Tag Archives: cash for ring

Outlandish Jewelry Terminology

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Starting with “O”

Objets de Vertu – Here we step outside of the traditional definition of what constitutes jewelry (an object that is physically attached to you in some manner), to include Objets de Vertu.  These are any of the fancy, often gem encrusted and precious metal based items that people typically use to transport functional things.  Pearl inlaid cigarette cases, solid gold lighters, platinum cell phones cases with intaglios of Bernie Sanders, etc. 

Objets Trouvés – While their origins date back to neolithic times, Objets Trouvés are a favorite of environmentally conscious jewelry designers working today.  The term translates from French (which obviously Early Man spoke fluently) to “found objects.”  Ergo, before modern jewelry, which utilizes all manner of technology, had been invented, people made things out of whatever they could find; shells, bones, teeth, pebbles and AOL installation CDs.  

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Oiling – this is a process (which is true to its name) that was designed to improve the overall color and quality of gemstones (mostly emeralds) that have internal fractures that creep to the their surfaces.  By literally oiling them up with a specific lubricant, the cracks are filled and the stones look a little brighter.  Be weary of any oily jewelers trying to pass such slippery stones off on to you. 

Omega Back – while this sounds like the name of a hip, new British thriller on Netflix, it’s actually the back portion found on mostly vintage earrings.  It’s a little loop that holds the earrings in place.  In the shape of the Omega letter of the Greek alphabet (familiar to any of you collegiate toga donning folk), it works with pierced and non-pierced ear earrings; the hoop holds up the pointy part, or just acts as a clasp.

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Opaline Glass – a grand imitator of precious gemstones, Opaline Glass appears in a bluish, cloudy hue.  A metallic, foil backing to the faux fancy stone really makes its color “pop.”   A trendy item during the Georgian period (no, not when the state of Georgia was popular…nor the country…but when 4 consecutive King Georges reigned in England; 1714 through 1830).  It saw a brief rival during the second Georgian period (the two Bush presidencies).   

Opera Length Necklace – the name may be self evident, but the actual length is somewhat specific.  To qualify for this distinction, the necklace must be between 26 and 36 inches in length, and it has to be worn with a fancy dress out to actual operas, hip-hoperas or, in the very least, while watching you favorite soap opera.  

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Opus Interrasile – a golden hit during the Byzantine era, this is a process of puncturing metal with a sharp device in order to pepper it with a multitude of stylish holes.  This translates from Latin to “work openings,” which is exactly what Roman goldsmiths were always scouring Craigius’s List for.    

Oreide – or ‘oroide’ or “French Gold” – this is an alloy which winningly masquerades as gold, utilizing mostly copper, with a little molten zinc and tin thrown in there for seasoning.  

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Ouch – yes…this one is gonna hurt.  Ironically, this describes a piece of jewelry, usually a pendant or brooch, that doesn’t require a sharp pin to hold it in place; rather it is hand sewn onto one’s clothing.  Typically they would feature a central gem surrounded by a fine metal filigree.  Chaps frolicking around during Medieval times would use them as the fastening parts of their flowing cloaks (with a chain that connected them).  The gemstone component would make them valuable, naturally, so if one were to fall off, people would remark “…ouch.”

Ouroboros – one of the coolest ancient symbols found in jewelry.  It’s a snake or dragon that is biting its own tail, thus completing a perfect and eternal loop (great for necklaces, obviously).  It symbolizes the cyclical aspect of nature and self-reflexivity in beings with consciousness and also exemplifies really hungry snakes.  Folks in the 1840’s went mad for these things, sticking winking precious gemstones in the eye sockets and scaring children.     

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Overtone – a property that only certain pearls will exhibit, this describes a secondary, and sometimes even tertiary, hue that is visible over the pearl’s primary color.  These can manifest in light green, blue and pink…overtones.  

Oxide Finish – here we have metal that gets entirely dipped in a black finish, like taking an permanent bath in tar.  Usually strategic parts are buffed to allow for the underlying metal to shine through.  This is a great way to showcase the intricacies of a silver engagement ring with fine filigree or the dented fender of a Ford Pinto.  

