Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Designer Jewelry

There are many jewelry designers out there whose names are well known.  Others are lesser known, but they all have their own style and their own followings. 
I am presenting here some designer jewelry we happen to have in our Ebay store.

The names Cartier and Tiffany are world famous for quality fine jewelry and this signed Cartier diamond ring is no exception.

This Dolce & Gabana stainless steel bracelet would be popular with the younger crowd and its diamond encrusted letters add that bling that is so popular now.

This is a wonderfully classic Scott Kay bracelet with matching earrings, sold as a set.

This beautiful James Avery necklace we just acquired, handcrafted of 14kt gold with its original wooden gift box.  The James Avery studio is based in the hill country of Texas, he is most well known for his christian jewelry.
We also have designer luxury watches like Rolex, Icelink, Gucci, Movado, TechnoCom by KC, Renato, Invicta, Rado and more.  You just never know what we will have next.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Everyone Loves A Bracelet

At The Gold Exchange, folks come in all day long to buy and sell coins and jewelry.  We are not a pawn shop, we don't loan money.  But we do give a fair value price if someone wants to sell something and many times that something is a nice piece of jewelry.  Sometimes we acquire estate pieces and they are usually unique, something you won't find in the stores in the mall.

The bracelet and ring above left is an example of estate jewelry.  Art Deco styling and quality craftsmanship.

Sometimes we receive designer pieces like the Dolce Gabana bracelet above left and the Scott Kay below left.

Most often we receive pieces that no one wears any more.  Then it makes sense to trade them in and let someone else have them who will wear them.

We have bracelets in both yellow and white gold and some platinum.

Most set with diamonds.

And in all price ranges.

Not to mention all different styles.

We have bangle bracelets,

and bracelets set with precious gemstones.

You just never know what we will have from day to day.  Be sure to check out our Ebay store when you are thinking about jewelry for gift giving.  You will find some wonderful jewelry pieces and excellent pricing, and you always have the option to make an offer on any item.  Just click the link in the right column to visit us on Ebay, to follow us on Facebook or to follow us right here on our blog. 
We also welcome comments!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

'Stones of Destiny' - Sapphires

The sapphire is the birthstone for the month of September and the anniversary stone for the 5th and 45th aniversaries. The name sapphire is derived from the Latin word 'saphirus' and the Greek word 'sapheiros', both meaning blue.  It was also known as the 'Stone of Destiny'.

Ancient Persians believed Sapphires gave heaven its blue color, and some believed that the heavens formed a huge sapphire to act as a support for the earth, and its reflection colored the sky.

The sapphire has long been identified with chastity, piety, and repentance. It brings wisdom and truth, increases perception and the understanding of justice. It helps find peace of mind and serenity and promotes a life of sincerity, helping preserve one’s innocence while learning life’s truths. Sapphires also are associated with romantic love, representing fidelity and romantic devotion.

The sapphire is a corundum, an aluminum oxide with a trigonal crystal structure, in the same family as the ruby. The only difference between a ruby and a sapphire is simply the color. A red corundum is a ruby. Other colored corundums are called sapphires, which come in many colors, the most well known being blue. Sapphires also come in violet, dark gray, orange, yellow, pink, green and black. 
Blue sapphires come from Burma and Kashmir, where the blue tone is the most pure to the true spectral blue, and the stones tend to have a unique velvety luster. Sapphires from Sri Lanka are a less deep shade, almost a pastel blue. Many sapphires also come from Australia, which are dark blue but with a slightly green undertone, as those from Thailand.
The value of sapphires depends on their size, colour and transparency. With stones of exceeding fine quality  the origin of the gem also plays a major role. The most valuable are genuine Kashmir stones. Burmese sapphires are valued almost as highly, and then come the sapphires from Ceylon. The possibility of the gemstone's having undergone some treatment or other is also a factor in determining the price, since gemstones which can be guaranteed untreated are becoming more and more sought-after in this age of gemstone cosmetics.

Sapphire can be found naturally, or manufactured in large crystal boules. Because of its remarkable hardness, sapphire is used in many applications, including infrared optical components, watch crystals, high-durability windows, and wafers for the deposition of semiconductors.
Because of their hardness, Sapphires can be cleaned in almost any way. Warm, soapy water is best, though you might also try ultrasonic cleaners and steamers. You can also try using water with a touch of ammonia in it. If you have a fracture in your sapphire or own a star sapphire, do not use mechanical cleaning methods as a sapphire can shatter with one single blow, if hit sharply. This may be especially risky if the stone has inclusions, which weaken the crystal structure. As with most valuable stones, avoid doing heavy work or coming into contact with chemicals while wearing your stone, as they can damage your settings.

In the middle ages, people believed wearing a sapphire suppressed negative thoughts while ancient Persians ground it up to be used as an all purpose medicine. Ivan the Terrible of Russia stated that the sapphire strengthened the heart and muscles and endowed a person with courage. Others said it was an anecdote for poison- it killed snakes on site and if engraved with the figure of a man or a ram, would cure all illness and elevate the owner to a high position.

