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Jewelry Buying Guide

Written by Kathy Jones On March 12, 2020.

This article is a reprint from AGS, originally published here.

People have been wearing jewelry for over 100,000 years, and even back then, chances are it wasn’t the easiest thing to shop for. There are just so many options when buying jewelry—so many materials, metals, styles and gems to choose from.

Pink Sapphire and diamonds set in palladium made by Royal Diadem Jewelers

You can shop better by taking the time to learn how to buy jewelry. It can seem like a lot, but with a little help from this jewelry buying guide, you’ll be shopping like a professional in no time.

And if you are still stumped buying jewelry, feel free to ask an AGS-certified gemologist for help. They may know a lot about metals and gems, but they also know tons about styles and trends.

Here are a few basics to get your shopping jump-started

What are natural gemstones?

Natural gemstones come from the earth and are mined worldwide. Some natural gemstones can be enhanced, which means sometimes they are treated in some way (such as heat) to improve their color.

What are laboratory-created gemstones?

Laboratory created emerald with sapphires and diamonds, 14K gold and sterling silver shank produced by Royal Diadem Jewelers

These stones, which can also be referred to as laboratory-grown, manufacturer-created, or synthetic, have essentially the same chemical, physical, and optical properties as natural gemstones. Laboratory-created gemstones do not have the rarity or value of natural-colored gemstones. Although they are similar in many ways to natural gemstones, a professional gemologist will be able to recognize their difference with proper testing.

What are imitation gemstones?

Imitation stones look like natural gemstones in appearance only. This includes tinted glass, cubic zirconia or other material that resembles natural stones when treated. Laboratory-created and imitation stones should be clearly identified as such.

What to look for in a gemstone?

Gemstones may be measured by weight, size, or both. The basic unit for weighing gemstones is the carat, which is equal to one-fifth (1/5th) of a gram. Carats are divided into 100 units, called points. For example, a half-carat gemstone would weigh .50 ct. or 50 points.

What is an enhanced or treated gemstone?

Gemstone treatments or enhancements refer to the way some gemstones are treated to improve their appearance or durability, or even change their color.

Many gemstones are treated in some way. The effects of some treatments may lessen or change over time and some treated gemstones may require special care.

Some enhancements also affect the value of a gemstone, when measured against a comparable untreated gemstone. Treatments and/or enhancements should always be disclosed by the seller, along with any special care that might be required.

Know enough about buying jewelry? How about selling your jewelry? Learn more here.

Pantone’s 2020 Color of the Year – Classic Blue

Written by Brian Wilson On March 10, 2020.

A timeless and enduring blue hue, PANTONE 19-4052 Classic Blue is elegant in its simplicity. Suggestive of the sky at dusk, the reassuring qualities of the thought-provoking PANTONE 19-4052 Classic Blue highlight our desire for a dependable and stable foundation on which to build as we cross the threshold into a new era. See more.

This blue shows up as one of the favorite choices in all of jewelry, since it is the color most associated with sapphire. Below are a few of our favorite designs containing blue sapphire.

Platinum sapphire and diamond ring with 1.31ct blue sapphire and 0.37ctw in diamonds.
18K yellow gold sapphire and diamond ring with 1.95ct emerald cut Madagascar sapphire flanked by 0.31ctw trillion cut diamonds.
Platium three stone diamond and sapphire ring containing a 2.35ct AGS ideal cut diamond, and matched pair of blue sapphires weighing 1.65ctw.
14K white gold blue sapphire and opal pendant.

The History of the Diamond as an Engagement Ring

Written by Kathy Jones On March 9, 2020.

This article is a reprint from AGS, originally published here.

In 1477, Archduke Maximillian of Austria commissioned the very first diamond engagement ring on record for his betrothed, Mary of Burgundy. This sparked a trend for diamond rings among European aristocracy and nobility.

The sentimental Victorians popularized ornate engagement ring designs that mixed diamonds with other gemstones, precious metals and enamels. Often these rings were crafted in the shapes of flowers and were dubbed “posey rings.” Diamond rings crafted during the Edwardian era continued the tradition of pairing diamonds with other jewels, commonly mounted in filigree settings.

A man presents his prospective bride with an engagement ring upon acceptance of his marriage proposal. Anthropologists believe this tradition originated from a Roman custom in which wives wore rings attached to small keys, indicating their husbands’ ownership.


Art Deco ring from Gleim the Jeweler.

In 1947, De Beers launched its now classic slogan, “A Diamond is Forever.” This campaign spurred even more sales. The implied durability of a diamond conveyed the meaning in the American psyche that marriage is forever. A diamond’s purity and sparkle have now become symbols of the depth of a man’s commitment to the woman he loves in practically all corners of the world.The opening of the DeBeers mines in Africa made diamonds more accessible. In the 1930s, when demand for diamond rings declined in the U.S. during hard economic times, the De Beers Company began an aggressive marketing campaign using photographs of glamorous movie stars swathed in diamonds. Within three years, the sales of diamonds had increased by 50 percent.


