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Revisionist History

Written by rdjadmin On November 21, 2017.

It’s no secret that we are one of the few places in the triad, maybe even the state, where you can receive high quality watch repair. We service just about any watch from basic Walmart to sophisticated Swiss and everything in between, especially pocket watches.

Believe it or not, prior to the 1900’s America was a premiere watch manufacturer. Bringing us some of the most prolific brands in pocket watches. Names like Elgin, Waltham, and Illinois all were hugely successful during this era, producing what would become millions of watches for the American public. Sadly, this era of fine craftsmanship that produced not just a time piece but a moving work of art is all but dead. The advent of the smaller movement that could fit on the wrist and eventually the breakthrough of battery powered watches was pretty much the nail in the coffin for pocket watches.

Watch-Timelapse-AdjustedHowever, every generation after that has still had an affinity for these meticulously hand crafted little machines. It was their great great grandfathers, passed down from father to son for generations. Some live in drawers with broken gears and missing crystals, the lucky ones still tick but can’t keep time. The sentiment they carry of lost loved ones is there but it’s out of site and out of mind. Often they are sadly relegated to those few individuals who enjoy tinkering or collecting them like trading cards or art.

That is all changing.


The demand for larger watches coupled with the desire for total individuality is at an all time high. Concurrently, the modern individual is seeking something unique yet bespoke. From their coffee shops to to their shoes, they want quality. They want not just quality in a piece but seek to understand provenance in what they buy. We are brining the bygone into a new era.


The watch pictured above is a Waltham. The American Waltham Watch Company began making fine watches in 1850. The company was founded by David Davis, Aaron Dennison, and Edward Howard. Their vision was to form a watch company that could produce high-quality watches at a lower cost using interchangeable parts. In 1860, as Abraham Lincoln was elected President and the country found itself amidst the Civil War, the American Watch Company was faced with serious financial problems. Lincoln carried the whole nation, and a Waltham pocket watch, with him through one of the darkest chapters of our history. Alongside our nation, the company barely survived the war but was able to rebuild, restructure, and reinvigorate the economy.  Waltham continued to manufacture watches until 1957. 

The watch pictured above, and all the history it represents, is going to be made into a new American venture. By utilizing cutting edge manufacturing processes including 3D printing and laser engraving, united with care and attention to detail that can only come from a hand assembly, this watch will be given a place where it is never out of sight or out of mind. It will go on your wrist.

Introducing Diadem Special Edition watches

watchChoose from our carefully curated selection of American made pocket watches that have been completely updated and overhauled, ready to keep you on time in a way no other watch can.

Or, take your own beloved pocket watch and give it a new lease on life. Above is shown a just a couple of the hundreds of possible combinations for cases, crowns, and straps that are available in order to make your watch as unique as you are. Currently we can only convert certain watch brands and sizes but there are plans to include more options in the future.


The front and rear crystal (showcasing the gorgeous inner workings) on each watch are made from Corning Gorilla Glass. Each crystal is precision cut by Abrisa in Santa Paula, CA. Gorilla Glass is known for superior clarity, resistance to shattering, and scratch resistance.


Choose from four totally diverse titanium case colors. Each water-resistant case is 3D printed in titanium by Imperial Machine and Tool in New Jersey. This company specializes in advanced machining practices for the aerospace and military industries.



Choose from eight different crowns as the perfect accent. From Raw Copper, Nickel or yellow or rose Gold plated. The crowns, screws and other internal parts of each watch are masterfully machined at Swiss-O-Matic in Montrose, CO. Running a swiss-turning machine takes a great deal of precision and specialized skill, and we are fortunate to partner with one of the top facilities in the United States.



Choose from four American cowhide leather bands from Hadley Roma’s Stylecraft division in Largo, FL. or two premium, Famous Horween Shell Cordovan horsehide leather straps from Chicago, IL. Each buckle is hand-forged by Smith Shop in Detroit, MI.

strapsFor the final element of total tailoring that goes into each handcrafted masterpiece, several areas on the watch are available for laser engraving to emblazon personal messages, images or designs.

These watches are undeniably one of the most unique timepieces in the country.




The Wonderful World of Color! PT.10 : Topaz

Written by rdjadmin On November 2, 2017.