The 423 carats (85 g) Logan sapphire in the National Museum of Natural History, Washington D.C. is one of the largest faceted gem-quality blue sapphires in the world.
The jewelry pieces in the photos, along with many more are available in our Ebay Store, just click on the link in the right hand column.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Gems from the Emerald City

Emerald, this green gemstone is known as the birthstone for May.  There are as many shades of green for emeralds as there are for the old Emerald Isle of Erin. 
Scientifically speaking, color is divided into three components: hue, saturation and tone. Yellow and blue, the hues found adjacent to green on the spectral color wheel, are the normal secondary hues found in emerald. Emeralds occur in hues ranging from yellowish green to bluish green. The primary hue must, of course, be green. Only gems that are medium to dark in tone are considered emerald. Light toned gems are known by the species name, green beryl. In addition, the hue must be bright (vivid). Gray is the normal saturation modifier or mask found in emerald. A grayish green hue is a dull green hue.

The name 'emerald' is believed to have originated with the Greek word smaragdos meaning 'green',  possibly of Persian origin. The word went through various etymological changes eventually becoming the Middle English emeraude and eventually emerald.

The oldest known emerald finds were once made near the Red Sea in Egypt. Those gemstone mines, already exploited by Egyptian pharaohs between 3000 and 1500 B.C. and later referred to as 'Cleopatra's Mines', had already been exhausted by the time they were rediscovered in the early 19th century.

Most of today's emerald production is in South America with Africa second. Colombian emeralds are particularly well known. Provenance on the ring above right shows that it is from Columbia and is an exceptionally fine stone. Emeralds come from three main emerald mining areas in Colombia: Muzo, Coscuez, and Chivor.  Emeralds are also found in other countries,  Afghanistan, Australia, Austria, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, China, Egypt, Ethiopia, France, Germany, India, Italy, Kazakhstan, Madagascar, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Norway, Pakistan, Russia, Somaliland, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, Tanzania, United States, Zambia and Zimbabwe. In the US, emeralds have been found in Connecticut, Montana, Nevada, North Carolina and South Carolina.  In 1998 emeralds were discovered in the Yukon.

Emerald has been sought after since ancient times and it is said that Cleopatra had an emerald engraved with her portrait. Ancients associated Emerald with the Greek goddess Venus, the goddess of love and beauty, it and was said to protect lovers from unfaithfulness. If the heart was loyal, the gem would glow in a beautiful green color, but if the heart was went astray, it would turn a different, lifeless color. In addition, it was believed that wearing an Emerald would improve one’s memory and intelligence, enabling one to think clearly about the past, present, and future.

The Incas and Aztecs of South America, where the best emeralds are still found today, regarded the emerald as a holy gemstone.
A Roman legend tells of a king whose only fortune was a single magnificent emerald, which he threw into the sea as a sacrifice to gains the gods' favours. The next day, the emerald was found again in the stomach of a fish that had been served at the king's table. Later on the latter became Emperor Augustus and encased the miraculous stone at the foot of the altar dedicated to the goddess of Concord.

In the Christian tradition, a bowl shaped emerald fell from Lucifer's helmet during his battle with Archangel Michael. That bowl was later used by Christ at the last supper, and Joseph of Arimathea caught Christ’s blood dripping from the cross in that bowl, founding the order of the Holy Grail.

Since as far back as there is evidence of emeralds, there has been evidence of its healing powers. Some said emeralds would heal if simply worn, others said gaining help required gazing deeply into the green for a while. In every language, there are reports of the emerald helping eyesight. The Sumerians said that if an emerald was worn in a ring on the little finger of the left hand, it would cure inflammation of the eyes. During the time of Hippocrates, emeralds were crushed into a fine powder and made into an eye lotion.

Emerald tends to have numerous inclusions and surface breaking fissures.  Emerald is graded by eye. Thus, if an emerald has no visible inclusions to the eye it is considered flawless. Stones that lack surface breaking fissures are extremely rare and therefore almost all emeralds are treated, 'oiled', to enhance the clarity as part of the post lapidary process. Cedar oil, having a similar refractive index, is often used in this traditional practice. Other liquids, including synthetic oils and polymers with refractive indexes close to that of emerald such as Opticon are also used.  Because of the oiling process, it is not recommended to have your emerald jewelry steam cleaned.
Please visit our Ebay store to view more photos of these beautiful jewelry items we have for sale.  The link is in the right hand column.  You can also become a fan and follow us on Facebook, again the link is on the right.