Estate Antique from Goldstein Diamonds


The History of Popular Cuts

Diamonds still signify the celebration of a union and cherished memory, though more cuts make more styles an easy option for diamond lovers.

Over the years, the most popular cut for diamond engagement rings has always been the round brilliant, consisting of 58 facets that divide the stone into a top and bottom half. Runners up include the princess cut, the emerald cut and the oval cut, with the cushion cut quickly gaining popularity as a recent trend.

Are you ready to pop the question? Get all the perfect proposal tips you need from AGS and when you’re ready, find a trusted AGS diamond jeweler near you.

Diadem Jewelers’ Watch Service #5

Written by Sterling VanDerwerker">Sterling VanDerwerker On March 5, 2020.

the final mechanical methodology for powering a wristwatch is “Kenetic” or “Self Winding”

This technology is relatively simple,. compared to atomic timekeeping,.. 😉 . Think of the traditional Self Winding watch takes advantage of the God given blessing of Gravity.

The affect of gravity on a freely swinging “rotor” encapsulated in (usually) the inside back of a timepiece can power a fully mechanical watch. The rotation is translated by a series of gears to the mainspring. Most every movement along the plane of the rotor is transmitted as power to wind your mechanical watch. This power source can feed both mechanical and electronic timepieces!

This technology has been in use for as long as Jimmy Campbell has been alive. ,…

Blacksmith
Jimmy Campbell & Brian Michael Wilson

Who is Jimmy Campbell you may ask? Jimmy is a fine Christian man that we at Diadem Jewelers have known for YEARS… Since his hobby is American History Recreation and Metalsmithing, Jimmy applies his interests in two extremes: Watchmaking and Blacksmithing. (I guess his passion takes quite a bit of motivation to extremes 😉 Anyway,.. when Jimmy was an adult, pocket watches and Fusee chain drives yielded to mainsprings and winding via the crown, the rotor:

From: TheWatchGuy.com :

The earliest credible evidence for a successful design is the watch made by the Swiss watchmaker Abraham-Louis Perrelet, who lived in Le Locle. In late 1776 or early 1777, he invented a self-winding mechanism for pocket watches using an oscillating weight inside the watch that moved up and down.[8]

In 1777 Abraham-Louis Breguet also became interested in the idea, and his first attempts led him to make a self-winding mechanism with a barrel remontoire.[9] Although a successful design, it was too complex and expensive for it to be manufactured and sold.

Although a few self-winding watches and patents for them were made from 1780 on, for more than one hundred years these watches were rare, until the advent of the wrist watch.


1780 drawing of an automatic watch with side weight. From English patent No. 1249 “Recordon’s Specification”.

Rotor in a Circa 1778 automatic watch with rotor weight. Signed on the dial “Mazzi à Locarno”.

During the years 1776 to 1810 four different types of weight were used: Side-weight:The weight pivots at the edge of the movement and can oscillate up and down. The movement of the weight is limited to about 40°. This is the most common design produced by many makers including Breguet.[12]These watches were called jerking watches because, even with buffers, when the weight hit the case the whole watch would jerk.
Center-weight: The weight pivots in the center of the movement and rotates clockwise and anti-clockwise. The weight is supported by a bridge that blocks the rotation and it is limited to about 180°.[13]
Rotor-weight : Again the weight pivots in the center of the movement and rotates clockwise and anti-clockwise. However, there is no bridge and it can rotate 360°.[14] Very few of these movements were made.
Movement-weight: Here the whole movement is pivoted in the case and acts as the weight. Only one example is known, made in 1806.[15]

These watches need regular care and the watchmaker has a complicated task to complete: Disassemble, Clean, Lubricate, Reassemble, Caibrate. Here is a brief narrative of just one part of the process:

Ultrasonic automated watch movement cleaner

Place the “Pillar Plate” in a small plastic cup with some parts cleaner. Let it soak for a few minutes. Then take your brush and thoroughly brush both sides of the plate paying special attention to the jewel holes. If the watch is very dirty, you may want to replace
the solution and clean twice. Once you are satisfied that it is clean, remove it from the solution and place it on a piece of “watch paper”. Use your blower to dry it off. Later on you will be able to clean all of your parts at once, because even jumbled you will know where they go. For now however, go one section of the parts tray at a time cleaning and drying in this manner. Make sure to clean between the gears and in the jewel holes of all of the moving parts. Once they are dry, replace them to the tray. Clean the balance VERY VERY carefully. Also, Do NOT submerge the MAINSPRING as it will take on solution and it will rust. If there is a Jewel hole on the Mainspring Bridge, you should remove the screw that holds the Mainspring barrel in place and set it (the mainspring barrel) aside and then clean the plate. Or you can simply brush the hole with a wet brush a few times until you are satisfied that it is clean and then let it dry.

