Tuesday 21 April 2020

Finding hidden treasure!

Image credit, pirateshipvallarta.com

A fascination with Pirates is like a fascination with treasure!  

From the tales of Black Beard to the more modern versions of Disney’s “Pirates of the Caribbean," they would pillage and plunder their way through the oceans, looking for hidden treasure.  

Gem and Jewelry shoppers can be somewhat the same - minus the pillaging and plundering part, of course. We go shopping, often, with a purpose – what is the most beautiful piece I can find, and can I get it for a great deal?  Who carries the largest inventory?  Can I really get it for ‘wholesale’ prices (the answer is always “no” by the way)?  What online site or vendor can I dig up in order to find my ‘hidden treasure’? 

The first and most important answer is to follow the treasure map to avoid the pitfalls of uncharted waters.   Diamonds, in particular, graded ‘in-house’ or ‘by a gemologist trained by the GIA’ but without a laboratory grading report (which some bilge rats call 'certificates') might be considered a dangerous reef.

Image credit, Dapsmagic.com

The Captain's advice when diamon' shoppin' is this...

Stay on the map – and find the X...  “X” marks the spot in shopping for diamonds – and they are often marked with a Triple-EX!  That’s right, diamonds graded by a reputable lab give you a starting point for your treasure hunt. Instead of rollin' the bones, insist on a lab report from GIA, IGI or AGS so you know you've found some right proper booty!

Image credit, Offbeat Bride

The Hidden Treasure

In a sense, finding a diamond of the color, cut and size (carat) you want are all factors in determining whether or not it is a ‘hidden treasure.’ The clarity, however, is a great place to find value. For the diamond novice or those who are particularly picky and want only “the best” – it is often only acceptable if a diamond is flawless!  Others, however, may sail far and wide, following their compass while searching for just the deals and steals in the gem world.

In almost all circumstances, diamonds graded as IF, F, VVS1, VVS2, and VS1 will vary greatly in price, but will look the same to any viewer without magnification (this is called eye-clean). Here’s the best news for those of you searching the seven seas (or 4 c’s) for the best deals; you can sometimes find VS2 or even SI1 diamonds that are also eye-clean! If you are patient, and don’t mind scouring the map, sailing from website to website and vendor to vendor, you may be able to find one of these hidden treasures among the flotsam and jetsam.

For added security ask for an in-house gemologist from the vendor to verify that the diamond is eye-clean, and then you can take it to a local jeweler once you receive it and "yo ho ho" with him on your amazing find.

When you find it. - celebrate!  Fire-off a cannon, tap a cask of rum, spare some poor unfortunate soul from walking the plank, and proclaim what you have found –

“Aye, Clean!”

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Friday 17 April 2020

Jewelry skinny dipping!

Image credit, Tesh.com

"C'mon in!  The water's fine" - you've heard the line before - the reassurances from someone who has committed to an act while you may remain unsure. You may be sheepishly standing on the dock, not quite certain how to proceed. Maybe you have always been the 'safe' one - not quite willing to make the dive into the water.

Let's take it one step further, eh?  

Maybe it is moon-lit and we are talking about a group of young 20-somethings who have decided to go for a midnight swim! The water is dark and the boldest among you has proclaimed it to be a great night for.... you guessed it ... skinny dipping!

Image credit, Garostation.com

Oh MY!  

Now, not only do you have to convince yourself to step out and join the fun, but you have to do it completely unadorned. 

But wait a minute...

Maybe YOU'RE the person who jumps first, then reassures others that "the water is fine."  Perhaps you are the risk taker - bold and unafraid. Good for you! In this situation you are treading water, laughing, the chill of the lake still settling into your skin as you try to get the others to join you.

Maybe you've been in this situation, maybe not - but it certainly applies to your jewelry, doesn’t it?.  Have you considered taking your jewelry skinny-dipping? 

No, No, No.

Stop. Not LITERALLY skinny-dipping with your valuable gems, but perhaps figuratively? In the comfort of your own safe-places.

