Tag Archives: selling

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 

How to Make Realistic Personal Finance Goals

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According to Kiplinger, every person needs a steady income, financial reserves, and insurance against catastrophes, whether that’s formal insurance or a large savings or investment account. Whether you already have those things and you want to work toward a more rewarding financial future, or you’re nervous that you don’t have one or all of those things, you’ll need to set financial goals to get where you want to be.

Regardless of your current life stage, your financial goals will be dictated by your life goals. Whether you want to retire early, send your children to college, or travel more, you will need to manage your money well in order to plan for your future. In addition to developing a solid emergency fund, you may plan to have a wedding or purchase a house soon. Automatically depositing a chunk of your paycheck every week or month is one way to pay yourself first and plan for these goals.

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Setting aside money for specific goals is a good idea, but how do you decide how much to set aside, and how often? That depends on your long-term, medium-term, and short-term goals. Long-term goals may be that elusive retirement, while medium-term might be making a large purchase like a vehicle or a house, and a short-term goal might be paying off that pesky credit card. To meet those goals, you need to make them even more detailed and specific.

Applying the SMART method to your financial goals is one way to get a clearer idea of what you really need to do to make your money matters work for you. “SMART” stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-Limited.

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The “specific” characteristic directly addresses the thing you want your money to pay for: the house, the college degree, or the new car. It is important to make your goal specific because then it will have meaning. “Measurable” means applying a specific amount to that goal, such as $18,000 for the car or $30,000 for the down payment for your house. Find out how much you will need to reach that goal and apply that amount to your goal.

To figure out whether a goal is “achievable” is a big challenge, and sometimes very closely linked to the “T” in SMART. A financial goal is only achievable if you give yourself enough time to do it. If you want to buy your own island in the tropics, but you only have $10,000 in your savings account, you may need to make it a long-term goal for it to be achievable. If you just want to buy some property that doesn’t necessarily need to be adorned with palm trees, you may be able to make it a medium-term goal with a starting point of $10,000.

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But we skipped the “R!” Well, that’s because you have to know if your goal is achievable and time-limited to know if it is realistic, and that might be the most challenging element of all. For a goal to be time-limited, you simply need to give it a deadline, but how can you tell if that time limit is realistic? Setting unrealistic goals is the best way to shoot yourself in the foot when it comes to financial planning, because you can spend so much time focusing on the dream that you don’t actually see the way your money is really being spent.

Whether or not your goals are realistic depends on how well you prioritize. For example, if you want to buy a house in the next year but pay $600 in rent and $600 in student loan payments while making $2,000 per month, you’ll need to consider where you spend the remaining $800 each month. Does it leave enough to save for the down payment you’ll have to make? Furthermore, do you have good enough credit to get a homeowner’s loan? If you spend all but $50 of the remaining $800 on groceries, a car payment, a credit card balance, medical bills, and utilities and have only decent credit, you may want to re-adjust the time limit on your goal and add another goal to the mix: increasing your credit score.

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Without setting financial goals, you will not be able to pay for the things you want. Without setting realistic goals, you won’t have a clear idea of how to approach the future. So SMARTen up and start setting goals today!

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Alluring Jewelry Terms

(Starting with “A”)

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This is the first installment of a multi part series on the etymology of some of the more esoteric, unconventional and ancient phrases in the wondrous world of precious metal and gemstone-based jewelry.

À jour – much like ‘soup du jour,’ this term is extra fancy, and extra French; it means “to the day,” and is as delicious as a lobster bisque.  À jour is a type of jewelry setting that became intensely popular in the 1800’s (just like the sexy steam locomotive and the scintillating stereoscope) where the back of the piece is left open.  This is so the sun can hit it with luscious light and BAM: instant solar style, as the jewel shimmers with glowing glee and bright alacrity.

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À la mercure – Ok, this one can be mercurial (and lethal).  Like the name suggests, we’re dealing with actual mercury here.  It’s a type of ‘gilding’ where you meld gold and mercury into a deadly stew and then gently apply it to a jewelry piece (like you would with White-Out to a sensitive document).  Then you burn the heck out of it with a torch or, in a pinch, a lighter with a saucy burlesque dancer etched on to it.  The heat from the fire sizzles the mercury away, leaving behind a smooth golden finish (just don’t breathe while doing this, kids!)

