Tag Archives: diamond value

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 

Diamond No-No’s

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So you’ve got a diamond.

A beautiful, sparkling, glorious diamond.  It can twinkle in the dimmest of light.  It can turn heads from across the room.  It is absolutely perfect.

Except for one little thing.  It has __________.

“Well, what’s the ‘blank’?” you indignantly wonder.  “My diamond has great specs!”  That may be, but there are factors that go beyond just the basic 4C’s that can have a surprisingly drastic affect on a diamond’s value. 

Let’s now take a look at some of the most prevalent and also some of the more obscure things that can negatively impact your diamond and its overall resale value.  

Fracture Filling

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If your diamond has undergone fracture filling, you yourself may end up filled with despair.  This is a process that is applied to natural diamonds to essentially ‘fill up’ internal cracks within the stone (to improve their clarity – ergo, this is a brand of “clarity enhancement”).  The fractures are filled with a substance (a lead oxychloride glass epoxy) that has a similar refractive index to diamond (thereby maintaining its normal sparkle), in order to best mask the flaws to the naked eye.  If these cracks run all the way up to the surface, the glass-based glop can just be injected right in; if not, then the stone must be “laser drilled” to get in there (we’ll get to that whole practice in just a minute).  “So, what’s so bad about that?” you justifiably may be thinking.  The problem is this; the solutions used to fill in those fractures do not have the same remarkably high heat index that diamonds have.  So, when a jeweler is positioning a diamond into a new piece of jewelry, or even just fixing a banged up old band or what have you, they use a torch.  This torch doesn’t damage diamond at all, but the heat can cause the diamond to ‘sweat out’ the filling material, like a fat man on a treadmill after a night of drinking spiked egg nog.  Hence, the fractures are now visible again and the stone’s clarity grade takes a nosedive.  Just how bad is this?  It’s so bloody awful that the GIA won’t even issue certificates for stones that have undergone fracture filling.  The most aggravating part of this whole mess is that some companies do not inform their customers that the stones they are purchasing are fracture filled.  So there you are, ignorantly walking around with a diamond that’s filled with other stuff.  Please at least attempt to refrain from murdering anyone who sold you one of these fracture filled farces.  

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Laser Drilling

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While this process sounds quite high tech (and a little James Bond-ish), it’s nothing to be that excited about.  It’s another method employed to remove ugly, nasty or just mean spirited inclusions in diamonds.  By drilling to the root of the undesired blotch in the stone (which is just a piece of black carbon that came together as the diamond formed), you expose the inclusion.  The you can pour a little, good ole fashioned sulfuric acid down the hole and burn that droll smudge out of there.  The drill that’s used is, of course, an infrared laser, and the hole that it bores into the stone is microscopic.  Meaning, you can’t see these channels without the aide of a loupe, microscope or psychically charged ‘third eye.’  The dilemma inherent in laser drilled diamonds is that their internal structure has now been messed with.  Who’s to say that the drilling process didn’t corrupt the integrity of the diamond; incipient cracks could be on the cusp of erupting at any time.  The stone may be fine, but there’s just no way to tell.  So as a result, professional diamond buyers are reluctant to acquire such stones – which may vengefully come back to bite them in the tuckus later.  

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Irradiation

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Take a long hard look at your diamond…do you suspect that it’s been violently blasted with neutrons and electrons?  Irradiation is a type of “color enhancement,” and if you have a white diamond, logic would dictate that you probably don’t have to worry too much about this (meaning that the process improves colored diamonds, not that it ameliorates a not so great white diamond’s color grade).  It’s a procedure that utilizes radiation in order to alter colored diamonds at the atomic level, amping their color up from a dull and listless hue to a bright and boisterous shade.  Aside from very rare cases where diamonds can actually undergo irradiation naturally, while still in the ground, stones that have been through this intense tanning bed experience are considered ‘altered,’ ‘treated’ and ‘fake-baked’ to diamond purists.  Translation: valued less.             

