FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Frequently Asked Questions About Gold Fingerprint Jewellery from Sophia Alexander

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


HOW DO YOU MAKE GOLD FINGERPRINT JEWELLERY ?

At Sophia Alexander, we do not use fired metal clay to produce any of our handmade, personalised fingerprint jewellery, memorial jewellery or personalised gifts.

We use 9ct and 18ct gold in yellow, white and rose gold shades.  We also use sterling silver or premium, bright white, tarnish resistant silver.

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



We hand carve each necklace, charm and gift using premium jewellers wax, then they are sent to be precision cast at one of the UK's leading precious metal casting houses.

A mould is made and molten silver or gold is poured inside, leaving a pure, solid, quality piece of jewellery.

We hand finish, polish, engrave and stone set. Finally, each piece is hallmarked by a UK Assay Office to verify it’s quality and purity.

 

WHAT IS SILVER CLAY OR METAL CLAY ?

Metal clay was developed in the 1990's and has quickly become immensely popular with artists and jewellery designers.  It is beautifully versatile and allows the user to be wonderfully creative for a relatively low cost.

It is also a fantastic solution for people who have allergies to standard silver.

It can be used like any other clay, to make pieces of jewellery and other gifts. 

It is made up of very fine particles of precious metals combined with an organic binder and water.  Once a piece has been created, the clay is left to dry out and then it is fired in a kiln.

This burns away the organic binder, leaving the remaining metal.

Unlike traditional sterling or argentium silver, when fired, the metal never becomes molten.  Instead, it is sintered and not 100% solid.

Although very beautiful and perfectly fine for use as jewellery, it does tend to be more fragile and has a much lower relative strength, so is best suited for items that will not be exposed to wear and tear.

 

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 gold, argentium silver and sterling silver, using the ancient art of lost wax casting.

All of our standard piece of personalised jewellery are available in sterling silver, argentium silver, 9ct yellow, white and rose gold and 18ct yellow, white and rose gold. 

We also offer fingerprint rings and certain other personalised gifts in platinum and titanium.

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

 

WHY WILL MY ORDER TAKE 6 - 8 WEEKS ?

Every piece of fingerprint jewellery and every personalised gift  is made by hand.

They are carved from wax, cast in gold or silver, engraved, set with gemstones or diamonds, polished and hallmarked.

At each stage, your custom necklace, charm or ring is dealt with by the relevant expert. Producing these quality pieces is a lengthy process and it is not possible for us to “speed it up” or to provide an express service. 

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 PERSONALISED GIFT ?

 

We offer a luxury gift wrap service with every order. 

All Sophia Alexander fingerprint, handprint, footprint and pawprint kits will arrive in a white branded gift box with ribbon and wax seal. 

Full instructions and a free postal return envelope is also included.  

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

Every gift certificate comes in it's own envelope with wax seal.

We can add these to your gift box if required, or they can be sent separately.

 

WILL MY PERSONALISED JEWELLERY LOOK EXACTLY THE SAME AS THOSE PICTURED ON THE SOPHIA ALEXANDER WEBSITE ?

Items purchased will never be compete carbon copies of those shown on the Sophia Alexander website; in other company literature or marketing materials.

Our personalised jewellery is handmade 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 and 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.

Custom necklaces, charms, rings and gifts 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 ?

We can add two fingerprints to many of our large fingerprint necklaces, although not every shape is suitable. 

There is no additional charge for adding a second fingerprint, handprint, footprint or pawprint to your piece of jewellery.

The only additional charge will be for extra gift wrapped impression kits.   

One impression kit is included with each item of jewellery.

 

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

We are frequently asked to make double sided pieces where there is a fingerprint, handprint, footprint or pawprint on each side.

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

Although possible, double sided p ieces would be extremely thick and heavy at approximately 4mm, making them difficult to wear on most chains and bracelets.

 

CAN YOU ENGRAVE ONTO THE BACK OF A FINGERPRINT CHARM OR NECKLACE ?

We can engrave onto the reverse of all our fingerprint charms and necklaces.

The backs are highly polished providing a perfect engraving surface.

This allows your piece to be personalised even further.

The amount of text that can be engraved will be limited by the size of the piece.

For instance, we will only be able to engrave short names or initials onto charms, whereas, short personal messages can be added to the back of large necklaces.

We will always advise you prior to any engraving taking place.

 

CAN I COME 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 and our insurance will not allow it.

When you place your order, we will send you out a gift wrapped impression kit.  

The kits we send out contain exactly the same materials that we use ourselves at trade shows and other events.

 

HOW WILL YOU TAKE MY FINGERPRINTS, HANDPRINTS OR FOOTPRINTS ?

We supply five different types of impression kit, depending on whether you would like to order cast fingerprint jewellery; handprint jewellery; paw print jewellery; memorial jewellery or a fingerprint ring.

