What is the best way to clean jewelry?
Should I choose platinum or white gold?
What does a 1.00 carat diamond cost?
What is an appraisal?
What is gem enhancement?
What is a clarity enhanced diamond?
What is Moissanite?
How often should I get jewelry appraised?
What is true custom design vs. remount?
Is the declared price evaluation the most important aspect of an appraisal?
How can I be sure I am getting the most accurate appraisal possible?
What is the difference between saltwater and freshwater pearls?
What is the difference between South Sea and Tahition pearls?

Q. What is the best way to clean jewelry?
A. The best and safest way is to use mild soapy water and dry it with a soft cloth. You can also clean diamond jewelry with an ammonia based cleaner mixed with warm water. There is never a need to use toothpaste on jewelry (it will even scratch some colored stones). It is also very important not to use any bleach or bleach based cleaners to clean any jewelry because it is too harsh and it will destroy gold jewelry.

Q. Should I choose platinum or white gold?
A. The choice of metal for your jewelry is a purely personal one but one that should be made only after educating yourself on the advantages and disadvantages of each type. Platinum is the most pure of all jewelry metals (90%-95% pure) meaning you get more metal for your money. Because of it's purity it is naturally white and hypoallergenic. White gold is not pure and can fade or change color. In addition, the alloys used in white gold can affect sensitive skin. Platinum is 35 times more rare than gold. There are only two sources of platinum in the world and it takes 10 tons of ore to produce one ounce of metal. So, if you chose platinum you will be wearing a very rare symbol of love. Platinum loses litte metal to everyday wear, gold wears down. The platinum ring you buy today will be the same ring on your 50th anniversary. Platinum is very dense, it feels significant and permanent to wear. If you chose platinum you should be aware of the unique patina of the metal. Since the metal doesn't wear off but rather is merely displaced when it scratches it develops a more dull, matte finish. The largest advantages to white gold are it's less expensive price tag and ability to hold a high polish longer.

Q. What does a 1.00 carat diamond cost?
A. The cost of a diamond is determined not only by it's size but also by the quality of that diamond. The most commonly accepted quality grading scale was established by The Gemological Institute of America and grades diamonds using the 4 C's: Cut, Carat Weight, Clarity, and Color. There is no set price for a 1.00 carat or any other size diamond.

Q. What is an appraisal?
A. An appraisal is an opinion as to the authenticity, quality, design and value of a piece of jewelry. Since it is an opinion, backed and supported by training, equipment and experience, it is important to understand that there can be honest variations between competent appraisals.

Q. What is gem enhancement?
A. Gem enhancement is a man-controlled process that improves the appearance, durability, or value of a gem. Using that definition it is safe to assume that a huge majority of all colored gems are enhanced in some way. There are four processes used to enhance gems: temperature, radiation, chemicals, or surface modification. All of these treatments are used to improve the color and overall appearance of the gem. In fact, many of the gem colors we are familiar with today would not be possible without some form of treatment. Almost all colored gems are treated in some fashion and most of the treatments are permanent.

Q. What is a clarity enhanced diamond?
A. Any diamond that has undergone a man-controlled process to improve it's clarity is considered clarity enhanced. There are two popular processes used today, laser drilling and fracture filling. Laser drilling involves drilling a hole and injecting bleach into the diamond to lighten dark inclusions. Fracture filling also involves drilling into the inclusion but, rather than bleach the inclusion, silicon is injected into the diamond therefore disguising the inclusion to the naked eye. Laser drilling is a permanent enhancement method however, heat applied to a fracture filled diamond will turn the silicon black and in many cases this cannot be repaired. These enhancements are ethical only if disclosed to the customer before purchase.

Q. What is Moissanite?
A. Natural diamonds are formed deep in the earth by heat and pressure. Moissanite is created in a lab setting using heat and pressure similar to nature's elements. Although moissanite exhibits the same physical characteristics as natural diamonds there are some differences. Mossanite exhibits double refraction under magnification. This will interfer with normal light reflection and dispersion. In addition, scientists have yet to develop a process which will produce a colorless Moissanite. Most exhibit a yellowish tint. The price for Moissanite is less but it is not inexpensive. A 1.0 carat Moissanite averages between $650 and $1000.

Q. How often should I get my jewelry appraised?
A. When purchased, and, in view of continuing inflation, it is a good idea to have all your jewelry appraised every two or three years.

Q. What is true custom design versus remount?
A. True custom design involves the lost wax method. Using this method a design is carved in wax and then cast in either gold, platinum, or silver. After casting, stones are set and the finished product is polished. True custom design requires a great deal of training and talent. Remount merely involves selecting a precast mounting from a catalogue and setting stones. Although true custom design is more expensive it is a useful tool in creating unique, one of a kind pieces or turning out of style sentimental pieces into a more wearable design.

Q. Is the declared price evaluation the most important aspect of an appraisal?
A. No, the most important part, and the most protective to the customer, is an explicit description of the jewelry item, accurately depicting the design, the metal, and the stones.

Q. How can I be sure I am getting the most accurate appraisal possible?
A. Don't try to save money on a appraisal. For a professional evaluation, expect to pay a fair fee. Don't rush your appraiser. Give him/her time to carefully examine every facet of your jewelry.

Q. What is the difference between saltwater and freshwater pearls?
A. A saltwater pearl, often refered to as an Akoya pearl, is grown in oysters in the sea. Freshwater pearls are grown in mussels in freshwater lakes and rivers. Both are considered cultured. Saltwater pearls are more expensive as a rule, due to their rarity. Freshwater pearl technology is improving however, and with that the quality of the pearls produced. Freshwater pearls are are most noted for their use in fashion jewelry. Both varieties come in a wide selection of colors and sizes.

Q. What is the difference between South Sea and Tahition pearls?
A. Tahitian pearls are glorious, multi-hued silvery-gray pearls. They enjoy their luxurious colors because they come from the black-lipped mollusk found in French Polynesia waters. Their color ranges from gray to black, with strong undercurrents of peacock blue, deep purple, or shimmering green. Their size can range as large as 13 to 15mm. South Sea pearls are one of the rarest and most sought-after pearls. These creamy, dramatically sized cultured gems are named after the waters from which they are harvested. They are traditionally creamy-white in color with undercurrents ranging from pink, silver, or cream. In addition, South Sea pearls are also large in size, ranging from 9mm to 17mm.