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Jewelry Education and Advice

  • A Quick Introduction to Elizabethan Jewelry

    We see your back for another Joseph Schubach jewelry lesson. We had a feeling you’d return. So boys and girls, today a quick introduction to Elizabethan jewelry, thanks to the people at

    Compared to the complex faceted cuts used on modern gems, the art of gem faceting in the 16th century was quite rudimentary. The common cuts of today’s stones were not in use in the 1500s, which can make finding authentic-looking jewelry difficult. In the 16th century most gems were cabochon cut, with a smooth, rounded top, or table-cut (a cabochon with the top cut off, creating a flat surface.) They were oval or square in shape.

    For very hard stones, like diamonds, a pyramid-cut which created a pointed gem was used. Later in the century the hog-back cut was invented (beveling the table-cut gem around the edges to create what we consider the classic “emerald” cut), and around 1600 the rose-cut, which made gems glitter and sparkle more. There was, however, a great deal of complex gem-carving in the 16th century. Cameo carvings were popular, as were semi-precious stones carved into the shape of ships, women, and animals. Gems used in 16th century jewelry included the diamond, ruby, emerald, opal, topaz, and sapphire. Other hard stones, used for beads and cameos, included turquoise (called “Turkey stone”), carnelian, jasper, onyx, bloodstone, moss agate, chalcedony, crysoprase and sardonyx. Freshwater and sea pearls were both used.

    In the 16th century, the goldwork of a piece of jewelry was as esteemed as the jewels it surrounded. The modern prong-setting for jewels was rarely seen. In the early 1500s the settings for jewels were often plain gold wrapped around the bottom of the gem, but after 1540 they began to become more and more elaborate, often imitating petals or acanthus leaves, sometimes more impressive then the jewels themselves.

    Pearls were also an integral aspect of 16th century jewelry. They could be worn singly, in strands. They could be clustered in twos and fours and combined with goldwork to create elaborate billiments, necklaces or girdles. They could be sewn to clothing singly, set in elaborate goldwork settings, or used to decorate hairstyles. Goldwork, especially goldwork depicting a particular scene or item, was often enameled with colored glass. To moden eyes this tends to look “cheap” in comparison to plain gold and jeweled items, but it was very much to the taste of 16th century women.

  • Removing a Ring from a Swollen Finger

    It’s happened to the best of: the ring went on so easily, then somehow, it doesn’t want to come off.

    First, don’t panic. Fingers swell all the time for many reasons. Sometimes just waiting it out is enough. But if the panic gets the better of you, here are a few tips:

    • Lather soap all over your finger. Put your finger under warm water. Pull on it until it slips loose.

    • Envelop your finger from the ring up as tight as you can with clingy plastic food wrap. Grease up the ring and your swollen finger below the clingy wrap. Wait a couple of minutes then pull the ring and the clingy wrap at the same time.

    • Spray window cleaner on the ring. This works better than lotion because it doesn’t damage the precious stones and leaves the ring shiny when you finally get the ring off your swollen finger.

    • Wrap tape around your finger just past the ring. Leave the tape on for 30 minutes. Ice your hand while holding it above your heart for another 15 minutes. Take off the tape and spray window cleaner on your finger. Twist the ring around your finger while pulling it off.

    • Take a piece of thick string and wrap it very tightly down to the ring starting from the top of your finger. Put the end of the string under the ring then pull up slowly working up over the top of the string.

    Read more: How to Get a Ring Off of a Swollen Finger |

    Style 6861WB

    Comfort Fit Wedding Band With Satin Finished Edges

    14kt white gold comfort fit wedding band, satin finished with high polished edges.

  • Selling Estate Jewelry – the Basics

    Estate sales can offer some amazing bargains…as well as some incredible pitfalls. Before you hand over your cash, consider these rules:


    1. Estate jewelry made with real stones may be difficult to spot without the aid of a jeweler. Before you try to sell any of your jewelry, carefully look for any markings that would indicate gold or silver, or the manufacturer’s insignia. Identifying fine jewelry from costume may not be as simple as a quick look. The older the estate pieces, the more difficult this could be. The first rule of selling estate jewelry is to know what you have.
    2. Considerations

    3. Fine estate jewelry should always be appraised before you attempt a sale. Even though your necklace is only worth what someone will pay for it, you should establish a value so you can know what to expect before accepting an offer. Many costume estate jewelry pieces can be found online at auction sales, allowing you to determine an approximate value for these pieces.
    4. Benefits

    5. Another rule for selling your estate jewelry is to explore alternative markets. Selling your jewelry to a local jeweler or pawn broker may seem like a good idea, but you will likely receive a higher price at an auction or a private sale. The benefits of checking your options could translate into more cash in your hands.
    6. Misconceptions

