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Without    doubt  when  it  comes  to  watch-manufacturing,  Switzerland  is  the  undisputed  world champion. Even though many well-known  brand names are moving their watch production  to Asia, the very patriotic Swiss are still making  their  watches  in  their  wonderfully  landscaped  and land-locked country.

In a world that is changing so rapidly, there is  still something magical about owning a Swiss  watch.   Although  very  few  people  can  afford  a  true  Swiss  watch,  in  second  place  come  watches bearing the engraving or label “Swiss  Movement”. When you see this on a watch it  does not necessarily mean the watch is made in  Switzerland, but refers to the provenance of the  mechanism within the watch. 

Just like the French who protect the use of the  name “Champagne”, the Swiss have fought hard  recently  to  ban  companies  from  abbreviating  “Swiss  Movement”  to  “Swiss  Movt”,  in  an  attempt to protect the authenticity of the genuine  Swiss watch makers. 

When  it  comes  to  mining,  Switzerland  has  several  gold  deposits,  glorious  Marcasite  and  small  deposits  of  gem-quality  Quartz,  Prehnite,  Unakite,  Idocrase  and  Haematite. With  the  exception  of  its  gold  and  Marcasite  mining activities, it is important to stress that  Switzerland’s other gems are not really mined in  commercial quantities.

High in the Alps in the Canton of Valais, very  near the Italian border, some of the most fantastic  Marcasite in the world is being mined. Its colours  range from creamy to glorious, metallic golden  tones with a pale rose tint. The mine has been in  operation for over 100 years and, as with most  things in Switzerland, runs like clockwork! 

In my humble opinion, no other Marcasite on  the  planet  has  the  same  quality  of  lustre  and  surface integrity to that which is mined in the  Swiss canton of Valais. My view is not clouded  by the fact that I spend a fair amount of time  in  Switzerland  overseeing  our  Lorique  watch  making,  it’s  simply  because  the  gem  is  truly  amazing.

One  gem  that  is  not  mined  in  Switzerland  is  Swiss Blue Topaz. This trade name is generically  applied to Blue Topaz that are of strong clarity  and medium dark in colour. Lighter Blue Topaz  is referred to as Sky Blue Topaz and dark Blue  Topaz is often named London Blue.

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The Marcasite in our Jewels of Valais collection features genuine Marcasite from Switzerland.