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Read on and learn more about JEWELRY...
Jewelry is considered a universal form of self-expression because of its personal nature and appeal. Its timeless beauty and elegance makes it rewarding to wear, making an individual statement to the person who is wearing it. Gold, Platinum and Silver are the three precious metals often used in jewelry making, they are also known as noble metals. Each one of them has a unique individual characteristic, but they also share certain qualities that are desirable for jewelry making.
Gold was first discovered somewhere in Mesopotamia before 3000 B.C. It is known for its malleability or the ability of the metal to be stretched in all directions without breaking. This quality makes gold easy to be formed into a piece of jewelry.
Gold Purity and Karat Derivation
Pure gold is very soft and is susceptible to scratches and damage that is why many goldsmiths combine other alloying metal to improve its strength and gives gold a wider range of color rather than just yellow. Karat gold is a product of combining pure gold with other metals like silver, copper, nickel and palladium. The word “karat” or abbreviated as “K” or “Kt” is used to measure the fineness of gold. For example 24K gold is pure gold, 18K contains 75 percent gold and 25 percent alloy (18 is 75% of 24). If a metal is stamped as 14K gold it means it has 14 parts gold (58.3%) and 10 parts (41.7%) alloy.
Silver is also a popular precious metal used in jewelry making, the intense glow of polished pure silver exudes timeless qualities like youth and femininity. Pure silver is also soft that is why an alloy is also combined to make it stronger and durable. Sterling silver is the most popular silver alloy. It contains 92.5 percent silver and 7.5 percent copper.
Platinum was discovered in the late 16th century during Spanish occupation in Ecuador. It is one of the strongest and most durable metals. Because of its rarity, it was once regarded to as the only metal fit for a king. It is normally priced at least 200% of the price of gold. Like other precious metals used in jewelry, platinum is also mixed with other alloying metal to make it more suitable for jewelry making. The most common alloy of platinum is iridium and ruthenium. To be considered platinum in jewelry, it should be at least 950 parts out of 1000 parts platinum and 50 parts alloy. It is stamped mark as “plat”.
Caring for your precious metal jewelry.
These precious metals are very durable, they have an incredible tolerance to wear and will resist tarnish and corrosion. With proper care given it can last a life time and be treasured and enjoyed over generations. 1. Jewelry should be kept in a clean secure place with separate sections to prevent them from scratching with each other. 2. Do not expose karat gold and sterling silver in chlorine water, it can discolor and damage the jewelry. 3. Clean precious metal jewelry with polishing cloths. Do not use paper towel as it can scratch the finish of the metal. 4. You can also clean your jewelry with warm soapy water and use a makeup brush or jewelry cleaning solution you can buy from a jewelry store. This will remove more stubborn dirt brought by daily use. 5. Silver jewelry should be put into anti-tarnish bags. 6. It is advisable to bring your jewelry to a trained jeweler periodically, that way it can be thoroughly inspected and be given proper care.
The lustrous color of gemstones continues to mesmerize the eyes and captivate the emotions. Centuries ago, gemstones are used as amulets and status symbols of the rich and powerful. It is also believed that some gemstones possess powerful and healing attributes. Today, gemstones are still desired for its beauty, value and rarity.
The Nature of Gemstones
Gemstones are polished minerals. There are more than a thousand minerals on earth but only few are considered as gemstones. To be classified as a gemstone, a mineral should possess fascinating attributes such as beauty, rarity and durability. These traits also have range, which every gem holds a different level and it affects their value and appeal.
Gemstones and its Value
Like diamonds, gemstones also have factors to be considered. A combination of these factors determines its value.
Clarity plays an important part of any transparent stone’s value. Because gemstones are formed by nature, a truly inclusion-free gem is very rare. Normally, they have inclusions and blemishes which are called clarity characteristics. The fewer and smaller clarity characteristics a gem has, the rarer it is. As we all know, rarity plays an important role in a gemstone’s value.
When gemstones are mined, they are still in “rough” state. They still need to be cut and polished in order to be used in jewelry. Cutting a gemstone adds human touch to its appeal and beauty. A well-cut gemstone helps improve its color and appearance by maximizing light return. Cut can also refer to a gemstone’s shape. Round is the most popular shape. Other than round are called fancy-cuts which include Emerald, Marquise, Cushion, Oval and Pear cuts or shapes. Certain gemstone varieties can only be cut in a certain way like Opal, Amber, Jade, Coral and Turquoise.
Gemstones are measured by carat weight (metric carat). One carat is equals to or divided to 100 points. For example ¾ carats or 0.75 carats is equals to 75 points. Gemstone of the same size does not automatically mean they have the same weight. Because of their chemical composition and structure, some gems are heavier than others. Some varieties can produce really large crystals and some can only produce up to a certain size. This is where rarity and value comes into play.
