FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Frequently Asked Questions About Gold Fingerprint Jewellery

 

A little help with some of the things we are asked all the time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

HOW IS "FOUNDRY CAST" JEWELLERY MADE ?

At Sophia Alexander, we do not use fired metal clays to produce any of our jewellery or keepsakes.

Our team of expert casters, engravers and stone setters use traditional jewellery techniques to ensure our clients worldwide receive the very best, premium heirloom quality pieces that will truly last a lifetime.

We hand carve each pendant and charm using premium jewellers wax and create a master mould. Each piece is then precision cast at our casting house in London’s Hatton Garden.

Molten silver and gold is poured into the mould, leaving a pure, solid “high street quality” piece of jewellery.

We hand finish, polish, engrave and stone set. Each piece is hallmarked to verify it’s quality and purity.

 

HOW IS THIS DIFFERENT FROM JEWELLERY MADE FROM METAL CLAY ?

Metal clays are made up of very fine particles of precious metals combined with an organic binder and water.

It can be used like any other clay to make into pieces of jewellery.

It is dried out and fired in a kiln, burning away the binder & leaving the remaining metal.

 

WHAT PRECIOUS METALS CAN I CHOOSE FROM ?

At Sophia Alexander, we create beautiful heirlooms from the finest precious metals to ensure the very best for our clients worldwide.

We only work in solid cast gold, argentium silver and sterling silver, using the ancient , traditional art of lost wax casting.

Standard items are available in sterling silver, argentium silver, 9ct yellow, white and rose gold and 18ct yellow, white and rose gold.

We also offer some types of fingerprint jewellery, including our fingerprint wedding and commitment rings in platinum, palladium and titanium.

Special order metals can be considered on request.  Please just ask.  

 

WHY WILL MY ORDER TAKE 6 - 8 WEEKS ?

Every fingerprint pendant and charm is created using traditional techniques of carving, casting, engraving, stone setting, polishing and hallmarking.

At each stage, your pendant & charm is completed by the relevant expert.  This is a lengthy process and it is not possible for us to “speed it up”  or to provide an express service when producing these quality pieces.

We believe that everything we make for our clients is worth the wait. We aim to have all pieces complete within 6-8 weeks, unless something completely unexpected occurs.

 

WHAT HAPPENS IF I HAVE LEFT IT TOO LATE TO ORDER A SPECIAL GIFT ?

All Sophia Alexander fingerprint, hand print and footprint kits can be gift wrapped at your request.  

You can also purchase gift certificates in £5, £10, £20, £50 & £100 denominations.

 

WILL MY PIECE OF FINGERPRINT JEWELLERY LOOK EXACTLY THE SAME AS THOSE PICTURED ON THE SOPHIA ALEXANDER WEBSITE ?

Items purchased will not be compete carbon copies of those shown on the website or in other company literature / marketing materials.

Jewellery is hand made and is completely individual for every client.  We provide you with approximate product colours, dimensions and weights. However, variations in size and the surface appearance of silver & gold may occur and should be expected.

We provide figures as guidance only.

Photographs of jewellery may not be displayed at their actual size and different computer monitors may alter the perceived sizes of products and colours of the precious metals.

Pendants & charms are made to accommodate fingerprints of different shapes and sizes; text in different fonts and lengths.

Where gemstones, semi-precious stones and pearls are incorporated into jewellery, these may also vary in colour, size and shape.

This will all alter the look of the final piece. The quality of the fingerprint taken will also add to this.  

If we do not feel that the fingerprint submitted is suitable, we will inform you immediately.

This means that pieces will inevitably vary slightly from the photographed images seen on www.sophia-alexander.com

 

IS IT POSSIBLE TO ADD MORE THAN ONE PERSON'S FINGERPRINTS TO A PIECE OF JEWELLERY ?

Designs that are large enough for more than one print can have prints added from more than one person.

The only extra charge is for the number of additional fingerprint, hand print ore footprint kits required.

 

IS IT POSSIBLE TO BUY A DOUBLE - SIDED FINGERPRINT CHARM OR NECKLACE ?

We do not currently offer double-sided fingerprint charms or necklaces, as we would have to essentially "join" two flat pieces of fingerprint jewellery together which presents a number or problems.

Each flat fingerprint charm or necklace is approximately 2mm thick, which would make a double-sided item a minimum of 4mm thick.

Most prints are very deep set into the silver or gold and some impressions tend to be slightly visible from the back, making the surface uneven.  Without a completely flat surface, joining two items together would not be possible.

 

IS IT ALWAYS POSSIBLE TO ENGRAVE ONTO THE BACK OF A FINGERPRINT CHARM OR NECKLACE ?

We can engrave onto the reverse of many fingerprint charms and necklaces, but if a fingerprint is particularly deep-set, it might not be possible to engrave directly behind it as the surface will be uneven.

This can limit the amount of text that can be engraved.  We will always advise you prior to any engraving taking place.

 

DO I NEED TO COME TO THE STUDIO ?

There is no need to come and visit us at the studio.  

We are a working jewellery studio, full of tools, equipment & chemicals, so it is not the safest place for members of the public!

When you place your order, we will send you out an impression kit for you to take your prints.  We use the same technique when we take clients prints at trade shows.

 

HOW WILL YOU TAKE MY FINGERPRINTS, HAND PRINTS OR FOOTPRINTS ?

We supply 3 different impression kits, depending on whether you would like to order cast fingerprint jewellery, hand print & footprint jewellery, or engraved fingerprint jewellery.

Each kit is simple to use and contains an informative instruction booklet with hints, tips and contact information (just in case you need some additional advice).

 

WHAT IS THE FINGERPRINT IMPRESSION PUTTY ?