 

HPHT

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This abbreviation stands for “High Pressure High Temperature,” and is a procedure that has been riddled with controversy since its inception.  Scientists working at General Electric at the end of the 20th century discovered that they could, more or less, heat and squeeze all the hideous tints out of diamonds, thus making them clear as day.  A bit of an oversimplification, but the overall HTHP operation, which somehow zaps poor color out of white diamonds and also intensifies shades in colored stones, became embroiled in scandal when many of the diamonds that went through this molecular rigamarole were passed off as naturally occurring.  Again, within the milieu of diamond connoisseurs, these rocks just don’t fly as the real deal, and are intrinsically worth significantly less than their organic counterparts.  HPHT stones are given an intaglio on the girdle which demarcates their altered nature, but this can be easily removed, further fueling the ire directed at these augmented diamonds.  

 

Fluorescence  

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In all honesty, this one is a little baffling.  Here is an extensive run down on what fluorescence is and how it can affect your diamond – but the bottom line is that in today’s market, diamonds that exhibit strong fluorescence are unfortunately less desirable.  In the most basic, rudimentary terms, fluorescence is what turns a diamond blue when placed under a black light.  That’s it.  Once in an unfavorably blue moon, a diamond that has strong fluorescence may appear a bit milky when viewed in regular light, but this fickle property of fluorescence is usually just invisible altogether.  The reason why this currently is viewed as a negative is rather up in the air, but if your diamond has fluorescence, you’re up a creek sans a rowing device.   

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Doublet

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This is extremely rare in the diamond world, as it would seem that not even the most disreputable jeweler would try to dupe you with one of these, but stranger things have happened.  This is where the top portion of a diamond (the table) is a real, authentic stone; the bottom (the pavilion) however, is a simulant.  Either C.Z. or quartz or some other damnable fake.  The two parts are glued together and violà; a gem that reads as real when viewed from above, but is a total sham when you look up its rear.    

The only way to know for sure if your diamond has been cursed with any of these dastardly traits is to have it evaluated by a knowledgeable professional.  Thankfully, the expert gemology staff at Diamond Lighthouse is at your disposal.  If you possess a sizable diamond (1 carat and higher) that you’re looking to sell, we can perform a comprehensive test on in, making sure that it is not afflicted with any of the aforementioned natural or man-made maladies.  This evaluation and shipping are both totally free as well.  How’s that for service?  We’ll also find you the absolute best price imaginable for your diamond.  Find out more here

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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 

How Much Should You Spend on Jewelry?

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The average U.S. household spends only $167 on jewelry per year, but that number varies greatly by region. The northeastern U.S., southern and central coastal California, and the east coast of Florida, for example, spend the most on jewelry per year, while the northwest region spends less than $50 annually per household.

The popular concept of smarter spending has a lot of people taking a closer look at how much they spend on everyday items, and jewelry is often an impulse buy. Self-help and finance blogs discuss budgeting and making realistic financial plans, which often results in cost-cutting or looking for ways to get some of your money back.

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But when you’re buying new jewelry, how much should you be willing to spend? What’s the price tag on feeling pretty or scoring a compliment from your moody boss? The obvious answer to this dilemma is: spend the amount that makes sense for you, whether that’s based on your region, your social circle, or your personal style. The decision, however, is more complicated than that, and probably varies with every piece you look at. It’s not easy to choose between shelling out more cash for nicer, longer lasting jewelry over less costly, trendier pieces. It’s hard to place a number on the value of the little boost in self-esteem you might get.

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Websites like Pinterest and Instructables make Do-It-Yourself a viable option for saving money on a lot of important items including jewelry, but there are certain pieces that are essentially impossible to DIY. And that’s one element of DIY that people often overlook before diving in to a project: the cost of the materials and tools, which is one part of what goes into jewelry-making. When you’re deciding how you want to better your budget, consider how original you would like your jewelry collection to be. If originality is important to you and you want handmade jewelry from an artist or smaller manufacturer on a site like etsy, plan to spend a little bit more than you might for a similar piece from a larger manufacturer, like Forever 21, who outsource their work and user cheaper materials specifically so they can offer their products at a low price point. Some smaller companies even begin to outsource once they gain popularity so they can manage the costs and offer their product to more customers, saving 400-500 percent by having someone else produce their designs.