Then the real fun begins; put together a watch that works! This is where training, determination, tools, materials and TIME all work together to make your self winding watch work! We have an excellent watchmaker that has well over thirty five years of training and experience in all facets (pun) of watchmaking. While this process takes time (pun-again) in most cases we can put your wristwatch and pocket watch back to working order. Estimates are available, as we check in your watch and move it to the watchmaker we communicate regularly and encourage patience while the watchmaker works magic.

Unfortunately… the process is long, laborious and and frustrating (see our prior post for the content of an up-front apology for the state of watch repair we find ourselves in 🙁

Nevertheless we work hard to care for your timepieces! We promise to earn your trust and provide an excellent value for your investment in our service.

Thank you for your trust! Sterling VanDerwerker CGA(AGS) GG(GIA)

Opals in a Movie?

Written by Brian Wilson On March 2, 2020.

The Gemological Institute of American (GIA) has published an interesting article regarding an “uncut” opal that is a major focus in the movie Uncut Gems staring Adam Sandler. While I haven’t seen the movie, nor can I recommend it, you can read the entire article on there site. This is a reprint of the article:

The Real Gemology of Ethiopian Opals in ‘Uncut Gems’

NBA star Kevin Garnett, left, plays himself in ‘Uncut Gems,’ by Josh and Benny Safdie, along with Lakeith Stanfield, center, and Adam Sandler. They are looking at Ethiopian opal in matrix that Sandler’s character, Howard Ratner, is putting up for auction in the movie.

The magical quality of opals is the central metaphor of the 2019 movie “Uncut Gems,” starring Adam Sandler. A giant piece of Ethiopian opal, still in its matrix, is smuggled to New York.

“They say you can see the whole universe in opal, that’s how … old they are,” Sandler’s character, Howard Ratner, a jeweler and gem dealer on 47th Street in New York City, tells basketball star Keven Garnett when he shows the opal to him. Garnett is captivated to such an extent that he cannot play well without owning it.


Ethiopian opal ‒ the featured gemstone in the movie “Uncut Gems” ‒ was first discovered in Ethtiopia in 1994. Photo by Eric Welch/GIA

Sandler’s character is enamored with the opal’s potentially huge sale price. He estimates that the piece weighs between 4,000 to 5,000 carats and, at up to his estimated value of $3,000 per carat, he sees millions coming his way. But the auction house he consigns it to values the piece at much less — $150,000 to $225,000. Why?

With opals, as with most gemstones, the final polished stones weigh only a fraction of their rough form. The specimen shown in the movie appears to have several opal nodules (though probably not black opal) inside the matrix of host rock, but that host rock appears to account for the majority of its volume. This means that it would be very difficult – in real life – to evaluate the opal and appraise its value until the matrix was removed.

“In real life, the opal nodules must be shaped and polished into gems after removing the valueless matrix, which often results in much more weight loss,” explained Nathan Renfro, GIA Graduate Gemologist® and manager of colored stone identification services at GIA. “Any realistic valuation of rough gem material is based on the potential for yielding polished gems and the risk involved in fashioning finished gemstones.”

Adding to that risk is the fact that, unlike most gems, opals are not stones or minerals.

Opals are formed from centuries upon centuries of seasonal rains that leach microscopic silica particles from sandstone, carrying them deep into underground fissures and cavities. As the deposited materials dry, the microscopic silica spheres become compressed into a closely-packed lattice. As light travels through this microstructure, it creates a dazzling kaleidoscope of flashing rainbow colors, called play-of-color.


The opal that beguiles the main characters in “Uncut Gems” was still in its matrix, similar to this piece of rough opal in matrix. Photo by Robert Weldon/GIA

The Many Colors and Types of Opal

There are five major types of opals:

  • White or light opal: Translucent to semi-translucent, with play of color against a white or light gray background color, called bodycolor. The opal specimen seen in “Uncut Gems” appears likely to be a representation of a white opal, despite its description as a black opal in the film.
  • Black opal: Translucent to opaque, with play-of-color against a black or other dark background. They often sell for higher prices than white opals because the color contrast is much greater against the dark background.
  • Fire opal: Transparent to translucent, with brown, yellow, orange or red bodycolor. This material, which often doesn’t show play-of-color, is also known as “Mexican opal.”
  • Boulder opal: Translucent to opaque, with play-of-color against a light to dark background. Fragments of the surrounding rock, called matrix, become part of the finished gem.
  • Crystal or water opal: Transparent to semitransparent, with a clear background. This type shows exceptional play-of-color.

Australian opal is best-known and the country remains the most prolific source of opals – mainly white and black. Ethiopia is the newest source, with the first discovery in 1994.

The most prolific source – which was named in the movie – was in found 2008 near a town called Wegal Tena in Wollo Province. This material, mostly white opal, was formed from the silica from ancient volcanic ash. Another deposit, producing black opals about 30 miles to the northwest of the Wollo mine, was discovered in 2013 – a year after 2012, the year in which “Uncut Gems” takes place.

GIA has reported extensively on opals for many years and much research can be found in this Summer 2019 Gems & Gemology chart.


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