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Frequently Asked Question about Jewelry

Here we answer some of your questions about jewelry in general. If you have a question you’d like answered, please contact us and we would be happy to help.

What is a Gemologist?

A gemologist is one who studies gems and jewelry scientifically, who knows and identifies them, can judge the elements and their beauty and value, and can apply this knowledge. This training and experience combine to make a gemologist. A gemologist like other professionals must keep up with current advancements in the field. The pace of change in the gem industry is staggering.

What is Moissanite?

Moissanite is lab-created silicon carbide. It has become an excellent diamond imitation since it gives a positive reading on a thermal inertia testers (diamond testers). Some people use this property to fake unsuspecting diamond buyer out of their money.

What is the difference between a Diamond Certificate and an Appraisal?

A Diamond Certificate is a document issued by a Gemological Laboratory describing a Loose Diamond. The laboratory will not issue certificates on Diamonds which are set in a mounting. A Diamond Certificate issues a “grade” indicating the physical properties of the Diamond “at the time of evaluation”. A certificate is a document which retains its value over a long period of time, assuming the Diamond does not chip or is not otherwise altered.

An appraisal can be performed on a loose Diamond, a mounted stone, or jewelry. If the stone is not loose, the physical properties are estimated using various estimation techniques. Most importantly, an appraisal indicates the Dollar Value of the piece under consideration. Obviously, the Dollar Value can easily change considerably over a relatively short period of time. Appraisals are most often used for insurance purposes.

What’s new with diamonds?

Technology is changing the very nature of diamonds. First, new synthetic (man made) diamonds of gem quality are coming into the market now. Next, companies can now change the color of diamonds. They are making the diamonds both more transparent (whiter) and more colorful. Some colors are more vibrant then natural diamonds. Next, some are changing the clarity of diamonds with laser drill and fills. The new fills are getting harder to detect. Key: ask when buying a diamond if it is natural and untreated.

What is redesigned jewelry or redesigned?

Simply put, a redesign is a custom design using your existing gems and gold or platinum. This does not mean you are limited by the gems you have, but what you have is incorporated into the new design. You can add gems or use less of the gems you already have. Many clients have used the main diamond of the old ring to be a side diamond in the new design. Others have made a few design changes, but it is basically the same look and feel, just newer.

I have worked with clients who have changed their wedding ring after only two years and others waited until over 50 years. The reasons to redesign range widely: the ring is worn out (it would need a new shank and all new heads), the style is not right for me now, or, the very popular reason, going bigger/upgrade time.

Does redesigning the wedding ring mean I don’t love him anymore or things need to change in the marriage some ask? Styles change, what can be done in the jewelry trade changes, life style changes (more money), these changes and others are the motivation to redesign the wedding ring not the marriage itself. There is one exception I have seen over the years. The wife never liked the ring, but did not tell him. The why’s are: did not wish to hurt his feelings, we settled for it, that’s just what we did back then and others. As the marriage deepens an open and trusting bond can allow the wife to finally share “I love you, but not the ring so much”. It is a great joy to work with these couples who reach this level of trust.

For more information see our Custom Design page.

What are the 4 C’s?

The four C’s are Carat Weight, Cut, Color and Clarity.

Carat is the weight of a gem. A carat equals 1/5 of one gram. Cut has two components to it. The shape of the stone and the way facets are positioned on the diamond. Color is actually looking for the absence of color or transparency. Clarity is inclusions and natural birthmarks of a diamond and is useful as identifying characteristics. For more information see the Diamond Buying Guide.

What is Filigree?

Filigree is a delicate, complicated and detailed work made from gold or other noble metals. It is used to decorate and beautify jewelry by adding a graceful touch. Filigree was derived from the Latin filum, thread, and granum, grain.

What is the SI3 grade?

The GIA Diamond clarity-scale refers to how clean, or free of imperfections a Diamond is. The GIA standard for the clarity scale consists of:

FL, IF, VVS1, VVS2, VS1, VS2, SI1, SI2, ???, I1, I2, I3

The SI3 was born out of the desire of the Diamond Industry to incorporate an extra grade to identify Diamonds in the lower range of the clarity scale. Many complained that there is too wide a gap between the SI2 and the I1 grade. Why not offer an SI3 grade to bridge the gap?

