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  Jewelry Education(righ
t column)
 
 

It always helps to know what to look for when you are shopping for quality jewelry or stones.  Below you will find your answers.  Simply click on the item you are interested in below, and you will be taken to the section to read all about the jewelry you are looking to purchase.  Armed with this information you should never make a mistake.

  • What You Should Know About Buying Diamonds

  •  What You Should Know About Buying Diamonds

  • Brief Description of the 4 C's

  • Let's Dig a Little Deeper

  • What You Should Know About Buying Gold

  • What You Should Know About Gemstones
  • What You Should Know About Platinum
  • The Truth About Pearls and What You Should Look For
  • Get to Know Cubic Zirconia

  • What You Should Know About Sterling Silver

  • What You Should Know About Buying Diamonds

There are 4 C's that you should be familiar with prior to purchasing your loose diamond:

  1. Carats

  2. Clarity

  3. Color

  4. Cut

By educating yourself in the 4 C's before making your purchase, you will get more bang for your buck!  This means better quality for your money invested. Unless your pockets are lined with gold, it is important to decide which of the 4 C's is most significant to you.  In doing so, you will be better equipped to decide if you would like a larger diamond with less brilliance or a smaller one with more flare. 

Brief Description of the 4 C's: 

Let's touch on a basic meaning of the 4 C's.

  1. Carats - Diamond Carat refers to the weight of diamonds.

  2. Clarity - Diamond Clarity measures the amount of inclusions {inclusions interfere with the light passing through and therefore lowers the brilliance + fire}.

  3. Color - Diamond Color Grading evaluates the whiteness of loose diamonds  {the more yellow, the less its value}.

  4. Cut - Diamond Cut  measures the quality, not shape of the diamonds {a better cut results in more sparkle - simple as that}.

Let's Dig a Little Deeper:

CARATS:

All loose diamonds are measured by carat weight.  Normally, people want the largest diamond they can get.  But technically, larger sized diamonds usually suffer in quality, such as a loss in brilliance.   In order to cut loose diamonds at the best angles to produce the most fire, much of the original diamond rough is lost; thereby,  resulting in a great decrease in the diamond's carat weight. 

There are 100 points to a carat and a carat equals 1/5 of a gram.  Don't be fooled into buying loose diamonds that are said to be .25 points. They are NOT a quarter of a carat, and will be so small that they should only be used as accents to other stones or the gold itself. 

Since larger loose diamonds are more rare, the price of carats per gram rises dramatically at an exponential rate. A one carat diamond is worth more than several diamonds that measure a carat in total weight.

CLARITY:

Clarity refers to the clearness or purity of a diamond.   Very rarely will one find perfect loose diamonds that are clear and clean of imperfections. When buying diamond jewelry, look for a clear diamond. Inclusions can sometimes be minor if not seen by the naked eye. When looking at clarity, look for a diamond that is from Flawless to Very Slightly Included; those are stones that look clear to the naked eye.

There are two Clarity grading scales done by the American Gem Society Laboratories {AGSL} and Gemological Institute of America {GIA}.

The AGSL scale is from 0 to 10,  with 0 being flawless.

The GIA scale has a scale that grades diamonds from Flawless to Imperfect {FL to I3}.  

GIA Clarity Scale:  Flawless {FL} and Internally Flawless {IF} diamonds are virtually flawless with no natural inclusions seen under 10x magnification. These diamonds are extremely rare.  

Very Very Slightly Included {VVS1 and VVS2} diamonds have inclusions that are difficult to see under 10x magnification. They have excellent quality. It is extremely difficult to see,  only visible from the pavilion,  or have small and shallow inclusions that could be removed with minor polishing. 

Very Slightly Included {VS1 and VS2} diamonds have inclusions that are difficult to see with the naked eye. They are less expensive than VVS1 and VVS2. Inclusions in VS1 are difficult to see and somewhat easier to see in VS2 diamonds.

Slightly Included {SI1 and SI2} have inclusions that are visible under 10x magnification and may be seen with the naked eye. They are a good value because their brilliance is still high but their prices are more affordable.

