Tag Archives: diamond worth

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 

10 reasons why you should sell your diamonds IMMEDIATELY

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All across the country, many people can be found who own diamonds.  Some women wear them on the forth finger of their left hand to indicate that you shouldn’t ask them out; others sport large versions of the stones, hanging from their ears, as an alternative to “spacers”; certain gentlemen, who recite lyrical words for a living into microphones, have diamonds embedded into miniature avatars of themselves that hang from gilded chains around their necks.  Then there are the people that have diamonds hidden in their attics, in tiny treasure chests, saving them in the event of a complete economic breakdown where we must resort back to a pre-civilized barter system.  Of all the multitude of the diamond hoarding human classifications, there is one thing that unites them: they all should sell their diamonds ASAP.

Here’s why:

1 – Walking around with valuable pieces of glittering, sparkling glass fragments on your body is a surefire way to draw the attention of criminals looking to make an easy score.  Just look at what happened to Batman’s parents.  Ditch those pricey pieces post haste, before you become the prime target for a malicious mugging/horrendous hugging.  

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2 – In the same way that you become the pièce d’ résistance for professional bandits, you make yourself ready bait for bothersome relatives and deadbeat friends.  They won’t rob you in quite the exact aggressive manner as the aforementioned gem-snatchers, but they will bombard you with nonstop requests for monetary assistance.  The ugly, glittering truth is that they are not even to blame; by wearing diamonds you turn yourself into a walking billboard for ostentatious luxury and arrogant opulence.   

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3 – You work hard every day at your job.  You put in extra hours, you follow up with all business leads that may benefit the company – you even attend the damnable Holiday Party every year with a warm (however forced and obsequious) grin on your face.  Think you’re due for a raise, right?  NOPE.  Not with that huge rock on your finger/ear/nose.  You look like you have too much money already.  Sorry, you can email HR though – who’ll promptly delete your complaint, for all the same gem encrusted reasons. 

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4 – Diamonds are very hard, and in some cases, very sharp.  Now, what do you think happens when you lose weight?  Your digits shrink and your rings become loose.  The harmless activities of every day life can cause your ring to droop down, and when you go to close your hand around a plump orange or send a hilarious (in your mind) tweet – OW!  Your backwards set diamond has just stabbed ye, and it’s off to the E.R. for an afternoon of agony.  

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5 – Let’s paint a similar scenario: you’ve dropped some pounds and all your clothes are now hanging on you.  You casually attempt to hail a cab and – whoosh – your ring goes flying off your slender finger and into the night.  Oops.  You are not even aware of this until later, when you realize you’ve just lost an item that cost thousands upon thousands of greenbacks.  

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6 – You may be grinning to yourself at this point, thinking “Ha!  I never lose weight – in fact, I’ve been steadily gaining girth for years!”  Well, touché.  Oh, you may want to consider this though; those who have amassed extra poundage and have rings that are now permanently stuck on their fingers are at a great risk of losing circulation entirely and, ultimately, needing to have their finger amputated.    Won’t be so funny anymore, when you’re walking around giving people ‘High Fours.’

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7 – Diamonds are forever.  That is, until you can’t find them anymore.  If you happen to fall into the grouping of people who squirrel away your diamonds in remote corners of your cellar, attic or furnace, there may come a day when you are ready to remove said stones and: WAH?  They’re missing!  From actual squirrels (and other pesky varmints) that just love to burrow into tight places and pilfer shiny things to similarly rodential children and grabby roof shingle repairmen, there’s a whole host of creatures/people who can get to your gems before you do.  Sell those rocks before they get their grubby little mitts on them first.  

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8 – For every old diamond that doesn’t get sold, a “new” diamond must be excavated from the ground to meet diamond consumer demand.  This endless stream of terrestrial destruction has anything but a positive impact on the environment; in fact, it wreaks havoc on certain sensitive ecosystems, which can ultimately lead to the decimation of endangered species and worldwide environmental devastation.  So, essentially, every time you don’t sell your old diamonds, the air we breathe becomes poisonous and a baby seal dies. 