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-Joe Leone 

Noble Jewelry Terms

“N”

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Naif – You’d have to be a real naif to think this term only applies to easily deceived individuals.  In the diamond world, a naif is any unpolished surface on the stone.  In cut and polished diamonds, some naif may be left behind on the girdle (in this case, called a ‘bruted girdle’) to give the stone a lil’ something extra (in terms of carat weight). 

Násfa – Pendants dating back to the 1500’s were affectionately known as Nasfas, that is if you were in the land of Hungary.  Typically fashioned with a flower theme, gallant groom-to-bes would give these to their betrothed beauties from Budpest as an engagement present.  If they waited to gift them to their brides on the day after their wedding, they were then called “Morgengabes,” which roughly translates to “Prisoner’s Brooch.”

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Navette – this is a nifty name you can give to any gemstone cut in the Marquis style (in an oval shape, with pointed tips).  What sets this apart is that it usually describes gems that have this type of silhouette, but are not faceted (meaning the stone is smooth, in the cabochon category).  If a jeweler asks if you would like your gem cut in this manner and you are opposed to it, simply answer “No, no navette.”

Nécessaire – here we have any sort of container that is used to hold essential, every day items.  These can range drastically in fanciness, from ordinary leather satchels that you stick a fork, spoon or spork in, to fantastically designed golden vessels, utilized in transporting elegant grooming devices, styling products, extra cell phone chargers and a birth certificate authenticating your royal lineage.  

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Négligée – much like the French under garment of the same name, this is a style of necklace that is truly naughty.  The defining features are its delicate chain and two pendant pieces, which hang down about the neck.  What makes this so scandalous is that the pendants are hung at different lengths.   The asymmetry embodied here was the talk of the town in turn of the 20th century France.   

Neo-Renaissance – yes, this is the stylistic period most favored by the protagonist in “The Matrix,” but it also represents the time during the mid to late 1800’s when Europeans were reviving Renaissance (1300-1600’s) inspired art, architecture and jewelry.  Pieces popular during this era were often colorful, ornate and intricately designed.  It is widely unconfirmed if anyone attended the “Neo-Renaissance Fair.”

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Nephrite – is a stone type that is so similar to jadeite, that the two are lumped together and collectively called “Jade.”  Some contentious trading of this gemstone between Burma and China for centuries, mostly resolved today.  

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Nicolo – any design etched into the stone onyx that appears light or bright blue is said to be a nicolo.  These little elevated cameos (or their inverted opposites; hollowed out intaglios) were especially popular in ancient Egyptian jewelry.  

Niello – a sturdier alternative to enamel, this is a black, metallic substance which is applied over a metal surface (usually silver).  Then it’s etched and configured into any number of symbols and designs.  Great for knights who like their shields to be extra strong, as well as flamboyant.  

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Noble Metal – if you can successfully fight off corrosion, and stay eternally shiny, you may qualify to be deemed a noble metal.  These include the big three – that’s right, you guessed it – gold, silver and platinum.  Much like the Tin Man, these precious metals are not only noble in name, but in their pure, metallic hearts as well.  

-Joe Leone 

9 Ways to Save During the Holidays

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It’s the same story every year, isn’t it?  The holidays arrive, in a whirlwind of candied yams, spiked nog and flimsy tinsel, and then all of a sudden it’s January 2nd; you’re cold, still hungover and decidedly broke.  So what’s a festive yet cash strapped gal/guy like yourself to do?  Why, start your shopping bonanza with thriftiness as well as cheeriness, that’s what. 

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Don’t Budge (from your budget), Blixen 

Most people begin the shopping process by fashioning a list of all the people they need to procure presents for, in a jolly and jovial, Santa-esque manner.  This is a big Ho-Ho-No.  You first need to look at the cumulative present budget that you have to work with.  Now, you can break it down, communist-like, by dividing the figure by the exact amount of people you need to buy for, and each person gets a present within this set monetary parameter.  The other option is to allocate varying percentages of the budget to each individual (let’s face it, great Aunt Trudy who’s visiting from Albuquerque, that you’ve met once, shouldn’t get the same caliber of present as, say, your spouse).  After you perform a fair assessment of who should get what, you may find that you need to trim some fat from the list; sorry, slightly sketchy Steve from down the block, no fruitcake for you this year.