    7. Inherited costume jewelry may have more value than just sentiment. One rule you should follow before selling this type of jewelry is to do your research. Online auctions are filled with vintage costume estate jewelry and the prices for these items may surprise you. Just because the jewelry in granny’s estate isn’t real does not mean that is has no monetary value.
    8. Warning

    9. Before you soak that old bracelet in some kind of cleaning solution, make sure you will do no harm. This rule should be followed for all of your jewelry, not just estate. Properly cleaning your pieces will add value and bring you a higher price. Improperly cleaning could eliminate any chance you have of selling the piece, particularly if it is costume.
    An antique bejeweled hummingbird broach
  • How to Tell Cubic Zirconia from the Real Deal

    Nowadays, choosing a diamond simulant is a smart, viable choice for many. But still, people want to know how you tell the difference between a fake and real diamond. This article covers the basics, for the skeptical and curious:

    To understand how to tell a cubic zirconia from a diamond, it is important to have a better understanding of what this particular stone is and why it looks so much like an expensive diamond. Cubic zirconia is a synthetic material made from zirconium dioxide. The material is extremely hard, strong, virtually flawless from a visual perspective, and colorless, although cubic zirconia can be produced in numerous colors.

    One of the primary benefits of cubic zirconia is affordability. Obviously, diamonds are expensive, one of the most expensive of all precious stones. For this reason, if people can purchase a material that looks like a real diamond, has strong and durable qualities, and costs a fraction of what a diamond costs, it is easy to see why a cubic zirconia is so popular. However, with all the benefits, nothing can take the place of a diamond. Now understanding what cubic zirconia is, individuals need to know how to tell a cubic zirconia from a diamond.

    Again, the main reason for learning how to tell a cubic zirconia from a diamond is to avoid being scammed. If a person were to sell existing jewelry, he or she needs to know without doubt pieces being sold are actually diamonds. Then, for buying, unfortunately it would be easy for someone to become caught up in fraud, spending hard-earned money on a fake stone. While this might sound farfetched, the truth is this happens often.

    The good news is that there are a number of easy tests that will help to determine whether a stone is cubic zirconia or diamond. For starters, there is the old method of scratching glass. If a piece of jewelry made with a cubic zirconia were to be run across a piece of glass, nothing would happen to the glass but the faux stone might scratch. However, if a real diamond were run across a piece of glass, the diamond would likely be undamaged and the glass scratched. The only downside to this particular test on how to tell a cubic zirconia from a diamond is that some of the higher quality faux stones are now made so well they can produce a small scratch on the glass.

    Another method to tell cubic zirconia from diamond has to do with the stone’s transparency. Real diamonds are cut, producing facets on the inside. Because of the many lines, seeing through a real diamond is near impossible. For this technique, simply place a piece of newspaper behind the stone. If the print is readable the stone is a cubic zirconia but if not, the stone is a diamond.

    The fog technique is an accurate and easy test to perform. To check the stone, simply breathe on it. The reason this is so reliable is that a real diamond is not capable of holding heat. Therefore, after breathing on the stone if it becomes fogged over, it is a cubic zirconia whereas if the warm breath clears up immediately, the stone is an actual diamond.

    Now, people can go a little more high tech by using ultraviolet lighting. Officially known as an AUV test, the outcome would be based on the amount of fluorescent color produced. For instance, if the stone were a real diamond, it would show up as florescent color under the ultraviolet lighting. However, cubic zirconia stones would have no fluorescent color.

    Another test that works amazingly well has to do with weight. The fact is that a real diamond weighs as much as 50% less than a cubic zirconia stone would weigh. Using a gram scale, the stone could be weighed against a confirmed diamond and the weight would show the stone to be real or fake. Obviously, the two stones should be the same carat to get the best results.

    One last test that could be tried uses a loupe. Typically, this type of test is performed by a professional gemologist but anyone who knows how to look at stones through a loupe could do this. The purpose of this test is to look closely at the stone’s characteristic makeup, which includes the inside facets and girdle. A cubic zirconia stone will usually have a waxy appearance whereas a real diamond would be clear. Finally, some cubic zirconia stones will actually have the initials CZ stamped on the inside of the jewelry piece and a loupe would help reveal this.

    Source: Abazias Diamonds

    Style 10310-

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  • Marie Antoinette and her Fashion Passion

    At Joseph Schubach Jewelers, we  like to look back on history for jewelry inspiration. Because strangely, everthing old IS new. There’s undoubtedly a common thread that continues through time, disappearing, reappearing, reinvented into something new.

