August 21, 2013

A Diamond Fell Out of My Ring: Now What?

Posted in diamonds, engagement, jeweler, jewelry, jewelry care, jewelry repair, rings, rose diamonds tagged , , , , , , at 10:44 pm by rosediamonds

Alternate Title: Ultrasonic Jewelry Cleaner: Friend or Foe?ultrasonic cleaning

 

Our Verdict? Frenemy: a blend of friend and enemy 

One of the most common complaints about jewelers and jewelry across the board is the often touchy issue of a diamond falling out of a ring during cleaning, repairs, typing, breathing, etc.  It’s a touchy subject where everyone wants t point the finger at someone else, but allow us to, as professionals in the industry, explain both sides of the issue.
 
Below are a couple consumer complaints taken from online forums.  These illustrate a common emotional response to a situation that is unfortunate for both the consumer and the jeweler.
 

I purchased a ring for my wife’s birthday and has has worn it about 10 times but it has been a year.Its a small stone that fell out but they said their policy is to bring in the ring every 6 months and have it inspected and if I had done that they would have fixed it.

I took it to another jeweler and had it repaired and while he was cleaning it another stone fell out. I just believe they sell ***, the ring was $1000.00 and if they can’t sell jewelry that the stones don’t fall out with limited or even full ware, they should go out of business. I am telling everyone I know about they crappy policy.
My wife has 20 fine pieces of jewelry and if it had all been purchased from (XYZ JEWELERS) she would not have time for anything else but inspecting jewelry.  I hope they go out of business.

OR

I went to go pick up my wedding band yesterday, and they offered to clean my engagement ring for me. Then there was a commotion in the back of the jewelry store and they asked me how long I’ve had the ring etc. I told them a little under a year. Then they told me that one of the little diamonds in the pave setting fell out and they couldn’t find it in the filter. I know the jeweler who cleaned my ring isn’t responsible for my ring since it’s only been a year and it shouldn’t have fallen out from a steam cleaning.

The jeweler where we got the ring from isn’t open today (Monday) and I only have 4 days to get my engagement ring fixed!! So are they responsible for the diamond? Luckily our ring is insured, but who’s responsible? What should I do?!  Nothing is going right!!

Just so we all know what kind of ring it is most likely to happen to: Micropave rings.  They are super popular, and have teeny tiny prongs that hold the diamonds in the ring. (see right)

micropavemissing diamond

I always like to read comments after a heated complaint, and there was quite a range of responses ranging from commiseration, insurance claims, insurance fraud, and general bad-mouthing.  I DID like this one to a point…

Pave settings, however, are notorious for losing stones, no matter how long (or short) a time you’ve worn them.  Can you check with your jeweler to see how they actually cleaned the ring?  If they put it in some sort of ultrasonic machine (which uses tiny, fast vibrations to knock dirt and grime loose into the cleaning solution), it is almost certainly the jeweler’s fault — any jeweler worth their salt should know not to put pave in an ultrasonic machine.  The tiny vibrations can easily knock the stones right out of the pave setting. If they cleaned it more gently, then it was probably about to fall out anyway and not the jeweler’s fault.

It’s hard to say without knowing the details of your setting, but sometimes the maker of the setting will replace the pave stones for free or a nominal cost, since they expect that a few will fall out sooner or later.  Check with whomever you bought the ring from to see if this is true.  If it’s going to cost less than your insurance deductible to get it fixed, there’s no sense in putting a claim on your insurance unnecessarily.

Let’s look at this in Three Parts: Why Did This Happen? Whose Fault Is It? Ways to HELP Prevent It

why_meWhy Did This Happen?

  • Normal Wear & Tear: Did you know that the prongs are thinner than paper clips and made out of a relatively soft metal (white gold, gold, silver, etc)  Each time you wear it, the prongs (especially those on the outer edges and at the tallest points) are getting worn down fractionally.  Similar to the wear and tear on tires.  No one expects tires to last 30 years, right?
  • Common Occurrence: The prong was damaged previously (by wear and tear or hard hit) and was unnoticed because a build-up of lotion, soap, oils, etc was holding it in place like a glue.  The heated jewelry cleaning solution loosened the lotion build-up and the stone fell out.
  • Common Occurrence: No one, including the salesperson who took in your repair noticed that the diamond was missing because the spot was filled with white paint, lotion, etc. and wasn’t immediately noticeable.  It was missing before you came in.
  • Prong Pulled/Pushed: Don’t stop wearing sweaters, but prongs can over time get lifted by snagging on blankets, sweaters, your hair etc.  A strong enough pull can lift the prong off the surface of the bezel facet,, releasing your diamond
  • Thin walls/prongs: many rings on the market are priced to sell.  Not necessarily priced to last.  The thinner the metal holding the diamonds, the more prone to damage/wear and tear.
  • Excessive maintenance: Extremes are problems in all walks of life, and jewelry care is no different.  Excessive, repeated polishing can expedite the wear and tear process from gradual to moderate.  Don’t worry about occasional clean & polishes. but also don’t get your ring polished every day.
  • Extreme ring sizing: When you adjust the angle of the ring shank (up OR down) by a lot, the angle of the prongs also changes.  Sometimes, stones will loosen following a sizing of more than 2 sizes either direction.  Many jewelers take precautions to prevent this from happening, but no two jobs are the same, and many times, they cannot make any guarantees. 
  • Everyone’s Frenemy: the ultrasonic jewelry cleaner is a standard part of any jeweler’s cleaning regimen.   The wave shake gunk out from behind stones and can speed up the pre-repair cleaning process exponentially.  Many people do not realize that jewelry must be squeaky clean prior to heating (with the torch).  If it is not completely clean, oils and dirt can “burn” onto the backsides of the stones and inside tiny crevices in the jewelry.  Without the ultrasonic cleaning, many jewelry pieces would take days longer to repair or service due only to the cleaning time required.  During the gunk shake-up, diamonds can also shake loose and fall to the bottom of the cleaner.  Ultrasonics are a necessary evil and often paired with diamond’s #2 enemy (the steamer) which uses high powered jets of steam to remove debris from jewelry.  This was probably the real cause of the commotion in the above example as a diamond bounced off the floor and everyone crawled around trying to find it.