Imperfect {I1, I2 and I3} diamonds contain inclusions that are obvious under 10x magnification and can easily been seen under the naked eye. These diamond gradings don't have as much sparkle to the naked eye. 

COLOR:

Loose diamonds come in varying colors from yellow to light brown. Other colors, such as pink and black, are known as fancy diamonds and are not included in this color scale. The favorite color grading is colorless which is extremely rare.

Color grading for diamonds has letter grades from D to Z.

White Diamond Color Scale: D is colorless and extremely rare.

E is colorless with trace color only uncovered by an expert gemologist.

F is colorless with a little bit more trace color than E, but still only detected by an expert gemologist.

G-H are near colorless, but excellent value.

 I-J are near colorless, color is slightly detected.

K-Z loose diamonds that have a faint yellow to light yellow color.

The best value diamonds are G-I;  however,  look at grades D-H when looking for an engagement ring diamond.

When buying loose diamonds for engagement rings or wedding rings, remember to start off with a budget. There is a modern convention that the engagement ring should have a value equal to approximately two month's salary. Once you have established a budget, you can find out more information on the type of loose diamond you want.

CUT:

Popular shapes for a center diamond stone are emerald, heart, marquise, oval, pear, princess, radiant and round. The most traditional and popular shape is a round diamond. A round diamond shows the most brilliance and sparkle while also hiding imperfections because of its cut and shape. The other diamond shapes are sometimes more expensive because of the difficulty of cutting a diamond into various shapes.

When choosing a diamond shape, think of her style and preferences. Does she like the traditional? If so, then a round diamond solitaire ring would be a good style for her.  Is she modern and prefers the more trendy styles? A princess or emerald diamond shape may be her favorite.

Speak to her friends and do a bit of investigating; it's possible she may already have an ideal diamond ring in mind.

Study the 4 C's  - Cut, Clarity, Color and Carats, to be better informed.  The most important C is the cut. 


Loose diamonds are the earth's strongest material, but a single hard hit could cause it to chip. If you keep them away from heavy activity, the diamonds should last a lifetime.

To clean diamonds and diamond jewelry, use water and a little bit of ammonia with a gentle brush while being careful of the metal. Keep diamonds away from lotion, perspiration and other household cleaners. Those items can dull the surface of the stones.  Store your diamond jewelry separated with paper or jewelry bags  so they do not scratch or dull each other. It's wise to keep the diamonds in their original velvet boxes.

What You Should Know About Buying Gold

As a jewelry consumer, you have probably encountered the term "karats".   24 karats denotes 100% pure gold. Any karat value below 24 is the amount of pure gold that occupies the gold jewelry alloy.

For example, 18 karat equals 18/24ths of pure gold which is 75% gold. Likewise, 14 karat equals 14/24ths of pure gold which is 58.5% gold.

The remaining mixture of non-gold metals are not very important in determining value, but are primarily used to increase strength and vary color in gold jewelry. This variation in karatage value accounts for differences in prices and colors of gold. The lower the karatage value, the wider the array of colors and lower the price.

14k gold jewelry generally ranges from $20-$30 per gram, while 18k gold jewelry ranges from $27-37 per gram. In addition, properties such as hardness and durability are enhanced as gold is alloyed, allowing for greater scratch resistance and less vulnerability to damage.

The most popular karatage for jewelry in the US and Europe is 14k and 18k.  In the Middle East, India, and South East Asia, 22k jewelry is very popular.  In China and Hong Kong, "chuk kam" or pure gold jewelry of at least 990 fineness is a traditional gift for special occasions like marriage {990 fineness means 99% gold}.

Fineness is just another way of measuring gold content per thousand parts. So 18k, which is 75% gold becomes 750 parts of gold per thousand parts in fineness.  

Have you ever wondered where gold obtains its wide array of colors? If it is yellow by nature, how do you make it white? The answer lies in its highly malleable property that allows a skilled jeweler to create new colors and designs. Jewelers prefer gold to other metals not only for its brilliance, but the ease in which it can be molded and mixed with other metals. However, pure gold is easily scratched and slightly dull in color, which limits durability in everyday golden jewelry. Instead, it is alloyed with other metals, such as copper, silver, nickel, palladium, and zinc, which increase its strength and color. In its purest form of 24 karats, the metal dons a deep, orange shade of yellow. When fused with other metals, however, its shade will vary. Copper, being red, will cause gold to become redder. Silver, zinc, and other white/gray metals will cause it to become paler. Alloying gold with other metals follows the principle of mixing colors; therefore, lower karat gold often has a wider array of colors than higher karat gold because more alloying metals are added.

