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June 27, 2010


A reader recently asked about the marking "1/20 12K G.F." on a piece of jewellery. It occurred to me that others may be interested in the answer.

1/20 12K G.F.

What does 12K mean?

Solid, pure gold is 24 Karat. Any rating less than 24K means there is another type of metal mixed into it. Pure gold is a very soft metal. Mixing with other metals helps to strengthen it. Just remember, when talking about gold purity, 24K is the pure form of gold.

The lower the number of karats, the stronger it will be. So 10K gold is stronger than 14K gold, and 14K gold is stronger than 18K gold.

For example:
  • 24K has no additional metals, making it 100% pure gold.
  • 18K is 18 parts gold, and 6 parts of one or more additional metals, making it 75% gold.
  • 12K is 12 parts gold, and 12 parts of one or more additional metals, making it 50% gold.
The mixing of other metals with the gold is how gold variations came into existance, such as rose gold and white gold.

10 Karat is the minimum number of karats that can be marketed as Gold in the US. If you come across an item that is 8 karat, it will most like be of European origin. This may, in fact, help you to date a piece if you know when your ancestors migrated from Europe.

What does G.F. mean?

G.F. refers to the term Gold Filled. An item that is labelled gold-filled means that it has a layer of gold over the top of another non-precious base metal.

Gold-filled has been a long-accepted practice of producing quality jewellery that is much more hard-wearing, and cheaper, than equivalent articles of fine jewellery. The outer layer is gold, so it has the appearance of fine jewellery, but it has the additional strength of the base metal.

What does 1/20 12K G.F. mean?

A marking that says 1/20 12K G.F. means that the gold layer is 12K gold, and that the gold makes up at least 1/20th of the item's weight. Gold-filled is typically a thicker layer of gold than in gold-plated jewellery, meaning it will last better than gold-plated jewellery.

Assuming the same number of karats and the same mix of alloy metals, gold-filled jewellery has the same appearance as non-filled jewellery because the outer layer is exactly the same.

Gold Jewellery Online

When shopping for gold jewellery online, always look for a photograph of the gold markings. Sometimes they are hard to photograph. Sellers should always try to show a photograph of the gold markings as a form of proof to potential buyers.

Gold markings can be a little confusing at first, but once you start to learn a little about them they become less of a mystery.
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June 21, 2010


Bookmark this event in your diary so you don't miss it.
The Sydney Vintage Clothing, Jewellery & Textiles Show, held every April and October, is a massive gathering of all things Vintage. As well as the many sellers, there will also be presentations, lectures, demonstrations and entertainment. If vintage jewellery, watches, rings and accessories are your thing, you're sure to find something of interest. Vintage womens clothing, mens clothing, baby clothes, shoes, hairstyles - its all there!
All the elegance and style of Vintage fashion.
If you're really into it, pull your favourite vintage clothes from the wardrobe. Dress for the occasion and you could win a prize!
The Vintage Show is held at the Canterbury Racecourse, on 15-17 October 2010. A free shuttle bus will be running from Strathfield and Canterbury train stations.
For more information, check here: The Sydney Vintage Clothing, Jewellery & Textiles Show.
If you're planning a trip to Sydney, see if you can make it the same weekend as the Show.
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June 18, 2010


James May's Toy Stories
I recently had the pleasure of watching James May's Toy Stories. It's a fantastic journey through the various classic toys of our past.

It is an inspiration, and a credit to James, to see how the local communities come together to participate in his challenges. Young and old, male and female, experienced and novices. All want to be a part of it. And all want to see it through to the very end.
  • Episode 1 - AIRFIX - James constructs a full-size (scale 1:1) model Spitfire. Making full-sized pieces from fibreglass comes with its own set of challenges.

  • Episode 2 - PLASTICINE - Follow the Paradise In Plasticine entry into the 2009 Chelsea Flower Show. The Officials have never seen anything like it, and don't quite know what to make of it. James hopes to win a prize none-the-less.

