September 2, 2016

Jewelry and the jewelry business

diamond appraisal

Jewelry and the jewelry business.

Jewelry is our passion.  This section is a collection of topics for things like cleaning, shopping and enjoying your jewelry.



One of the primary reasons for getting an appraisal is for purposes of securing insurance coverage. The insurance companies require it because it defines exactly what it is that they are insuring.

Most insurance companies will replace a lost piece of jewelry with ‘like kind and quality and of substantially similar age, authorship, and condition’. This means that they will buy you a new ring in the case of loss.

They generally will NOT cut you a check for the amount on the appraisal.

For this reason, it is in your best interest to be certain that the appraisal that you supply them contains all of the information that you feel is important about your stone. If you looked long and hard for a fluorescent stone and would feel cheated if the company replaced it with one that was not, make sure that’s in the description. Designer names, model numbers, h&a photographs and the like can all be important. If it’s important to you, their client, it is important to them. The description and photographs from your appraisal will become the purchase order for the replacement.

Insurance premiums typically range from 1$ to 3% of your declared value per year.  That is to say, a $10,000 ring will cost somewhere between $100 to $300 per year in premiums in the US.  The difference has to do with the company you choose, your address, deductibles and exclusions and possibly your claims history.

Cleaning Jewelry

Opals, coral, turquoise, malachite, azurite and pearls should NOT be subjected to any of these methods as they are easily damaged.

For silver, many household items can be easily used to remove tarnish:

Make your silverware—as well as your pure silver bracelets, rings, and other jewelry—shine like new by soaking them in a mixture of 1/2 cup white vinegar and 2 tablespoons baking soda for two to three hours. Rinse them under cold water and dry thoroughly with a soft cloth. There about a million ways

Another effective method is:

Line a glass baking pan with aluminum foil and lay it in the kitchen sink to avoid spills.
Line the pan with flatware, jewelry, coins or other silver, ensuring that each piece of silver physically touches the aluminum.
For small pans, add four cups of boiling water followed by a quarter cup of baking soda. You can double or triple the recipe, as needed, to ensure the silver is completely covered with water.
Once the mixture is added to the pan, it will begin to foam. This is normal and safe.
The tarnish will rapidly begin to disappear and you may see the resulting aluminum sulfide form yellow flakes and stick to the foil.
Lightly tarnished silver will be restored in several minutes, while heavily tarnished silver may require a few treatments.
Once the silver is clean, remove it from the pan, rinse it with clean water and dry with a soft cloth.
Rinse the used baking soda down the drain and put the foil in the recycle bin.

Gold and Gems

Has your diamond ring lost its sparkle? Drop a denture tablet into a glass containing a cup of water. Follow that with your ring or diamond earrings. Let it sit for a few minutes. Remove your jewelry and rinse to reveal the old sparkle and shine.

Another easy method:

Soak your diamonds, rubies, sapphires, and emeralds in club soda to give them a bright sheen. Simply place them in a glass full of club soda and let them soak overnight. Here are more

There are many surprising and effective cleaning methods you can safely use:

Drop your dull-looking jewelry in a glass of fizzing Alka-Seltzer for a couple of minutes. It will sparkle and shine when you pull it out.

Brighten up your gold and silver trinkets by soaking them for 10 minutes in a solution of 1/2 cup clear ammonia mixed in 1 cup warm water. Gently wipe clean with a soft cloth and let dry.

Get the shine back in your solid gold (i.e., minus any gemstones) rings and other jewelry by pouring a bit of beer (not dark ale!) onto a soft cloth and rubbing it gently over the piece. Use a clean second cloth or towel to dry.

Put a little toothpaste on an old toothbrush and use it to make your diamond ring sparkle instead of your teeth. Clean off the residue with a damp cloth.

In a pinch, a few drops of vodka will clean any kind of glass or jewelry with crystalline gemstones. So although people might look at you askance, you could dip a napkin into your vodka on the rocks to wipe away the grime on your eyeglasses or dunk your diamond ring for a few minutes to get it sparkling again.