    Today, we take a look at Marie Antoinette and some of her elaborate pieces, including her stunning pearl neckalce:

    According to Slate:

    Once queen, she steadily ordered the newest looks from Rose Bertin, the leading Paris couturiere—among them the provocative “robe a la polonaise,” with its bosom-enhancing bodice and its billowy, ankle-baring skirts, the whole crowned by a “pouf,” a 3-foot mountain of powdered hair decked with plumes, veils, and other objects arranged as saucy references to current events. All this and more she wore at court and in town, with swiftly contagious effect; and Bertin became known as the Minister of Fashion.

    Christie's employee Linda Pyke is dressed with a necklace, made of pearls belonging to Marie Antoinette, at Christie's Auction House in London September 27, 2007. The pearls once belonging to Antoinette and taken to Britain by a friend for safekeeping failed to find a buyer at auction on Wednesday. Credit: Reuters/Luke MacGregor

    The history of the necklace:

    Now part of a diamond, ruby and pearl necklace, France’s ill-fated queen gave a bag of pearls and diamonds to Lady Sutherland, the British ambassador’s wife, before she fled revolutionary France in 1792, a year before the monarch’s death.

    Marie Antoinette, legendary for her extravagance, did not know her fate at the time and would have hoped to be reunited with her treasures one day, according to Christie’s officials.

    Christie’s said Sutherland arranged for clothes and linen to be sent to the queen while she was in prison.

    “This was reportedly the last gesture of kindness shown to the doomed queen,” the auctioneer said in a statement.

    Marie Antoinette was executed by guillotine in October 1793.

    Source: Reuters

  • Jewelry Maitenance – Do’s and Don’ts

    Buying your jewelry is only half the battle. Maintaining it so it looks great for years takes a little know how. Here’s  what one expert has to say:

    1 Don’t wash your jewelry with toothpaste.

    In the field of jewelry there’s a belief that washing the jewelry with toothpaste can make it glossy. Actually, it’s harmful to do so. Toothpaste contains superfine grinding material whose hardness is up to 6~7 degree, almost as high as crystal. Using toothpaste will destroy the surface of jewelries whose hardness is lower than that of crystal, especially pearl, gold. The best solution should be diluted neutral surfactants (such as salad, baby shampoo).

    2 Don’t touch frequently.

    If you touch it hourly, it will affect the glossiness and brightness of jewelry. The human body continues discharge sweat and oil. The oil on the fingers will leave on the jewelry’s surface that it will reduce its glossiness and brightness, especially the diamond, which belongs to pro oily gems, whose surface gets oil easily.

    3 Don’t wash jewelry with tap water

    Tap water has fixed content of chlorine (C1), which damages the surface of the pearl and weaken its luster. The proper way should be washing it with distilled water.

    4 Let your jewelry rest.

    Change your jewelry according to situations. And at least put it away while washing your hands! Some soaps contain different degree of alkaline substances which damages jewelry potentially.

    5 Be careful using a ultrasonic cleaner

    The ultrasonic cleaner has good effects on cleaning gold, especially cleaning gaps. However, the ultrasonic cleaner is not adaptive to all kinds of jewelries. For example, emerald and pearl – their structures would be destroyed when cleaning in the ultrasonic cleaner.

    6 Examine your jewelry periodically

    Remember to examine your precious jewelry carefully every once in a while. It is very important to check out whether your diamond is fixed tightly or not. If it becomes flexible, take it to a professional jewelry service.

    Monica is a freelance writer who has written thousands of articles on various niches. She likes to share her knowledge with her readers and provide them with the best information on various topics. 

    Article Source:

  • How to NOT Lose your Cool, or your Earrings

    Your heart races. Your eyes widen. You begin a mad search, all the while saying, “Oh no, oh no!” Losing jewelry is stressful and upsetting. That’s because jewelry is such a personal item – losing it can feel like losing a part of ourselves.

    Here’s a few tips on how to protect yourself from the commonly lost earring:

    1) EASY No-Lose Earrings

    The best style of earrings (that are are able to be removed but hard to lose) are leverback earrings. They are made in such a way you can’t lose them as they fasten closed. That is why Diamond Leverback Earrings are so popular. They are worth investigating when buying earrings as they look beautiful, are simple to use, and are hard to lose.

    Many dangle earrings can be converted to a leverback style at your local jeweler — but you may want to try our next tip as an inexpensive alternative.

    2) Earring Stoppers For Your Fish Hook Earrings

    Many people don’t realize that when they buy earrings and there are rubber stoppers on the back of the card, that they can use them to keep the earrings on their ears.

    If you already own fish hook earrings but didn’t keep the rubber safety stoppers (or the earrings didn’t come with safety stoppers), you can buy rubber stoppers for the back to make sure your won’t lose them. They take an extra moment to put on, but they work like magic.

    3) Easy Storage When NOT Wearing Your Earrings

    Storing earrings properly makes it much harder to lose earrings. You’ll want 2 places to store your earrings.