Every piece we own draws attention based upon its unique personality. Individually, it has inherent charm, charisma, and beauty. Sometimes, the largest personality in your collection wants to be bold – jump off the dock, as it were, completely naked for the world to see. When you wear it - do you accessorize it?  Is your beautiful wedding ring accompanied by bands on either side?  Do you wear a magnificent pendant surrounded by complimentary chains?

How about putting on some favorite earrings, bracelets and rings... and nothing else?

Image credit, Fashiongonerogue.com

Do it.

Take your favorite pieces skinny dipping.  Unadorned and unaccompanied by accessories or (gasp) any other jewelry? Can you imagine your favorite studs without a necklace, bracelet, or additional jewelry on your hands? What about taking that beautiful gemstone, on a single chain around your neck with nothing else to draw the eye?

Scary? Unconventional?  “Gasp… I would NEVER!” 

Would you? Could you?

Free yourself, and your jewelry... Take a piece skinny dipping soon.

C’mon – give it a try! The water’s fine!

Image credit, AVVO.com

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Wednesday 15 April 2020

A collection of watches to WATCH and enjoy

Image credit, Hublot
Last June, Victoria Gomelsky from JCK Online covered this rainbow themed beauty, and other amazing options from the creative artists of Hublot.

A feast for the eyes is one click away, in this revival article from JCK designed to bring some brightness into your lives.

So click below- and enjoy!

Happy Hublot Timepieces to Make Your Monday Better and Brighter
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Monday 13 April 2020

Arresting jewelry...

Image credit, medium.com

Whooop! Whooop! "PULL OVER!" - we hear it frequently on TV and sometimes in our own lives.

Normally, it's accompanied with Red and Blue lights and a sinking sensation in your gut.  Yep - you've been spotted doing something out of line...and the police are pulling you over.

"License and registration, please..."

Image credit, MPR News
Ah, the old, familiar line. Maybe it was a rolling stop. Maybe you failed to signal or maybe you went a tick over the speed limit.  Whatever the case, you are hoping for a quick conversation, a warning (please?) and a nice, albeit slower, continued journey to your destination. The law is pretty clear. Either you followed the rules or you did not.

But what are the laws of jewelry?

We have all been in situations, preparing for a night out on the town or a party, when we agonize over 'what bling shall I wear?'  Are these drop-earring too much?  Would a simple chain and pendant work best, or should I put something more bold around my neck? I'm afraid this aquamarine doesn't go with this top.

The jewelry rules just aren't spelled out like they are when driving down the road. Sure, you can research what's trending, as we presented on this blog a while back. You can listen to experts about what sets off a slender neck, a broad wrist, prominent ears or a slender waist - and there is a great feeling whenever we find a piece that seems to fit 'just right.'

If we had only one outfit to wear or only one event to attend it would be easy - the same flattering jewelry would work every time.  But in the real world (when the world is behaving normally, that is) being out with real people on multiple occasions can make the effort of picking the right jewelry accessories a bit daunting.

Image credit: Tumblr.com

Should it be, though?

How often do you just go for it? How often do you take a chance? Do you ever wear something simply because you like it? Because you think it's neat - even if it doesn't quite suit your attire or even (omigosh) CLASHES with your ensemble?

It's a bit like slowly rolling through a stop, or running a few miles per hour over the speed limit. You know you're rule-breaking there, too. The advantage of jewelry rule-breaking... or "rewelry-breaking" ...is that it's completely harmless.

Breaking the rewels

Sure, you may risk a sideways glance from a family-member, friend or colleague but why let that deter you? In fact, those who conform to what's expected may actually be a bit envious of your choices.

Another great thing when rewelry-breaking is that none of the conventions you're ignoring are ACTUAL rules.  The jewelry police simply don't exist.

So go for it, I say. Be bold, shake-up traditions. Heck, be downright gaudy if you want to. It's your jewelry and no one is going to pull you over. No one is going to ask for your license and registration. You get to drive whatever jewelry-speed you wish! You bought it; wear it!