What You Should Know About Gemstones

AMETHYST:

Amethyst is the purple form of quartz.  Amethyst Rings can range from pale lilac to deep purple. It is a popular choice for jewelry with its beautiful color, affordability, sizes, and versatility. 

Amethyst can be found in Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Bolivia, Namibia, Uruguay, and Zambia. Amethyst found in South America usually appears larger than the African stones, which are more saturated in color.  The very dark, small stones are from Australia. 

Amethysts rank 6.5 to 7.5 on the Mohs scale {diamond is the hardest at 10}. The quality amethysts have a clear purple color and are transparent.  Sometimes the darker stones are heat-treated and the process is permanent.

Amethyst is the birthstone for February and recommended for the 4th and 6th wedding anniversaries.

The orange form of quartz is Citrine.  Sometimes, there are quartz stones that contain orange and purple, a blending of amethyst and citrine that is called Ametrine. 

AQUAMARINE:

Aquamarine rings hold the beauty of the ocean in a lovely gemstone. Aquamarine stones, seawater in Latin, range in color from light blue to dark blue and sometimes with a hint of green.

The aquamarine is mined in Madagascar, Brazil, Pakistan, Mozambique, Zambia, Tanzania, Kenya, Nigeria, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan and Russia.

The gemstone is ranked 7 on Mohs scale of hardness {diamond is 10 - the hardest substance}. Although aquamarines are from the same family as Emerald {beryl}, they are not as prone to inclusions. Near-flawless gems are easier to find.

Aquamarine stones are typically cut in ovals and emerald cuts. The more saturated colors are larger because it takes size for the color to hold in the darker shade. Some aquamarine stones are also heat-treated. This practice is very common; it takes out the green and makes the stone bluer. It is a permanent treatment that is accepted in the jewelry industry.

Aquamarine is March's birthstone and recommended for the 19th wedding anniversary.

EMERALD:

Emerald is one of the most beloved jewels. Emeralds have been known since ancient Egypt. Nowadays, the beautiful green gemstone can be found in Colombia, Brazil, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Madagascar, South Africa, Australia, Russia, and North Carolina.

The beautiful gemstone is ranked 7.5 to 8 on the Mohs scale of hardness {diamond is the strongest at 10}, but the emerald is somewhat brittle because of the natural inclusions. Emerald jewelry is immersed in oil and dipped in resin to minimize the appearance of the natural fissures. Inclusions are typical of this jewel and, unlike diamonds, they do not devalue the emeralds as much.

Emeralds that have deep fissures, but have a deep green color can cost more than an inclusion-free pale one. Perfect emerald rings are expensive and extremely rare. Color is the most important aspect when buying emeralds. Emeralds that are not too dark or too light with a deep, vivid green are the most expensive; however, every shade of emerald is popular.

Emerald is May's birthstone and recommended for the 20th and 35th wedding anniversaries.

GARNET:

Garnet is a beautiful and versatile gemstone. When most people think of garnets, they think of beautiful red stones; however, there are many different varieties of garnet jewelry and they actually come in every color with the exception of blue.

In addition to many colors, there are many different types. Andradite garnets come in yellow, green and brown.  The emerald green andradite garnets from Russia are known as the demantoid garnets. Demantoid garnets are softer than other garnets and should be protected.

Almandine garnet is the most common type and comes in dark red to brownish red.

Grossular garnets come in yellow, orange, green, and brown. The green grossular garnets found in Tanzania and Kenya are known as tsavorite garnets.

Pyrope garnets come in blood red and used to be mistaken for rubies.

Malaya garnet, a blend of pyrope and spessartine, comes in bright light orange.

Rhodolite garnets are a mix of pyrope and almandine and come in light to dark pink to purplish red.

