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Jewelry Education and Advice

  • What is a Facet and Why it Matters When you Buy your Engagement Ring

    A faceted spodumene, with reflecting internal inclusion.
    A faceted spodumene, with reflecting internal inclusion.

    You’ve heard of facets before but now, as you’re poised to purchase an engagement ring, you feel like you should know more. We get it! So here’s a fast and furious lesson so you can be better informed.

    The short story? Facets are the flat faces on geometric shapes. Gemstones have facets cut into them to improve appearance and reflecting light. Facets are seen in nature as well. Many crystals naturally grow in faceted shapes.

    A faceting machine is used when cutting a gem–an art in and of itself. When its done right, there should a balance of brilliance (internal reflections of light) and dispersion (commonly referred to as “fire”). Lastly, those stunning brightly colored flashes from a gem, termed “scintillation.”

    There are literally hundreds of facet arrangements but the most well-known is the the round brilliant cut, a cut with a long history:

    This first early version of what would become the modern Brilliant Cut is said to have been devised by an Italian named Peruzzi, sometime in the late 17th century. Later on, the first angles for an “ideal” cut diamond were calculated by Marcel Tolkowsky in 1919. Slight modifications have been made since then, but angles for “ideal” cut diamonds are still similar to Tolkowsky’s formula. [Source: Wikipedia]

    Round brilliants cut before the “ideal” angles are commonly referred to as “early round brilliant cut” or “Old European brilliant cut.” These cuts are considered by some as poorly cut, at least by today’s standards.

    Other gem cuts with a long history include the “Old Mine Cut” which is similar to early versions of the round brilliant, but has a rectangular outline. Or the Rose Cut which is a simple cut consisting of a flat back and various numbers of angled facets on the crown, creating a faceted dome.

    Hopefully that gives you a better idea of facets. But we’re here if you have any questions!

  • How to Spot Fake Jewelry Using Household Items

    An interesting look at simple ways to test jewelry using household items like a magnet, vinegar, chalk and iodine, among other things. Good video for those who shop at thrift or antique stores frequently and want a quick method to test for authenticity.


  • Famous Paintings that Included Amazing Jewelry

    Sure we can look at jewelry found thousands of years ago through museum glass, but there’s something about jewelry used in a painting that gives us a more intimate look. Let’s take a piece from The Jewelry Loupe that uses this example.

    The artist: Dante Gabriel Rossetti (English, 1828–1882).

    The painting: Bocca Baciata (Lips That Have Been Kissed), Oil on Panel

    Bocca Baciata (Lips That Have Been Kissed) Dante Gabriel Rossetti (English, 1828–1882) 1859 Oil on panel * Gift of James Lawrence * Photograph © Museum of Fine Arts, Boston


    Isn’t it exquisite? The model (one of the artist’s favorite) is wearing a Revivalist gold necklace and earrings in addition to an earring attached to beautiful head of hair. Apparently the artist collected Revivalist jewelry himself so its no surprise it made its way into his paintings. Perhaps he even loaned several of his pieces to this model, for the sake of his work.

    Revivalist jewelry, popular in the later half of the nineteenth century, consisted mainly of adaptations of earlier jewelry styles.







  • Anklets and Pantyhose – A Fashion No, Right?

    Anklets and pantyhose – a cringeworthy combination for most of us. Though some still sport the look.

    But don’t do it. Just. Don’t.

    On top of it being a fashion faux pas extraordinaire, there’s this practicality: anklets often ruin your pantyhose or tights. Best tip: don’t combine the two. Ever.

    Thinking of a custom designed anklet this summer? We’re happy to create one especially for you, so you can rock the warmer temperatures in style.


  • Semi-precious Stones – Are They More Valuable than Precious Stones?


    Because of the name, you might assume that semi-precious stones are of less value than precious stones. But that’s not always the case. Some kinds of semiprecious stones such as opal and jade can sell for higher prices than certain precious stones. Take the Aurora Australis Opal which sold for $1 million dollars in 2004, a price which equated to over $5500 per carat (!).

    Gemstones were first placed into categories of “precious stones” and “semiprecious stones” in the mid-1800s. These terms quickly picked up speed and to this day, are commonly used among jewelers and jewelry lovers alike.

    Though many people in the jewelry industry feel these terms are limiting, creating an unfair “class” system. Most would naturally assume a precious stone is more valuable than a mere “semi” precious stone. Wouldn’t you?

    But these categories will continue to exist so we must adapt.

    There are four types of precious stones: diamonds, rubies, sapphires and emeralds. Some consider opal, jade or pearls to be in this category as well, but there’s not worldwide acceptance.

    Semiprecious stones include gemstones created from: agate, amber, amethyst, aquamarine, aventurine, chalcedony, chrysocolla, chrysoprase, citrine, garnet, hematite, jade, jasper, jet, kunzite, lapis lazuli, malachite, moonstone, obsidian, onyx, peridot, rhodonite, sunstone, tiger’s eye, tanzanite, topaz, turquoise, tourmaline and even more.

    Each semiprecious stone holds its own beauty and desirability.

    In short: all stones are precious!

    If you’re interested in a custom design piece using a semi-precious or precious stone, contact us and we’ll create a piece that goes beyond your dreams.