Be Practical, Prancer 

A further caveat to factor in to the spending budget is any and all other holiday related expenses.  These may include, but are not limited to, shipping costs for delivering presents to those pesky out-of-state folk, postage for holiday cards, any new holiday specific home decor items, the anticipated surge in the electric bill due to lights continuously running, scrumptious holiday themed treats, and merry more.  Decide what is essential and then assign these things a monetary cap.   

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Carols & Cash only, Comet 

This is an age old trick that can help even the most magnanimous shopper stay within required fiscal boundaries; leave the credit cards at home and only carry wintry-cold, hard cash.  Some people can never stick to the budgets they have devised once they find themselves in the glittering shopping malls, all strategically loaded with goods designed to drain your bank accounts.  To avoid a Maxed Out X-mas, leave all forms of plastic behind and just bring the set amount of bills necessary to get all your stuff.  This way when your cockles are warmed by the sight of a Twerking Elmo or an Electrolux with disco lights – ‘That would just bring little Timmy oh so much joy this year!’ – you are forced to stay within the confines of your cash limit.  

Don’t dawdle, Dasher!

Often the weeks leading up the the big events can be hectic and stressful, leaving you with little time to get your shopping done.  So what’s the result?  You end up sprinting through whatever stores are open on Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa Eve; a virtual prisoner to whatever items are left in stock, at ridiculously marked up rates.  “Was gonna get Janey a doll made of yarn this year, but the only thing left here are these Tiffany earrings – oh well!  We’ll have to get her ears pierced, too – they do that for toddlers, right?”  No matter how busy you are, don’t procrastinate!  Get your shopping done post-haste.

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DIY, Dancer

Sure, everybody likes shiny wrapping paper and all that jazz, but some presents can take the form of actions rather than goods.  Offering to shovel an elderly neighbor’s walkway, cat-sitting your crazy aunt’s even crazier cat, making a few extra gingerbread cookies for your ornery mail-person; all these kindly gestures are presents that will be very much appreciated and don’t cost a red-nosed cent.  

Use e-Cards, e-Cupid!

Holiday greeting cards can be fun, but when you think about how expensive they can be, along with the added burden of postage, in addition to the amount of trees that have to be murdered… e-Cards look like the way to go.  With zero waste and tons of fun, you can customize these little fellows to say (and even sing!) anything you like.  They are either free or very inexpensive, relative to physical cards, so utilizing these can help free up some extra cash for the rest of the budget.  Also, they’re quite time efficient; knock out that entire list in a just a couple of clicks.   

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Donate, Dunder 

If times are tight for you, just imagine how bad they can be for some others out there.  One way to combat the rampant commercialism and overindulgent consumerism is to collect a few of the more mature members on your list (not the lil’ ones, of course), and see who would be amenable to taking a donation (in their name) to a charity in lieu of a present.  Volunteer that you would like to do the same thing; this way several of you can combine your assets and deliver a sizable gift to the organization of your choice.  It’s the season of giving, and going through with this will have you feeling truly in the spirit.  

Let’s Vacay, Vixen

If you have a significant other, significant mother or close-knit family, you may want to skip the gifts altogether and go on a trip.  The good news here is that during the actual holiday dates (Christmas, New Year’s Eve), prices on hotels, plane fares and the like take a dramatic dip.  It’s a great way to come together as a couple, or entire clan, and see some of the natural and man-made gifts already out there for the taking! 

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Be resourceful, Rudolph 

If you end up with a couple of pennies left over after all is said and unwrapped (or are given a few of those super thoughtful ‘gift cards’ to various stores yourself), you can think ahead to next year and take advantage of the cavalcade of sales now occurring at all the local shops (and online as well).  Yes, shopping may be the last thing you want to engage in all over again, but the slashed prices on inventory (that just needs to be moved) are really unbeatable in January.  So light your sleigh to savings! …or something like that.  

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-Joe Leone   

Goodbye Diamonds: You’ve Got Options

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Engagement Ring Stone Varieties

Ok people, ’tis the season once again.  No, not just that of the annual ‘turkey stay of execution,’ of avaricious munchkins clamoring for toys and the ‘imposed family visitation’ season; it’s marriage proposal time as well.    For some reason, one third of the year’s proposals occur during the holidays.  Perhaps this is because people are feeling so cheery and warm (despite the plummeting temperatures) in their lover’s arms, that they can easily envision and hope for a well spent life together.  Maybe they just get all giddy at the sight of candy canes.  We’ll never know for certain, but one thing that is for sure is that engagement rings will need to be purchased. 