Break the rewels from time to time, it's okay.

Image credit, eightieskids.com
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Friday 10 April 2020

Diamonds from the ocean? Really?

Photo credit, Professional Jeweller

Did you know some natural diamonds don't come from mines? They all came from volcanos (which is pretty cool) but have been discovered in many hiding places.

Those which lodged in their volcano's throat or remained in the volcanic pipes are called "primary deposits." They are mined using heavy earth-moving and crushing equipment.

Image credit, Mining.com

But not all diamonds stayed there. 

Some were blown clear of their volcanos and transported away by magma flows. Others were unearthed and transported away by ice-ages, rain and erosion over millions and millions of years. These diamonds are "secondary deposits." They are frequently found in remote locations where rivers now exist or used to exist. They are mined using light equipment, sieves and rockers.

Image credit, Staticshare.america.gov

Meanwhile, under the ocean -

There is one diamond-rich area where a steady stream of rough crystals have tumbled down the Orange and Vaal Rivers to the sea for millions of years. Distributed far and wide along the coast by tidal activity, millions of carats now lie hidden in the African sediment, under the territorial waters of Namibia!

Image credit, Wallpapersite.com

In an International Gemological Institute article, diamond specialist John Pollard described the arrangement between the Namibian Government and mining specialist DeBeers.'
Debmarine Namibia (DBMN) is owned by the Government of Namibia and DeBeers’ in equal shares. After 10 years of successful cooperation the Government of Namibia and DeBeers’ announced a further agreement to cooperate in the sorting, valuing and sales of all production from Namdeb and Debmarine Namibia through 2025. Cutting and polishing has also been brought into Namibia, providing additional jobs for many nationals. These joint initiatives have resulted in tremendous infrastructure improvement and development for the country. The population is better educated, healthier, and wealthier since being able to benefit from the rich resources hidden just offshore.

Unique sustainability 

The Namibian Ministry of Fishing and Marine Activity was consulted and included in Debmarine Namibia’s planning starting in 2005. As a result, there are no major fish spawning grounds and no commercial fishing in the mining area. Dredging equipment was designed so that stray marine life sucked into the pipe is returned to the sea alive. Unlike deep-sea dredging, shallow mining returns tailings to their original beds. The operation maintains ISO environmental compliance and Namibia's Marine Ministry is involved in monitoring and assisting with rehabilitation of mined areas. This can be compared to forestry industry rehabilitation, but it takes only 3-10 years for mined marine areas to rehab.

Approximately 1.4 million carats of gem-quality diamond rough were recovered from the ocean in 2018. This represented around 75% of all diamond exports from Namibia that year, a ratio which has played out similarly for the past 15 years. As a result, the Namibian population is better educated, healthier and wealthier - thanks to these rich resources being retrieved from just offshore.

So the next time you see a diamond sparkling, on a finger, an earlobe, a necklace or on TV you can now wonder whether or not it might have come from the sparkling African ocean.

You can learn more in the Africa News video below, and read the full story here.

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Wednesday 8 April 2020

Diamond and Jewelry lovers - UNHORSED!

Image credit, epikfails.com

"A horse! A horse! My Kingdom for a horse!"

We have all heard this famous Shakespearean quote penned for King Richard III who - upon losing his horse in battle - falls into a rage, killing everything in his path as he seeks a mount. 

That quote has become a battle-cry of sorts for people who have urgent need of something which  may normally seem insignificant, but suddenly looms large.

In the world of jewelry, as we absorb our transformed world of quarantine and social distancing, these trinkets and baubles that were very important mere months ago have logically taken a back-seat to the more significant topics of basic supplies, finances and family health & safety.

Image credit, Americanmagazine.org

Should we be ashamed to admit that we miss the bling? 

Isn’t one of the attractions of eating dinner in a crowded restaurant seeing the bright flash from a ladies ring, or sparkle from her ear?

Noticing an elegant watch on the man standing at the bar or the stunning pendant adorning the woman crossing the floor. These are seemingly insignificant things that can suddenly loom large when they go absent from your life.