    One place will be in your purse so if for any reason you need to take your earrings off, you have a designated place. A second a known place should be where you live. If you only own a few pairs of earrings, you can keep them all in the same portable place. However, many of us have several pairs of earrings.

    To store earrings in your purse, I recommend one of the small silk zippered bags. A small silk pouch can easily hold any pair of earrings, look beautiful and usually be very inexpensive.

    Not being able to find your earrings in the morning, is almost the same as losing them as you can’t wear them when you want. So make sure the place at home keeps your earrings neat and easy to find like an earring tree.

    So follow these earrings tips and save yourself money and time.

    Here’s a pair of leverback earrings guaranteed to stay in place:

    Style 452MR

    Classic Wire Basket Lever Back Moissanite Earrings

    Classic wire basket lever back earrings with Charles and Colvard created round Moissanite.

    Source: JewelryMall

  • Jewels in Poetry

    Today, we are going to wax poetic about jewelry. Of course, jewels and gems have been mentioned in literature and poetry since time immemorium. Why? Because jewels have a magical, mythical quality that pairs perfectly with the beauty of words. Take this lovely, lilting piece by poet Sarah Teasdale:

    If I should see your eyes again,
     I know how far their look would go --
    Back to a morning in the park
     With sapphire shadows on the snow.
    Or back to oak trees in the spring
     When you unloosed my hair and kissed
    The head that lay against your knees
     In the leaf shadow's amethyst.
    And still another shining place
     We would remember -- how the dun
    Wild mountain held us on its crest
     One diamond morning white with sun.
    But I will turn my eyes from you
     As women turn to put away
    The jewels they have worn at night
     And cannot wear in sober day.
  • The Gold Test

    We’ve talked about the importance of being an educated jewelery buyer many times on my blog. I figure it this way: when you know as much about the jewelry you’re buying as I do, you feel more confident in your purchase. And rightfully so: buying jewelry is a commitment. When a customer is well-informed, he or she tends to make smarter decisions that last a lifetime.

    Here’s a little lesson on the gold test:

    After choosing perfect style on your particular occasion from your favorite jewelry store, the first thing you can do is to look for karat mark, which can be found mostly on end caps (where holding lock) for necklace, bracelet and anklet.

    You will find 10kt or 417, 14kt or 585 and 18kt or 750 marking on it as well as, but not necessarily, trademark or company code and its country of origin.

    For the rings, look inside the band, you will find quality markings. These markings are mandatory and if you don’t see it, something is seriously wrong.

    Although due to some special custom made work or resizing a ring will damage marking permanently. This is where reliable jewelry store you can trust comes in. because good jewelry store will not damage or destroy these markings when necessary work or resizing.

    And secondly, if you have any doubt, let the jewelry store manager test your item right in front of you. Most jewelry store will do this for you free of charge. There’s testing kit that contains 3 small bottles of 10kt, 14kt and 18kt testing liquid (acid), in most cases, with flat stone like rectangle panel.

    They will scratch item of your choice on rectangle panel and apply appropriate liquid on it. Now observe it. What you want to see here is that scratch will remain nice and bright if item is right karat. If it is not right karat, in other words low quality, scratch will fade away and will even darken.

    And finally, a rule of thumb that you always do, let them write down what you need on the receipt such as karatage or proper return policy. This is good way to protect your hard working money as a proof of quality promise from that store.

    Partial source: Squidoo Article

    Here’s a short video on the gold testing process:

  • Knowing your Karat

    (above) 14kt yellow gold wedding band, high polished with scalloped sides and milgraining

    When it comes to karats, we have a rough idea of the definition. But really, when you’re investing in the perfect moissanite engagement ring, shouldn’t you know a little better?

    More on the Karat

    It is a common misconception that a karat is a unit of weight but it is actually a unit of measurement for the amount of gold contained within an item.

    “Karat” is also different from “carat,” which is a metric unit of weight for gemstones.

    Karat (or kt) indicates how many percentage of pure gold is alloyed with other metals like silver, copper, zinc and so on.

    Pure gold (99.99%) is generally considered to be too soft and pricey for daily enjoyment.

    For this reason, it has to be mixed with other alloys to maximize its strength and at the same time, price can be lowered down as it contains inexpensive materials to target larger consumptions.

    Only 24 karat is known as 99.99% pure gold.

    18kt gold has approximately 75% of pure gold and stamped either “18kt” or “750” for European marking standard.

    Likewise, 14kt gold has approx. 58.5% of pure gold and stamped “14kt” or “585” for European marking standard.14kt gold is most commonly used in US.

    Finally, 10kt gold has approx. 41.7% of pure gold and stamped “10KT” or “417” for European marking standard.

    (above) Gent's 14kt White Gold Diamond Wedding Band, diagonal design with .20ct t.w. channel set diamonds, high polished and matte finish

    Partial Source: Squidoo Article