Whose Fault Is It?Not My Fault

It would be great if we could simply point a finger at one party, time and time again.  Here is a general breakdown of where fault CAN lie.  Each case is individual, and with all human conflict, usually a combination of faults.

  • The Jeweler: whether they cleaned it, repaired it, sold it, or looked at it, the jeweler gets a lot of blame in any “diamond fell out” situation.  The jeweler is occasionally guilty of extreme sizing problems and overzealous polishing.
  • The Manufacturer: Thin walls and teeny prongs are made with the minimum amount of gold to keep their costs competitive with other manufacturers, whose goal is to keep their jewelry affordable enough for end users despite rising metals costs (outside of their control).
  • The Consumer: Wearing delicate jewelry while very active (think landscaping) can cause unusual wear and tear issues.  Consumers should also limit chemical exposure (cosmetics, cleaners, bleach, and pools) which can weaken metals by eating little holes in it.
  • No One’s Fault: Wear & Tear is normal, and just like computers and cars require regular maintenance to keep them performing their best, jewelry also needs occasional check-ups.  Accidents happen.  Consumers and Jewelers both can get in a rush and forget to thoroughly inspect items prior to cleaning, and it can lead to upset all the way around.
  • The Salesperson: I mention this as a separate entity because many times, a sales associate in a jewelry store will have little to no training on jewelry maintenance, repairs, diamonds, etc.  It is their job to record client information and sell jewelry.   Just like a waiter is not at fault for salty food, a salesperson usually had no hand in your repair. At the same time, if your salesperson is rude or unsympathetic to the unfortunate-ness of your situation, you do have a right to be upset about their handling of the issue.

Ways to HELP Prevent It An_ounce_of_Prevention

Nothing is going to be 100% fail proof, but there are several things both jewelers and consumers can do to lesson the occurrence and the impact of losing a stone.

  • The Consumer: Maintain your jewelry’s integrity by removing it during heavy activity & chemical exposure
  • Yearly Prong Checks: by a trained jeweler (note NOT a salesperson).  A trained jeweler will be able to identify heavy wear and can suggest preventative measures to keep jewelry looking its best.  It is less expensive to re-tip an existing prong than to replace a missing/broken prong + missing diamond
  • Be aware that shared prongs and or thin construction can lead to more stone issues if you tend to be hard on your jewelry
  • If you have inherited a ring that you plan to put into daily wear, take the time and initial expense to get it inspected by a trained jeweler, so it will last another generation of wear
  • Make sure your jeweler carefully inspects your ring in front of you prior to taking it to the back for cleaning or service.  It prevents any weird feelings about whether stones were missing prior to drop off, or any prong damage/wear can be identified proactively.

now-what_If you do have a stone fall out

In the end, it is not a complete disaster.  Most jewelry stores across the country will replace diamonds and reset them for less than $50.  

A tip: if your stone comes out during cleaning or service work at your local jeweler’s, try to understand it is a bad day for them as well.  Most jewelry stores that have on site repair centers can replace the diamond quickly and reasonably.  Some jewelers will give you a discounted repair fee if they feel they were somewhat responsible (ie. did not check prongs prior to cleaning)  Remember it is easier to lure flies with honey…

 If a diamond falls out while you are outside a jewelry store, try to locate it.  If you can find it, it will save you the cost of a new stone at the jeweler’s.  You can bring it in by using a piece of scotch tape to secure it to a piece of paper.  

red tapeRegarding Insurance Claims

 This leads into the next issue of whether to claim it on your insurance (usually jewelry is covered as a rider on your homeowners or renters policy).  Most clients have reported that only center stones are usually worth the hassle of submitting claims to their insurance company.