Image credit, Gentlemen's Journal
Sure, we can google images, shop catalogs, go to our favorite online jewelry discussion forums, or even open the cases we have in our homes; these are nice (albeit brief) escapes.

But immersing oneself in the crowd while attending a symphony, or using your opera glasses to surreptitiously snoop on jewelry across the theater, or watching a parade of interesting pieces go by as people board the plane - these little thrills are now missing in our lives.

Yes, it's understood we must prioritize a #slowthecurve reality so these things cannot compare with the truly substantive things that connect us all.  But, given the current state of affairs you couldn’t blame someone for crying out -

“Some Bling, Some Bling! My Kingdom for some Bling!” 

Image credit, Drraylevy.com

We can only hope for a return from our current winter of discontent to something made glorious sooner rather than later. 

In the meantime, find your nicest pieces - and send pics.

Image credit, Nosweatshakespeare.com

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Monday 6 April 2020

You don’t have to quarantine your jewelry!

Image credit, Inman

It has been several weeks since the government asked us to stay inside, avoiding contact with the outside world.

Our dependence on video conferencing using FaceTime, Zoom, Google Hangouts and other platforms seems to have gone up. Our collective human tolerance for a more "casual" version of ourselves has also risen proportionately. 

It can be nice, even refreshing, for men to go a few days without shaving, and women to eschew the full make-up and carefully chosen outfits they might have insisted on wearing a few weeks ago. A video ‘happy hour’ with friends isn't the dress-up affair it tends to be in public. It's more comfortable in house pants, a sweatshirt and sporting hair that's left tamed, but not styled.

Image credit, Marvel
Now that barbers are closed I have seen scores of men taking shavers to their heads.  Put simply, we've have allowed out true selves to shine a bit more, and the trappings of our existence to matter a bit less. I believe this is a good thing in the long run!

For years we've seen a tendency on social media to put forward the ‘best’ of each person. It can make the observer’s life seem mundane and uninspiring, compared to the glamorous insta, face and pinnings of others.

But, I can’t help but think…maybe our jewelry is getting lonely?

Imagine our every-day bling left in dark jewelry boxes for weeks now. Our fancier pieces lying in the dark, with no recourse but to out-last the quarantine. 

NO! I say.

I'm speaking up for those lovely and valued pieces of our lives.  Find a way, ladies and gentlemen, to make your jewelry feel loved during this time!

Schedule a romantic dinner date, in your house, with your spouse, significant other or roomie.  Insist on dressing-up, wearing your beautiful watches, necklaces, earrings and pendants. Take pictures, post them on social media and recapture a flavor of the finer times of life!

Image credit, Pinterest
If you want to go big: Share recipes and schedule a weekly dinner date via Zoom with friends. Create the same appetizers and entree'. Decide on the same wine and dessert. Put your friends on the table with you... Talk, laugh and exchange stories over your silver and crystal - enjoying the same kind of dress-up company you once took for granted.  Afterwards, be sure to post screenshots and selfies tagging one another.

Image credit, Wall Street Journal
Now, read the comments from those who have left their jewelry hidden away and see if you don't spark a movement.

Yes, we must live with social distancing and limit our exposure to the outside world for a while longer. But, as a jewelry advocate, I implore you - don’t quarantine your jewelry!

Image credit, Studybreaks.com

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Friday 3 April 2020

The dude abides. And so will we.

Photo credit, Ben Baller

Hey jewelry lovers - put a smile on someone's face by sharing this little tidbit from John Mayer's 40th birthday bash, back when the world was normal.

In October 2017, before we were all abiding this crisis, Mayer approached Jewelry maker Ben Baller to create a piece inspired by Jeff Bridges' iconic character in the Cohen Brothers' comedy classic, The Big Lebowski.

This jewelry tribute is composed of 18k white gold and studded with 41 carats of D/E color VVS clarity diamonds. The chain weighs 300 grams by itself and the pendant weighs 260 grams. A special etching on the backside of the pendant reads -

“Yah, well, that’s just like, your opinion, man” 

Photo credit, Ben Baller
Baller described the design process to GQ magazine.

