post items anywhere in the world - so long as we are able to organise a courier to that location - and we will complete customs forms truthfully in summary as "hand-made fashion jewellery"
All items will be packaged securely
If you have purchased multiple items and they are packaged together and are to be delivered to the same address we will combine the delivery as listed
If you are unsure - please ask before you buy, we will find out the most expedient and safe delivery method for you to the best of our abilities.
If you have ordered a commission item or customization you do not need to go through our basket/merchant pages on this site.
We shall email you a quotation specifying the item, description and postage costs. Once you have accepted the quotation, we will email you an invoice which will be split into two payments: we ask for a 50% deposit prior to work commencing, this is only refundable at our discretion.
The balance would be due for payment once the item is ready for you and prior to delivery. We will usually email you with a picture of the item at this point so you can be sure it is exactly what you expect. Once the balance is paid we will ship the item out to you at the appropriate postal rate.
You are welcome to fully pay for the item upon receipt of your invoice if you prefer.
Commissioned items can be paid by BACS or PayPal (the details would be on your invoice).
Ordering From Us
We will endeavour to post out items to you in a timely fashion.
If the item(s) do not have a “made to order” note on the product listing or it is not otherwise noted in the product description, this means we have the item in stock and can ship to you within 4 working days.
If the item(s) do have a “made to order” sticker or we have noted a delivery schedule in the product description, then the delivery schedule will increase to approximately 3 working weeks from receipt of order to posting item(s), unless described otherwise in the product description.
We will always post your items as soon as possible, depending upon the complexity of the item and whether we need to source materials and/or gain a UK Hallmark.
If for any reason you item will be delayed, we will contact you and advise you of a revised date.
Some items by their very nature will take more time to make, if this is the case there will be a note made in the product description and we can discuss it with you when you order.
If an item is to be customised, we will advise you within 2 working days (from the date you send us the email), the turnaround time, cost and any other additional charges.
In order to describe and sell precious metal jewellery as such, we need by UK law to have the item hallmarked by our chosen Assay House (we use Birmingham, UK as this is the closest to us and by far the most famous). This applies to any item of jewellery that contains:
Above 7.78gm weight of Sterling, Britannia, Argentium or Fine Silver
Above 1gm weight of Gold - where the item is solid gold and not gold filled (rolled gold)*
We may occasionally decide to have lower weight items hallmarked - this is at our discretion, however you are at liberty to request us to have a lower weight item hallmarked. In this case the addition of a hallmark will incur a charge which will be advised to you before you pay for the item.
*Gold filled jewellery cannot be hallmarked as it contains a core of non-precious metal. That said, if there is also a high enough percentage of precious metal in the piece and it is identifiable from the gold filled it is possible that we may be able to gain a hallmark.