 

Losing a diamond is one of the most emotional problems consumers face at the jeweler’s, and there is a lot of emotional misinformation out there.  Hope this helps you keep your cool if it happens to you.friends

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December 29, 2012

After Christmas Problems Solved

Posted in Christmas, clasps, diamonds, engagement, Gifts, gold, jeweler, jewelry care, jewelry repair, ring sizing, rings, rose diamonds, silver, watch, watch batteries, watches tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 6:33 pm by rosediamonds

Following any big holiday, we see an influx of people looking to “adjust” their gifts.  Here are some of the most common issues we see after Christmas:

ring too small

Problem: New Ring is too big/too small

Solution: Ring Sizing or ring guard.  Price will vary depending on the thickness of the metal and what kind of metal it is (silver is less than gold.  gold less than platinum).  Sizing up costs more than sizing down.  Problem/sensitive stones (amythest, citrine, tanzanite, opal, turqouise, mother of pearl, emeralds, etc) may have an additional cost if the jeweler needs to remove them or use a more elaborate set-up to protect the stones from damage from the jewelers torch $$

Ring Guards are a less expensive version (at time of publication $5) and take two minutes to install.  They are slightly adjustable, but they are not as comfortable as getting the ring to the right size.  $

ring sizing

ring guard

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

chain too short
chain extender

Problem: Chain is too short/too long

Solution: Obviously, we can replace the chain with one of the proper length.  If your chain is too long, it can be shortened (same day usually) for $15-30.  We do this by removing links and then soldering the chain back together.  If it is a round chain, we usually removed the endcap (endpiece) and shorten it seamlessly.  $$

If your chain is too short, we can add an extender to the back in the form of a chain segment.  If you want the chain to match exactly, we can order in a bracelet of the same link to work from or we might

have your link in stock.  This may not be the best choice if you have short hair as the chain extender will show in the back.  Round chains (rope, singapore, snake, and box) do not have a way to seamlessly add matching links, so in these cases many people choose to replace or add a standard extension chain to it.  Price on this depends on how much chain (length and width) you are adding.  We might be able to use one of your old chains, bracelets, anklets, etc to do the extension.  Bring it in and ask $$$

 

Pendant Bail

Problem: Pendant won’t go through the chain I want to use.

Solution: We are practical  types, so we usually recommend the path of least cost to you.  In most cases, this means that we will adjust the pail of your pendant.  There are cases where we remove the endpiece to your chain to slip it on (this means it won’t accidentally come off, but you won’t be able to switch pendants this way)  Cost will vary depending on whether we are simply re-shaping an end or removing and re-soldering.  Larger replacement bails are also available.  $$

tangle of necklaces

Problem: Tiny, Tangly Chains

Solution: Tiny chains come with many pendants or are available at promo (cheap) prices so people aren’t overwhelmed with a pendant price AND a chain price (it can work out to doubling the cost for a nice chain).  To keep a tiny chain untangled, store it clasped.  Storing the chain hanging (a panel nail on the inside of your closet wall will do) or notch a business card/scrap of paper and wrap the chain around it to prevent tangling when not wearing it.  There are several chains that resist tangling more than others.  If you are thinking of replacing your chain, we usually recommend at least a 1mm diameter.  Replacement chains (appx 18′ with a 1mm diameter) run from $100-250 depending on the style/weight in gold.  Silver replacement chains are from $15-35.

watch too big

Problem: Watch too big

Solution: We can adjust the links of most watches while you wait for a flat fee ($5 at time of writing this).  Notice we did not mention lengthening watches…the only way to handle this is for you to find your replacement links (look in your button drawer) or for us to replace the watchband (leather runs around $25 while a stainless or two tone option runs around $35)

chronograph

Problem: What are all these dials for.  Is my watch even running?

Solution: Everyone loves the “complicated” look of a chronograph.  First things first.  A chronograph is like a stopwatch.  It has two second hands.  The general one is in one of the small dials.  The large second hand only sweeps when you push the top button on your watch.  Here are a couple diagrams for your convenience on the most common issue peple have with resetting their chrono.

reset chronograph

November 27, 2012

What to do with little leftover diamonds

Posted in crosses, diamonds, estate jewelry, gemstones, gift ideas, Gifts, gold, jeweler, jewelry, jewelry design, rings, rose diamonds, silver tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 10:44 pm by rosediamonds

This comes up quite often since we do our fair share of gold buying these days.  As people clean out their jewelry bin of broken pieces, tokens of past relationships, and inherited mishmash, there are inevitable leftover diamonds (usually not big ones).

Large diamonds are easy to sort out or sell, but what should you do with your 1/4 ct marquise diamond solitaire?marquise solitaire

Here’s some ideas:

  • Add it to an existing piece of jewelry you already like (use it on the bail of a favorite pendant or add it to a cross or charm)
  • Create a new piece of free form jewelry with it and partners.  Jewelry has evolved.  Don’t be afraid to combine stones from separate pieces–think “all my grandparents” ring
  • Add as a charm to a bracelet/anklet
  • small stones can make a big impact in stacking rings
  • cluster earrings or pendant ideafree form diamond ringstacking ringstation braceletImage

July 27, 2012

5 Ways to Make Your Diamond Ring Look Bigger (for under $1000)

Posted in bride, diamonds, engagement, estate jewelry, gemstones, gift ideas, Gifts, gold, jeweler, jewelry, jewelry design, jewelry repair, rings, rose diamonds, wedding tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 8:44 pm by rosediamonds

the addition of Pintrest, people are becoming more design conscious.  With all of the drool worthy pins out there, it can make a diamond ring you received a decade or so ago look tiny.  Thus, the need for an upgrade.