  • What Activities Dull a Diamond?

    What Activities Dull a Diamond?


    A ring is designed to sparkle and look as beautiful as that he held your trembling hands and you said, “I do.” But unfortunately, a ring can lose that initial dazzle over time and wear.

    But that’s okay. A ring, like any other investment, needs to be maintained.

    Why has my ring lost its sparkle?


    A ring can accumulate a build-up of lotion, make-up, hair products and other oily substances that slowly mask the brilliance of your gem. Let’s not forget hair spray, which can also slowly erode gold and dull the surface of diamonds and other gemstones.

    Household products can also wreak havoc on jewelry. If those chemicals are strong enough to clean your kitchen floor, imagine what it does to a softer metal like gold?

    Most know to remove your ring before you do the dishes, but many women will “sneak” a dish here or there. Don’t. Dishwashing liquid is another powerful detergent that clouds sparkle.

    Certain activities can put your ring in jeopardy, like cooking (think oil and flour) and gardening (dirt, sprays, etc.)

    To protect your ring, you need to create new habits and stick with them 100%. Remove your jewelry before certain activities; soon, it will be rote. Treat your ring as special as you treat your love: with utmost care!

    Keep your ring looking like this


  • How Long has Costume Jewelry Been Around?

    Charming 1940s Gold Vermeil Multi Coloured Rhinestone Flower Brooch

    Charming 1940s Gold Vermeil Multi Coloured Rhinestone Flower Brooch


    How Long has Costume Jewelry Been In Existence?


    It may surprise you to know the answer but costume jewelry has been around for a long time–over 300 years specifically. Though if you think about it, it makes sense. For a long time, people haven’t been able to afford expensive jewelry yet they still want to wear the latest fashion statements.

    In the 18th century, jewelers started making well-known pieces with glass, a much cheaper alternative to gold or silver. By the 19th century, semi-precious materials came into existence, making costume jewelry even more appealing to the masses.

    But the real heyday for costume jewelry began mid 20th century, coinciding with the Industrial Revolution. Now, machinery could quickly reproduce cheaper jewelry at a much faster scale.

    As costume jewelry continued to look better and better and reach more people, it appealed to more classes. After all, there was no shame in wearing a piece of costume jewelry since it was intended for fun, decorative purposes.

    Perhaps branding came into play to reduce any stigma. Had it been called “cheap jewelry” not many would have wanted to wear it. But “costume jewelry” implies a fun, temporary wear.

    So the next time you wear a piece of costume jewelry, remember: you’re in good company, historically speaking!



  • Test your Gold Bar Knowledge

    You’ve seen them before (well, at least in photos) but…

    How much do you know about gold bars?

    1 kg gold bar

    Well just because we’re experts in custom design doesn’t mean we know either. So after a little research, we’ve discovered:

    • A gold bar (also called gold bullion or a gold ingot) is a quantity of refined metallic gold of any shape that is made by a bar producer meeting standard conditions of manufacture, labeling and record keeping.
    • Gold bars are categorized as either cast or minted (see image below), with both differing in their appearance and price. Cast bars are created in a similar method to that of ingots whereas molten gold is poured into a bar-shaped mold and left to solidify.
    • When molten gold is poured into bar shapes, it often results in malformed bars with uneven surfaces which, even though imperfect, make each bar unique and easier to identify.
    • To prevent bars from being stolen or counterfeited, manufacturers have developed methods to verify genuine bars, such as branding bars with registered serial numbers or providing a certificate of authenticity. 

    If you want to learn more about gold bars, you could buy one. A 400 ounce gold bar costs more than $500,000…maybe looking at pictures is better ; )

    A minted bar (left) and a cast bar (right)

    A minted bar (left) and a cast bar (right)


  • Layering (Stacking) your Necklaces Like a Pro

    We’ve shared several videos over the years on the topic of necklace layering (or stacking) but many have commented that when they do it themselves, it can look “too much” or “clumsy.”

    This video shares advice for those who are looking for subtler layering techniques so you don’t feel like Mr. T ; )

  • US Gold Figures Show Humble Increase, Affected by Government Shutdown


    What is the Gold Market?


    The Gold Market refers to the buying and and selling of gold worldwide. Gold has been used as a trading commodity for over a thousand years. Even today, its essential value makes it a smart choice for moving wealth internationally and investing long term.

    How is the Gold Marketing Currently Doing?


    Currently, the gold market is expressing minor gains. U.S. gold jewelry sales rose only 1% in the first quarter of 2019, possible due to the prolonged government shutdown.

    A recent report states that “the prolonged government shutdown hit demand in January, as demonstrated by a drop in gold jewelry imports that month.”

    This was the ninth quarter in a row that U.S. gold jewelry sales have expressed year-on-year growth, although the 1% amount is less than the 4% recorded in the final quarter of last year.

    According to JCK:

    “The higher-end jewelry segment remains robust,” the report said. “And independent retailers in more affluent and/or Hispanic-dominated areas reported a strong quarter.”

    But the numbers weren’t as good from mass-market retailers, which are “less resilient,” according to the WGC report.


    The United States is the world’s third-largest gold jewelry market.