22 September 2008

How To Choose a Jeweler

How To Choose a JewelerVisiting a jeweler to shop for wedding jewelry can be an overwhelming experience because most shoppers simply don't know enough about the intricacies of gemstones and precious metals to make their choices easily. That's why finding a reputable and competent jeweler is so important.

Any jeweler should be willing and able to show customers a variety of gemstones and jew­elry in different shapes, sizes and qualities, and should stock a broad selection of ring styles to enable you to decide which best fits your pocketbook.

Your jeweler also should be able to help you learn to see with your own eyes why some diamonds of similar size differ greatly in value, or from a practical perspective - how you might reasonably select from a variety of different sizes, all priced similarly to fit your budget.

All of us like to feel that we re­ceive a good value when we make a major purchase. Take time to find what you want and where you want to buy it. Diamonds, for instance, can be confusing. Even if two dia­monds are the same size, color and clarity, differences in the way they were cut, their finish and fluores­cence can cause one to be worth much more than the other.

Buying Gemstones

Gemstones have been sought after and treasured throughout history. They have been found in ruins dating back several thousand years. They are valued as gifts sym­bolizing love.

Generally, the price of any gem­stone is determined by size, cut, quality - which includes color, clarity and treatments - and type.

Here are some simple questions to ask about quality:
  • Has it been heat treated?
  • Is the stone natural or synthetic?
  • Are there any noticeable scratches, chips or inclusions?
  • Is the color even throughout the stone?
  • How strong is the color? Is it vivid?
  • If you are buying the stones for earrings or cuff links, are the stones well-matched?

Advice To Protect Jewelry

Try to protect any jewelry from scratches, sharp blows, harsh chemicals, extreme temperatures and sunlight.

Here's some advice about how to keep your jewelry in good condition:
  • Store jewelry separately so it doesn't scratch other jewelry.
  • When doing household tasks such as gardening and cleaning, be certain to remove rings.
  • Put your jewelry on after washing or bathing and applying any makeup or hair spray.
  • Never wear jewelry while swimming in a swimming pool. The chlorine can cause damage to various gemstones and gold.
  • Avoid storing your jewelry next to a heating vent, window sill or on a car's dashboard. Store jewelry away from sunlight (the sun may fade the gemstones).
  • Always store bead necklaces (such as lapis, pearls, etc.) flat; silk stretches over time. Do not store pearls in plastic bags.
  • Gemstones may become loose in their settings (and possibly fall out). Be certain that stones mounted in rings are not loose and don't rattle. The prongs of a ring can and do wear down. If the prongs wear down too much or break, you can lose the stone. Prongs are easily "retripped" by most jewelers to keep the stone secure.
  • Most jewelers will restring necklaces or reset stones (for a fee)
  • Sterling silver will polish up by rubbing or buffing it with a soft cotton cloth.
  • Store silver in plastic bags with an interlocking seal to make it less prone to tarnish.

Remember, also, that the hard­ness of stones plays into how they can be treated. Hardness is based on a gem-trade standard called the Mohs Scale. The higher the Mohs Scale number, the harder the stone. The highest Mohs Scale rat­ing is 10, for diamonds.

Anything rated less than 7 on the scale can be easily scratched - coral, lapis lazuli, opal, pearl and turquoise, for instance. Gold, silver and platinum are at the soft end ofthe scale.

Key Point to Consider

When you're searching for a jew­eler, remember that you may spend thousands of dollars over time at this business. It's imperative to find someone you feel comfortable with and someone who is willing to work with you when you have questions about jewelry, repairs or perhaps special orders.

Find a store where the owner is the jeweler, someone actively involved in the store's operation who knows his clientele and the business.

Your chosen store should be able to design and create fine jewelry.

The staff should be happy to spend time with customers to edu­cate them about jewelry and what's currently available on the mar­ket. Work should be done on the premises. After all, you've chosen your jeweler because of his or her expertise.

Look for well-known jewelry and watch lines while you're shopping. Your jeweler should offer free gift wrapping, in-town delivery and, above all, superb customer service combined with an expert staff.

Original Article by
Wall Street Journal

Copper Gives Necklace Polished Look

Retired after 44 years as an executive for the fashion division of J.L. Hudson Co., Joyce Hurley of Huntington Woods continues to share her sense of high style as a beaded jewelry maker.

"After several years of retirement, I decided to become a jeweler designer and maker," says Hurley, whose stunning creations make a bold and sometimes ethnic statement.

She enhances the beauty of semi-precious stones by adding silver beads as a visual contrast to many of her designs. More recently, she sometimes uses copper in place of silver, giving her work an entirely different look.

"I've been introduced to working with copper. It's been about a month now, and I've really adopted it. It's become about an eighth of my inventory," Hurley remarks. "The more I saw it, the more I could see how well it went with the kind of jewelry I make, and the kind of natural stones I like to work with."

Hurley, who makes "mostly one-of-a-kind" pieces, admits to buying the bulk of her beads from "a wholesaler in Royal Oak and from bead shows."

She adds, "I find them (shows) a good source of things you don't see locally. I don't buy anything from a retail store, unless I run out of something basic, like a clasp."

This is the third year Hurley has sold her jewelry on Saturday mornings at the Grosse Pointe Park Farmers Market, which operates May through September. Her necklaces range from $36-$70.

By: Jocelynn Brown
Detroit News; September 20, 2008