The attic is calling you to grab your favorite sweater because the cold winds of fall have arrived. Bonfires become a mainstay as we gather with our friends, roast marshmallows and laugh at the stories we share. In the gemological world, November gives us a stone that comes in all the colors of fall. Cool blue hues like the cold winds and vibrant reds and oranges like the colors of the bonfires that we love so much. This month we will take a look at Topaz.



There are two theories as to how topaz obtained its name. Many believe it came from the old Greek name of a small island located in the Red Sea, called Topazios. The island is now called Zabargad, and it has never been a source of topaz, but it once became a known source for peridot. The ancient Greeks used to wear topaz as they believed it would grant them strength. The second theory is that it comes from an old Indian language called Sanskrit. Topaz got its name from the word topas or tapaz, which means fire. For centuries many people in India believed that wearing topaz above the heart assured them a long life, beauty, and intelligence. Which one is correct? Well, we may never know. Topaz acquired a lot of favoritism as a stone of choice for jewelry during the Renaissance period in Europe, as they believed it had the power to dispel anger and block magic spells. During the 19th century, in the Ural Mountains Imperial topaz was discovered (more on this later.) It obtained the name Imperial topaz as it was named to honor the Czar of Russia. Only those of the royal family were allowed to wear the pinkish-orange stone.

imperial topaz

Geography of Topaz

Topaz can be found all around the world ranging from light to dark hues of multiple colors, but  Brazil is the only country with a known deposit of Imperial Topaz. Imperial Topaz is a medium reddish orange to orange-red color; this is the most valuable of all topaz colors.


Chemical Composition, Crystal Structure, and Physical Properties

Topaz is an aluminum silicate-containing fluorine. The topaz crystal begins to form, thanks to the fluorine-bearing vapors are given off during the last stages of crystallization of igneous rocks. Topaz is an allochromatic stone; this means that the color topaz obtains from impurity elements or defects in its crystal structure. Unlike most other gemstones that gain their color from their basic chemical composition. An example would be how the trace element chromium produces natural pink, red and violet colors in topaz. Imperfections at the atomic level cause the color to change into a yellow, brown and blue colors. Topaz grows in an elongated fashion, with grooves parallel to their lengths. To take advantage of their growth, oval and pears are the predominant shapes of topaz finalized gems.

Range of color in Imperial topaz rough from Oro Preto, Brazil.

Topaz Jewelry

Topaz comes in many colors such as brown, blue, green, yellow, orange, red, pink, purple and colorless. Topaz colors get their names based on the hue they display, and jewelry designers love the pieces they can create with the many colors and shapes topaz offers. Necklaces, pendants, rings, bracelets, and earrings are adorned by topaz.


Wear and care of Topaz

Topaz has an 8-8.5 on the Moh’s scale. The Moh’s scale of mineral hardness characterizes the scratch resistance of various minerals on an exponential scale from 10 to 0. The top of the scale is Diamond at 10 and graphite at 0. Due to its good hardness, Topaz is ideal for everyday wear, in the right mounting with the proper protection, Topaz will last a long time.

Sherry Topaz

Thanksgiving is one of the best holidays in the year. People travel from all over the world to gather together and share memories that are never forgotten. That feeling of seeing your loved ones gathered around the table to share a meal and tell the stories of their crazy year so far. The color of warmth, the color of comfort, the color of love, the color of adventure, and the color of laughter. All of those colors are part of the many beautiful hues and tones that Topaz offers, would you like to see them up close? Come see us this November and let us show you the wonderful world of color.


We are not a jewelry store!

Written by rdjadmin On October 23, 2017.


If you read the title, we are in fact not a jewelry store. Not a traditional one anyway. As the saying goes, “One’s man’s trash is another man’s treasure.” We take that saying to the next level. I can’t tell you how many times I have sat with a person who has rings and necklaces that were their mom’s, grandma’s, or great aunt’s and they have said, “What will you give me for all this, I just don’t wear any of them.” My response is almost always, “You will get greater value out of these if you can see them as raw materials, as metals and gemstones, and put them into something  you would wear.” It’s shocking to people when they are told they can repurpose jewelry. (Click here to read one of our success stories.)