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Aiguilettes – now commonly known as the name given to Christina Aguilera’s children, aiguilettes originally referred to thin little strips of material that held ribbons in place on women’s dresses in the 1400’s.  These stylishly ‘sharp’ items (derived from the French word for needle, “aguille”), became more and more fashionable and were eventually constructed from gold and featured various glittering gems.  They usually appeared in pairs, forming a small “v” or “bird in the distance in a painting” shapes.

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Allochromatic – just like the Allosaur that gets eaten in Jurassic World, this term has epic connotations.  The phrase “allochromatic” is applied to gems that exhibit a certain color…that is not what their chemical components dictate it should actually look like, but rather a hue which is purely visible due to the impurities therein.  Confused?  Good.  Here’s a nice example of allochroma in action: the highly valuable gemstone Sapphire.  Now, sapphire is blue, right?  Dead wrong! (as if you’ve been huffing mercury)  Sapphire is naturally a clear gem in it’s unadulterated state.  However, typically when it forms, iron and titanium particles get in there, alloying the true chemical composition.  These dirty little elements are what give sapphire that azure allure we know and heart.

Alluvial – this one is a little slippery: literally.  The phrase is really just an adjective meaning “deposited by water,” and in the jewelry universe this refers to precious metals (gold, silver, the Lord of the Rings ring) left behind in riverbed rocks.

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Amorphous – Honey Boo-Boo and Momma June jokes aside, amorphous things have no form at all.  What this means in gem terms, is that they are devoid of a “crystal structure.”  Popular gemstones such as amber and opal are amorphous, making them both great gifts for someone whom you want to express the message “Our love has no…form.”

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Arabesque – those who frequent hookah lounges will be familiar with the ornate and intricate style that is Arabesque.  Jewelry with extensive filigreed is often in the Arabesque category, which was definitely #trending during the 1500’s with the Renaissance art crowd.  Arabesque designs feature a lot of flowing flowers, hearts and in some rare cases, shawarma samples.

Archaeological Revival – this term is sort of self explanatory, but cool nonetheless.  When art loving Europeans of the 1700’s began digging stuff up from the Roman and Egyptian Empires, they fell in love with the style and started replicating it like mad.  Wearing a Cleopatra inspired golden asp headpiece became totally en vogue with the bourgeoisie crew.

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Argentan – if you receive a shiny silver gift with an intaglio on it proclaiming this word, then you have a right to be miffed.  It means that the metal is masquerading as actual silver, but, sadly, is not.  This information can be extremely useful when deciding whether or not to melt jewelry pieces down into bullets to combat attacking werewolves.

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Armilla – is just a super fancy word for an ‘armlet’ – a bracelet for the upper arm.  These have been around since the times when people fought lions with their bare hands for the entertainment of the masses (usually on the TNT network).  Roman soldiers wore these to signify rank, as well as for an excuse to show off their biceps.  Today, hordes of  inebriated girls wear them at Coachella.

Assay – is not that thing you had to write to get into college.  Assay is the procedure that jewelry items undergo to analyze the precise content of the precious metal they contain.  The results are often stamped right on the little guys (ie – “24 kt gold” or, in some less than fortunate cases, “100% tin foil”).

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Asterism – akin to the mighty asteroid, soaring through the cosmos, the concept of asterism is equally ephemeral and can scorch you if you attempt to grasp it.  …Well, not really.  It just signifies a star-like shape that forms when light hits certain, inclusion laden gems and then reflects out in said stellar fashion.  Basically, it’s like looking at a jewel-born asterisk*

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Aventurescence – if you are a gem and you possess this quality, it means you are ready for adventure!  …Or something to that effect.  When stones have aventurescence, they have an entirely unique brand of sparkle to them.  Gems that exhibit this property are chocked full of various mineral inclusions that are too hard to spell or pronounce (and in some cases, sound completely inappropriate).  Not a believer?  Just try to say “fuchsite” in polite society and see what happens.

