In today’s market, precious stones like the diamond, ruby, sapphire, and emerald command a premium price due to their color, brilliance, and rarity. A common mistake often made by buyers of genuine colored gemstones is the belief that some stones are precious and some stones are only semi precious. While precious stones are obviously more famous; this does not necessarily mean that they are more valuable. Let’s try to sort out the myths and misconceptions from the actual realities about gems.
One of the most common misconception is that the list of precious stones is comprised of only the diamond, sapphire, ruby, and emerald as they are obviously the most famous. However there is a surprising list of other gems that belong in the precious gems category. Surprisingly the pearl which is not a gemstone, was still considered to be precious; and so was the opal. The amethyst was changed from precious to semi-precious after large deposits were found in Brazil and Uruguay. Amethysts were actually the first gemstone to ever be called semi-precious gemstones, and dates all the way back to 1858.
Although many believe that the diamond is the most rare of the precious stones, it actually is a myth. Before the Twentieth Century the ruby and sapphire were actually more valuable than the diamond, because they are actually more rare. Today the diamond tops the chart of precious gems but how did this happen?
After the discovery in 1870 of the South African diamond mines, diamonds were being mined by the ton. There was an abundant supply and very little demand for diamonds which cased the financiers of the mines to be in grave danger of losing their entire investment. Their solution was to create a cartel that limits and controls the supply of diamonds, famously known today as De Beers. Believe it or not quality diamonds are not rare at all! In order to maintain the high demand and high price, De beers controls the flow and supply of diamonds which creates the illusion that they are a rare commodity.
Part of De Beers brilliant marketing plan was the creation of the slogan “Diamonds are forever”. Just a couple hundred years ago the diamond was never used as a symbol of love, today it is considered an important part of the ritual of marriage.
In today’s market place “semi precious” stones like alexandrite, garnet, and Tanzanite can command a similar value to the ruby and sapphire. It is fair to say that we have reached the point that there is almost no distinction in value between semi precious and precious stones. The US Federal Trade Commission has actually considered banning the use of the terms semi precious and precious because it causes confusion. Many centuries ago a precious gemstones value was assessed largely on the rarity and brilliance of the gemstone. However in rapidly moving technology based world, factors like marketing and monopolizing the market place play a huge role in a gemstones value.
Have you ever stopped to look at your rings and wondered, “ I’m not in a particularly messy occupation; yet my jewelry collects dirt as if I spend my days in the garden”. We know you have a busy life and you don’t have time to run to the jeweler every time your jewelry gets filthy. If your jewelry sparkled and shone on the day you received it but today looks dull and lifeless, then pay attention to these four tips on how to keep up the brilliance and vivacity on all of your different types of jewelry:
1. Always remove your jewelry while doing any household work. Any bleach, chlorine, or other strong household cleaning products can permanently discolor your gold and silver jewelry. While working out in the yard or playing sports, it is best to leave your jewelry in a safe and secure spot. Although diamonds are one of the strongest stones they can get dislodged from their setting or even chipped from a hard blow.
2. You don’t actually need to buy all sorts of expensive machines to make your jewelry shine. Believe it or not a little bit of soapy water and a soft bristled toothbrush will bring life back to your diamond. Gold is very tarnish resistant; however, it can get smudged and dirty. Every so often clean your gold and platinum jewelry with a mild detergent and use a non-abrasive brush to scrub them clean.
3. Silver is very different from gold or platinum because it will tarnish from oxidation. Oxidation is what happens when silver comes into contact with oxygen. This will cause a gorgeous piece of silver to tarnish and look black or dirty. Oxidation can be cleaned off easily and inexpensively. Simply use some baking soda on a clean damp sponge and rub it onto the silver. Rinse it off in warm water and polish dry with a soft clean cloth. For very tarnished silver allow the baking soda to sit on the silver for a while before rinsing it off.