Not everyone has the budget to replace a diamond with a larger one.  If you do, I usually recommend you go up by at least a full millimeter so you can SEE the difference since you are paying the difference.  A 1/4 carat to a 1/3 carat is hard to tell apart unless you have your calipers on you…  Remember, carat refers to weight, not size, so not all 1 carat diamonds are the same diameter.  Old diamond (they are all old technically) can be moved over as a side stone or made into a pendant.

It may be that you do not WANT to replace your original diamond at all.  It has been my experience that men are many times more sentimental about keeping the same diamond throughout the marriage.  Not necessariy because they are being cheapo, but because they beleive in “luck” and “streaks.”  Ask a man to tell you about the time he wore the same socks to every ball game for an entire season without washing them…

To preserve the peace without breaking the bank, there are several ways to boost your original diamond’s “presence.”

  1. Add a halo.  It adds approximately 2-2.5mm of sparkly to the center of your ring.  I personally don’t like this term–I like “booster ring,” which sounds way more Star Wars–but who can argue with DeBeers?  The final look will depend on your original diamond size.  The diamond in the center can be situated above or level with the other stones.  For those of you in the healthcare industry, a low bezel set center can reduce the nnormal snalling on latex gloves.  Lifestyle matters too!  There are halo versions with varying stone sizes (usually .01-.03ct each)  This new setting can usually be added to your original engagement ring with some slight modifications.  By adding the halo in white, you can update the look of a yellow gold ring and help your jewelry “blend” in more with your other sterling and white gold/platinum pieces.  Also look for expanded halos and double halos.  I personally find the triple halo to be too much…  An expanded halo means there is empty space between yur center stone and your diamond making it look even bigger.  Also check into different prong styles.  Exposed mini prongs have a very different look than the channel set and cocktail setting of the past.  Also there are faux channels with mini milgrain that can lend a vintage look to your ring.  Some halos have stones on the sides of the halo as well.  These add cost, but can be super pretty as well.  Have a fancy shape diamond?  Don’t worry…they make halo heads for them as well!    Estimated cost $850 (depends on stone size and style of course).  
  2. New head.  Usually a thicker one, perhaps with double prongs or tulip prongs.  Some people don’t like the look of halos, so they opt to boost their center diamond by thickening up their prongs.  8 prong heads (octet heads) give a designer finish to the ring that isn’t available “off the rack” at most stores.  Tulip heads are named for their obvious resemblance to the flowers.  Another advantage to the thicker prongs is more durability for everyday wear and tear.  By the way, if you have had your ring for a decade and never had your prongs retipped or at least checked, you may want to consider a replacement head or service work (retipping) anyway.  Its like getting your oil changed–not glamorous, but necessary for the longevity of your ring..Wide and narrow bezel settings also boost the “spread” of your ring, but I find they tend to make an engagement ring look more casual that its prongy cousins;) Estimated cost $150
  3. Have an old set of diamond earrings?  Add them as side stones.  Different shapes?  Doesn’t matter!  This one is a little more tricky as there are three options.  Option one: reset original diamond and two earrings into a new setting.  There are a lot of combinations to three stone rings (some of which have way more than three stones lol).  If your original stone and earrings fit into a standard configuation, an off the rack mounting will do the trick.  Estimated cost $750.  Option 2: Add a wrap to your original ring.  This usually only works with solitaires (no side stones).  The wrap extends over the solitaire shank making it look (kinda) like one ring.  It may need to be soldered together to prevent slippage.  Estimated cost $700.  Option 3: Add smaller earring diamonds in a custom bridge.  This one is more tricky to estimate a price on since every ring is different.  Adding them in a bypass style can also affect how your wedding band (if you have one) will fit next to your new altered ring.  Estimated cost <1000 difinately, but talk to a pro about the feasibility of this one.  Fun alternative to this is adding a pair of gemstones instead.  Sapphires, blue topaz, etc all look gorgeous next to diamonds!  Same price for labor.
  4. Illusion head/plate.  This used to mean white gold diamond cut plate that was used to accent a teeny diamond in a pretty noticeable setting.  There are more modern options to this!  One option is to recreate the vintage box setting.  This illusion setting makes a round stone look bigger, more square, and more vintage.  Estimated cost: Starts at $150.  A free form ring doesn’t make your diamonds look bigger necessarily but by combining it with other medium sized diamonds, it can make the impact of the ring look bigger.  The estimated cost depends on the finished weight of the free form ring (there are stock options and custom options) and how many heads/stones need to be set.  
  5. Narrow or pinch the shank.  There is always more than one way to skin a cat, so now we will take our focus off the diamond and put it on the ring it sits in.  A good rule of thumb is this: the wider the band, the small your diamond will look.  Think about a shift dress.  It looks like a straight column.  If you were to add a belt, it would make your waist look much smaller.  The same thing holds true for rings.  If you use a razor (tiny narrow band) shank, your stone will look bigger no matter its size.  Your jeweler will be able to tell you if your original engagement ring shank can be slimmed down (without causing stability issues) or if you can simply transfer your center head and stone to a more narrow base.  Another fun alternative if you don’t want to give up a wider ring is to get a pinched shank that narrows near the stone.  Use caustion because narrow rings fit differently than wider ones so make sure you are fitted for the new ring style and width (there are different s sets of sizers for this reason).  Also, a narrow shank ring is more likely to rotate on the hand if you have big knuckles.  Most people do…A flared or European shank may help counterbalance to solve  this issue.