Friday, November 6, 2009

A New Diamond Ring In Our Store

Take a look at this beauty!
We just acquired this gorgeous diamond ring and it has to be the most exquisite diamond ring I have ever seen. The photos do not show even half of the radiance and fire in these diamonds, it is just stunning, the whole store is gaga over it.
The center stone is nearly a full carat, the clarity is VS1 and the color is I which is near colorless. Accenting it are smaller round and even some baguette diamonds. It is set in that lovely bright 14kt white gold which sets off diamonds so well. This ring comes with a GIA certificate and will be listed in our Ebay store later today.
Please see our previous post on diamonds and their grading.
You will find that diamonds are typically set in white gold even if the rest of the ring is yellow gold, as it accentuates the sparkle of the diamonds. When looking at a piece set with smaller stones you will often see a bit more of the white gold mount as it will make the stone appear larger unless viewed up close. This is not to fool anyone, it just makes for a prettier presentation when smaller stones are used.
Please visit our Ebay store, follow us here and become a fan on Facebook!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Diamond Bridal Rings

When it comes to engagement or wedding ring choices, there are many.  Many styles, many sizes and grades of diamonds, many price ranges. 
Pricing will vary according to the karat or purity of the gold used, some rings are also made with platinum.  By far the most common karat of gold used in 14kt and can be either yellow or white (which appears as a silver color like the ones in the photos below.)

Diamond Carat or weight and quality will be the other denominators in the cost.  The bigger the diamond, the higher the cost, the better the clarity and color, the higher the cost. 
Here are some charts that may help you to understand the grades.

FL-Flawless No imperfections inside or outside of the stone under 10x magnification.
IF-Internally Flawless No inclusions can be seen with 10x magnification.
VVS1,VVS2- Very Very Slightly Imperfect Very small inclusions which are very difficult to see with 10x magnification.
VS1,VS2- Very Slightly Imperfect Small inclusions which are slightly difficult to difficult to see with 10x magnification.
SI1 ,SI2- Slightly Imperfect Inclusions are fairly easy to see with 10x magnification. Sometimes inclusions are visible to the naked eye.
I1, I2, I3- Imperfect Inclusions range from eye visible to very easily seen to the naked eye. An I1 can be a beautiful stone when well cut. An I2 is industrial grade. I3 usually looks like frozen spit.

To best understand clarity, let's talk about "Eye Clean". If a stone is Eye Clean, it means you won't be able to see any imperfection without the aid of a magnifying device (Loupe).It is generally agreed that SI2 is the last grade which is usually eye clean. In some cases, an SI2 stone can be eye clean- yet in some cases an SI2 may not be eye clean.
Clarity grades are cumulative. This means a stone with two SI1 sized imperfections would likely garner a grade of SI2 from GIA. It's likely that two smaller imperfections would not be as easy for the eye to pick up as one larger one. The location of the imperfection also plays a large role in whether it is visible. When it comes to step cut diamonds, such as Emerald or Asscher, there are fewer facets to hide an imperfection. Therefore, it is possible that even a VS1 Emerald or Asscher cut may not be completely eye clean.

Color Scale
D, E, F=colorless
G, H, I, J=near colorless
K, L, M=faint yellow
N, O, P, Q, R=very light yellow
S-Z=light yellow
There are also other colors of diamonds from pink to brown but they are not usually used in bridal rings.

The 'cut' of a diamond has a lot to do with the quality and cost as well.
This term is used to describe the quality of the cut (not the shape) of the diamond.  A well cut diamond is better suited to handle light internally creating more scintillation and sparkle (fire).  Proportions and symmetry as well as polish are taken into consideration.
Very Good = Exceptional brilliance with few and only minor outer marks.
Good = Good brilliance. Some outer marks.
Medium = Slightly less brilliance. Some larger outer marks.
Poor = Less brilliance. Large or many outer marks.

So Carat, Cut, Clarity and Color are the 4 C's of Diamonds.  In general you want to choose the best you can afford.  Also take into consideration what kind of style you want and remember that it will be worn daily for many years to come and possibly passed on to a child or grandchild to be lovingly treasured.

Some engagement rings are just a solitaire on a band, others are more ornate, and some have other gemstones included in the setting for color.  Individual taste varies and therefore there is no wrong kind of ring as long as you are happy with it.

The shapes of the diamonds are as varied as the styles.  Round, pear, emerald, square or princess, oval, marquis, baguette and trillion.  There are many variations such as checkerboard and pillow cuts.  The cut made is chosen to show the diamond at its best.

As you can see from the differing photographs, we carry many sizes and styles of bridal rings here at The Gold Exchange.  We have all price ranges from less than $200 on up.  Wide, narrow, with or without guards, with or without matching bands, solitaires, with accent stones, yellow gold, white gold, platinum, you name it and we probably have it.

The 2nd from the right above is even a signed Cartier diamond ring.  We have many men's wedding rings and bands as well.  So if you are shopping for diamonds take a look at our Ebay store by
clicking the link on the right. 
We have a graduate gemologist that views our jewelry and grades it if it does not come to us with any certification.  We can also arrange to have a ring sized if need be. 
And as always you are welcome to visit our showroom if you are in the Houston, TX area.