Spessartine garnets come in reddish-brown to yellow orange. The bright orange spessartine garnets are also known as mandarin garnets.

Star garnets, reddish-purple stones, found in the United States, have a faint four-rayed star.

Garnet not only comes in many colors, but sizes, too. Almandine and pyrope garnets can come up to 40 to 50 carats, but most do not exceed 20 carats.  Grossular and Spessartine garnets are rarely more than 10 carats.  Tsavorite and demantoid garnets are rarely over 3 carats.

Garnet can be found all around the world from South Africa, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Madagascar, Kenya, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Brazil, Argentina, Czech Republic, Russia, Pakistan, India, Canada, Mexico, Arizona, Virginia and California.

Garnet ranks 6.5 to 7.5 on the Mohs scale of hardness {diamonds are ranked 10, the hardest substance}. Garnet stones are hard, but somewhat brittle. Garnet rings are wonderful for everyday wear, but a hard impact could chip or crack the stone.

The stones are almost never color treated, but there are imitation garnets. Technology has made similar stones, but with different chemical compositions.

Garnet is January's birthstone and recommended for the 2nd wedding anniversary.

OPAL:

Opal has a long history; some opals are almost 60 million years old and have been around since the dinosaurs. The beauties of opal jewelry have been recognized by many cultures.  The Greeks and Romans believed that opals represented hope, innocence and purity.

Presently, opals can be mined in Australia, Brazil, Czech Republic, Mexico, Nevada and Idaho. Opal jewelry comes in many colors from black with blue, gray, or black body colors, white with white or light body colors, boulder opals which have color with rocks, to fire opals that are transparent with red, orange or yellow.

On the Mohs scale of hardness, opal ranks a 5.5 to a 6.5 {diamonds are a 10 - the hardest substance} which makes it rather soft and prone to scratches. All opals should be set in protective settings to prevent physical harm.

Opal is the birthstone for October and recommended for the 14th, 18th and 34th wedding anniversaries.

PERIDOT:

Peridot is a transparent stone that's most popular in green. Popular shades of peridot jewelry range from yellowish-green to greenish-yellow. In its long history, the peridot was thought to ward off evil spirits and has always been associated with light.

Now, peridot is found in Arizona's San Carlos Indian Reservation, Australia, Brazil, Burma, China, Colorado, Egypt, Hawaii, New Mexico, Norway, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. The gem is relatively inexpensive and not hard to find. It can normally be found up to 5 carats and large peridot stones are readily available.

Peridot ranks 6.5 to 7 {diamonds rank a 10 - hardest substance} on Mohs scale of hardness with toughness from fair to good. The stone is rarely treated and is stable. If the peridot is treated, it is treated with oils, waxes and resins.

The peridot is the birthstone for August and recommended for the 16th wedding anniversary.

RUBY:

Ruby jewelry has been admired from the beginning of time by many cultures and peoples because of its beauty and color. Rubies are red gemstones that represent love, passion, sexual desire and power.

Presently, rubies are found in Myanmar, Thailand, Sri Lanka and Vietnam.

On the Mohs scale of hardness, rubies rank 9- strongest after diamonds. These durable, strong gemstones have a beautiful luster, not as bright as diamonds, but beautiful in their own unique way.

Popular ruby shapes are antique cushions or cabochons; however, they do come in many shapes and styles, both in a ring and in earrings.

Perfect natural rubies that are pure red with no brown or blue overtones are rare and expensive. Some producers do heat enhancement on rubies. Heat enhancement intensifies or lightens the color; it is a permanent and stable process.

Other types of enhancements are surface diffusion, fracture filling, and cavity filling. Surface diffusion makes a colorless or light sapphire red by adding a layer of red color. Fracture filling is when the gem's fractures are filled with oil or resin. Cavity filling improves clarity by filling cavities. Heat and surface diffusion are stable enhancements, but fracture and cavity fillings are fair. Heat or chemicals can damage or destroy the filling.

Rubies are birthstones for July and recommended for the 15th year wedding anniversary.