"I had to make sure his hair looked three-dimensional, that it looked wavy, because it’s The Dude. I wanted to make sure he had his robe. All the diamonds are white, super high-quality, the best of the best. John will not accept anything less. Last minute, he said, 'I want a little purple to represent the V-neck T-shirt he wore throughout the movie.' So we went back to the drawing board. We had 90 percent completed the piece, and at the end I had to figure something out for the shirt. It was tough. We changed one thing and, to be honest, I was stumped. And John was like, 'How about if we change the sunglasses?' He was like, 'Ben, these are Vuarnets.' And I was like, 'Dude, you don’t have to tell me about Vuarnets."

Image credit, imgflip.com

The dude abides. 

And so will we.

I don't know about you, but I take comfort in that.
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Wednesday 1 April 2020

99 cts of diamonds from Arkansas! No fooling.

Image credit, Arkansas State Parks

Over 33,000 diamonds have been discovered by visitors to the Crater of Diamonds in Arkansas since it became a state park in 1972, and last year was a doozie!

491 diamonds were found there in 2019 including 336 in the the white range, 82 yellow and 73 brown. The total weight found and registered was 99.14 carats. That's nearly a 30% increase from 2018.

The average weight of diamond found was 20 points (0.04 grams, or 1/5 of a carat), but 18 diamonds were recovered which weighed over 1 carat, including the whopper below, a 3.29 carat brown.

Image credit, Mypulsenews.com
Visitors from 37 states went home with treasures discovered by sorting, wet-sifting, and sometimes just spotted at ground level.

Notable diamonds found at the Crater include the 40.23-carat Uncle Sam, the largest diamond ever unearthed in the U.S., which was featured in our post: A diamond named LUCY in the sky & other cool stuff

Image credit, GIA

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Monday 30 March 2020

Quick tips: Hand washing & Jewelry care

Here are four quick tips to keep your jewelry safe and healthy as you frequently wash and sanitize your hands.

1. Remove your jewelry

There are two reasons to remove your finger-blingers before scrubbing: On the one hand (so to speak) you don't want soapy suds to dull their sparkle. On the other hand (you saw that coming) you should be cleaning every part of your hands, including the skin normally covered by rings or bracelets. Develop a habit of placing your jewelry in sight, so you don't forget it, but not where it's in danger of dropping into a sink or waste-bin.

Photo credit, Clay Banks

2. Use alcohol-based hand-sanitizers

When selecting hand-sanitizer, choose one that's alcohol-based. The brands which use chlorine-based germicides can cause jewelry to tarnish, corrode and even crack, particularly sterling silver and nickel white golds. Experts say that an alcohol concentration between 60–95% is most effective at killing germs, and is completely safe for most (but not all) jewelry. Read on...

Photo credit, Anna Earl

3. Protect pearls and corals

Most jewelry can be exposed to alcohol-based hand-sanitizer, but remove all pearls and corals. Alcohol can cause color-change and loss of luster. Pearl and coral lovers already follow this rule with perfumes and hairspray - it should be extended to hand sanitizers as well. In fact, you should wait for your hands to dray completely before putting those items back on.

Photo credit, Alex Maloney

4. Rock a regular routine

Clean all of your daily-wear rings and bracelets with regularity (we suggest once per week). This can be done by soaking them in warm-water and dish-washing soap, scrubbing with a soft-brush to remove any detritus that has collected underneath or in hard-to-get-to areas, rinsing with cold water and letting them towel-dry.

Photo credit, mom4real.com

Follow instructions and store safely

Never expose colored gemstones to chemicals, solvents or ultrasonics without knowing their specific cleaning requirements.

And when you remove jewelry to store, whether short or long-term, be sure to place each piece in a soft bag so it doesn't rub or knock against other pieces.

Follow these tips to protect your jewelry while also protecting your health.
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