These will be posted to you via Royal Mail 1st Class Recorded Delivery, so will require a signature upon arrival.  

Fingerprint ring kits are sent via Royal Mail Special Delivery.  They will arrive next day before 1pm and are fully insured.

Each impression it kit arrives in a luxury gift box.  It is simple to use and contains an informative instruction booklet with hints, tips and contact information, just in case you need some additional advice.

We also enclose a free postal returns envelope for all UK customers.

Overseas postage and customs charges remain the responsibility of individual customers. 

 

WHAT IS THE FINGERPRINT IMPRESSION PUTTY ?

Fingerprint impression putty is a two- part silicone that is quickly mixed together in order to take a fingerprint.

Your fingerprint kit will include two pots.  One containing a  blue putty and one with a white putty.

The two are mixed together in equal amounts and rolled into a soft ball.

The ball is then placed onto a hard, flat surface where the finger tip is lightly, but firmly pressed onto the surface.  

It is then set to one side where it quickly sets in approximately 15 minutes 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 18 months,  as before this, we find that their fingerprints have not fully developed.

Instead of a fingerprint with whorls, loops and arches, you will see a lovely little dimple, but no lines or detail.

Some infants have amazing fingerprints at a much younger age, whereas with some, their print is still not wonderfully clear by two years old or more.

If, when you submit your fingerprints 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 handprint and footprint jewellery for people of all ages, including babies from birth.

Handprints and footprints of all sizes can be miniaturised to fit perfectly onto any necklace or charm.

 

IS THERE AN UPPER AGE LIMIT FOR FINGERPRINT JEWELLERY ?

Although there is no upper age limit for fingerprints, a persons skin elasticity does      
decrease with age and fingerprint ridges can become less prominent.  This can make the prints look blurred and less detailed.

Many adults have wrinkles and scars over their finger tips.  These can appear as missing sections in the ink print, but they are still  very much part of your individual print.

This is most often found in elderly people; people with certain medical conditions and   people who work in occupations where there is a lot of wear on their hands.

Some people naturally have less defined fingerprints than others. This can simply be hereditary.  

We recommend that you submit you prints so that we can test how well they will translate onto your chosen piece of fingerprint jewellery.

 

WHAT HAPPENS IF MY FINGERPRINT IMPRESSIONS ARE NOT VERY GOOD ?

At Sophia Alexander, we   aim  to test all fingerprints within 24 hours of receiving them back in the studio.

We will be able to tell you if there is a problem with your print quickly once this is done.


We would never use a fingerprint, handprint, footprint or paw print impression that we did not consider detailed enough to add to a piece of jewellery.

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

 

HOW DO YOU TAKE INKLESS HANDPRINTS AND FOOTPRINTS ?

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.  

Your impression kit will include one  individually wrapped inkless wipe and two sheets of sensitised paper.

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 and a dark print will immediately appear, while the the hand or foot itself  remains dry and clean.

 

CAN YOU USE MY EXISTING FINGERPRINT, HANDPRINT 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.

 

CAN YOU REPAIR AN OLD FINGERPRINT NECKLACE OR USE IT TO MAKE A NEW PIECE OF JEWELLERY ?

We are frequently asked if we can repair older fingerprint pendants and charms made elsewhere by other people.

We do not repair pieces of jewellery made by other companies.  We cannot be sure of the materials or methods used which can be problematic, but we are more than happy to lift the print from the piece if possible and make you something new. 

Although we can easily lift a fingerprint from an older piece of jewellery, we cannot reconstruct fingerprints that have worn away, or recreate parts that have been damaged.

 

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

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

We can scan inkless prints and email them back to you if you prefer.

 

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

We can archive your impressions here for you at your request and will never dispose of them without written permission.

However, all fingerprint, handprint, footprint and paw print impressions will only 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, as we simply do not have space for so many.

 

IS THE INK USED FOR ENGRAVED FINGERPRINT JEWELLERY MESSY ?

Our semi-permanent black ink pads are a simple and easy way to take fingerprints 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, wiping with a damp cloth or baby wipe. 

 

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

Absolutely not.  You can order a piece of jewellery straight from the website, however, if you are unsure of what you want, we can first send you an impression kit to take your fingerprint, handprint, footprint or pawprint impressions first.

We will charge for your gift wrapped kit and the deduct this cost from the final price of your jewellery once you decide.

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 7 days in which your order can be cancelled.

If you choose to cancel your order at this point, all monies paid will be immediately refunded. We cannot refund the money for the kit that you have already received.

 

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, handprint, footprint or paw print 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 and Argentium Silver fingerprint charms and charm beads are the only items we sell that we are not legally obligated to hallmark,  as their weight means this is not a legal requirement. 

However, we automatically submit everything we make to be hallmarked, unless specifically asked not to.