SAPPHIRE:

Sapphires are beautiful gemstones that come in many colors, but are most famous for their blue color. Sapphires come in cognac, colorless, green, orange, peach, pink, purple, violet, white, and yellow {a red sapphire is called a ruby}.

On the Mohs scale of hardness, sapphire ranks a 9, highest after diamonds. It is a very durable gemstone and perfect for everyday accessories, such as rings or bracelets.

Sapphires are found in Kashmir, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Cambodia, Tanzania, Madagascar, Australia and Montana. It has been a common practice to heat-treat sapphires. Heat-treating sapphires helps improve clarity and color. The process is permanent and stable.

Blue sapphire is September's birthstone and recommended for the 5th, 23rd and 45th wedding anniversaries.

TANZANITE:

Tanzanite jewelry is the youngest of gemstone jewelry. The beautiful blue stone was discovered in 1967 in Tanzania, the only place in the world where tanzanite is found.

Tanzanite is a blue zoisite that was renamed tanzanite by Tiffany & Co. Tanzanite is blue with overtones of purple.  The smaller stones are sometimes lighter and have more lavender while the larger stones have a deeper, richer color. Tanzanite rings have shifts of color in different types of lighting. In the sunlight, the stone should have its true color during midday, while in the mornings and afternoon, it has red, yellow or orange tones. With light bulbs or candlelight, the blue may look violet or purple and the gray may seem brownish. In fluorescent light, the tanzanite may look bluer. Halogen lights could cause tanzanite to appear more purple.

On the Mohs scale of hardness, tanzanite ranks a 6 to 7 {diamonds rate a 10 - hardest substance}.  Since it is fragile, it should be protected from hard knocks to prevent chips.

Almost all tanzanites have been heat treated to 500C to turn the tanzanite into a beautiful blue color because the rough form comes in a brown-yellow color. Heating is a common practice and is accepted in the jewelry industry. Only those stones that do not have a lot of inclusions can be heat-treated or else the stone will be damaged with cracks or fissures.

Tanzanite is recommended for the 24th wedding anniversary.

What You Should Know About Platinum

Platinum is counted in 1000 parts. Most pieces are 95% pure, or 950 parts per thousand. For guaranteed quality, look for the marks 950 Plat, 950Pt, Pt950, Plat, 900Pt, Pt900, or 900Plat.

Platinum jewelry is hypoallergenic which makes it safe for even the most sensitive skin. The metal resists tarnish and, because of its purity, is one of the strongest, most durable metals in the world.

Today, platinum jewelry is commonly alloyed with copper, titanium, palladium, rhodium, ruthenium, iridium, and osmium. Even though platinum jewelry and white gold are similar in appearance, there are a few, but important differences, including purity, durability, rarity and luminescence. Platinum is more pure than white gold. It weighs 60% more than 14k gold. Since platinum is 1000 parts, you get more of this precious metal compared to the same amount of gold.

The durability of platinum is legendary. When it is scratched, it virtually loses no metal, instead it is displaced on the surface. Because of its great density there is a strong barrier against scratches. The rarity of platinum makes it an elite piece of jewelry. To get a single ounce it takes ten tons of ore and five months. The annual worldwide production is approximately 160 tons, compared to gold at 1500 tons.  This is why platinum is ideal for engagement rings, the single most important piece of jewelry a man will ever buy. Since it is more pure than white gold, it has more luminescence. White gold sometimes has a white tint to it, but platinum has a complete shine and mirror sheen.

When shopping for platinum jewelry, it's important to know the meaning of different platinum markings found etched either on the inside or backside of the piece.

100 - 99%= Platinum, Plat, Pt999= 999 parts per thousand, 1 part other metal
95%= Platinum, Pt, 950Pt, Pt950, 950Plat= 950 parts per thousand and 50 parts other metal
90%= Platinum, Pt900, 900Pt, 900Plat= 900 parts per thousand and 100 parts other metal

When buying platinum jewelry, do some research about the different types. Platinum is great for everyday pieces because of its strength and durability. Compare prices of different stores, online and local retail shops, so you can get more for your money. For quality assurance, look for pieces with markings of 950 Plat, 950Pt, Pt950, Plat, 900Pt, Pt900, or 900Plat.

