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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.
The Marcasite in our Jewels of Valais collection features genuine Marcasite from Switzerland.
GIA qualified Gemmologists
Members of the British Jewellery Association
Members of the Coloured Gemstone Assocation