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

January 14, 2012

Secrets of Silver: Plated with rhodium & other stuff

Posted in jeweler, jewelry, jewelry repair, ring sizing, rings, rose diamonds, silver tagged , , , , , , at 8:19 pm by rosediamonds

Silver jewelry has come a long way.  With gold prices still hovering in the upper thousands per ounce, silver jewelry is enjoying a renewed popularity with mainstream consumers who previously only bought gold.  Silver jewelry with diamonds, fabulous silver and cz statement rings, silver designer inspired jewelry…

As a jeweler, I get several people per week that have a new silver ring they would like sized.  Occasionally, it can be adjusted the traditional way, with torch sizing.  More often, we have to settle for adding a ring guard to reduce the apparent size of the ring.  Most sterling silver jewelry is coated with a thin layer of rhodium, nickel, or some other white finish.  When jewelry is coated/plated, it will have one of three different reactions to high heat (soldering):

  1. Turns black.  When polished shows a pinkish midlayer, then a dull gray.
  2. Coating crackles like one of those crackle vases.
  3. Bubbles/peels–ruins the smooth surface of the jewelry

RHODIUM PLATING-Rhodium is a member of the platinum family and mimics platinum’s “white white”.  It also protects the piece from natural tarnishing, but it has its drawbacks, such as uneven wear, scratching and repair difficulties.  The exposure of chemicals (cleaning supplies, cosmetics) and perspiration speed wear.  Rhodium can be reapplied by a jeweler on most silver pieces.

WEAR – The layer of rhodium plated on silver jewelry is extremely thin, and over time it will wear off. It usually wears off evenly, leaving dull spots (on the bottom of rings). Most pieces can be rhodium plated again. but the labor cost may floor you.  Platinum’s cousin is also expensive, and there is a good deal of polishing and cleaning labor time involved.  If you have a sentimental piece you adore, a simple repolishing might work just as well–ask your jeweler.  Another drawback is the fact that rhodium plated pieces can be scratched easily and the scratches cannot always be polished off without ruining the finish in general. Many jewelers refuse to work on coated silver jewelry period.

We have noticed a trend of jewelry come in for repair that is not rhodium plated but nickel coated.  These platings are usually much thicker (and wear better) but make traditional repair almost impossible due to the adverse reaction the coating hast to heat).  Many jewelry stores (brick and mortar and online) allow clients to simply exchange rings ordered that do not fit upon receipt.   We approach each silver jewelry piece individually to see if repair or alteration is possible.

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

 

March 4, 2011

Precious Metal Coins

Posted in gold, rose diamonds, silver tagged , , at 11:48 pm by rosediamonds

We’ve had several people come in with “rare” coins lately, and I thought I might address the situation with coins in today’s gold and silver market.  With prices rising on the spot prices of gold and silver, there are more and more people interested in cashing in their coin collections.

 

I am not, not do I intend to be, a coin expert.   This is the unedited information that has been passed along to me from a local coin dealer I use and countless articles I’ve read online.  Turns out, “treasure coins” are pretty rare out there.  There are “grades” of quality that range from your average-found it in my pocket-change.   The most valuable ones are uncirculated ones or “proofs.”  Even with very old coins, if there were a lot on production, the value rarely exceeds the metal price (silver or gold content) when it comes to selling.  For example, I thought I had something special when I found a silver dollar from the twenties.  I found out that they produced more silver dollars that year than any other.  sigh.

 

There are plenty of online references and books on coin collecting.  Being a practical girl, I find myself recommending collecting coins for “fun” and doing your homework before investing.    For those who are interested in selling your coins, be prepared that most merchants will only be able to give you a percentage of the daily spot market price and will rarely pay more for the coin’s “collectibility.”   It is not illegal to melt coins, and for hardcore collectors, this mass coin smelting may lead to inflated coin values for the coins kept in collections.  Do you have a coin collection?  What are your thoughts?

November 7, 2010

The Cost of Silver

Posted in jewelry, rose diamonds, silver tagged , , at 3:38 pm by rosediamonds

While media outlets all over the world are hyper-ventilating about the soaring price of gold (set to breach $1400 per ounce this week), jewelry industry professionals have seen a HUGE increase in the price of silver over the past year.  The graph to the right illustrates its climb to record highs.

 

I don’t claim to be a commodities expert, but even amongst the “experts” there have been many indicators that point to the price of precious metals continuing to rise.

 

Thinking about scrapping out your old sterling?  A few hints:  Sterling silver jewelry is marked 925 or sterling.  If your piece is not marked, it is not silver (unless it was made for you custom).  925 means it is 92.5% pure silver.  The rest is alloys of copper and nickel.  999 is a mark of fine silver (99.9% pure) and is less common.  A word to the wise.  Even though prices of silver have skyrocketed, it still takes a bunch (of weight) to make any noticeable amount of money.

 

Caring for silver…Check the archives for my post on how to keep your silver jewelry looking its best.