February 29, 2012

The Best Things in Life are Free: Free Services at Rose Diamonds

Posted in appraisal, diamonds, engagement, engraving, estate jewelry, gemologist, gemstones, Gifts, gold, jeweler, jewelry, jewelry care, jewelry design, jewelry repair, mens wedding bands, pawn, ring sizing, rings, rose diamonds, watch, watches tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 5:33 pm by rosediamonds

Maybe there’s no such thing as a free lunch, but at Rose Diamonds, we have an ever growing list of free services at Rose Diamonds.

Free Services at Rose Diamonds:

  1. Free Jewelry Cleaning–Diamonds always look bigger when they’re clean.  We have people bring in everything from one or two pieces that they are wearing to a whole box full.  Have a special event coming up?  Take advantage of our free service and get your jewelry looking its best…free.
  2. Free Jewelry Polishing–One step above jewelry cleaning is polishing.  This gets out all the nicks and scratches from normal wear and tear.  People often comment that they can never get their jewelry looking as good as we do at home. The secret is–we cheat.  By removing the surface abrasion off your jewelry, we are exposing the brighter surfaces underneath–like exfoliating:)
  3. Free Prong Inspection–I can’t even comment on all the clients we meet who have been married for decades and have never had their rings in for service.  It only takes a minute, but having your prongs checked by a pro on a regular basis (when you bring it in for free cleaning) can alert you to easily repaired/less expensive solutions before you lose a stone.  Think of it as preventative maintenance.
  4. Free Appraisal Consultations–Clients want to know the value of their jewelry for several different reasons.  Just to know, for resale, for liquidation, for insurance, etc.  Some items we group together in an appraisal (gold items without stones) and some require more extensive research.  We sit down with you and sort through your options and help answer insurance related questions you might have.
  5. Free Custom Deign Consultations–We recognize you’re not a jewelry professional (probably) and have no idea how much a dream piece of jewelry might cost.  Bring in your inspiration (costume pieces, catalog, magazine ad, internet pic) and any available trade-in gold & diamonds, and we will map out the design, out of pocket cost, and timeframe free.
  6. Free Tea/Coffee–I sometimes forget to offer this to our guests, but our tea table is out for guests to enjoy.  If I forget, don’t be shy–just ask:)
  7. Free Cookies–if the kids haven’t eaten them all.  Because I have two boys, our cookie supply varies.  Feel free to help yourself to the snacks.
  8. Free Jewelry Box Sort–This is perhaps one of our most valuable services.  Bring in your box of jewelry (this especially helps when you’ve inherited a bunch of mixed jewelry) and we sit down with you and sort out the gold from the silver from the costume jewelry.  Now that it’s sorted, we can restore it,repair it, or size it very quickly.  You also have the option to trade it in towards a project, finished jewelry, or repair work.  We can also buy it or give you a short term loan against it.
  9. Free Diamond Testing–Several a day come in to see if their diamonds are the real deal.  Whether you found it in a parking lot or suspect a fake, we test it in seconds so you know.  Peace of mind is priceless.
  10. Free Ring Size Measurement–Perhaps you’ve ordered something on the internet or maybe you’re thinking of a future purchase, we measure your ring size for you without fuss.  We also explain that different ring styles fit differently, so let us know if it’s going to be a narrow or wide band.
  11. Free Courtesy Call/Text Message— When repairs/appraisals are ready, you’re the first to know.  Our company policy is to call or text you as soon as repairs are completed (in case you’re still in the neighborhood).  You can then pick it up at your leisure.  Most of our repairs and appraisals are completed ahead of schedule.
  12. Free Silver Polishing Cloth with Silver Purchase–Part of keeping your jewelry looking beautiful.  These little polishing cloths work on sterling silver, gold, costume jewelry, etc.  We offer free jewelry cleaning, but this little cloth will help you keep a perfect shine between visits.  It also works great of shiny knickknacks around the house–I use mine to cheat with silver photo frames.
  13. Free Craigslist Mediation–We want our clients to stay safe.  When selling or buying on Craigslist, there is an element of danger (read our post on Craigslist tips).  We recommend you don’t expose your home or workplace to potential sellers/buyers.  We invite you to meet at our shop in a comfortable, professional atmosphere.  We can diamond test, ring size, appraise, engrave your latest purchase/sale right in front of you.
  14. Pocketwatch Look-up–just a geeky hobby of mine: we can usually trace the origins of old pocketwatches.  Curious about one of yours?  Just ask.