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Choosing how much to spend on jewelry may also depend on the materials you are looking for. If you’re more concerned about the look than the actual material, sterling silver is a good substitute for silver and white gold, and purchasing gold-coated jewelry can save you a lot of money if you prefer the darker color. In addition, synthetic gemstones can be created to look like a natural gemstone, so if you are here because you are aiming to sell your diamonds, a man-made stone might be a great replacement.

Another consideration for choosing an amount to spend on jewelry is whether you value the experience of going into a physical store and trying on the jewelry or whether you are comfortable buying it online. Online stores are often cheaper, simply because renting a brick-and-mortar space is expensive for the business.

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If you are not looking for a specific piece, buying jewelry at an overstock or auction site can be a way to find great deals. Sale jewelry is typically marked down temporarily, while clearance and overstock jewelry are usually marked down because the manufacturer or retailer wants to make room for other products. Because there is an incentive to get rid of it, clearance and overstock jewelry can offer a steeper discount, but the selection may be limited.

One great rule of thumb for a jewelry purchase is the dollar-per-wear rule. To follow this rule, ask yourself how many times you anticipate wearing a particular piece, and if that number is the same as or lower than the price, then it is probably a good purchase. However you decide how much money to spend on jewelry, remember to make the choice for your own reasons, not someone else’s.

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Trick Yourself into Saving More Money

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While you may not have gotten a raise, you can still save more money if you introduce smart saving habits into your daily lifestyle. Being able to save really just means you take a closer look at the ways you manage and spend your money, then find avenues for putting cash away. Creating rules to follow and developing smart habits will change the way you think about your cash flow, and can be a great way to trick yourself into saving more money.

Use Cash

Striving to use only cash will cause you to force yourself to pay closer attention to how much money you really spend every time you go out, to the grocery store or clothes shopping. The trick is to put your plastic away so you feel like you don’t even have it to use. You may also want to consider removing your credit cards from easy pay and 1-Click settings from your online accounts to make it harder to make purchases. You might be surprised at how much less you want an item you see online when the added difficulty of typing in your 16-digit credit card number is in your way.

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Check Your Credit Card Statement Every Month

Your credit usage may have run away from you because you are like the thousands of other people who do not check their credit card statement every month. Looking at how much money you spend and the places you spend it is a good way to make yourself think about your choices in a more deliberate manner. Seeing that you spent $80 at the bar instead of the $40 you planned may shock you into being a little more careful next weekend, or realizing you spend half of your paycheck on new threads may encourage you to create a budget for your wardrobe.

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Good Things Come to Those Who Wait

Attorney Leslie Tayne who writes for Fox Businesses advises you wait five days before making a big purchase. While that hot tub sale is enticing, give yourself five days to ponder whether a hot tub purchase is really in line with saving for your kids’ college tuition. Thinking about what you want to buy is a great way to prevent yourself from spending too lavishly on items you don’t need. A bonus benefit of waiting to buy something is that it gives you a chance to find a better deal, whether you look online or in competitors’ stores.

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Ignore Extra Income

Even though your surprise income may look like it has “jet-ski” written all over it, try instead to imagine it saying “Save me!” and put it away into an account you don’t use immediately. Tayne advises that you only rely on the money you make regularly to make big purchases. That means you should take that big fat tax refund or even the $10 you found in the parking lot and put it toward debt or into a savings account. Extra income is anything outside of the realm of your weekly or monthly income, including cash you make from selling your unneeded wares, (like diamonds that you sell with us!) By putting that extra cash away, you’ll never be tempted to dump it down the drain on something you don’t need. The unexpected kind of money is best spent by not spending it at all.

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Automate Everything

Investopedia advises against taking care of your financial business on a day-by-day basis. Instead, get your employer to deposit portions of your paycheck not only into your checking account, but into your savings account and IRA as well. In addition, set up your credit cards to pay off the balance each month, not just the minimum. A penny paid off is a penny and a half earned in the credit world, because each time your balance equals zero, that means you don’t have to pay annoying off bank fees later in life.

Saving money is really just about changing the way you look at money. If you don’t let it burn a hole in your pocket and instead let it burn a hole in your debt or build your savings, you’ll be on your way to securing a bright financial future in no time.

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