May 27, 2010

Jewelry Show Trends–Sterling Silver

Posted in gold, jeweler, jewelry, rose diamonds, silver tagged , , , at 4:12 pm by rosediamonds

We’re coming up on one of the largest jewelry shows in the industry next week, the JCK Las Vegas show.  Perusing the show flyers, I was surprised at how many jewelry manufacturers are going to sterling silver.  The price of gold has continued to rise, and shows no signs of slowing, so many companies feel consumers will turn to lower cost metals, such as sterling, stainless, tungsten, and titanium.

I love the new designs in sterling silver, but I wonder how consumers are reacting to the overflow of silver (even with diamond chips) in the showcases across the country.  Part of what people value about jewelry is its permanence.  Sterling is durable and looks gorgeous in jewelry displays, but I can’t help but wonder if it will be passed on to future generations in the same way.  One comment in a trade magazine asked “what are jewelers going to do with all this silver when a.) the gold price drops b.)the economy improves?  Until then, we’ll just enjoy the gorgeous new designs, I guess.

January 27, 2010

Valentine’s Day Gift Ideas (on a budget)

Posted in birthstones, diamonds, gemstones, gift ideas, Gifts, gold, jeweler, jewelry, jewelry design, rings, rose diamonds, silver, valentines tagged , , , , , , , , , at 11:39 pm by rosediamonds

A lot of people begin looking for Valentine’s Day gifts at the end of January.  This is after the harrowing experience of paying their credit card bills from the Christmas season.  I’ve come up with a few gift ideas that will look well thought out, but won’t break the bank.

Probably the number one valentines day gifts are flowers, chocolates, stuffed animals, and diamond heart pendants.  This being a jewelry blog, don’t expect me to expound on the virtues of the non-jewelry items.  Being a practical person, I appreciate gifts that last beyond two days (flowers and chocolate) and aren’t overpriced twice a year (flowers).  Long lasting gifts are a personification of long lasting intent.

Fellas:  keep in mind how long you’ve been dating.   Rings indicate certain ideas of commitment in women you may not be ready for.  Also, it is hard to guess at ring sizes.

Initial/Name Jewelry: You know her name, so this one is easy.  Stay on the smallish side to be safe and a two tone finish will allow it to blend with all her existing jewelry.  Ladies initials and monograms should be for the first name as the last name can change with marriage.

Earrings:  Always fit and are hard to screw up.  Try for basics that will make her think of you each time she puts them on each day.

Heart shaped jewelry: the old stand by.  Try mixing it up a little by looking for a piece that intertwines your and her birthstones.  The symbolism is a nice added touch.

Try to get your design ideas to your jeweler early, so it can be delivered on time.  Custom work takes time to complete.

Have a great holiday!

December 30, 2009

Making Sensible Jewelry Decisions

Posted in diamonds, earrings, engagement, gemstones, gift ideas, Gifts, gold, jeweler, jewelry, jewelry design, jewelry repair, pearls, rings, rose diamonds, silver tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , at 4:48 pm by rosediamonds

I am currently working on some jewelry designs for clients that have brought some jewelry issues to my attention.  This is not a post about jewelry trends or fashion.  The key many people overlook is jewelry use.

Most people have a few pieces of jewelry in their collections that are never/rarely worn.  Beyond the usual ghastly gifts, some of these items are self purchases that sit abandoned.  One of the key aspects to choosing the “right” piece of jewelry for yourself is considering how and where you will wear it.

A good example of this is my latest persuasion tactics on the husband.  I decided I wanted/needed a tennis necklace.  I told the husband he could make it over time.  For each holiday he could add a quarter carat diamond.  The finished carat total weight would be somewhere near 80 carats.  Sensible, right?  He stopped me in my tracks when he asked me where I would wear it.  Hmm.  The grocery store?  Barnes and Noble?  Okay perhaps this is not such a great idea.

When clients are in my shop, some might notice that I ask about their occupation or their spouse’s occuption.  It is not to discern income!  I simply want to know if people are typing a computers (where most jewelry is acceptable, although bangles do clank against keyboards) or they are ER doctors (where gloves will snag on high settings and long chains will be ripped off by flailing appendages).

Some quick tips:

Work with animals?–avoid open or tall settings.  Debris gets stuck in the openings and tall settings can scratch animals

Parrot owner?–They love to nibble/crush with their beaks dangly earrings and are known to chew necklaces.

Work with Kids?–avoid tall settings that can scratch, big hoops (kids can pull on), thin chains that can’t survive a tug.  Luckily kids grow up quickly, so dangly jewelry may just be shelved (like the crystal) for a couple years.

Desk job?–avoid bangles that clank on the desk all day, safety chains on tennis bracelets get caught in files, rings that are not sized snugly (in frigid offices especially) will flop around on your fingers ALL DAY.

Work with hand tools?–avoid wide ring shanks.  These are more likely to cause blisters on the hands.  Also I don’t recommend platinum (which gets scratched easily)

Long hair? Look for earrings that won’t tangle in hair–like closed back hoops or straight dangles.

Hope these tips help.  If you discover you have “abandoned” jewelry, don’t fret.  It can be re-designed into a useable piece by a talented jeweler.

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