  • Episode 3 - MECCANO - Follow the design and construction of a 23m (75ft) bridge in Liverpool. With the help of Architecture students and design & engineering consultants, this is a challenge like no other.

  • Episode 4 - SCALEXTRIC - A 4.4 km (2.75 mile) track along the old Brooklands Motor Racing Circuit. 400 volunteers help with this record-breaking challenge - a race between the residents of Brooklands and the "Scalextric Professionals".

  • Episode 5 - LEGO - A full-sized house, built using 3.3 million lego bricks. This challenge is not only to constuct a life-sized house, but also for James to spend the night in the house.

  • Episode 6 - HORNBY - James' model train layout sees a Hornby train set make its way along a 10 mile (16 km) stretch of track from Barnstaple to Bideford. The disused train site provides many obstacles to the modern model train track layout - roads, fences, water and vandals.
    Five trains set out from Barnstaple - James' own Flying Scotsman model, a passenger steam train, a passenger diesel train, a goods diesel train, and the prototype of Hornby's Hitachi Class 395 "Javelin" model. Only one of these trains makes it to Bideford.
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Have you seen Toy Stories? What did you think?

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June 14, 2010


Asenic Complexion Wafers - 1897

As much as I love "vintage", I am so glad I don't live in 1897.

Back in the day, you could buy Arsenic Wafers for a clear complexion.

The article reads:
These wafers are from the prescription of a famous French physician, and are perfectly harmless when used according to the directions on each box. They are an excellent remedy for rough and discolored skin. They clear the complexion and make the skin soft and smooth. They tone up the whole system and when used for a length of time will make thin persons plump and keep them so.

Clearly arsenic was not good for weight loss, but hey it gave you good skin!

Would you have tried it?

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June 5, 2010


Here's a bit of fun that came across my desk this week. Stick with it - it's worth the read.

A cowboy named Bud was overseeing his herd in a remote mountainous pasture in NSW (Australia) when suddenly a brand-new BMW advanced toward him out of a cloud of dust.

The driver, a young man in a Brioni suit, Gucci shoes, RayBan sunglasses and YSL tie, leaned out the window and asked the cowboy, "If I tell you exactly how many cows and calves you have in your herd, Will you give me a calf?"

Bud looks at the man, obviously a yuppie, then looks at his peacefully grazing herd and calmly answers, "Sure, Why not?"

The yuppie parks his car, whips out his Dell notebook computer, connects it to his Cingular RAZR V3 cell phone, and surfs to a NASApage on the Internet, where he calls up a GPS satellite to get an exact fix on his location which he then feeds to another NASA satellite that scans the area in an ultra-high-resolution photo. He opens the digital photo in Adobe Photoshop and exports it to an image processing facility in Hamburg , Germany.

Within seconds, he receives an email on his Palm Pilot that the image has been processed and the data stored. He then accesses an MS-SQL database through an ODBC connected Excel spreadsheet with email on his Blackberry and, after a few minutes, receives a response.

Finally, he prints out a full-color, 150-page report on his hi-tech, miniaturized HP LaserJet printer, turns to the cowboy and says, "You have exactly 1,586 cows and calves."

"That's right. Well, I guess you can take one of my calves," says Bud.

He watches the young man select one of the animals and looks on with amusement as the young man stuffs it into the trunk of his car.

Then Bud says to the young man, "Hey, if I can tell you exactly what your business is, will you give me back my calf?"

The young man thinks about it for a second and then says, "Okay, why not?"

"You're a senator in Kevin Rudd's Labour Government", says Bud..

"Wow! That's correct," says the yuppie, "but how did you guess that?"

"No guessing required." answered the cowboy. "You showed up here even though nobody called you; you want to get paid for an answer I already knew, to a question I never asked. You used millions of dollars worth of equipment trying to show me how much smarter than me you are; and you don't know a thing about how working people make a living - or about cows, for that matter. This is a herd of sheep."

"Now give me back my dog."

COMMENT HERE (please tell me you laughed!)