4. Fine cultured pearls with lustrous nacre will last for generations if cared for properly. Cultured pearls should be kept free of perfumes, cosmetics, perspiration and dirt. It is best to follow the old adage “pearls should be the last thing you put on and the first thing you take off.” You may gently wipe cultured pearls with a slightly damp cloth. Cultured pearls are strung on pure silk with knots between each cultured pearl. Over time, the silk will stretch, weaken and become soiled. If you wear your cultured pearls regularly, we encourage you to have your cultured pearls cleaned and restrung every few years.
It’s always good to have your fine jewelry looked at by a jeweler at least once a year to be sure all the stones are tight and secure. Studies show that a diamond can appear colorless and flawed if there is even a little dirt built up in the setting by not allowing the light to refract properly. After all whether you wear your jewelry for its sentimental reminders or just for sheer beauty, a couple minutes of cleaning can make all the difference.
It’s summer time in the fashion world, which means lots of preparing seasonal trends for all kinds of weather and occasions, and jewelry isn’t any different! Each year, we see numerous styles fly off the shelves only to disappear into hiding the following year. Whether you are regretfully thinking about the few hundred dollars you spent on last year’s ‘must haves or debating how to make-over your jewelry box, let us help you figure out how you can cash in on old purchases.
In order to project the value of your older baubles, it’s important to know your karats! The purity, also known as the amount of karats in an item, will determine the value a retailer might pay for it. Fourteen karat gold is 58% pure while eighteen karat is 75% pure. Platinum jewelry is ordinarily 90 or 95% pure and is a completely different metal than gold (with a different value). Knowing what you have before presenting it to a retailer for sale could be the difference between walking away with a few extra bucks or making a worthy exchange for your possessions. To find up to-the-minute pricing of precious metals, you can always refer to www.kitco.com.
If you have an item that no longer appeals to you, try to find a merchant who sells what you are looking to get rid of, perhaps even the same place that you purchased it from originally. Rather than selling your item as ‘cash for gold. When a merchant can offer an item for resale, they may pay higher than just the gold melt value. Another way to maximize value is to bring a number of items you want to sell at one time. Just as in negotiating a purchase when buying a large quantity of an item, you can often bargain a better deal when selling a number of pieces. A retailer might forgo the profits on one item as long as he may profit on another item. Another tip, if you frequent the retailer to which you are selling your items, negotiating store credit for your sale could increase your negotiations by fifty percent.
Lastly, make sure that you seek out a reputable place to sell your treasures. Anyone licensed to buy gold will have a license both from the state and local municipality. There should be a blue sticker on their scales signifying that it has been checked and verified by the weights and measures. Daily prices for gold as well as all licenses should be displayed prominently.
When you finally make your decision to sell, we suggest that you have an idea of what you want to spend your new earnings on. Whether you were hoping to pay off bills or treat yourself to something new, stay committed to your initial idea of where the money is going so that it ends up taking the value as a meaningful purchase and not just found money only to be lost again.
“Help I am getting engaged, and I don’t know the first thing about diamonds!” Sound familiar? Then pay close attention! This article will help you outline the various beginners rules of buying an engagement ring so that you can find something your loved one can wear proudly while being a super smart consumer!
So you’ve decided to get engaged – Congratulations! Buying an engagement ring may be one of the most substantial purchases that you will ever make; every time your sweetheart puts this ring on it will serve as the perfect reminder of the day you pledged your everlasting love and commitment. The first step once you’ve decided to make a ring purchase is to determine your budget. What someone chooses to spend (or not to spend!) on a ring is an entirely personal decision and there are a lot of aspects to determining one’s budget from considering your other expenses to thinking about what would make your loved one quickly say “Yes!” While popular opinion says that the average someone spends on an engagement ring is two months salary, we recognize that this is certainly not feasible for everyone out there. To give you an idea of cost, the average size diamond purchased in the United States is 1.18ct which can run anywhere from $900 to $30,000 . The average spent is $5932. Given this information, thinking about budget is your opportunity to think realistically about what you’d like to spend.