-Joe Leone 

A Brief History of the Auction

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If you’ve ever participated in an auction, whether you were trying to outbid other billionaires for a Ming dynasty era vase at a premier auction house (like Christie’s, Southeby’s or Anotherby’s) or you were attempting to score an authentic REO Speedwagon concert shirt on eBay, you know the thrill of the bidding process.  It’s no wonder that the practice of auctioning off items (and, er, humans) goes back thousands and thousands of years.  Join us as we take a tour through the long and storied history of amazing auction activity through the ages.

Ancient Action

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Some of the earliest auctions on record occurred in the land of Greece, circa 500 B.C.  Up for bidding were not togas, laurel leaves and baklava, but rather potential brides.  Yes, lovely and chaste ladies were all the rage in the first auction incarnations.  The method used was essentially the inverse of how we bid on things today: a peak price began the auction, and was lowered until someone shouted out that they wanted that wife at that great price.  Typically, the nicer the lass’s figure, the greater the figure earned.  The good news was that if the newly formed couple ran into any “irreconcilable differences,” the purchaser could return his bride for a full cash refund.

A little later down the line, the Romans (right around the time of the original “Yeezus”),  would auction off estates and the copious spoils of war.  Soldiers would often host what were massive tag sales, with all of their purloined and plundered products from around the globe.  Bidders eager to snatch up Egyptian jewelry, tapestries and asps would compete for the stolen goods.  To commence each auction, a dude called the “Magister Auctionarium” would thrust a spear into the earth.  This would eventually evolve into the smashing of the gavel that we use today (and the slicing of the air with a light saber, that we will surely use someday).

We’re Comin’ To America

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Along with Thanksgiving and small pox blankets, the Pilgrims introduced something very cool to 1600’s America: auctions.  Yes, the capotain headed, buckle shoed voyagers from Europe loved themselves a good ole new-world auction!  Corn (or maize) crops, farm animals, tools, wagons, plots of land all went up on the chopping block.  One of  biggest fan favs, though, was the lush and luxurious fur of the bountiful beaver.  Unanimously sought after beaver pelts were routinely shipped back to the “old world,” where they were auctioned off there as well.  See, you just couldn’t find good beaver coats in Europe, and the chilly people there would bid their very last Euros on these exotic trappings.

Let’s Keep it Civil

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Auctions steadily gained popularity in the United States and saw a real surge during the tumultuous days of the Civil War.  During the lengthy national skirmish, colonels (from both sides) would host auctions, to sell off the items and land that they had acquired in battle.  Since the military is all about order and rank, only colonels could lead the auctions.  Their naturally commanding voices helped the process run smoothly.  So, if you’ve ever wondered why modern day auctioneers were christened with the sobriquet “colonels,” there’s your answer (not because they strikingly resemble Colonel Sanders, as many people once believed).

Gettin’ Schooled

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At the turn of the 20th century, the ‘art of the auction’ began to fully become recognized.  Official auction schools were springing up across the country (the first recorded one, the “Jones’ National School of Auctioneering and Oratory,” was founded in Davenport, Iowa – and likely the very reason why Davenport, Iowa remains one of the hottest international vacation destinations to this very day).  At these schools, the “colonels,” or “Knights of the Hammer” (presumedly called this because they were now routinely whacking their gavels tither and thither), were taught not only about the intricacies of fine goods and the complicated legalities of real estate, but also how to project their voices.  Since auctions took place outdoors in front of huge (often sweaty and inebriated) crowds, the auctioneers really needed to belt out those numbers.

This is depressing…

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Auctions were moving along nicely until that whole stock market crash thing on ’29.  While some foreclosed acres of land were auctioned off here and there, the practice as a whole came to a screeching halt (as no one was really buying anything).  Dust Bowl be damned, loud-mouthed colonels held strong, refusing to let the tradition of yelling-out-prices-really-fast die out.  Once the country truly rebounded, after WW2, the auction was able to see a significant comeback.