We find any way we can to repurpose, reuse and recycle your jewelry in order to get you the most value out of what you already own. Not only that, but in cases of high sentimental value, that sentimentality is retained as the stones and metals are the same but the design is changed to align with your own personal tastes. We are so committed to helping you get the most out of what you already have, that we made all of our own jewelry displays out of all reclaimed materials. Through frequent visits to the “Creative reuse center of the Piedmont Triad”, Reconsidered Goods, we found a plethora of unique items that had great potential as jewelry displays. Each unique display was a labor of love to showcase that old pieces can be given a new life, just like jewelry. Scroll through and see a sample of a few of our displays, better yet, come by and see for yourself! IMG_8447IMG_8435 IMG_8434 IMG_8442

In addition to chaining our displays, we have begun to switch some of our furniture as well. Opting for unique and individualized pieces that are not only functional and comfortable but have a story as well! Like the chair pictured below. Manufactured in Siler City, NC by the Boling Chair company. Boling Chair Co. started out in 1901 as Siler City Bending Co. One of the company’s founders, Mal Boling, rebranded as High Point Bending and Chair Co. in 1904. Up until that point, it made bentwood parts for other companies before producing its own bentwood furniture. The company’s name became Boling Chair Co. in 1956 or ’57, and then Boling Co. in 1979. They are still around today! based in Mt. Olive, N.C., and called Boling Furniture Co. Just like your jewelry has a history, a story, and a unique air about it we want to produce new jewelry for you that becomes an instant heirloom.

IMG_8448 IMG_8431

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle?

Written by Andrea VanDerwerker On October 7, 2017.

In this day and age, we are all familiar with the term “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.” Well we here in the jewelry business have our own take on this. Curious now? Read on to learn about how we inure no jewelry goes to waste!

We have all lost someone special. We long to have a piece of them back, those people that changed the way we think, changed the way we see the world, and changed our lives. There is a reason that so much of what we refer to as an “heirloom” are pieces of jewelry, passed down from generation to generation. Unlike other heirlooms such as a picture, dresser, or book, jewelry is worn. We wear it through different circumstances in life, both the easy and the hard, and it reminds of the person that wore it, helping us think, “Maybe this ring has been through this situation before?”

Dawn came into our store one day with a ring that had been loved and cherished for many years. It was her grandmother’s engagement ring and had recently been passed down to her. It had clearly been well loved, which presented itself in the visible wear and tear of the piece. She brought it to us in hopes that we could create something similar to the ring so that she could give the original to another family member and keep the copy to remember her grandmother by. After some deliberation, we suggested that we make a ring that would look as close to what the original ring may have looked like when it was first bought. She loved the thought of a ring almost identical to what her grandmother’s would have looked in its original glory!

This is where the “three R’s”, if you will, of the jewelry industry come in.

  • Refurbish
  • Recreate
  • Recycle

Refurbishing your jewelry means we will take the existing piece and do our best to restore it back to what it may have looked like when it was first purchased. How amazing would it be to look at a piece of jewelry and think about how that was what your mother or grandmother would’ve seen when she looked down at her hand.

Recreating a piece means that we will make a copy of the piece that you already have to the best of our ability.  If you, like Dawn, wanted the opportunity to share your memories with another family member, this is a great way to be able to do that.

Recycling heirloom jewelry is becoming more and more popular as we see customers bringing in pieces that have great sentimental value but aren’t their style. I think that we can all agree that we don’t go into a clothing store and buy clothes that we would never wear. Jewelry is no different. We want it to match our own style and personality. In this case, we can use the stones and metal from a piece, or several pieces, which retain their sentimental value, and use them to make a brand new heirloom.

Whatever the case, we give you several ways to get the most value out of every piece you own! Our passion is helping people create something that they will enjoy wearing for years to come. Something to bring back memories of a simpler time. Something that will stand the test of time.



The Wonderful World of Color PT.9: Opal

Written by rdjadmin On October 2, 2017.

Rain is one of the most beautiful gifts that we have been blessed with. Rain provides life to anything it touches; it gives kids a chance to jump in the puddles it forms, some people just close their eyes and listen to the gentle sound it creates on a roof. In the gemological world it begins the process of formation for one of the most amazing gems that exists.  This month we will take a closer look at Opal.