I have probably forgotten something, but will try to add it later.   You now officially have no excuse for not coming in.  We look forward to meeting you soon.

December 27, 2011

Dividing the jewelry of an estate between heirs: tips from a jeweler

Posted in appraisal, birthstones, brooches, diamonds, estate jewelry, gemstones, gold, jeweler, jewelry, rose diamonds, silver tagged , , , , , , , , , at 5:26 pm by rosediamonds

We are about to enter the season of New Year’s resolutions.  The fair and equitable division of jewelry from an estate is an issue that has come up time and time again.  I have compiled a list of tips and suggestions that have worked best for our clients over the years.

Here’s the situation: a loved one passes away to leave a collection of jewelry that does not divide equally.  For example, it could be

  • a vintage (not gold) brooch
  • a small sapphire ring
  • a huge amethyst ring
  • a diamond solitaire pendant
  • a multiple stone diamond engagement ring

How do the heirs divide this up equally when the values are very unequal?

How Things are Valued

We explain that there are different values:

Sentimental value-does not make a piece worth more $ but if the brooch was worn every year at Christmas dinner by a favorite aunt, it becomes more valuable to the heirs because of the memory it envokes.

Insurance value-this is retail replacement value or in the case of a vintage or custom pieces, it is a value for replacement with a comparable item.  If lost or stolen, an insurance company will pay out this amount to have the piece replaced.  This amount should be recalculated every few years as the prices of gold and gemstones fluctuate with the world market.  For example, a pair of gold earrings that you bought for $30 five years ago would now cost $90+.

Scrap value-this is the amount a jewelry store or pawn shop will pay you for the items to be broken down into parts.  The metal smelted and refined while the stones will be used for repairs or sold to a dealer.  (We use old gemstones in our mini gem museum or gemology classes)

How to Divide Things

( I am just making up the names to these rules btw).  How well these rules go will depend on your family’s personalities.  You know what I’m talking about.

  1. Read the will–wills are a pain in the neck to create, so if the loved one went so far to write out a legal document saying the peridot bracelet goes to cousin Ed’s neighbor’s mailman’s cousin–respect it.  This is what they wanted.
  2. The rule of return to owner–If you gave mom the diamond earrings for her birthday, they can be reasonably returned to you.
  3. The rule of favorite ONE item–Let each member pick out their one favorite piece from the collection.  ex. if your sister wore mom’s sapphire ring at her wedding as something blue, she might have a stronger sentimental tie to it than the rest of the family.
  4. The rule of equal parts–Take all jewelry of an estate (you’ll get a better rate if it all goes in one trip) to an appraiser.  Split the items as close to equal as possible or have people “buy out” for favored pieces.  You can also interpret this as dividing up a three stone ring between three kids, diamond earrings between two kids, or everyone getting 2 bracelets etc.

Inevitably, some jewelry will be considered “leftover.”  Costume pieces can be donated to charity, while the remaining precious metal jewelry can be sold (scrap value) and the proceeds equally divided.

Planning In Advance

If the idea of your family squabbling over your jewelry/possessions in general turns your stomach, here’s a few ways to minimalize the chaos.

  1. Invite loved ones over (one at a time) and show the collection.  Say you’ll consider special requests–who knew your son always liked your coin pendant?  This gives you the opportunity to tell the recipient the stories and history behind the jewelry they’ve chosen.  These stories are priceless and many times lost.
  2. Go another step and distribute the pieces before your death so you can see others enjoying them.  TELL people of you mind if the pieces are redesigned.  I know a lot of women that have inherited jewelry in a drawer somewhere at home because they don’t want to offend Mama be redoing her yellow gold abstract retro ring…
  3. Update your will if you are expecting a confrontation, or would like to avoid one.  A written history of the history and stories of the pieces would also be appreciated.  One day your bracelet from your college days when you dated the president could be on antiques roadshow–you never know!  Update often if there are…changes in family status in your family.  This is a very common thing nowadays, and you might not want grandama’s ring bequeathed to “that hussy that ran off with the mailman.”

Try to keep your sense of humor and an envelope of calm around you when dealing with this situation no matter the side you are on.  A good jewelry appraiser should ask you a lot of questions about how you want things evaluated and it might be a good idea to make a family meeting together with the appraiser so everyone can have their say.  Emotions run high in these situations, but inherited jewelry remains one of the most sentimnentally charged items you can have.

November 26, 2011

Shopping Key Words to Watch For

Posted in birthstones, Christmas, diamonds, gemstones, gift ideas, Gifts, gold, jeweler, jewelry, jewelry care, jewelry repair, rose diamonds, silver tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 12:26 am by rosediamonds

As the holiday shopping season kicks off, I am writing out an “off the cuff” list of words to watch for in jewelry ads this holiday season.  We all (myself included) get excited with the thrill of the hunt, and sometimes forget to use our critical reading skills when scanning the ads for bargains.