Genuine Gemstones and Lab-Created/Synthetic Gemstones
Gemstones are formed and found in nature, meaning, they are natural. Over the years, discoveries from science and technology found that gemstones can be formed in a laboratory having the same chemical composition, crystal structure and properties as its natural counterpart. Although genuine gemstones and synthetics look the same, you can tell the difference from the other as they have slight differences in their characteristics. Genuine or natural gemstones have clarity characteristics such as inclusions and blemishes and in some stones you can notice uneven color. While synthetics look like perfect stones, natural gemstones are more valuable.
Caring for you Gemstone Jewelry
Jewelry, as always, has an emotional value to its owner. While it is made to last a lifetime, it should still be given proper care. Every gemstone differs in their durability to withstand wear, heat and chemicals. Different gemstone requires different care and handling so it is advisable to bring your gemstone jewelry to a trained jeweler periodically for thorough inspection and proper cleaning.
1. Never toss gemstone jewelry in the drawer or dresser after use. It can lead to scratches and chipped or fractured stone.
2. Put your jewelry in a clean secure place like the pouch or box they came in with or in a jewelry box with separate sections to prevent them from scratching with each other.
3. Prolonged exposure to harsh chemicals like chlorine bleach and household cleaner can pit gold alloy and damage other gemstone.
4. Store-bought jewelry cleaning solutions are mostly ammonia based. While its works well with precious metals, it can damage porous gemstones like Pearl, Turquoise and Opal.
5. Don’t use a toothbrush on pearls or other soft gems because they scratch easily. Instead, use a clean makeup brush and warm soapy water.
6. Avoid direct contact of other chemicals like hair spray, lotion, perfume and makeup to your gemstone as it can damage and harm them.
7. Polishing cloth is best to use when cleaning your gemstone jewelry.
8. With colored stones, gentle handling is always best. You can use warm water with mild, detergent-free soap and brush your gemstone jewelry with a makeup brush to take off build-up caused by daily wear. It is also going to help bring back the polish and brilliance of your gemstones and the shine of precious metal so your jewelry will keep looking new.
Romance and diamonds are synonymous with each other. For many centuries, diamonds are being used as an expression of love and affection. It continues to fascinate the world with its beauty, brilliance and elegance. No wonder it is still the most sought after gem in the world. Diamonds are the most durable and rarest mineral on earth. It is the only gemstone that is made of a single element, Carbon. It is only formed within a specific depth range beneath the earth’s surface under high temperature and pressure. This condition makes it harder and more costly to mine diamonds. “A Diamond is forever” A diamond is considered forever because of its timeless beauty, elegance and appeal. It also refers to a diamond’s ability to withstand wear, heat and other chemicals. Diamond is the hardest mineral that only another diamond can scratch it. Given proper care and attention, it can last over centuries. The combination of its chemical composition, structure and its formation are the qualities that make a diamond very special and extraordinary.
Diamond Value Factors or better known as “The 4 C’s of Diamond” Every diamond is unique, each one has it own unique value factor which is the combination of what the industry calls as the 4 C’s of a diamond (Clarity, Color, Cut and Carat weight). These value factors dictate a diamond’s beauty, rarity and cost.
Clarity is one of the four value factors that determine and establishes a diamond’s value and rarity. Clarity is the relative absence of inclusions and blemishes. Diamonds that are completely free from trace minerals or clarity characteristics are considered flawless and are very rare. Most common clarity characteristic of a diamond are inclusion and blemishes, these are formed when there’s an irregularity in the atomic structure of a mineral. This clarity characteristic gives identity to a diamond as no two diamonds have the same clarity characteristic of the same size and location, just like human fingerprints. The industry uses a Clarity Grading system to explain clarity characteristics in a way that can be easily understood even by end users – retail customers.
F ----------- Flawless
IF----------- Internally Flawless
VVS------- Very Very Slightly Included
VS--------- Very Slightly Included
SI---------- Slightly Included
I ----------- Included
Flawless A Diamond is considered flawless when it shows no internal or external flaw. This kind of diamond is very rare and can hardly be found. And naturally, they command top prices.
Internally Flawless An internally flawless diamond shows no inclusions but have some minor blemish on the surface of the diamond.
Very Very Slightly Included Inclusions that is very difficult to see under 10x magnification. VVS quality diamonds are considered excellent. It has two grades, VVS1 and VVS2. VVS1 is rarer and has more value.
Very Slightly Included Inclusions that is difficult to see under 10x magnification. It also has two grades VS1 and VS2.
