Tag Archives: selling your diamond

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 

Miraculous Jewelry Terms (“M”)

Jewelry Phrases beginning with “M” 

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Macaroni – aside from being one of the tastier carbs and an old timey term for being ‘in fashion,’ this also describes a chatelaine that is draped over one’s belt instead of hooked.  The chatelaine, if you recall, is that fancy keychain the ‘Lady of the House,’ or “Big Momma,” wore during the Elizabethan period.

Mallorca Pearls – these are faux pearls, with hearts of glass.  From the Spanish isle which bares their name, these little orbs are created by repeatedly dipping a glass ball into a shiny concoction made of fish scales and oil (aka: ‘smelly stew’ or ‘sea goo’).  The term is now widely used to describe all kinds of fake pearls – and older women named ‘Pearl’ who act phony.

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Manchette – leave it to the French to turn yet another everyday item into a sneakily chic jewelry creation.  This word means “cuff” en Français, hence the manchette is what is commonly known today as a ‘cuff bracelet.’  It looks just like the frilly end of a Victorian lady’s sleeve, and really comes in handy if you simply abhor having cuffs made out of fabric.

Married Jewelry – while you naturally assume that this refers to wedding bands, you naturally are wrong.  This is any type of jewelry piece that embodies one specific style and then is augmented with another add-on piece (which can be from either the same time period/design motif or from another one altogether).  Hence, you have two separate goods that have been ‘married’ together, like Kardshians and athletes.

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Mascaron – is the equivalent of a modern emoji, but the mean/scary ones.  A mascaron is a face, which can be human, animal, a human-animal hybrid, or a goblin/demon.   They are used in architecture on the side of buildings to keep evil spirits away and in jewelry to keep normal people away.

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Meander – this refers to a border, often seen in ancient Greek architecture, that has a repetitious, angular linear pattern.  The Hellenists (or ‘Greek Revivalists’) were fond of this motif, using it in a lot of jewelry items (such as “Greek Key” bracelets) at the turn of the 19th century.  Another term for a meander design is the “running dog,” as it looks like a little Fido trying to eternally catch itself in an M.C. Escherian maze.

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Meershaum – is a whitish, very lightweight clay-esque material that is often used in lieu of ivory (thankfully, for those who deplore ivory usage).  Importing tons of the stuff from Asia, German designers have used meershaum for generations to craft cigarette holders and ornate bowl pipes (thankfully, for those who enjoy smoking…things).  Meershaum sometimes makes a cameo in cameos, once again impersonating cruelly derived ivory.

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Memento Mori – and now for the single most morbid jewelry trend in history thus far.  This phrase translates directly from Latin to “Remember, you must die,” which is quite helpful if you’re the forgetful type.  Oddly popular for over 200 years (from the 1500’s through the 1700’s – and then again with modern day “Goths,” of course, who inundate Hot Topics in malls all over the country), these are rings, pendants and lockets, often with secret compartments, that were fashioned to look like skulls, skeletons and Larry King.

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Memorial Rings – are just what they sound like; rings that are constructed to memorialize or laud a person (ie – the King) or a special event (Macy’s year-end clearance sale).  Often they will have the silhouette of a chap or lady embedded in them, which serves as a creepy reminder that the soul depicted there is always with you.  ALWAYS.

Menuki – are intricately designed metal ornaments that were originally used to make Japanese sword handles look really pretty…right before they killed you.  Menuki became all the rage in the Western world during the end of the 1800’s, in the super throwback Art Nouveau era.

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Micromosaic – this is a form of art that is extremely difficult to achieve, so if someone ever gives you a micromosaic pendant or brooch, just be grateful to the person who spent days putting it together and send them a micro-kiss.  It’s made from tiny glass or enamel parts (called ‘tesserae’) that have a bunch of different hues.  You put it all together in a gold, copper or brass tray to create an image (like an ancient Italian Lite Brite).

Milk and Honey Effect – much like the biblical land of the same name, this is something you strive for when picking out chrysoberyl gemstones.  Don’t recall what those are?  They’re those stones that exhibit the ‘cat eye’ phenomenon; so the M&H effect here is when the feline eye looks like equal parts the sugary goo that bears enjoy and the liquid that cows generously supply our children with.

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Millefiori – speaking of micro mosaics, these are minuscule flower bouquets sometimes found in these miniature works of art.  It’s also a good name for a Bond Girl.

Minaudière – One of the many Van Cleef & Arpels patented items, this is a dainty little clutch designed for women to use to store their make-up, combs and secrets.  The exterior typically features floral, woven designs with little lipstick-protecting hummingbirds and the like on there.

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Mizpah Ring – taken right out of the bible, Mizpah is Hebrew for “Watchtower,” and refers to god watching over man.  Ergo, gold, silver or sometimes brass rings would be engraved with this word (and for jewelers with tiny baby fingers, sometimes the a whole quote from the bible in relation to this).  Not to be confused with a bar mizpah (that’s a tavern where god watches you drink).

Mokume Gane – is the Japanese nomenclature for a technique of lamination that makes metal look like grained wood.  This was used back in the day for Japanese sword blades (possibly so they appeared to be wooden and then opponents would let their guards down?), but today it can be found on all manner of wearable jewelry.

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Mordant – the end of the one’s belt (that doesn’t have the buckle on it) can be affixed with a mordant, which is a metal thingy that helps the belt easily slide through the pant loops.  Some buckles are fancy and are bejeweled and the mordants are set with matching stones.  In jewelry, mordants are mostly used to jazz up bracelet ends.  A common misconception is that Mordants are inhabitants of Mordor.

Moresque – a design style which contains scroll-like shapes, originating from the North Africa.  Renaissance people were really into this look, incorporating it into all kinds of jewelry.  The designs are beautifully complicated, ironically giving rise to the phrase “less is moresque.”

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Mounting on Moor – is a sneaky trick in the diamond world, where one gives the stone a little bit of a ‘tint’ in the pavilion portion, which hides unsightly blemishes inside it.  Like putting a “Kelvin” filter on an unflattering Instagram pic.

Mourning Jewelry – a self-explanatory term, these are jewelry pieces that people would wear when a loved one departed, to show the world they were very sad but still of course cared about fashionable accessories.  Obviously darker materials were employed in making these pieces, such as onyx, black enamels and crystals, jet and in some cases, the actual hair of the mourned individual.  These particular, hair-inclusive jewelry pieces were also known as “please get that away from me.”

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Muff Chain – is a lengthy chain that loops around a lady’s neck, hangs all the way down and clasps her muffler, or muff, which is that fuzzy guy that keeps hands warm.  This was a must-have object during the 1700’s, when people were apparently losing their muffs left and right.

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   

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