So what’s a potential proposer to do?  Drop the requisite ‘three month’s salary’ on a costly, environmentally destructive, possibly bloody diamond?  Well, that’s always one way to go – but luckily there are a bunch of other merry options.

Be “Fake”

If you’ve been following diamonds in the news at all over the past year or so, you will have seen an explosion of information on the man-made diamond front.  Scientists are becoming increasingly more efficient and clever at growing diamonds in labs (instead of under the earth’s crust, like ‘real’ diamonds that are made by the gods).  These stones have the same exact chemical composition as naturally derived diamonds (often with less blemishes too; they’re farmed in pristine labs, not the dirty, dirty dirt).  The only noticeable difference is that they are cheaper: significantly.  Score!  White diamonds, the most desirable across the board, that are fabricated will run you about 15 to 20 percent less than natural diamonds.  Even better if your thinking lies somewhere over the rainbow; colored High Pressure, High Temperature (HPHT) diamonds can cost an astounding 80 to 90 percent less than ‘real’ diamonds of the same hue.  

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Moiss Doesn’t Grow on a Rolling Gemstone 

Now, on to the ‘diamond simulant’ category.  These are stones that mimic diamond in many sparkling ways.  The much maligned cubic zirconia is in this batch; the main complaint about this guy is that it chips, breaks and eventually loses its luster.  As a result, most people turn their noses up to the high heavens at all diamond simulants.  However, there is one of these diamond copiers that has some real staying power; moissanite.  Naturally occurring moissanite is found in meteorites (obviously making them the most cherished gemstone of intergalactic aliens) and is incredibly similar to diamond in terms of density and glitter-ifficness.  Believe it or not, moissanite can have a higher rating than diamond in the brilliance (sparkle) and fire (the way that light is refracted and dispersed through the stone) categories.  Moissanite is commonly replicated in labs now, just like diamond, and is priced well below what human-made diamonds go for.  Expect to pay about a cool grand (or less!) for a perfect 1 carat moissanite stone.  Unless your soon be to betrothed and all of your mutual friends are expert gemologists, no one is going to be able to tell that this isn’t a diamond.  We’re not saying to try to pass it off as one; just use all that saved cash for more essential things as an engaged couple, like a ravishing vacation or bathroom supplies.  

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Alt. Rocks 

We’ve been touting the benefits of alternative gemstones for quite some time.  Not even getting into how much cheaper these all can be than diamonds, they can also be so much more unique and personal.  Each gemstone has its own story as to where it comes from, how it was named and what its hue (or hues) symbolize.  Maybe you pick your lover’s birthstone, maybe you just go with their favorite color.  The possibilities here are endless (see?) 

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-Joe Leone 

10 Fun Things To Do That Are Totally Free

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The belt buckle tightening time of the year is upon us once again (fiscally speaking, of course; you’re going to be doing the polar opposite of that come Thanksgiving dinner).  As you plan out your budget in anticipation of a pricey holiday season, you realize that you are definitely going to have to cut back on some of the more extravagant elements of your lifestyle.  That certainly doesn’t mean that you need to stop having fun.  In fact, the opposite can be true, yet again.  Delving into some new, adventurous, absolutely gratis activities will have you feeling like you’ve just won the Lottery of Fun.  Read on for some no-cost enjoyment!

Lights, camera(phone), action! 

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Have a camera with video function on your phone?  Of course you do.  Get a group of your friends together and shoot a movie!  Either write it out beforehand, with storyboards and all that jazz, or just wing it and improvise the whole thing.  You may be surprised at how creative you end up being, Fellini-like friends.  Can’t find any willing participants?  Channel your inner nature documentarian and film some indigenous sparrows and squirrels, as they frolic tither and thither.  If that gets boring, just start photo-bombing your own production.

Speak your mind. 

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Whether you strive for the spotlight or shun it like Gollum, there are endless opportunities for you speak in public.  Either throw together some corny jokes for Open Mike Night at your local comedy club, or a few choice mellifluous sentences for a poetry reading OR break out the ole six string and soulfully strum away at a volunteer music venue.  This will be goofy fun if you are comfortable in these situations.  If you are like most people, and are inherently shy about voicing your opinion in a public forum, then this will be a splendid chance to tackle those fears head on and prove to yourself that you can overcome anything.