Nifty ’50’s

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As the USA really came back into it’s own during the middle of the century, the need for auctions increased dramatically.  People were selling off all manner of personal property, and wanted to do so faster than they could with traditional sales methods.  Enter the colonel.  Auctions were a way for individuals to get higher and higher prices for their belongings and real estate, all over the course of a couple of heart-thumping hours.  Long gone were the days of the militarily garbed officer yelling over crowds; the modern auctioneer was transformed into a dapper chap in fancy duds, with a sophisticated disposition.  Auction houses began to take higher and higher commission from sales conducted under their roofs, as the items passing hands skyrocketed in value.

Welcome to the Information Age

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As technology has developed exponentially over time, the auction biz has seen bursts of unbridled efficiency as well.  Aside from the innovative feature of having a small item (like a mythical monkey’s paw or a Beanie Baby) that is up for bidding projected on to an epically huge screen at live events, there’s another fascinating means of conducting auctions.  It’s called the “internet.”  In this wondrous, ethereal place, people can bid on delightful things in Osaka from the comfort of their homes in Helsinki.  Arguably, the single greatest achievement in all of recorded auction history is occurring right this very moment.  Yes, that’s right: the transparent, open online bidding platform created by Diamond Lighthouse!  Here, people who wish to sell their diamond jewelry for an insanely high profit can do so, without the hassle of trying to find a buyer who will pay what their jewelry is actually worth.  Our network of vetted and trusted diamond buyers place bids on your diamond jewelry, all competing to outbid each other – and the best part?  You are the colonel.  You are completely in control as you get to decide which offer you ultimately accept, if any.  Find out more on how you too can become an instrumental part of glorious American history (and get paid).

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-Joe Leone 

Throwing Money Directly Down the Toilet

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10 things that instantly lose value 

Recall the time when you set up that little lemonade stand outside your home.  A few supportive neighbors kindly looked down on you and paid the requisite 25 cents for a dixie cup of your way too sugary beverage, sweetly smirking as they did so.  You then giddily tallied up your profits and began to fantasize about what you would do with your newfound fortune.  A this point an admonishing parent stuck their head in and said “Be smart with your money.”  For some of you, this memory is from when you were 6 years old – for others, when you were 32.  The point is that the age-old lesson of ‘use your money wisely’ is still applicable today.

Here are ten examples of common items that are essentially the antithesis of intelligent purchases, in terms of value retention.

1 – Vehicles

Most are familiar with the old adage: “You lose half the value once you drive them off the lot.”  While moneycrashers.com says that that figure is closer to 35-40%, the bottom line is that if it’s got wheels, you’re losing out on the deal.  Obviously having a car, truck or moped is essential for most humans to get from place to place, but you may want to think about purchasing a used vehicle.  With a used car you’re not dealing with all the gloss and glitz of a dealership, so you obviously get a better value (just check that mileage first).

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2 – Electronics

If you ever think you are going to sell your 48” plasma flat screen off for a price even remotely close to the distant vicinity of what you paid for it, you are in for a high-definition shock.  The problem with electronics is that ever developing technology renders older models of things obsolete rather quickly.  Products that initially sold for hundreds of dollars (ie – DVD players) now sell, new in the store mind you, for way, way less.  Think about the first smart phones, and what you might have shelled out for those, and how they basically come free now with most plans.  However, if you have an 8-track player in pristine condition, you may be able to sell that to one guy in Tuscaloosa who swears by that “crisp 8-track quality!”

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3 – Toys

This is a tough one to get around, as you are not really in control of the purchase of these expensive and wholly unnecessary items.  The kids they are intended for are the ones calling the shots, so there is really very little recourse available to you (unless, you are actually buying toys for yourself, in which case…well there’s not much to say in this case).  Toys are often wallet busting (Time.com reported back in 2012 that of the items listed in Toys R Us’s “Holiday Hot Toy List: just five are under $50—and seven run $100 or more”) and never retain any value unless they are “in the original box,” but what kid is going to keep a G.I. Joe or Barbie in a box?  Possibly a future collector or financial strategist (aka: an odd child), but most kids will immediately rip the box open and bat the poor figurines around until the heads pop off.

