Q. Do you pack items carefully for shipment?

A. Welded Bliss wish to ensure the safe arrival of your order. Items are carefully wrapped inside a corrugated cardboard shell and contained within a Jiffy bubble wrap envelope.

Q. What payment methods do you take.

A. Our primary payment system is STRIPE (www.stripe.com) utilizing the latest compliance levels of security.

Cards accepted are Visa, Mastercard and American Express

We also accept PayPal payments. You do not require an account. You may use the PayPal system as a guest using the card of your choice to make payment. You may also sign up for a Paypal account if you wish.

If you wish to make payment by cheque or bank transfer, please follow the instructions in 'General Information'

Q. What postal methods do you use?

A.  Welded Bliss use Royal Mail. Packets will be dispatched by first class, first class recorded or Special Delivery in the UK

International orders will be dispatched by Airmail, or International Tracked / Signed For services, depending on destination.

Expedited (tracked, insured and quicker) services are Special Delivery in the UK.

International tracked and/or signed services are not considered expedited but are given priority handling.

These services are optional and are especially recommended for all jewellery purchases.

Q.  What is sterling silver?

A.  Sterling silver is the British standard for silver at 925 parts per 1000 (92.5% purity). This has become the usual standard throughout the world although inferior standards are still available, most commonly 800 standard. In Britain, 800 standard has only recently become legal through European harmonisation rules;  Welded bliss strongly advises you not to accept inferior quality silver and demand instead, traditional sterling quality silver.

Q. What is electroplated silver?

A. An item described as such is made from a base metal or alloy of varyious types eg copper or copper plated zinc alloy, which is then covered with a thin layer of silver. The thin layer of silver is applied in a bath of silver solution by electrolysis. The silver deposit is measured in microns and only quality items have anything other than a cursory covering. Items made in this way are sometimes described in various euphemistic ways eg 'silver tone' 'alpaca' 'tibetan silver' etc. Unless an item is solid silver of at least 80% purity and preferably a minimum of 92.5% it is not silver and should never be described as such.

Q. What is Sheffield Plate?

A. Sheffield Plate, (not Sheffield plated, which just means electroplated in Sheffield) is a historic term for a process developed in the 18th century. A Sandwich of silver is made by applying a sheet of solid silver on either side of a sheet of copper and then fusing the metals. The resulting sandwich of metal could then be worked in to finished pieces.

Q. What is a hallmark?

A.  Hallmarks are marks or stamps applied to a piece of precious metal, in the UK by one of only four registered Assay Offices or Halls (hence hallmark). These are, London, Birmingham, Sheffield and Edinburgh. Stamps or other marks which are not applied by the Assay Office are not hallmarks.

A hallmark consists of the sponsor or maker mark (the owner of the mark registered with the Assay Office), the metal type and purity mark eg 925 for sterling silver, and the Assay Office symbol eg for Birmingham, the Anchor mark. These are the three compulsory marks on a modern hallmark. Other marks may also be applied by the Assay Office, for example the common control mark (European harmonisation) and the date letter (an alphabetical character which signifies year of assaying). Assay marks are contained within a variable shield shape or cartouche.

Manufacturers are permitted to apply indicative marks, for example 925, but are not permitted to apply Assay Office hallmarks unless they have an Assay sub office on their premises.

Q.  Should all precious metal items have hallmarks

A.  No. Items under certain weights do not need to have a hallmark by law, but occasionally will have voluntarily. The exemption weights for gold are items less than 1 gram, and for silver items less than 7.85 grams. For new items other than these weight exemptions, precious metal items should have hallmarks.

Q. What is the difference between 18 and 9 carat gold?

A.  Gold is a pure metal but it is inherently soft, therefore to make it into practical jewellery it must usually be alloyed with other metals (notably silver) to make it harder or workable (malleable).  Pure gold is known as 24 carat or 1000 parts pure. 18 carat gold is a high purity gold alloy of 750 parts gold per 1000 (75%). 9 carat gold is a harder and less costly gold alloy of 375 parts per 1000 (37.5%), this is the minimum British standard. It is illegal to describe an article as gold if it falls below this standard.

Q.  I thought gold was yellow, so what is red or white gold?

A.  Pure gold, i.e. 24 carat is yellow, but as gold used in jewellery production is an alloy (see previous question) it is possible to change the colour balance by introducing certain metals. 'White' gold will contain proportions of palladium and silver, 'red' (rose) gold will contain a proportion of copper. The purer the carat of gold the less colour change is possible. Therefore 18 carat gold will always be deeper yellow than 9 carat gold.

Q.  What other colour metals are there?

A.  There are only two naturally coloured pure metals, gold and copper. All other metals are actually shades of grey, the lighter coloured metals tend to be grouped as white metals eg silver, platinum and palladium.

Q.  What is the meaning of carat?

A.  Apart from not being a vegetable. The word carat has two distinct meanings. In relation to gold, carat refers to the purity of the metal, e.g. 24 carat (pure gold) or 18 carat etc. In relation to gemstones especially diamonds, carat is a measurement of weight. One carat is 0.2 grammes; a carat can be split into 100 points, therefore a half carat diamond may be described as a 50 point stone, and this would weigh 0.1 grammes. Carat is often mistaken for size. It is usually possible to determine the approximate carat or weight of say, a good brilliant cut diamond by its diameter, however old or antique cut diamonds are much harder to guess by size alone.