Opal’s unique display of colors, lead the Romans to believe that it was the most precious and powerful of all gems. To them it symbolized love and hope, that is why the Romans would give Opals to their loved ones. As providence would have it, the Romans gave Opal its name from the word “opalus” which means “precious stone.” Many Arabic nomads believed that Opal contained lightning within them as they fell from the sky during thunderstorms and they wore them as protective tokens. In the middle ages, Opals were a symbol of hope, purity, and truth; many maidens had jewelry pieces adorned with Opals and Pearls to symbolize their purity. One of the most known lore about Opal is that anyone who’s birthday is not in October will have bad luck if they wear them. This myth dates back to 1829 when author Sir Walter Scott published Anne of Geierstein. The main female character in the story wore an Opal on her head, in the story, her Opal gets sprinkled by holy water, and it caused her to faint. When she woke up from her sudden faint, the opal had turned into ashes. The act of holy water turning the Opal into ash, made many believe that Opals were bad luck. The Opal in the story was a reminder of a tragedy that happened to her, the Opal turning into ash was supposed to symbolize her rebirth from that tragedy. In the end is just superstition.


Geography of Opal

Opals form in many parts of the world, especially in semi-desert regions. Australia, Ethiopia, Peru, Brazil, and Mexico are the countries with the highest quality of Opals found in the market.


Chemical Composition, Crystal Structure, and Physical Properties

Opals begin to form when seasonal rain drenches dry ground in semi-desertic regions. The water soaks deep underground carrying dissolved silica (a compound of silicon and oxygen, which is one of the key ingredients in sand) downwards. When the dry seasons return, much of the water evaporates, and it leaves behind solid deposits of silica. The deposits are found in cracks and layers of sedimentary rocks; the silica deposits forms Opals. The unique display of rainbow colors that is characteristic of this gem is called play-of-color. It is caused by submicroscopic spheres that are stacked on top of each other, like marbles in a jar. When light passes through these spheres it breaks the light into spectral colors, the size of the sphere determines the color it displays. Opals get divided into two classes: Precious Opals that shows play-of-color and common Opal that does not show this phenomenon. Opals have many variations, of which there are five main types:

White Opal– This Opal is translucent to semi-translucent, it displays play-of-color against a white or gray background color, the background color is also referred as body color.


Photo courtesy of GIA


Black Opal– This Opal is translucent to opaque, it displays play-of-color against a black or another dark background.


Fire Opal– This Opal is transparent to translucent, with a brown, yellow, orange or red body color. This material often does not show play-of-color and is also known as “Mexican Opal.”


Boulder Opal– This Opal is translucent to opaque, displays play-of-color against a light to dark background. The unique feature of this Opal is the remaining fragments of surrounding rock, called matrix, become part of the polished gem.


Crystal or Water Opal– This Opal is transparent to semi-transparent, with a clean background. This type of Opal displays exceptional play-of-color.


All Opals have a unique play-of-color, the colors they produce are exclusive to each one. No two Opals are alike.


Opal Jewelry

The unique displays of color combinations that Opal provides allow for designers to create pieces that feast the eyes. Most Opals are cut into cabochons, a smooth stone with no facets, a domed top and a flat or slightly domed underside. You will see them in necklaces, rings, and earrings. Some colors can be scarce and can demand a premium price. Here is an example of a white Opal pendant we designed.


Wear and care of Opal

Opal has a 5.5-6.5 on the Moh’s scale. The Moh’s scale of mineral hardness characterizes the scratch resistance of various minerals on an exponential scale from 10 to 0. The top of the scale is Diamond at 10 and graphite at 0. Due to its low hardness, Opal is not ideal for heavy everyday wear. In the right mounting with the right protection, Opals will last a long time.


The gentle touch of the rain as it falls and soaks the ground, it provides the perfect setting for a kiss under the rain or maybe just a romantic walk under the same umbrella with your significant other. Their simplicity makes them stand out from all the other gems, their colors are vivid, and their uniqueness from one another makes them even more appealing. So this October experience the wonderful world of color at Diadem Jewelers.

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