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Press Release: The highest credentials in the industry.

Written by Micah Brown On June 24, 2016.

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When our store first opened on November 1, 1999 we could not imagine the amazing journey that this would be. From helping couples who have looked through hundreds of rings to find the “one,” enjoying your reaction to seeing a finished ring we helped you design, or sharing our education and knowledge about diamonds, colored stones, or jewelry design and repair. Through it all we are dedicated to do the right thing for you, our customer.

In order to do what is right, we make sure our staff is properly educated and trained to the highest standards in our industry, those of the American Gem Society (AGS),  which is the country’s preeminent jewelry trade organization dedicated to consumer protection. In order to better your understanding as to why the accreditations and titles we obtain from this prestigious institution are of utmost importance, let us first share with you a little background on AGS.

The American Gem Society was founded in 1934 by a small group of leading jewelers. Their goal was to create an organization that could help protect the jewelry-buying public from fraud and false advertising. Today approximately 3,400 jewelers, retailers, suppliers, individual titleholders and affiliates have joined the American Gem Society and have dedicated themselves to consumer protection, ethical business practices, and development and maintenance of superior gemological skills and knowledge. Joining AGS is no easy process, every member must go through a peer-reviewed application process followed by an annual recertification exam. Even then only 1 in 20 jewelers have met the exacting requirements necessary for membership. This process ensures that every AGS member you meet is at the top of their game, and more importantly, each one has pledged to protect you, the consumer. You can read more about the AGS code of ethics by clicking here.

With that bit of background, the certifications and accreditations from AGS are so important for many reasons. The main reason being, they are a testament to the highest education achievable in all of the jewelry industry. In our industry, education is vital at every aspect of production, from mining to the sales floor. For example; if you have an educated miner who sells to an educated cutter who supplies to an educated retailer, and the retailer in turn educates the customer about the jewelry industry, diamonds, or colored gemstones with the best available knowledge, the now informed customer is protected from bad decisions based on impulse or underhanded sales tactics.

Titles and designations from AGS are no small undertaking, the title of Certified Gemologist Appraiser (CGA) is the highest level of distinction an individual can achieve as it relates to jewelry, diamonds and colored stones. It represents years of study, equivalent to the amount of time required for a masters degree from most liberal arts colleges or universities which garners the pre-requisite title Certified Gemologist (CG). In order to earn the title Certified Gemologist Appraiser (CGA) a CG must take a multi-day, on location, course for jewelry appraisal, the culmination of which is a rigorous two-part exam, (including theory questions and practical assignments based on performing a number of accurate, thoroughly detailed, complete appraisals on a variety of jewelry items.) Even with all that work, an individual cannot officially hold a CGA title until their store or office location has been accredited as a Gemological Laboratory.

The accreditation of our sole location as a Gemological Laboratory is another pre-requisite for us to have two individuals with CGA titles in our store. To be considered for accreditation as a Gemological Laboratory, a location must have on the premises: a binocular microscope specifically designed for use with gemstones (called a gem scope), at least five master diamonds for color grading purposes which are graded and registered by the AGS (these diamonds serve as a Pantone® set of sorts for assessing the color, or lack thereof, in a diamond), scientific measuring and testing equipment for the identification of gemstones, their synthetic counterparts, imitations and treatments (everything from special lighting environments to specific chemicals), along with a substantial and varied library of reference materials.

Today we are proud to announce that by the grace of God and after over fifty years of hard work through combined efforts of Sterling, our owner, who began his journey in the jewelry industry in the late 70′s, and Brian, our Store Manager, who got his start when we opened in 1999. We have achieved the most prestigious accreditation and certifications our industry has to offer, Accredited Gemological Laboratory and both Sterling and Brian now carry the title of Certified Gemologist Appraiser (CGA). Did we mention that currently there are less than 400 AGS jewelers in all of North America that carry this title and accreditation and two of them are our associates? You should be proud of this combined effort which enables us to provide YOU with educated and ethical based customer service because without you we wouldn’t have a store where we can learn and grow.

Paws make impressions on our hearts

Written by Micah Brown On May 14, 2016.

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Stephanie is my sister. The puppy (pictured above) is her now 7 year old dog Togo. This is his story.

Togo is a yellow lab, pure bred for one specific purpose, to assist a blind person in a way no other animal can. Guide Dogs for the Blind, as part of their puppy raising program, gives individuals a puppy at just 8 weeks, over the course of the following year, puppy raisers are to teach the dogs basic obedience and general training for guide dog work. After those 12 months the dogs are returned to the organization for their next phase of training. After their advanced training, they are then paired with with a blind person and begin the next phase of training. If they pass all the courses with absolutely no problems, they are graduated to fully fledged guide dog work and the life of a blind person is literally placed in the paws of that dog. Needless to say, the requirements and standards for the pooch are high! At any time, for any reason, a dog can be “career changed”, meaning the dog no longer qualifies to be a guide dog but is still suitable for other work, such as search and rescue, drug detection, or therapy jobs.