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9 – Owning a diamond engagement ring leads to divorce.  Statistics show that out of all divorced couples, over 80% of them had a diamond engagement ring exchanged (well, this documentation refers to ‘married coules,’ but all divorced couples were married at one time, so whatever).  The numbers don’t lie.  Sell your diamond engagement ring right now, or the chances are highly in favor that you will get divorced.  Already divorced?  Well, there you have it then.  Best to sell any residual diamonds before they can do any more damage.  

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10 – Finally, we have the most substantial (and serious) reason.  While diamond demand has not waned dramatically in the U.S., international diamond prices have seen a significant downward spiral.  This is no passing trend; it’s just the way things are.  Take a gander at what some of these news sources have to say on the matter: Forbes, Time, MarketWatch.  The smartest economic decision you can make in this very moment is to sell your diamonds now, before things get exponentially worse.  The good news here is that at Diamond Lighthouse we can help you recover the absolute highest value for your diamond jewelry (typically any piece that features a diamond 1 carat and higher).  Our unrivaled open bidding platform will get you the best price for your diamond, every single time.  Find out more, right…NOW!  

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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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Costume Jewelry…Valuable?

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Most people are aware if they possess a valuable piece of jewelry (it’s a pretty safe assumption your diamond engagement ring is real…right?)  By the same token, many of the masses just figure that whatever costume jewelry they have in their jewelry box is relatively worthless.  In the majority of cases, this would be correct.  However, there are some glittering baubles out there that fit into the costume jewelry category that may actually garner quite the pretty penny.  So how does one determine if that armadillo pin with the rhinestone eyes that belonged to your great Aunt Trudy is worth anything or not?  Read on, for some eye-opening (and wallet fattening) tips.

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First, assess the age.

Are some of the costume jewelry items you own hand-me-downs from your grandmother?  Well, using the powers of common sense, you can deduce that these pieces may be old.  Certain costume articles that were made during the 1920’s, through the 50’s, have ‘vintage’ status and are highly sought after by certain collectors.  Try to identify any defining characteristics they possess and then search online for jewelry with the same qualities or demarcations.  You may see an identical piece selling on eBay for several hundred bucks.

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Make sure it actually is “costume.”

Some jewelry articles may really have that costume feel to them (they look plastic-y, are very lightweight, are now dusty/dirty with age).  In actuality, though, they may be in fact made out of valuable materials.  Since gold naturally is a fairly light metal, it can often be mistaken for a cheaper one.  If in doubt, take your pieces to a few different jewelers to see what they say (always get a couple of opinions; you never know who will try to take advantage of a situation due to your naivety; telling you they will “take it off your hands” for a few bucks).  If the piece itself holds no value other than the intrinsic worth of the gold, you can check the market rate yourself that day to get an idea of the cash you should receive for it (at your piece’s particular weight).

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Is it “marked?”

Costume jewelry that comes from a reputable store/brand can have significant value.  The way to determine this is to look for a jewelry “mark.”  This is a brand name or intaglio embossed, stamped or etched into the jewelry.  Some of the more prominent ones include Chanel, Monet, Wiess and Trifari, but any familiar brand may hold some worth.  The often minuscule marks can be hard to spot with the naked eye, so use a high powered magnifying glass when inspecting your jewelry.  If you catch a glimpse of that elusive mark, then hit the internet and see what it may fetch.

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Determine the degree of detail work

The “detail work” of a jewelry piece refers to the way that it is constructed or designed.  If an item has detailing that is finely executed (not messy and irregular) and intricately held together, that obviously means that is was made well (possibly by hand) and can hold a marked value.

Try not to “go green.”

If your jewelry pieces have a greenish tinge to them, that is a sign that they are oxidizing and are most likely of poor quality/little value.  Another sign in the detrimental category is if the jewelry is enameled and this sheen has worn away considerably.  More valuable pieces typically have superior quality enameling.

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As with any potentially valuable commodity that you own, you should always seek the help of a (trustworthy) professional to determine it’s true value.  Costume jewelry can be fun to wear, but also may just earn you some solid dollars too.  If you are looking to sell jewelry of even greater value, the same applies to finding a reputable place to sell it at.  Diamond Lighthouse helps people sell their diamond jewelry.  We take a commission of 10% (from diamonds 1 carat and higher), so our goal is always the same as yours: to get you the most money possible.  Find out more about our trusted and 100% safe selling platform here.

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