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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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.

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:)

March 29, 2012

Bridal Trends Report: Repost from National Jeweler

Posted in engagement, jewelry, rings, wedding tagged , , , , at 7:06 pm by rosediamonds

New York–Though lovebirds who tied the knot last year spent slightly more on average than those who wed in 2010, the engagement ring was not an area where they were doling out any extra cash, a new survey shows.

According to The Real Weddings Survey, conducted by TheKnot.com and WeddingChannel.com among couples who wed in 2011, the average wedding budget increased minimally (0.1 percent) between 2010 and 2011, from $26,984 to $27,021.

Engagement ring spending was down 5 percent, from $5,392 to $5,130.

Areas where couples were spending more included the ceremony site (up from $1,393 to $1,599), wedding planner ($1,683 to $1,753), wedding dress ($1,099 to $1,121) and entertainment, with spending on the reception band, DJ, videographer and ceremony musicians all climbing.

The most expensive place to get married still is Manhattan, where couples spend an average of $67,824 on their wedding, the survey showed. The least expensive location to tie the knot is West Virginia, where the average couple spends $14,203.

The average marrying age of a bride and groom in the U.S. in 2011 was 29 and 30, respectively. The most popular month for engagements was December, with 16 percent of proposals taking place then, while September was the most popular month to wed.

Other findings from The Read Weddings Survey include:
– Hawaii has the country’s oldest brides at 31, while Utah boasts the youngest at 26.
– Fall weddings were more popular in 2011, partially due to the high demand to get married in September on 9/10/11 and in November on 11/11/11.
– A total of 69 percent of couples now have a wedding website, up from 65 percent in 2010 and 60 percent in 2009. Brides also are using social media more to share wedding details with guests and keep in touch with vendors.
– Nearly three out of five brides reported using their smartphones for wedding planning. Popular uses include taking and sharing wedding-related pictures (58 percent), looking up vendor contact information (47 percent), accessing wedding planning websites (33 percent) and managing gift registries (32 percent).

The 2011 Real Wedding Survey included responses from about 18,000 couples who got married last year. Survey-takers were recruited through TheKnot.com and WeddingChannel.com membership, and all were 18 or older.

 

http://www.nationaljeweler.com/nj/independents/a/~28191-Survey-Average-engagement-ring-price

March 26, 2012

Translating Celebrity Style to Your Budget: 7 ways to save $$

Posted in bride, engagement, gemstones, gold, jeweler, jewelry, jewelry design, rings, rose diamonds, wedding tagged , , , , , , , , , at 6:26 pm by rosediamonds

http://www.onewed.com/wedding-engagement-rings/gallery/blingin-celebrity-engagement-rings
Rose Diamonds Custom Design & Repair

<meta name="author" content="Jennifer Choi, GIA Graduate Gemologist"

Celebrities certainly seem to have it all.  One of their larger perks is a virtually unlimited budget when it comes to picking out their “dream ring.”  For the rest of us, there are compromises to be made.  Here are 7 ways to save without sacrificing A List style.

  1. Scale it down.  Keep the design the same, but put a 0.60 ct in the center instead of a 20ct.  To make this work, I recommend scaling the setting and side stones down as well–otherwire your diamond will look like a shrunken head
  2. Skip the sides.  Showcase your gorgeous diamond just like the celebs, but skip the stones on the sides.    You can still add fancy details to the center stone.  This also applies if the ring you adore has diamonds on the underside of the stone or on the sides of the shank.  Added bonus: stones between the fingers can be scratchy and stones on the bottom of eternity bands tend to loosen or fall out over time with normal wear and tear.
  3. Use Color.  You want a huge ring with major finger spread, but don’t have the budget for a 4 carat?  Use an aquamarine, said to calm marital dispute, or another favorite color.  I once had a client that used a spessartite garnet that matched her haircolor exactly (she was a ginger).
  4. Lower the karat.  The benefits of this is twofold.  One: Lower karat gold is less exensive, immediately saving you money. Two. Lower karat gold is stronger.  Many people forget that gold is a pretty soft metal.  The more alloys in the gold, the “harder” it is.  Note: While 18K yellow is “yellower” than 10K or 14K, in the world of white (gold) the color will be the same due to the rhodium plating.
  5. Add a halo to “boost” your stone size impression.  At my shop, I usually refer to these as a booster ring, partially because I like Star Wars, and also because it acts like a push up bra for diamonds.
  6. Consider engraving instead of side stones.  It’s mimics the “detaily” look of all the micropave without the cost of extra diamonds and diamond setting.  Be careful, hand engraving is rather labor intensive, but most jewelers have access to engraved styles that won’t cost the moon.
  7. Use your own stuff.  If you’ve inherited a good diamond, consider using it in your ring.  Have spare gold?  It can be used as a trade in towards design work most places.  Ask a jeweler if an inherited ring can be refurbished–paying special attention to rebuilding prongs and ring shanks (which are the most common areas of wear and tear)

When addressing celebrity style, inevitably you will wonder why some rings are so outrageously expensive.  There are a couple reasons:

  • They pay for the Brand (Neil Lane, Harry Winston, Cartier, etc.)
  • C’s that just won’t quit: Fine Diamonds without inclusions of excellent color and cut are rare.  Supply is rare, hence the price.
  • Diamonds are sold per pound: Similar to a trip to the deli, diamonds are priced by the weight (carats).  The heavier it is, the more it costs, & celebrity rings are pretty weighty!

ImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImage

Yes, I do realize that some of the relationships associated with these rings are no longer…valid, but it wasn’t the ring’s fault;)

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.

January 28, 2012

Jewelry Inspiration Source Discovered!

Posted in jewelry, jewelry design, rings, rose diamonds, wedding tagged , , , , at 10:54 pm by rosediamonds

Pinterest.  If you haven’t heard of it, you will soon.  Generally speaking, pinterest is a virtual bulletin board where people can share the pretty pictures (with customized captions) they find online–like a scrapbook, but less messy–  I originally found out about it via a wedding industry newsletter.  It peaked my curiosity enough that I checked it out.  People can post themed boards with pics of wedding ideas, cute pets, dreamy interior design, etc.

 

I think as the pinterest world grows, it will bring about the sharing of more fantastic design ideas.  I stumbled across the following board–see what you think.  So far, I have used it to organized a grouping of “dream projects” for later review.  I like that the original website is linked to the “pin” so it is easy to look for more info on the pics you like.  Custom design is made easier when people have the tiniest bit of inspiration…I’m excited!

http://pinterest.com/knh126/romance/

 

 

 

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.

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