Call your loved ones.

Face it, there are some people that you care about a tremendous deal, but you hardy ever communicate with (a “merry x-mas” text doesn’t count).  Speaking directly to your parents, distant relatives or old college chums for a few minutes can be truly rewarding.   Yes, this can seem like an absolute chore in some cases, but the more difficult/awkward the task is, the better you will feel about yourself for having done it once it’s over.

Get a pen, pal. 

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In keeping with the theme of reaching out to someone, there is yet another means of getting in touch that can be really satisfying; writing a letter.  A hand written letter is a real rare commodity in these modern times that we live in.  The cool thing about writing a tangible letter is that you can scribble little drawings in there, tape cut-outs from magazines, add scents; whatever quirky little thing you like.  Those on the receiving end of the letter will be treated to a delightful surprise.  Don’t have anyone you want to send warm messages to?  Well, this is a splendid opportunity then to send some anonymous passive-aggressive tips to to a deserving foe, or even a fun ransom note.

Volunteer and spread cheer.

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Volunteering your time doesn’t have the same somber association that it once did.  Perceptions about what this means have shifted; it’s not about being ‘stuck doing something – just to be nice,’ as there are now tons of milieus to choose from.  A quick Google search will provide you with oodles of different types of activities in your area that you can engage in, from face painting for kids to planting trees to cleaning up a garden to helping people with their resumés.  Just pick something that speaks to you and have fun with it.  The people running these programs, as well as anyone who benefits from them, are typically so very grateful to have you there.  Bottom line, you’ll feel great about contributing; it’s a win-win.

Spend a day away from all forms of technology.

This may not sound like ‘fun’ to most people; it’s really more of a challenge for yourself.  If you really commit to this, and do not go near the likes of a phone, tablet, laptop or any other conveyance of contemporary, digital content, you will be amazed at what you find yourself up to.  Listening to vintage records (or that “Mmmbop” cassette single), reading that book you never got a chance to, pouring over old photo albums, exploring new parts of your world; the possibilities will soon reveal themselves to be endless.

Free wheelin’.

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Many people out there already have a preferred way of transporting themselves from place to place (via what is known as an ‘automobile,’ or in some colloquial circles, a ‘car’).  Did you know that you can travel on a self-propelled device that also has wheels?  It’s called a bicycle.  Get out there and do some cycling today – no matter the season (minus the 30 degree below weather days of January, naturally), a brisk bike ride is invigorating and helps you clear your mind – and, in staying with our free theme, doesn’t cost anything in gas!  Already an avid biker -or- just don’t have access to a bike?  Find some alternative wheels.  Rollerskates, blades and skateboards are readily at your disposal (if you don’t own already, just ask to borrow some – everybody’s got these things just collecting dust in their garages, attics or storage units).  Oh, just be sure to wear a helmet; you don’t want this free-fun activity turning into a costly E.R. trip.

Get cookin’.

Go through all the items in your refrigerator and find things that you never use (‘What is this wasabi infused, mesquite bbq sauce doing here?’) and some other items that don’t have such a long shelf life and will have to be thrown out soon.  Take said items, find a recipe that incorporates them and BAM!  Become Emeril or Rachel Ray – that part is totally up to you.

Purge!

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Getting rid of old stuff can help clear your closet as well as some much needed headspace.  It’s fun to go through these preterite things and reminisce about where they came from.  The best part about this task is when you put a magnanimous spin on it and donate the articles to a charity.  You’ll feel zen-like about having more room, a fresh start and the knowledge that you helped pay-it-forward to someone else.

Just say “Yes!”

…to free things.  The concept of having a day/night where you say “Yes” to every question posed to you (meaning ones that require an affirmative or negative response, not “Hey, what time is it?”) is not a new one.  There was a “Frankie and Grace” episode about this very subject this year.  The twist here is that you employ this mantra, but only in relation to things that do not cost a penny.  Depending on where you start off, this can lead you down some interesting/exotic/flat out weird paths, but hey, as Mao Zedong once famously said “YOLO!”

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-Joe Leone