June 7, 2012

Tanzanite: Fun Facts

Posted in birthstones, gemologist, gemstones, gift ideas, jewelry, jewelry care tagged , , , , , , at 5:02 pm by rosediamonds

No history or lore was needed for tanzanite to become one of the most popular gemstones in the world.   Discovered in 1967, this gem was once marketed as a sapphire alternative.  Its color spectrum ranges from bluish violet to purple.  Due to the political unrest by the leaders of Tanzania, the gem’s supply fluctuates and has caused historically large price jumps.

  • Member of the zoisite family
  • Marketed originally by Tiffany & Co in 1968
  • Mined in one place only: Tanzania
  • In 2002, tanzanite became an alternate December birthstone
  • Most tanzanite comes out of the ground a creme soda brown and routinely heated to get the trademark blueish violet.
  • Exhibits trichroism (can exhibit three different colors depending on the orientation of the crystal to the viewer)
  • Has been a popular “push present” for parents of new babies which probably led to its recent link with fertility
  • Hardness 6-7
  • Can cleave in 2 diections (ie. prone to chipping)
  • Toughness: fair to poor (also referring to chipping)
  • Care includes NO ultrasonics, NOsteamers, NO rough handling, and NO abrupt temperature changes

April 6, 2012

How to Use a Jeweler’s Loupe

Posted in birthstones, gemologist, gemstones, jeweler, jewelry, jewelry care, rings, rose diamonds tagged , , , , , , , at 5:37 pm by rosediamonds

Loupes, Loops, and Lupes – How to Use a Jeweler’s Loupe.


I have been meaning to write on this subject for a while, and I found this great blog post–Her other blog posts are good too:)


I think one of my GIA instructors told me that he used the handling of the loupe to gauge one’s experience with diamonds when working with clients and people in the industry.  Practice makes perfect!  Try to keep both eyes open to reduce eye strain.


If you are interested in attending the Intro to Jewelery & Gemology Course, please sign up below.  I am working on a late Spring schedule.  It is a half day seminar that includes snacks, a loupe, and some gem tweezers for you to take home.  I recommend you bring some of your personal jewelry to experiment with…and yes, we go over how to use a loupe:)

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.

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.



April 4, 2011

Gemological Testing: CSI for Unknown Gemstones

Posted in appraisal, birthstones, gemologist, gemstones, rose diamonds tagged , , , , at 4:41 pm by rosediamonds

I posted a (rather drawn out) series of pics and explanations on the company facebook page of how we test unknown gemstones at Rose Diamonds.

March 21, 2011

Overlooked Gemstones

Posted in birthstones, gemologist, gemstones, jeweler, jewelry design, rose diamonds tagged , , , , , at 8:15 pm by rosediamonds

With the economy still in recovery mode, people are looking for big, glamorous jewelry that has an individual flair to it.  To keep things budget friendly, I’m posting some center gemstone ideas for commonly overlooked gemstones.  I love that all these stones come in large sizes with little price tags compared to the “big three” (ruby sapphire and emerald).

First up is tourmilated quartz.  It’s regular quartz crystal that has tourmaline needles inside it.  Some pieces have a lot and some only have a few slivers.  The best part is that no two are alike.  I think this makes for very unique jewelry even in the most simple settings.




Below that one is rutilated quartz.  Instead of the black to dark green needles, it has gold needles in it.  Quite a conversation starter…







Moonstone exhibits adularesence–a phenomena where the bluish glow floats over the stone when it’s moved.




Blue chalcedony has a very “wedgewood” blue that looks fabulous in traditional and contemporary settings.




Iolite is a fantastic budget replacement for those who love tanzanite.




Bloodstone is overlooked in this day and age.  Perfect for men’s rings it is a very dark green with red spatters.

Custom design is more than creating fantastic settings.  It can be fun to explore new gemstones and create new conversation pieces.

September 14, 2010

Oct 16, 2010 Intro to Jewelry & Gemology Half Day Seminar 1-3PM

Posted in gemologist, gemstones, jeweler, rose diamonds tagged , , , , at 7:32 pm by rosediamonds

Just in time for the winter shopping season, I’m holding another session of the jewelry/gemology course.

