Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Four Important "C"s to Consider When Purchasing a Diamond

If you are planning to invest in a quality piece of diamond jewelry, are you aware that there are several things that need to be considered before your final purchase? The four key "C's to consider are: color, clarity, carat and cut.

Cut: How a diamond is cut is vital to its brilliance and reflective factor. Make sure that you are looking at a diamond either in natural sunlight or in an very well lit area. Observe how the light enters the stone and reflects back. When a diamond is cut proportionatley, light entering from the top will reflect from one facet to another and then will bounce outward. A good quality diamond will show a sparkling reflective surface and this is when you see that incredible fire, known as brilliance.

Color: While fancy diamonds (naturally occurring colorful diamonds) are rare, the average consumer purchases the transparent/colorless diamond. Fancy diamonds range in color from red, blue, yellow, pink and purple. These diamonds also command a very high price. Colorless diamonds allow more light through which = more sparkle and fire. The highest rating for such a diamond is D. The most valuable diamonds are rated D to F. The scale rates color down to Z.

Clarity: Is the stone clear or does it have flaws or cloudy areas? It is rare to find a diamond that has no flaws, since most of them do. Small minute crystals are called inclusions. Inclusions affect the beauty and value of a diamond. If there are many inclusions that can be seen with the naked eye, then it is a poor quality stone with less sparkle, while a stone with minute inclusions that can be noticed with a jeweler's loop has more sparkle and value. Diamonds that are perfect are graded as IF = internally flawless, VVS1-VVS2, very very small inclusions, VS1-VS2, very small inclusions, SI1-SI2 - small inclusions, I1,I2, I3-visible numerous inclusions.

Carat - This refers to the weight of the diamond. For example 100 pts = 1 carat, 75 pts = 3/4 carat, 50 pts = 1/2 carat, 25 pts= 1/4 carat.

If you have a set budget, rather invest in quality than size. Down the road, you can always upgrade to a larger diamond, or even add more diamonds if the design allows.

Several years ago one of our customers purchased a beautiful 1/2 carat diamond engagement ring--it was exquisite. On their 5th wedding anniversary, we remodelled the ring by adding smaller diamonds giving the ring a 1 carat total weight in diamonds. It went from 1/2 a carat to a full carat with VVS quality diamonds--not to mention its value on today's market.

Shop around, ask questions and you will make the right choice. Digg Technorati Delicious StumbleUpon Reddit BlinkList Furl Mixx Facebook Google Bookmark Yahoo

Monday, January 25, 2010

Seven Tips to Consider When Purchasing Jewelry While on Vacation

You have heard the expression "buyer beware". When you are on vacation and venture out to shop, especially for jewelry, there are a few key things that you need to be aware in order to make sure that you are safe and that you are not being ripped off.

  1. Purchasing from a street/beach vendor does not guarantee that you are going to get a "bargain" in some cases people have paid much more from these vendors than if they would have purchased it from a reputable store. Also, there is no guarantee that the item is genuine. Sterling silver can be stamped 925, but could be metal. Also, the gemstone could be a simulated stone.
  2. Do purchase your jewelry from a reputable store that has a return policy for merchandise that can be returned in a reasonable amount of time for a full refund, not a store credit if you are not satisfied with it.
  3. Be aware of "deals". If the price is too good, be cautious.
  4. When entering a jewelry shop make sure that no one follows you in or follows you out.
  5. Never shop alone.
  6. When making a purchase, especially an expensive piece, don't put it on to wear out of the store. You do not need to draw attention to yourself.
  7. Be a good negotiator. Try to get the best bang for your buck. Even the finest jewelry shop will have some flexibility in price.

There are so many tourists that travel to destinations that are known for their beautiful beaches and 5 star hotels, but the citizens are dirt poor. You need to be very careful when shopping to insure your safety.

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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Unique Ideas for Personalizing Jewelry

You may own a piece of jewelry with only your name, initials or medical information engraved on it. There are other unique things that you can engrave when giving someone a very special piece of jewelery. When giving such a gift to someone, it shows that a great deal of thought went into it.

When a couple gets married, many have the date of their marriage engraved on the inside of their wedding bands. For couples that are not married, you can still present your loved one with a piece of jewelry that has engraved the date you met, your first year anniversary, when you got engaged or any other milestone in your relationship.

Besides dates and initials, you can also engrave a favorite expression, quote, word, number or symbol. If you and someone special share a loving phrase and it is too long, why not take the first letter of each word and have it engraved on a treasured piece of jewelry.