Platinum engagement rings are more readily available compared to other forms of jewelry. Since platinum jewelry is so durable, it can be worn everyday, but you should still take good care of it and take it off when doing rough work or using harsh chemicals. To clean your platinum rings or chains, soak them in a mild solution of soap and warm water, then gently scrub them with a soft bristle brush. Store platinum in a fabric-lined box away from other pieces, so it does not get scratched.

The Truth About Pearls and What You Should Look For


There are four different types of pearls:  Akoya, Freshwater, Southsea and Tahitian. Each pearl type is unique with the color, size and shape.

Akoya pearls are the most popular pearl type. They are cultured in pearls from saltwater mollusks from Japan and China. Akoya pearls are popular for their luster and beauty.

Freshwater pearl jewelry is made with cultured freshwater pearls, mostly from China, made in a freshwater mollusk in a lake, pond or river. They are similar in appearance to the Akoya pearls, but are less expensive because they are generally smaller and less symmetrical.

Southsea pearls are larger pearls that come in a range of light colors. They are harder to cultivate and therefore more expensive.

Black Tahitian pearls are darker and larger. They are very unique and expensive because of the complicated cultivation process.

Blemish:  Defect found on the pearl surface. Blemishes can affect a pearl's price. There are 2 types of blemishes:  Non-damaging blemishes, such as spots, bumps, pits and wrinkles, and damaging blemishes, including cracks, holes and chips, which may worsen.

Button: Dome-shaped pearls with a flat bottom.

Choker: Pearls and Necklaces that are 14 to 16 inches in length.

Circles: Concave, concentric rings on a pearl's surface.

Clean: Absence of blemishes on a pearl's surface.

Color: An evaluation of quality used to describe the color of a pearl.

Collar: A pearl necklace that is 10 to 13 inches in length.

Grafting: The insertion, through human intervention, of an irritant into the body or the mantle tissue of a mollusk, in order to produce a cultured pearl.

Luster: The combination of surface shine and the depth of inner light refraction in a pearl. Luster is one of the great determinants of a pearl's quality.

Mantle Tissue: The layer of thin tissue adhering a mollusk to its inner shell.

Matching: Using luster, surface, shape, color and size to match one pearl with another to create a piece of pearl jewelry, such as a necklace.

Matinee: Pearl necklace that is 20 to 24 inches in length.

Millimeter: The metric measurement used to determine the size of a pearl. One mm equals 1/25 of an inch.

 Momme: The weight measurement for pearls in Japan. One momme equals 3.75 grams, or 18.7 carats.

Nacre: A calcium carbonate-based crystalline substance secreted by a mollusk as a defensive device against the intrusion of a foreign irritant into its body.

Nucleus: A small bit of polished shell from an American freshwater mollusk used as an irritant and inserted into the body of a saltwater mollusk. By the same token, a small bit of soft mantle tissue from one freshwater mussel is inserted as an irritant into the body of another freshwater mollusk.

Nucleation: Also called grafting or implementation, this is the process of inserting an irritating nucleus into the body of a mollusk so that it will secrete nacre to cover it, consequently producing a cultured pearl.

Opera: A pearl necklace that is 28 to 34 inches in length.

Princess: Pearl necklace that is 17 to 20 inches in length.

Rope: A pearl necklace over 45 inches in length.

Shape: A quality evaluation, describing the shape of a pearl. Round is the most prized shape in the industry, but saltwater and freshwater pearls are produced in a variety of shapes, just as they exhibit a variety of colors.

Size: The diameter of pearls measured in millimeters and used as a quality and price evaluation of pearls.

Sorting: Separating pearls by surface, shape, color and size prior to the jewelry matching process.

Surface: A quality evaluation of the amount of blemishes on a pearl, ranging from clean to heavily blemished.  

Different pearl types come in different colors and sizes.  For each pearl type, there is a different average size. Larger mollusks create larger pearls; therefore,  Southsea and Tahitian pearls are larger than Akoya and Freshwater pearls. The world's largest pearls are from the Southsea, measuring up to 30 mm wide; however, a pearl close to that size will likely be extremely irregular in shape.