Financing jewelry

Financing jewelry

is almost always a bad idea. So much so that I hate to be writing a tutorial on the subject. Most people who are considering buying jewelry on time are young and inexperienced with debt and the affect that it has on their lives. The traps are huge and my first and most unambiguous piece of advise is:

Don’t Do This!

If you insist on ignoring the above advice, There are a few ways to reduce the pain and to avoid the sharks. Here are a few pointers for the benefit of the public.

Many jewelry stores are what the industry calls Credit Jewelers. Malls in particular use this model. The idea is simple, you can buy a ring worth $xxx but you don’t really need to come up with the money right now. You can make manageable monthly payments until it’s paid off. If you’ve got a new job but haven’t had a chance to save up much money yet this can seem like a pretty attractive deal. Get a nice ring, get married, advance up the career track, live happily ever after. Besides, you don’t want her (or her friends and relatives) to think you’re cheap.

For starters, understand that you are making two different transactions. You are buying a piece of jewelry and you are borrowing some money. They should be evaluated separately, even if they are happening at the same time and with the same company. Compare the jewelry with similar things offered at other dealers. In addition to the obvious gemological issues, many people put a high value on warranties and guarantees, return and upgrade privileges, status associated with the jeweler and many other things. This is discussed at length in the tutorial on buying jewelry. The subject here is financing so lets assume that you’ve narrowed down your shopping to exactly what you want. Now you’re trying to decide how to pay for it.

It’s pretty common for the offered financial arrangements to be pretty attractive because they have inflated the price of the jewelry in the first place. There’s nothing particularly wrong with this as long as you understand what you’re buying and what you’re getting. If a comparable ring elsewhere (or even at that same store) is $1000 less without the financing, then you are paying a $1000 initiation fee for the financing in addition to whatever interest you will pay over the life of the loan. This is the reason for thinking about the two purchases separately. If you can get what you want for a piece of jewelry while paying less for the financing, obviously this is a good plan.

Finance Companies
Most jewelry stores that offer financing are actually representing a bank or finance company for that portion of your deal. They do this because banks are in a much better position to evaluate their credit risks and to collect from their creditors (you). It’s a very different business from selling jewelry and the jewelers are smart to avoid it. This is being offered to you as a way of making a sale that they may not otherwise be able to make. The banks name will appear on the application, usually in the fine print on the back. This is who you are entering a contract with, and make no bones about it: This is a contract. Read it. You are likely to have a relationship with these people for years. After you sign the contract, you take the jewelry, the jewelry store gets paid in full by the bank and the bank gets to collect the payments from you. Pay special attention to the origination fee, the interest rate, and the late payment penalties, It’s common for an introductory period where no interest is charged for several months. Think of this as the opposite of the loan origination fee. It’s easy to figure out what its’ worth. Take the value of the loan times the monthly interest rate times the number of free months.

Credit Cards
The usual alternative to in-store financing is credit card financing. This is actually remarkably similar. They even tend to be the same banks. Even the application and approval process is about the same. The benefit of credit cards is that they have far fewer restrictions on where you make your purchase and they usually have a better interest rate. The only thing you lose is the length of the ‘free’ introductory period. Credit cards usually only give you about 30 days to pay in full before the interest starts. The value of this will depend on the premium you are paying for the jewelry in the first place. It’s unusual for this to be worth more than 2% of the purchase price. Credit cards also offer some level of assurance against fraud by the merchant.

The popularity of online jewelers has added a new wrinkle to the decision. They usually will accept credit cards but they charge a slightly higher price if you choose to use one. Usually this premium is about 2% and it covers their fees to the card processing company. Most customers view this as a fee for the insurance more than a fee for the financing but you may wish to make it part of your calculations.

Financing is all about interest. This is the monthly fee charged by the bank This will be described as a percentage per year of the outstanding balance and it’s usually charged monthly. It’s a fee you pay for carrying the loan. The smaller the percentage the better and the faster you pay it the better. Interest can range from a 5%-30% depending on the company chosen and the program selected. If you buy a $5000 ring and are planning on making payments for 3 years, this can easily be a $3000 difference in the amount you pay. If you paid an extra $1000 in order to shop at a store that offers financing, this means you are paying double what you need to!


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