Toward the beginning of the second phase of training, Togo was career changed. At this point, Guide Dogs for the Blind has two options. Find a new job for the dog, or their primary option, allow the puppy raiser to keep the dog. Free and clear, no strings attached, the organization gives the raiser a fully pedigreed dog that has been vaccinated, trained not to bark, chase balls, take food from anybody, and only eat, relieve, lay down, get up, and sit on command and only on command.

The day Stephanie got to take Togo home for good is most likely the third best day of her life. The first being the day our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, saved her from her sins. The second being, the day she married her longtime sweetheart, Taylor, just this past February (pictured below). It took Togo several months to learn how to be a pet, but it was not long before he learned how to fetch, beg, and enjoy pettings at any time. All activities that had been verboten for his entire life up to this point, but all things that he took a liking to rather quickly. Loved by mine and my brother’s children and all who meet this mild mannered “beast”, as my dad calls him, Togo is a constant companion and a bright joyous yellow spot to my entire family everyday.

Joel and Togo

On January 20th, Togo was diagnosed with aggressive bone cancer called Osteosarcoma, My sister wrote on her Facebook page,

“The world is broken. Friends commit suicide, divorce fractures families, and cancer stalks the world. We know in our hearts the world isn’t supposed to be like this. The Bible affirms this feeling, it reveals that the world wasn’t created with sickness, death, and estrangement. Our sin broke the world and every part of creation groans under the consequences of sin.

Romans 8: 22-24
“22 For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. 23 And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees?”

But, God. He doesn’t let it end like this. The closer the pain and fall out comes to my life the more precious God’s redemption is to me. Jesus endured the pain of our sin on the cross to redeem our souls in the now and all of creation in the end.

Our redemption is already and not yet. Today, today as I face the loss of my companion I long for the new heaven and the new earth. I like Paul groan inwardly and eagerly wait for my adoption as a child of God and the redemption of my body. I look to scripture and see hope, hope for not only the redemption of people but final redemption of all creation where sin is ended and the world is created new. As I weep for the untimely and painful death of my pet, but I glorify God that this isn’t the end of the story. Togo will die of the bone cancer destroying his body, but as I walk through the pain of his impending death I look forward with hope to the coming of Jesus when he will set the world right.

Revelation 21:1
21 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more.”

Today, May 14, is a dark day. Today, Togo will be put to sleep.

My sister’s perspective is right and true. Our world is broken, death is a vivid reminder that our sin has consequences and one day we will give an account of our lives here on earth and will either live forever with Christ in Heaven if He has enabled us, by the work of the Holy Spirit, to repent of our sins and put our faith in Him, or endure our perfectly just, eternal punishment in Hell for our sins. She will cry a lot today, her husband will console her and remind and reassure her of the truth.

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Earlier this week he gave her something special, two pendants we had the great pleasure to produce for him. Reminders of one of the wonderful common graces that God offers to every man; the joy of a pet. When I visited my family in February for my sister’s wedding, my dad and I took a stamping pad to “the beast” to get his paw print. That print was used as the basis for the pendant with the idea that, “Paws leave impressions on our hearts” as a theme for the piece. Cut into the back of each pendant is the name of our beloved pup, Togo.

To my sister: Saying today is a rough day for you is an unfathomable understatement. Fighting tears as I write this, I can’t tell you how happy I am for three things: 1) The Lord has given you the hope of glory, found only through his great salvation 2) that He has given you a husband who loves Jesus and his personal relationship with Christ, allows him to console you in a way no one else can 3) That you are my sister and I love you.

in Him,
Micah B

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My favorite picture of me and Togo. Each enjoying our favorite activities, me eating pizza and him begging.

Three questions you need to answer on Earth Day

Written by Micah Brown On April 22, 2016.

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Today is “Earth Day” a day that was established in 1969 as a rally against careless pollution. What started as a noble, bipartisan movement for cleaner air and thoughtful land and animal preservation has since spiraled into a war against a fear named, “global warming”. Earth Day in and of itself is not a bad thing it is a good thing to be a good steward of the things we have been given but before you give yourself fully and wholly to a cause, such as Earth Day, you need to stop and answer three basic questions: Who created the earth? Who Keeps it functioning? and How can you know for sure?

1) Who created the earth?

Every person must answer this question, “Why is there something rather than nothing?” In Genesis 1:1 you have the answer plainly, In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” “In the beginning,” What beginning? The beginning of everything, when time itself was created. Yes, there was a time when time didn’t exist and there will be a time in the future where time will cease to exist, but that is for another discussion. “…God created…” God and God alone claims the right to all of creation. He owns it. He made it and it belongs to him. This is not a hard concept, especially in our day in age of copyright and intellectual property, it is easy to understand, if you make something, you own it, by right it is yours! “…the heavens and the earth…” Here you have the substance which was created the heavens and the earth, everything. That is not only the physical universe which we see and the spiritual universe which is invisible to us, but that includes every man, woman, boy, and girl on this planet who ever was and ever will be. 

2) Who keeps the earth functioning?