We’ve shortened the course to two hours and will touch on the basics of diamond and gemstone origins, manufacture, & distribution.  I will also be sharing consumer tips on how to identify karat marks (and where they are hiding), and the differences between natural stones and their many imposters.

Attendees will learn to use  gem tweezers and will take home their own jewelers loupe.  We will also touch on appraisal basics, birthstones, and how diamonds are graded, (these tiny differences can make big $ differences)

Bring your personal jewelry for our “exploratory” time.  There will be an extensive question and answer session.  Snacks will be provided.  $25 session fee

Pre-register at 417-823-3778 or rsvp on the facebook page (see sidebar for link).

September 7, 2010

September’s Birthstone Fast Facts: Sapphire

Posted in birthstones, gemologist, gemstones, rose diamonds tagged , , , at 9:41 pm by rosediamonds

November’s birthstone, sapphire, is a member of the corundum family (same as ruby) and has hardness of 9 on the Mohs scale.

Sapphires are mined in Australia, Cambodia, East Africa, India, Myanmar (Burma), Sri Lanka , Thailand, & the US.

It is said that sapphires represent faith and steadfast commitment.

Many people do not realize that sapphires come in all shades of the rainbow.  Fancy colored sapphires come in pink, orange, purple, green,  white, and black.  Blue sapphires range in color from light to medium (sometimes referred to as Ceylon) to midnight black/blue.

Ideal sapphire color is transparent vibrant “cornflower blue” with a slight “velvety” look.  It is caused by rutile silk inclusions inside the stones that reflect light. (as pictured above)

Sapphires can exhibit asterism (star sapphires).  The stars are also caused by inclusions.  Stars can be natural or surface diffused.  When shopping, look for “defined” or crisp rays on the star.

Sapphires are imitated by blue spinel (natural), synthetic blue spinel, blue cz, blue glass, and blue plastic.

Synthetic sapphires are chemically the same as natural sapphires, but are grown in a laboratory and usually are relatively inclusion free.

Most sapphires are assumed to be heat treated, whether at the mining source or later at the manufacturer (cutting center)

The most expensive sapphire is not blue: padparadscha means lotus flower in Sinhalese (the language of Sri Lanka) and can out-price diamonds of the same size.  The ideal padparadscha color is vivid pinkish orange. (pictured below)

Sapphire care: ultrasonic and stream cleaning ok.  Try not to store with diamonds (even sapphires can get scratched by harder gemstones)

Most sapphires in the marketplace are “commercial” grade.  For some stunning sapphires, ask your jeweler for fine sapphires.  Some even come with gem reports like diamonds.

More questions about sapphires?  Post a comment below, and I’ll respond.

August 19, 2010

August Birthstone: Peridot

Posted in birthstones, gemologist, gemstones, jewelry, rose diamonds, Uncategorized tagged , , , , at 3:32 pm by rosediamonds

Peridot, with its crisp apple-green color, has been treasured by people throughout history in Hawaii, ancient Rome, and modern day Iran (as a part of the Iranian crown jewels).

It is believed to help dreams become reality and to drive away evil spirits of the night.  It was named “evening emerald” because its brilliant color did not fade as the sun set, but seemed to glow from within.

Peridot is mined in Australia, Brazil, Myanmar (Burma) , Kenya, Mexico, Sri Lanka, China, and the US (Arizona area).  Much of the US peridot is mined by Native Americans.

To keep your peridot looking nice, avoid contact with chemicals and extreme heat.  Best Bet: clean with a soft toothbrush and soapy warm water.

Peridot color ranges from olive green to bright lime green.  Most is available without noticeable inclusions.  Peridot occasionally has lily-pad like inclusions.

Green cubic zirconia, glass, plastic, and synthetic spinel have been used as peridot simulants.  Because peridot is a relatively affordable gemstone, most on the market is natural and can come in large sizes, with a recent trend a checkerboard cuts.

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