Akoya pearls are usually white, cream, rose, gold and blue gray. White usually has cream or rose undertones, silver with white undertones, green-white with rose undertones and green with white undertones. Akoya pearls are most popular in white or cream colors.  Akoya pearls range from 6-8 mm in diameter, 8 mm being large.

Freshwater pearls are usually white, pink, peach, lavender, plum, purple and tangerine. The most popular shade of Freshwater pearls are white with rose undertones.  Freshwater pearls range from 5-6.5 mm in diameter for best quality.

Southsea pearls come in colors ranging from white, gold, silver, cream and champagne. The white color has silver or rose undertones. Average South Sea pearls range from 11-13mm in diameter.

Tahitian pearls are black, gray, silver, green, orange, gold, blue and purple. The black body colors has green or pink undertones. Color is a personal preference, but in general,  people who have fair coloring look best in light colors with pink undertones and people with darker complexions will look better in white, black, or golden colors. Black Tahitian pearl, also known as the Queen of Pearls, range from 11-12mm in diameter.

The size of pearls depends mainly on personal taste and the occasion. Some women like big pearls for certain pieces such as necklaces or bracelets, and some like small pearls for earrings or pendants. Browse around to see your favorite size. The most popular pearl shape is perfectly round. Perfectly round pearls are hard to find which makes them expensive. However, there are other pearl shapes that are popular too, such as tear drop, button {also known as the mabe shape} and symmetrical pearls. More irregular shapes fall under the baroque shape category. For a pearl necklace, women prefer round shaped pearls, but in pearl earrings and pearl pendants, a button or teardrop may be a better style. Browse around to see your favorite pearl shape.

Luster is the mirror-like finish on the pearl surface. They are made when mollusks sense irritants and start building up calcium carbonate layers, called nacre, to coat them. The resulting blisters eventually become pearls. The larger pearl contains more nacre, or layers, and the pearl becomes more lustrous. Southsea and Tahitian pearls are more lustrous than Freshwater pearls partly because of the size of the pearl.

GIA uses the terms, Excellent, Good, and Fair to grade the pearl luster. Luster is the most important factor in picking out the value of a pearl. When choosing a pearl necklace, select the pearl necklace that's graded Excellent to Good.

When selecting a pearl necklace, the pearl surface is the most important thing to consider.  Like diamonds, there are rarely perfect pearls, but the premium pearls are those that have very little imperfections, such as spots or bumps.

Non-damaging pearl blemishes include spots, bumps, pits, and wrinkles which do not harm the pearl jewelry and won't make the pearls weaker and more fragile; however, they can affect the price and value of the pearl necklace.

Damaging blemishes include cracks, holes or chips. Those blemishes may worsen and affect the durability of a pearl.

When buying pearls, it's important to find ones that are lustrous enough to last you a long time, because the nacre will wear off over time from friction due to rubbing against clothing and skin.

As with most jewelry, protect your pearl jewelry from household cleaners and beauty products, such as hairspray, perfume and lotion. Chemical products will damage the layer of nacre, resulting in dulling of the surface. Pearl jewelry with strong nacre and luster last longer because they are thicker. The best way to keep your pearl necklace beautiful is by wearing it. Your body's natural oils can help retain the lustrous appearance of pearl jewelry.  Wipe your pearls with a soft cloth and store them separately from your other necklaces to prevent scratches.

Get To Know Cubic Zirconia

 

Cubic Zirconia has an interesting history combining science and beauty. Two German scientists discovered it in 1937. However, it was not until the 1970's that Russian scientists found a way to create it in a laboratory. Cubic zirconia did not become popular until the 1980's when Swarovski & Co. began making them in mass quantities.

A cubic zirconia is made through a complicated process and is made up of zirconium oxide and yttrium oxide. Together the two chemicals create a beautiful, radiant crystal. It takes almost 5,000 degrees Fahrenheit to melt the two chemicals together and the most important process is cooling. The chemicals must be carefully cooled in order to create flawless crystals.

The cubic zirconia is a beautiful substitute for a real diamond. It has the same sparkle and brilliance, but has more fire and color. Also, a cubic zirconia weighs 75% more than loose diamonds, with the same carat weight.