Slightly Included Inclusions that is noticeable under 10x magnification. It may also be visible to a naked eye. Most diamonds used in the retail industry falls under SI quality which is still considered good. It also has two grades SI1 and SI2.
Included Inclusions that is obvious under 10x magnification. It is also visible to the naked eye. This kind of quality has 3 grades I1, I2, I3
Diamonds are often regarded as a brilliant colorless stone and many are surprised that they do come in a wide range of color. Color plays an important factor in determining a diamond’s beauty, rarity and value. Colorless diamonds are the rarest and most valuable in the normal color range meaning fancy colored diamonds like yellow and pink are exception in this scale. Colorless diamonds set the standard for pricing and grading. The industry uses a Color scale in the D-Z range for grading diamonds with D being the rarest.
D, E, F, G ------------ Colorless
H, I, J, K -------------- Near Colorless
L, M, N ---------------- Faint
O, P, Q, R, S -------- Very Light
T, U, V, W, X, Y, Z -- Light
The letters in the D-to-Z scale don’t describe actual colors, or hues. Each letter actually represents a range of color that is based on a combination of tone – darkness or lightness – and saturation – intensity. The combination is called depth of color, and is a measure of how noticeable a color is. Diamonds can differ slightly in their depth of color, but still be assigned the same color grade. Most diamonds used in the industry is in the G-I grade which is near colorless with an unaided eye. These diamonds have an excellent value especially with a good combination of the other value factors. Diamonds that belongs to the J-Z color grade will have a noticeable yellow or brown color particularly the ones that will be set in white gold or platinum.
Brilliance is what diamonds are known for, that is why the quality of a diamond’s cut plays an important factor in determining its total value. A well-cut diamond can make light reflect like a mirror and dance like there’s music playing. Even if a diamond has an excellent clarity and color grade but the cutting is poor, it is going to affect its value. A well-cut diamond means it has a good ratio and proportion on the three major parts of a polished diamond which are the crown (top part of the gem), girdle (middle part or like the waist of a gem) and the pavilion (lower part of a gem below the girdle). It should also have good symmetry and finish. Cutting proportions play a very important role because they affect the light performance and brilliance of a diamond which in turn spells its overall beauty and appeal. Cut can also mean a diamond’s shape. The most popular is the standard round brilliant. This is a classic that is always in fashion. This cut delivers the most excellent brilliance and fire. Shapes other than round are called fancy shapes. There is the Oval, which can look larger than round diamonds of equal weight. They are good alternatives to the round without being too flashy or unconventional. There is also the Pear shape, which looks graceful and stylish without being trendy. Marquise shapes are now finding their way into a variety of jewelry designs. They can also appear larger to the eye than round brilliants of equivalent weight. A Princess cut is an excellent alternative to emerald cut for people who like square or rectangular shapes, but want the look of a brilliant cut. It has great optical effects and looks flashy but solid. A Heart-shaped diamond reflects the romantic sentiments of the people who wear them.
4. Carat Weight
The larger a diamond, the more rare and valuable it is. It’s no wonder why a lot of women desire to have that one carat ring on their finger. When shopping for a diamond, one considers the size first. Size, combined with the other value factors, determines the value and rarity of a diamond. Diamonds are measured by carat weight (metric carat). One carat is equals to or is to 100 points. For example a ½ carat stone is equals to 0.50 carat or 50 points. Diamonds are usually sold per carat cost. The price per carat will vary with the combination of the four value factors.
Caring for your Diamond Jewelry
Diamond jewelry is very valuable and durable. Given proper care, it can last a lifetime. Diamonds being the hardest mineral on earth can easily scratch and damage other gemstones and precious metal. Even if it is considered the hardest mineral on earth, it doesn’t mean that it is not susceptible to damage, a hard blow can chip a diamond’s surface.
1. Diamond jewelry should be kept in a clean secure place with separate sections to prevent it from scratching with other jewelry.
2. It should be kept preferably in a jewelry box.
3. After every use, it is advisable to clean your diamond jewelry with a polishing cloth.
4. Daily wear can expose your diamond jewelry to chemicals like hairspray, perfume, lotion, makeup and even sweat and perspiration. These can cause a build-up that can affect your diamond’s brilliance and luster.
5. Clean your diamond jewelry with warm soapy (mild, detergent-free) water and use makeup brush to clean them. This can help remove the build-up caused by daily wear.
6. You can also use a store-bought jewelry cleaning solution but you must be careful as most jewelry cleaning solutions are ammonia based. This can damage other gemstones like Pearl and Opal.
7. Daily wear can cause diamonds to get loose from their settings. This is especially true with rings. It is advisable to bring your diamond jewelry to a trained jeweler periodically for inspection, proper care and cleaning.
For more information visit the Gemological Institute of America at www.gia.edu