If this article is your first foray into studying diamonds, you may be wondering how you’ll know a good deal without becoming a gemologist. Whether you’ve done some research already, or are just getting started, you may be familiar with the Four C’s: color, clarity, carat weight, and cut. A secret that many people don’t realize is that consumers often get caught up in the size and clarity of the diamond that they forget about cut. The cut of the diamond should not be confused with a diamond’s shape. Modern cut diamonds have 58 facets in order to reflect any light that comes in through the top. When a diamond is too deep or too shallow, as light enters through the top rather than reflecting as brilliance and scintillation, any light cast upon it will filter out the sides and leave a vapid looking stone. Ever see a ring and think “wow that truly sparkles”? Unless you have a trained eye, what you’re probably seeing is the cut of the stone.
Also of great importance but seldom mentioned, is the diamond certificate. Why is a certificate so important? A diamond is priced primarily based on its color, clarity, and carat size. Since color differences are so subtle and inclusion placement can be the difference between a good or bad clarity grade, it is imperative to be certain the color and clarity grades are accurate. Grading is subjective – you should always ask to see a certificate. There are several independent grading companies that are only involved in the grading process without any involvement in sales. These include the International Gemological Institute (IGI) and the European Gemological Laboratory (EGL). Both are common at popular department stores because they are somewhat more lenient in their grading qualifications. The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) is the most respected independent grading company there is. A diamond with a GIA report will cost slightly more but for good reason. They are extremely strict when grading a diamond. GIA also mandates that all diamonds given in for grading be conflict free diamonds.
Now for the culmination of all of our C’s, we get to cost. How will you know if you are getting a good deal? Always buy a certified diamond. Make sure that it was cut nicely and sparkles properly. Don’t be afraid to shop around and ask questions. Every diamond is unique just like the person intended to wear it. When you find the right one (as I am sure you have figured out by now) you will just know!
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Buying a Diamond might be the scariest thing after going to the dentist and a car mechanic. Why do I say this? Diamonds are actually priced and graded more than the popular 4 c’s clarity, cut, carat, and color everyone talks about. They are obviously very important but not everything. Picture this scenario a man walks into a Jewelry store with his future fiancee and she sees a Diamond she absolutely must have. The salesman goes on to tell this girl how beautiful the color and clarity are and how all her friends are going to be so jealous. The man is sweating from the forehead down he is praying that this salesman will have mercy when it comes to the price. He inches close to the counter and says sheepishly approximately how much does this stone cost, and he hears the answer no one likes to hear. “Don’t worry I’ll take care of you my friend” but he knows they are not friends and this guy just wants him to shut up and sell the girl a diamond. Finally he loses all his patience and says so tell me how much will this run me and he says an amount that absolutely sends him into shock. He feels like his heart might stop beating, His credit card, car, and cell phone payments are just a smidgen of what kind of debt he is going to be in. He as politely as he could possibly muster looks at his fiancee and says “sweetie do you need this particular diamond”?
She immediately looks at him with disgust and says “What am I not Worth it?” He calmly retreats and says “yes hunny you are”.
Then the alarm bells go off in his head and he wonders is this the price I should be paying? They taught us about clarity, color and cut, but what about the price? The answer is they never teach you how a diamond is priced because thats how they maximize their profits.
However there is a price sheet for diamonds its called the Rapp Sheet every jeweler knows about this just like every car mechanic knows about the kelly blue book. You can actually ask the jeweler how much is this based on the Rapp Sheet and something miraculous will happen the price you pay will drop. You are now an educated customer. But you are not fully armed yet you need to know that everything on the rapp sheet is full msrp. If the diamond has flaws such as fluorescense or poor symmetry the price you pay should be less than a stone that has an excellent cut and no fluorescense. Fluorescense is the light blue color a diamond turns when it is exposed to a black light and make a diamond less desirable. If the poor groom in our story was armed with real information he could have saved himself so much heart ache. But be careful just because a diamond is very expensive does not mean its not worth it just make sure that if you are paying a healthy fortune the diamond mathces the price tag.
I will put up future posts about what to look for and so on hope you enjoyed feel free to comment or ask me any questions you might have