When those who study astronomy, astrophysics, atomic and molecular structure get to the boundaries of technology and instrumentation, they find there is no reason the vastness of the universe or the irreducible complexity of atoms should stay together. In fact, mankind found out, – through atomic and nuclear weapons – the devastating energy that can be unleashed by taking this structure apart. When you come to the end of research trying to find a reason why things function when there is no natural reason they should, there is only one answer, revealed in the truth of scripture that says in Colossians 1:16-17 where, God, through the apostle Paul, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit wrote, For by him [Jesus] all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.” (Colossians 1:16-17 ESV) “…in him all things hold together…” All things, everything, from the largest galaxy to the tiniest electron, is kept stuck together by the will and grace of God.

3) How can you know this for sure?

God is the creator. The true, infallible, word of God says, “For what can be known about God is plain to them [all mankind], because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.” (Romans 1:19-20 ESV) You can know this for sure because God has given you the world around you to show you the evidence of his eternal power and divine nature. If you need a witness, all you need to do is look around.

Today on Earth Day, as you consider the amazing variety of plants and animals that populate our planet, as you look into the eyes of every unique person you meet today, keep in mind that Psalms 24:1-2 says, The earth is the LORD’s and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein, for he has founded it upon the seas and established it upon the rivers.” (ESV) So how does this relate to jewelry? Why is a jewelry store talking about this? Look and see that creativity is not man’s invention; It stems from our great Creator God. From largest of galaxies to the tiny characteristics in the hardest substance on earth, diamonds, his creativity is on display. Inside of every diamond there exists a small glimpse of the creative genius of the one who made diamonds in Genesis chapter one. Below is a stunning gallery of images compiled by the Gemological Institute of America showcasing that very creativity. Enjoy!

These same types of characteristics are what we utilize every time we check in a diamond engagement ring to help you positively, objectively, identify your diamond. So that you know, the diamond you leave in our care is the same one you pick up. Learn more about our check in procedures in our post Is your jewelry really yours?

Image and Descriptions are sourced from GIA

About Bardy’s Estate Jewelry and Diamonds

Written by Micah Brown On April 20, 2016.

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The jewelry industry as a whole, is a thriving community which spans the globe and transcends every political and social border imaginable. It reaches into the lives of the most affluent of billionaires to the poorest of laborers. A concentric circle within that global industry is the US jewelry market, consisting of miners, buyers, cutters, wholesalers and retailers, and that group is incredibly close knit despite spanning every state in the union. The concept of six degrees of separation is one thing, but within the jewelry industry in the US, it seems there are only one or two relationships between you and anybody else in the trade regardless of their state or status. It’s no surprise then, that when we consider all the chain, big box, local, independent, and family owned jewelry stores here in Greensboro, NC everybody knows everybody. Companies have come and gone, people have been promoted or changed roles, others have retired after years of faithful service and still others have just begun their journey in our exciting industry, but one thing has remained constant, relationships.

Our jeweler, Sterling VanDerwerker has known Alan Bardy, owner of Bardy’s Estate Jewelry and Diamonds here in Greensboro since the late 70’s. They met in Alan’s store when Sterling was a Manager Trainee for a bygone jewelry chain named Carlyle and Co. Several of the current associates at Bardy’s, at one time or another, have actually worked for and with Sterling at Carlyle. The relationship between Diadem Jewelers and Bardy’s Estate Jewelry and Diamonds has always been a friendly one based on mutual respect. We each have our strengths and have been faithful to send to each other customer’s who had particular needs we could not address in our respective stores.

When our store opened in 1999, Bardy’s was already established in the area as a premiere source for estate and vintage jewelry as well as pre-owned diamonds and luxury timepieces. If we had a customer looking to sell an Estate or Vintage piece that we were unable to purchase, we would kindly send them to Bardy’s knowing they would be taken care of. The vintage and estate market has done well for Bardy’s, so much so they were able to expand to their second location in Boca Raton, FL.

This year will see a change in our relationship with Bardy’s, as they announced earlier this month their store in Greensboro will be closing. As stated earlier, companies come and go but relationships stay the same. Bardy’s is not gone, but the closing of their store will be felt throughout our community, especially when it comes to vintage and estate jewelry. We are excited for the burgeoning opportunities that Alan and his team have available in Florida and our respect follows them to their community in Florida, as I am sure those in Florida already know, they have solid, reputable individuals serving them.

You will be missed,

your friends at Diadem

 

Diadem Design Wedding Bands

Written by Micah Brown On April 18, 2016.

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Each one of our Diadem Design bands is designed, fabricated, and manufactured right here in the US, in Long Island City, NY. When you purchase one of our bands not only are you purchasing a quality band, you are supporting local business here in North Carolina and independent manufacturing in New York. We are proud to offer a wedding band that is All-American.

Every band has a slightly domed inside called a comfort fit, which as the name implies, insures a comfortable fit regardless of your lifestyle. Every style is available in standard ring widths between 4mm and 8mm and even more upon request. In addition to width, rings can be customized in light, medium, and heavy weights offering you a multiplicity of options. The ability to add, remove, or even combine cuts and finishes to create an entirely unique design gives you complete control over customization. All of our bands can be made in silver, palladium, platinum or gold. We can produce bands in 14K or 18K gold in white, yellow, rose, or even two-tone designs! We also offer lifetime re-finishing and resizing for life!

Check out the gallery below featuring many of the styles we offer. 

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