Fingerprint impression putty is a two-part silicone (a blue part & a white part) that is quickly mixed together in order to take a fingerprint.

The finger is lightly, but firmly pressed  onto the surface of the mixed putty.  It then quickly sets to produce a permanent mould of your fingerprint.

It is completely skin safe  and is suitable for taking the fingerprints of even very young infants.

Although it sets hard, it could be damaged if you were rough with it.  You should always ensure it is fully set before touching it.

 

WHAT IS THE BEST AGE TO TAKE A BABIES FINGERPRINT ?

We do not recommend fingerprinting infants below the age of 1 year,  as before this, we find that their prints have not fully developed - Instead you will see a lovely little dimple, but no detail.

Some infants have amazing prints at a much younger age, whereas with some, their print is still not wonderfully clear by 18 months or more.

If, when you submit your prints we find that this is the case, we can simply try again at a later date for no additional charge.  

 

WHAT WOULD YOU SUGGEST FOR BABIES AND YOUNG CHILDREN WITH UNDEFINED FINGERPRINTS ?

We are able to make hand print & footprint jewellery for people of all ages, including babies from birth.

Hand prints and footprints of all sizes can be miniaturised to the perfect size to fit onto a pendant or charm.

 

IS THERE AN UPPER AGE LIMIT FOR FINGERPRINT JEWELLERY ?

Although there is no upper age limit for fingerprint, a persons skin elasticity does decrease with age and fingerprint ridges can become less prominent, leading to prints looking smeared and with poor detail.

This can be particularly pronounced in elderly people.

This can also occur in people working in occupations where there is a lot of wear on their hands, and in people with certain medical conditions.  We recommend that you submit you prints so that we can test how well they will translate onto silver or gold.

 

WHAT HAPPENS IF MY FINGERPRINT IMPRESSIONS ARE NOT VERY GOOD ?

At Sophia Alexander, we test all fingerprint impressions prior to adding to a piece of jewellery.
We would never use a fingerprint, hand print or footprint impression that we do not consider detailed enough to add to precious metal.

We highly recommend if printing a child, that you wait until they are in a deep sleep, to avoid wiggling that will spoil the fingerprint.

 

WHAT ARE THE INKLESS HAND PRINT AND FOOTPRINT WIPES ?

Inkless hand print and footprint kits are used in most hospitals in the USA to safely identify newborn babies and their mothers.  

It is a completely safe, mess free and non-toxic way to take incredibly detailed hand and footprints.  

Carefully open the sachet containing the inkless wipe and wipe over the entire surface of the hand or foot to be printed.

The wipe will feel dry to the touch, but is impregnated with skin safe printing solution.

Gently but firmly press the hand or foot  onto the specially coated paper provided and a dark print will immediately appear, while the the hand or foot itself  remains dry and clean.

 

CAN YOU USE EXISTING FINGERPRINT, HAND PRINT OR FOOTPRINT IMPRESSIONS ?

If you have an existing silicone fingerprint impression from an older piece of jewellery, you can submit it for us to test the print.

Often, the prints are absolutely fine & have kept well.  Sometimes, they may have become damaged and a new impression will need to be taken.  We aim to test all fingerprints within 24 hours of receiving them in the studio.

Existing hand prints and footprints taken in paint, or in other ways are usually fine as long as the impression taken is clear and defined.

We will let you know immediately if the impression is unsuitable.

 

WILL YOU RETURN MY FINGERPRINT, HAND PRINT OR FOOTPRINT IMPRESSIONS ?

We will return all fingerprint, hand print and footprint impressions to clients who would like them.

 

WILL YOU STORE MY FINGERPRINT, HAND PRINT OR FOOTPRINT IMPRESSIONS ?

All fingerprint, hand print and footprint impressions will be kept for a maximum of 12 months.  

After this point, you will be contacted to see if you would like us to return them.  Unfortunately, we are unable to keep impressions on an indefinite basis.

 

IS THE INK USED FOR ENGRAVED FINGERPRINT JEWELLERY MESSY ?

Our polyester film ink print kits are a simple & easy way to take prints as they deposit the exact amount of ink onto the finger tip to take a clear impression without the risk of “over-inking”.

Any inky residue remaining on the finger is simply removed by rubbing the fingers together.

 

DO I HAVE TO DECIDE ON MY DESIGN AS SOON AS I PLACE MY ORDER ?

Absolutely not.  You can of course order a piece of jewellery straight from the website, however, if you are unsure, we can first send you a kit to take your fingerprint, hand print or footprint impressions.

Once you have  returned the prints, we can test them to make sure they are clear enough to translate well onto gold or silver.

At this point, you can decide on your final design, prior to anything being made.

Once you have placed your order, you have 24 hours in which this order can be cancelled.  If you choose to cancel your order within this period of time, all monies paid will be immediately refunded.

After this point, we will have started working on your ordered piece and no refund can be given (please refer to Terms & Conditions).

 

I HAVE AN IDEA FOR MY OWN UNIQUE DESIGN.  IS THIS POSSIBLE ?

We make a large number of bespoke designs.  It is important to note that designs should have a large enough “flat surface” to accommodate a fingerprint, hand print or footprint impression.  Please contact us so that we can discuss your ideas further.

 

DO YOU HALLMARK EVERY ITEM OF FINGERPRINT JEWELLERY ?

Every pendant, charm and ring has a wonderfully substantial, heavy quality.  As such, we are legally required to have most pieces Hallmarked.

A Hallmark is a series of marks applied to items made from Silver, Gold, Platinum and Palladium in the UK to show  that an article has been independently tested by a UK assay office to determine its quality and guarantee its purity.

Sterling Silver Fingerprint Charms & Pandora Style Beads are not routinely hallmarked as their weight means this is not a legal requirement. These pieces can be easily hallmarked at your request.