Gold Plated, Gold Filled, 14K over Sterling, Silver plated, Goldtone/Silver tone, Silver filled–These all refer to a thin coating over another less expensive metal.  Any plating can wear off.  To reduce wear and tear on it, you can opt to coat it with an clear acrylic and reduce its exposure to moisture and chemicals (including sweat and bleach) .

Simulated Stones=look alike stones.  For example a synthetic spinel or even rhinestones are  often substituted for their more expensive counterparts (like rubies).  Wear and tear and durability may vary from the impersonated stone.

Synthetic stones=the exact same as the natural gemstone except it was grown in a lab instead of in the ground.  These will usually have an ideal color and nicer clarity than natural stones of the same price. Same durability and wear/cleaning as its natural counterpart.

Pay attention to diamond clarity & color.  Sometimes, it is difficult to compare apples to apples with diamond jewelry because small differences in color and clarity can make big differences in prices for similar carat weight items.  This time of year, many jewelers roll out some “promo” diamond pieces that are big on looks and low on price.  These can be very pretty, but they are priced for what they are–commercial quality stones.  Many will be cloudy, brown, or specky, crackly, etc.  Ask to see several of the same item.  They vary from piece to piece within the same store…

Pay attention to the weight of the item–This is usually not listed in advertisements, but when you get to the store, if the items feels flimsy, be careful.  The price of precious metals is very high right now, so many manufacturers are making ultra light weight items to keep prices affordable for jewelers and their clients.  A flimsy piece can eventually lead to more repair expenses down the road.  You can always switch to thicker chains for pendants at home or ask to reset stones in heavier mountings.  Most jewelers can make adjustments to size, length, etc. for you.

 

Watch costume jewelry for lead–especially for children’s jewelry.  Some risks just aren’t worth it.  A lot of the imported costume jewelry (pretty much all that’s out there) contains traces of lead.  There are new laws in effect to curb the import of these items, but use caution.  Items could have been warehoused in the US since before the laws went into effect.  The law is great but it is understandably hard to enforce.

 

I’m sure I’ll think of a dozen other thinks to watch out for.   Hope you had a great holiday and we will see you tomorrow at our new second location:

Rose Diamonds 2

1374 E. Republic Rd.

Springfield MO 65804

 

October 13, 2011

Taking Care of Your Alternative Metal Bands

Posted in bride, diamonds, engagement, gemologist, gemstones, jeweler, jewelry, jewelry care, jewelry repair, mens wedding bands, rings, rose diamonds tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 7:37 pm by rosediamonds

We recognize that many people (usually men) have purchased alternative metal wedding bands.  We are drawn to their fabulous modern designs, their relative weights (either heavy or ultralight),  and their teeny cost:)

What some retailers forget to tell you (not that we blame them or their salespeople) is how to take care of your jewelry once you’ve bought it.  I occasionally forget to mention the anti-bleach rule to my clients as well:)

Tungsten & Ceramic Rings

  • Clean with hot water and soap (an old toothbrush helps get in the grooves and between/behind stones)
  • Steam cleaning is okay
  • NO ultrasonic cleaning
  • NO ionic cleaning
  • Avoid dropping on hard surfaces (duh) or hitting with a hammer-like force.  They can both shatter
  • Emergency removal involves a specialized ring cracker
  • On tungsten, do NOT use any chemicals other than alcohol (this means no red jewelry cleaner solution)
  • Gold or silver inlay can be repolished, but it will not affect the tungsten or cermaic part
Stainless Steel & Titanium Rings
  • Clean with hot soap and water (an old toothbrush helps get in the grooves and between/behind stones)
  • Steam cleaning is okay
  • Ultrasonic cleaner is ok (if there are no gemstones–gems set in stainless steel can fall out if you use an ultrasonic)
  • Stainless steel & titanium CAN be repolished (stainless is easier to do; titanium requires extra wheels and polishing compounds)
Cobalt Rings
  • Clean with hot soap and water (an old toothbrush helps get in the grooves and between/behind stones)
  • Steam cleaning is okay
  • Repolishing requires extra wheels and specialized polishing compounds
All Rings
  • Avoid Bleach (found in pools, hot tubs, cleaning supplies, hair chemicals, laundry detergent, household cleaners)
  • Check stone tightness by listening for “rattles” or visual movement
  • Regularly remove lotion/soap/conditioner buildup with warm soapy water and an old toothbrush–“clean stones look bigger!”
  • Professional cleaning & prong inspection is free everyday at Rose Diamonds–Let us do the work for you!
PS. I had a bit of a shock when I googled “alternative metal bands.”  Many images of aging rockers…I wonder if this post will then show up in their searches as well and they will also be disappointed…now taking suggestions for a better title for this post:)

October 1, 2011

6 Tips For Selling/Buying Jewelry (Safely) on Craigslist

Posted in appraisal, diamonds, gemologist, gemstones, Gifts, jeweler, jewelry, jewelry repair, ring sizing, rose diamonds tagged , , , , , , , , at 10:08 pm by rosediamonds

Most people nowadays could use a few bucks.  Many are liquidating their unused jewelry on Craigslist for profit, and you can find legitimate “deals” and fun pieces listed online.