Cubic zirconia stones are durable, brilliant, and beautiful. Most people cannot tell the difference. One of the ways to tell the difference between a cubic zirconia and a real diamond is to look at the cubic zirconia under a 10x magnification. You can see the facets do not point properly and where facets intersect, it is not a straight line, but the intersection is more rounded than the diamond's facets. 

Other ways to tell the difference are by doing a specific gravity test on an un-mounted stone by marking ink on the top of the stone {the ink beads up on a cubic zirconia}.  Also,  when gem-printed, a cubic zirconia photographs reflective and refractive patterns, and when measuring heat conductivity, a cubic zirconia registers red on the indicator {a diamond is green}.

Cubic zirconia has a hardness of 8.5 {diamonds rate a 10 - the hardest substance} on the Mohs scale of hardness. Cubic zirconia is clear and brilliant.

When buying cubic zirconia rings or other jewelry, look at the size and the clarity of the stone. Top quality cubic zirconia stones should have beautiful fire and brilliance, while lower grade cubic zirconia stones are no different in appearance than glass.

There are many different colors of cubic zirconia stones, one for every color on the rainbow. They are available in many shapes and sizes. Cubic zirconia is relatively hard, but always protect them from scratches and hits. Look at the many styles and sizes to see which cubic zirconia piece suits you most.

Clean your Cubic Zirconia rings and jewelry with warm, soapy water and a soft brush or an ultrasonic cleaner. Be sure to dry the cubic zirconia stone to keep its brilliance and shine. Remove your CZ pieces when doing heavy work such as gardening or moving. Keep them in a fabric-lined box for protection and to prevent other gold jewelry pieces from scratching it. With these tips, your cubic zirconia jewelry should last you for many years.

What You Should Know About Sterling Silver

 

Sterling silver has been used since humans discovered the versatility of the metal. There have been practical uses from flatware to armor, in addition to creating beautiful jewelry in the ancient Byzantine, Phoenician, and Egyptian empires. Today, Mexico and Peru are the highest producing mines in the world.

Silver jewelry is popular among younger people because of the affordability and beauty of the metal. Silver charms, rings, and chains are a great alternative to white gold or platinum. It is the most reflective metal, so it can be polished into a higher sheen than other white metals. Silver is also quite affordable and looks beautiful as silver charms, chains, necklaces, earrings, rings, bracelets, bangles and watches. The only problem with silver is its tendency to scratch and tarnish over time. Proper care is required to keep it looking beautiful and shiny.

Fine silver, at its natural state, is 999/1000 pure. That kind of purity makes it too soft for molding into everyday products. In order for silver to be hard enough and suitable for arts and crafts, alloying with other metallic components is a must. Sterling silver is a mixture of 92.5% pure fine silver and other metal alloys. It is the most popular concentration found in silvery items, and a marking of "925" can be visibly noted engraved onto either the backside or the inside of each piece. It is the most ideal percentage for having enough durability without losing much of the natural bright sheen.

Silver plating is when a base metal is covered with a layer of pure silver. This form of production is a popular alternative for more affordable prices. However, it will be necessary to coat the jewelry item with a layer of silver every once in a while to keep the base metal from showing through over time and wear. Vermeil is sterling silver jewelry electroplated with at least 100 millionths of an inch of karat gold, giving it a nice and sophisticated appearance. German or Nickel silver is a silvery-white alloy consisting of copper, zinc and nickel. But since many people have allergic reactions to nickel, this form is not as popular in products worn against the skin.

When shopping in the market for silver pieces, look for the mark 925, .925 or Sterling Silver. Those marks mean that the item is 92.5 % pure rather than being plated or German/Nickel silver, which is basically just an imitation of the metal.  925 is the best form due to the durability and high sheen.

Be sure to store your sterling silver jewelry in a cool, dry place, individually in pouches, to protect them from environmental harm. But don't sweat it if your item becomes tarnished, chances are it will happen no matter how careful you are. Just use a polish solution or a polishing cloth to clean the piece. Sterling silver is the most reflective out of all precious metals, so keep it beautiful and it'll capture your heart for a lifetime.

 
 

 


 
 
   

 

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