One of our customers recently had the inscription "You Are The Love of My Life" engraved inside a bracelet for his girlfriend and had it shortened to U.R.T (heart symbol) O.M.L.

For couples getting married, you might consider engraving a religious verse inside your wedding band.

You can also engrave a nickname, especially if it is an endearing one.

For mother's, you can give individual charms, or circular discs, or hearts with the names of each child on it. There are also link bracelets available that have large links on which names or expressions can be engraved on each one.

If you want to keep the message private, you can have the jewelry item engraved on the inside. For example if you are giving someone a bangle bracelet, there is adequate room to inscribe the inside of the bracelet.

I welcome all ideas and suggestions. Please post your thoughts and ideas.

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Monday, January 18, 2010

The Difference Between "Man-Made" and "Synthetic" Gemstones

Often the average consumer interchangeably uses the words man-made/simulated and synthetic gems thinking that it means the same, however, there are significant differences between the two.

The Egyptians were the first to produce man-made gems from glass. While the term man-made is commonly used, the term simulated gems means the same thing. These laboratory created gems look like the actual stone, especially in color, but do not have the characteristics of a genuine gemstone, i.e. crystal structure, stone hardness, natural inclusions. These stones are usually made from plastic or glass. A good example would be cubic zirconia which is a good impostor for genuine diamonds.

Synthetic gemstones, while they imitate the color of the actual gemstone, also have the similar characteristics of the gems. These characteristics include having the exact same crystal structure, transparency, natural inclusions, optical and chemical properties.

Until the proper equipment was developed to test the genuine from the fake, it was difficult even for seasoned gemologists and jewelers to differentiate. Today, there are sophisticated tools to distinguish the real from the faux.

As an example, we have a tool that we use to distinguish a cubic zirconia from a diamond. When it emits a small beep upon touching the surface of a diamond, we know that it is definitely 'a girl's best friend'. When a skeptical young lady comes in to have her diamond tested and the tester does not emit a sound, my message is, "boyfriend, you better start running for the hills'. Digg Technorati Delicious StumbleUpon Reddit BlinkList Furl Mixx Facebook Google Bookmark Yahoo

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Garnet is the Birthstone for January

January's birthstone is the garnet, and while most people are familiar with the common rich red color of garnets, they do come in a variety of colors--green, orange, yellow brown, pink . Some of the other classifications for garnets would be pyrope, almandine, spessartite, demantoid.
The word garnet means "seed-like" and comes from the latin name 'Granatus".
Garnet jewelery can be worn everyday because they have a hardness of 7 - 7 1/2 on the Mohs Scale of Hardness.
When purchasing garnet jewellery, color will determine the value of the gem. The brighter the gem, the higher the price. Also, make sure that the stone is clear with not many inclusions--this also affects the value of the stone.
Legend has it that Noah used a garnet for illumination for the arc. As well, when someone wore garnet in the evening, it allowed the wearer to see things that others couldn't see.
Best way to clean garnet is with warm soapy water and a very soft brush.
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Monday, January 11, 2010

Use Caution When Travelling With Jewellery

Having just returned from a two week Christmas vacation from a 'beach resort', I was so surprised to see the number of ladies wearing their expensive and sparkling diamond jewellery as well as heavy gold chains and bracelets. While for most of us our jewellery is like our second skin when travelling, you are taking all sorts of chances and risks when you are wearing your jewellery--potentially losing them, standing out in the crowd and risking your safety.

In so many of these communities, the locals are constantly begging for money whether you are walking along the beach or in the downtown core. While it is heartbreaking to see people living in the conditions that they do, for them, it is also about daily survival. Tourists are their golden opportunity and if you stand out, you are an easy target.

I leave all my jewellery at home with the exception of my gold wedding band and a cheap $9.00 watch--those are the only two pieces that I wear.

Blending in with the other tourists and locals is key--you do not want to stand out and attract attention to yourself. If you wear flashy jewellery you are are projecting an image of wealth and taking risks for your safety.

Last year, one of my customers was walking downtown while on vacation and she felt perfectly safe, until a local woman came up behind her and tried pulling off her 2 carat diamond ring. She screamed and struggled and it scared off the assailant and salvaged her ring, but she was devastated by the experience.

Did you know that many people also lose their jewellery while on vacation - suntan lotion can make rings slip off and when you go swimming in the cold ocean, your fingers shrink and your rings will slide off.

I don't want to scare any one, just to make you aware. Going on a vacation is wonderful, but by taking certain precautions, you will minimize the risk of being a target and ensuring your safety.

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