Diamond-Lighthouse-selling-old-busted-scary-monkey4 – Musical Instruments

These things can really cost a pretty collection of pennies.  If you want to pick up the guitar, flute or harpsichord, consider hitting Craigslist for a used one.  Many people often find that their sudden passion to play the bass like Gene Simmons wanes the moment they realize how difficult it actually is.  Save yourself the frustration and greenbacks; get an old one or, even better, just rent one.  If you absolutely have to have a sparkling new one, you can shop around the discount sites; for example, some of the guitars here on overstock.com seem pretty affordable.

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5 – Books

While not really that expensive in the first place, books essentially retain zero value.  Even hard to find tomes can be located in used book stores for a few dollars at most.  What about “collectibles?”  Are you looking to retire from the sale of that First Edition copy of Jane Eyre that you found amongst your gramma’s possessions?  Sorry to disappoint, but give a perfunctory look at eBay for this item and you’ll sadly see exactly how many more years you need to be part of the workforce for.  Why do you think so many sidewalks are chocked full of boxes of books with little signs that proclaim “free!”

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6 – Video Games

Yes, yes, yes, you absolutely need to have the newest edition of Call of Duty.  Just don’t be surprised if you try to sell it a few months later and receive bupkis.  Like all those transitory toys, once you remove the cellophane from a video game, it’s not worth the plastic it’s encased in.  Money.usnews.com suggests waiting a tiny bit after a game’s release and then pick it up on Amazon.

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7 – Clothes & Apparel 

This one really can sting.  You can save up for weeks, months even, to get a new suit, dress, pair of shoes or bag, and if it’s a trendy item, you may get one season’s usage out of it.  If you attempt to sell your killer threads to a consignment shop or used clothing store (buffaloexchange.com, beaconscloset.com), you will quickly see exactly what last season’s Versace garners today: not much.  Just take the 50% store credit, or 30% cash value, get outta there and buy more versatile stuff.

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8 – Beauty Products

Granted these things are meant to be consumed, not resold, but they still make the list because of their massive downgrade in value once opened.  Totalbeauty.com offers a list of the Most Expensive Skin Care Creams, which lists Cle de Peau Beaute Synactif’s face goo selling at $1,000.  Let’s see if you can get anyone, anywhere to give you give you even one/tenth that amount for a freshly opened container of it.  If you have a bunch of fancy beauty products that you no longer need (and they are not expired or dried up), you can usually donate them to shelters, as the recipients can be quite grateful to have them.

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9 – Food

Well, duh.

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10 – Jewelry

If you learn the actual resale value of most of the jewelry in your collection, you can be in for a devastating revelation.  Here we are dealing with a similar circumstance as the New Car Being Driven Off the Lot…yet, unfortunately, it’s typically even worse (we’re talking around a 70% loss from the retail price).  “But why?  My diamond ring is in the exact same condition as when it was purchased!”  This is a valid argument, but the retail price is insanely inflated above the real market value of jewelry.  This is because of all the other costs that go into showcasing jewelry: the cost of mining the jewel, the shipping of it around the world, the labor it takes to cut and polish it, then to fit it into a band or whatever piece it will reside in – plus the costs the store owner has of paying rent, for electricity, hiring salespeople that are forced to always smile at you, etc.  If you try to resell your jewelry back to a jeweler, or to a pawn shop, you’ll be lucky to get back 20% (or on a really, really good day, up to 40%) of what you paid.  That’s the stupefying reality.

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However, there is good news!  If you have diamond jewelry that you would like to resell, there is a unique company that can get you the way more money than you could on your own.  Welcome to Diamond Lighthouse.  We specialize in the sale of diamonds 1 carat and higher, and can find you the absolute best price for them.  This is feasible as we put your diamond up for auction to an elite network of professional diamond buyers.  These buyers are willing to pay the true market value for your diamonds.  In the end, you will receive more than double what you would get at a pawn shop or jeweler.  Find out more here.

Once you recover some of the cash from your old jewelry, you will then be free to purchase all the (sure to depreciate) cars, electronics and toys you can get your hands on!

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-Joe Leone