After EGL – Los Angeles (European Gemological Laboratory) started to issue the SI3 grade, even the Rapaport Diamond Report, or the Rap Sheet as it’s known in the trade, added SI3 to its price list. For those who are unfamiliar with the Rap sheet, it is the definitive (but no longer only) price guide for Diamonds. It is used widely by the wholesale as well as retail industry.

Some say the SI3 is a good idea, some say it is a bad idea. We feel that it can be a good idea if implemented properly. The problem with the SI3 today is that GIA, the largest and most widely accepted Gem Laboratory in the world, does not recognize SI3 grades.

What is a Comfort Fit Ring?

Many diamond wedding rings are available in a comfort-fit style. Comfort-fit engagement rings have extra metal to make the inside of the band slightly domed, resulting in a very comfortable fit. Comfort-fit wedding rings are generally more expensive than non comfort-fit bands. A Comfort Fit Ring is beveled inside, in that manner the edges of the ring are not in direct contact with the flesh of the finger, resulting in a more comfortable fit. This might result in the feeling that the ring feels “looser” in the finger. Diamond engagement rings with a comfort fit design have an oval cross section with very smooth rounded edges, giving them the comfort-fit name.

What people are saying

  1. Meagan says:

    Hi! My aunt passed away recently. As we were going through all of her things we found what looks like a vintage double strand pearl necklace. Birks? Is there an email address where I can send photos? I realize it may be hard to tell just by pictures, but if you have any idea what it COULD be worth, if it’s rare etc? Any information would be SO appreciated.

    • Hi Meagan, thanks for the comment, and I apologize for the slow response. You can feel free to email us photos of the necklace anytime. You can find our email address on our contact page. We would be happy to take a look at it for you.

  2. Josh says:

    I recently bought a single diamond 14k gold engagement ring, wondering what makers mark is an asterisk (*) it came with an ‘Artcarvers’ wedding band-is it a true set?

    • Hi Josh, good question. The company ArtCarved is a large jewelry manufacturer, and they typically use their full name as the manufacturer’s mark on their jewelry. They do not use an asterisk to my knowledge, but it’s possible that they did in the past.

      That being said, it’s hard to say what constitutes a “true set” when you are talking about a simple solitaire engagement ring and band. Almost any band could be used to make a wedding set with a solitaire which is another reason why the solitaire is such a classic and timeless design.

  3. Ken J. Bower says:

    Going through the Purple stones/Gold Rings, which I’m not crazy about, I prefer a Man’s ring with Purple stone/Silver ring, as I think it adds more shine to the whole thing!
    Sorry about my thinking here; yeah I was born in February!

  4. Hemlata says:

    Hi, which is better to buy a 2 micron or a good quality gold plated ring or 18k or 10k gold ring? In case of 10k, 18k ring do I need to worry that the gold may tarnish? I’m confused which one to go with. Tell me which is a best buy price and quality wise both?

    • Hi Hemlata, thanks for commenting. A solid 10k or 18k ring will be worth significantly more than a gold plated ring. Between the two of those, the 18k ring will have more pure gold in it than the 10k ring making it more valuable. With most gold alloys, you don’t need to worry about them tarnishing. Some 10k and definitely 8k and 9k can tarnish over time because there is such a small percentage of pure gold in the alloy.

      You may be interested in our article on gold purity to learn more about these topics.

  5. marie isley says:

    What does pms mean on a 10k gold ring?

    • Hi Marie, that’s a good question. PMS is likely the stamp used by a large jewelry manufacturer. We have had several comments looking for information on this stamp, but we haven’t been able to determine which company it is associated with. Please post back if you find anything out about it.

    • Another commenter recently said that Pms is an Outdated Stamp for Premesco Inc., so that could be the answer to your question. 🙂

  6. DevinW says:

    I got an exquisite gold plated with AAA zircon ring. It is a 8 and I need a 9. Is there and way it can be stretched?

    • Hi Devin, that’s a good question. Thanks for asking. Most of the time, we will need to cut and size a ring like that instead of stretching it (checkout this blog on jewelry repair). The caveat here is that you have a plated ring. So, when we weld the sizing piece in place, the plating in that area will be removed. Often times, we can replate the ring without issue, but the color may changes slightly. Feel free to bring your ring by the shop and we can let you know for sure if it’s something we can size.

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