 

Rose Diamonds has begun offering mediation services (for free) to buyers and sellers to minimize the risk to both (and yes, meet potential repair and appraisal clients).  There have been many stories on the news from coast to coast of people meeting to exchange services or products listed on craigslist and meeting with a sticky end.  I have compiled a few basic tips if you’re thinking of posting an item for sell or purchasing.

For Sellers:

  1. Be detailed in your description and honest in your listing.  It will save time in the long run if you’re not calling or emailing back and forth a million times.  Remember to include 10K, 14K, carat weight (if you know it) or stone type and measurements in mm.  Ring size, length of chains and bracelets (in inches), whether a watch is working, etc.
  2. If you still have any original receipts or appraisals, offer to present these items for inspection (in person only since these often have private information such as credit card numbers or home addresses) to potential buyers.
  3. Include a (good) picture.  It will make more people pay attention to your listing.  Jewelry can be very tricky to photograph because it’s shiny, so try a variety of background colors and lighting.  Jewelry that is being worn (you can crop out faces) can give potential buyers an idea of the jewelry scale/size.
  4. Decide before you list whether you are willing to bargain with people and know your absolute lowest number.  Many people get caught up in the excitement of a potential sale and loose sight of their goal.  That being said, understand that some buyers will not be satisfied unless they get you to reduce your price.  It can be as little as a $5 discount, but it makes them feel accomplished at negotiating.
  5. Skip your life story/sob story details.  There are bad people out there who could be using the information you give (about your divorce and being so lonely and alone on weekends–a great time to rob or accost you).  Be wary of giving out personal phone numbers, addresses, emails, etc.  A hotmail or gmail account can be set up in a few minutes for free.
  6. Meet people in public and use the buddy system.  If your buyer refuses, so can you.  No amount of potential money is worth your safety.
For Buyers
  1. Have realistic expectations on the condition of used jewelry.  It will probably not be your rings size.  Most will have scratches in the metal and be dirty behind/between the stones.  This is easily fixed by repolishing and a good clean; rings can (usually) be resized.  Stone abrasion (which is normal with everyday wear and tear) is NOT easily fixed and can end up costing more than the ring for repolishing.  Look for dullness, surface scratching, and chips
  2. Meet sellers in public and use the buddy system.  By offering to buy an item, you have just told a relative stranger that you have money in hand.  Don’t be ridiculous and offer to have them deliver anything to your home.
  3. Ask questions and seek a professional opinion on large purchases.  Most craigslist sellers are not professional jewelers or gemologists.  They can legitimately make mistakes in their claims and promises that can end up ruining a deal.
  4. Take a magnifying glass or jewelers loupe with you.  You can then better see inclusions in gems, check the item for damage and verify gold karat marks.  These are tiny and can be found on the inside of the ring, the lever on hoop earrings, and the clasp on bracelets, and chains, etc.
  5. Feel for rough spots on chains and bracelets gently with your fingers.  This can expose weaknesses/possible future breaking sites.
  6. Understand stone replaceablity.  Turquoise and strange shaped stones are MUCH harder/impossible to replace if damaged or missing.  Faceted stones like diamonds, birthstones, etc are usually replaced starting at $15 for little tiny ones.
In the end, if a deal seems to be too good to be true, it probably is.
No appointment is necessary if clients want to meet at the shop.  We are located at 4560 S. Campbell Ave. Ste. F Springfield, MO 65810.  We offer onsite sizing, prong tightening, chain shortening/lengthening, stone replacement, diamond and gemstone grading/testing, complete appraisal service, and jewelry repair/refurbishment.

 

 

September 22, 2011

Problem Solved: Diamond Stud Earrings Droop in Ears

Posted in diamonds, earrings, gift ideas, jeweler, jewelry, jewelry repair, rose diamonds tagged , , , , , at 4:47 pm by rosediamonds

I have had several clients complain that their stud earrings droop when they wear them causing the diamonds to face downward.  This can be caused by thin earlobes or heavy stones.  I usually recommend two solutions.

Solution 1: Bigger backs.  There are giant earring backs available by special order in silver, platinum, and 14K yellow and white gold.  They are much more expensive than regular backs ($50+ each for gold), but they help support the weight of your earrings.  For those of you with acrylic nails, they are also easier to put on.  A less expensive alternative is a clear acrylic disc to put between your ear and the earring back to mimic the support of the giant backs.

Solution 2: Reset earrings in three prong “martini” setting.  The three prong setting allows the earring to sit partially back in the ear (see picture).  This reduces the strain on the ear and provides a lower profile when viewed from the side.  These are available in standard posts (with friction backs) or threaded posts (screwbacks).  I, personally, like the modern look the the three prongs from the front, too.

Do you have other suggestions about earring backs?  Leave a comment!

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