Education

We have provided some educational information on the following items:

Diamond Buying

Metals information - Gold/Silver/Gold-Filled

Product care: Pearls, Opal

Chain Length Guide

Birthstones and Anniversary Stones per month

Maine Tourmaline

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The 4 “C”s of Diamond Buying:

 

o    FL (flawless): No inclusions or blemishes of any kind are visible inside or outside the diamond under 10-power magnification.

 

o    IF (internally flawless): The diamond has no internal inclusions when seen under 10-power magnification, but has some external or surface blemishes, such as miniscule scratches.

 

o    VVS-1 & 2 (very, very slightly included): The diamond has inclusions so minute that a trained gemologist has significant difficulty seeing them under 10-power magnification.

 

o    VS-1 & 2 (very slightly included): The diamond has minor inclusions, which are moderately difficult to see under 10-power magnification.

 

o    SI-1 & 2 (slightly included): The diamond has inclusions that are somewhat easily seen with 10-power magnification but extremely difficult for the gemologist to see without magnification.

 

o    SI-3 (slightly included): This rating is for stones that fall right on the border between SI-2 and I-1.

 

o    I-1, 2 & 3 (included): The diamond has inclusions that are noticeable without magnification.

 

Diamond color: Traditionally, diamond color is actually graded on lack of color, and the best fine diamond jewelry contains stones that are almost clear. The hues graded in "white" diamonds are actually faint tones of yellow, brown and grey. An alphabetical scale from D through Z is used to rank the color. Imagine two glasses of water -- one clear, the other containing a few drops of lemonade -- and you will begin to get an idea of the differences in diamond color grades. The following color scale is an approximate representation of color saturation in diamonds:

 

o    D-F: Colorless

 

o    G-I: Near colorless

 

o    J-K: Faint color

 

o    L-R: Noticeable color

 

o    S-Z: Obvious color

 

Fancy color: Once the color saturation moves beyond Z or has a completely different hue than yellow, brown or grey, the gem then becomes a fancy color diamond. Fancy colors are graded on how much color the diamond has and how strong the hue is. Diamonds come in every color of the rainbow, including blue, pink, yellow, purple and black. In general, fancy diamonds are rarer than white diamonds.

 

Black diamonds: Naturally black diamonds exist, but most of the stones used in jewelry design are lighter diamonds that have been treated to improve their color. The treatment, usually radiation or intense heat, darkens a diamond's color, making it appear black to the naked eye. Some of the treated diamonds are dark green, which you can see under magnification.

 

Diamond cut: Cut is divided into shape, proportion, polish and symmetry. Shape and proportion are all of great importance while cutting a diamond to its best appearance. Shape and proportion determine how a diamond scintillates because it affects how light is reflected and refracted inside the stone, which is what causes diamonds to sparkle. Depending on how deep or shallow the diamond is cut, the face-up appearance of the diamond can also vary greatly. The polish describes how well light enters and exits the facets of the diamond. Symmetry can describe both length-to-width ratio and also depth percentages. Round-brilliant, princess-cut and emerald-cut diamonds are a few of the most popular diamond shapes.

 

Diamond carat weight: Carat is a weight measurement of diamonds. One carat is equal to 0.2 grams. It is abbreviated "ct" or "CT" when describing a single stone. "TDW," meaning "total diamond weight," is added when the diamond jewelry is set with multiple diamonds. For example, a solitaire diamond engagement ring may be described as 1ct while a three-stone diamond anniversary ring would be 1ct TDW.

 

Carat vs. karat: Carat is not the measure of gold's purity, which is spelled "karat" and is abbreviated "k." You may have a 1-carat diamond in an 18-karat gold setting.

 

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Pure gold (fine gold) is softer than pure silver but harder than tin. Its beauty and luster are unmatched by any alloyed gold. The extreme malleability, ductility, and softness of pure gold make it practically useless for jewelry applications.

The addition of alloying elements (other metals) to gold are used to increase the toughness and hardness of the metal. While almost any metal can be alloyed (melted) with gold, only a select group of metals will not dramatically change the color or make the metal brittle. For example, we never mix indium with gold because it turns gold purple and gives gold the workability of glass.

 

What is a Karat?
Over time, certain percentages of gold have become legally recognized "karats." The karat indicates the amount of gold as a percentage of the total, i.e. 24 karat is 100 percent gold. In karated gold, there is a balance of metals in the non-gold percentage called alloys. These metals provide the various colors and hardness of karated gold. 18 karat gold is 18 parts gold and 6 parts alloys such as copper, nickel, silver or zinc. 14 karat gold is 14 parts gold and 10 parts alloy. Gold standards vary around the world. In the United States, 18, 14, and 10 karat gold are the only karats allowed to be sold as karated gold.

 

What is the difference between 14 karat and 18 karat gold?

18 karat gold means that the metal is 18 parts out of 24 pure gold, or in other words, 75% pure gold. 18 karat gold is the standard for European jewelry. 14 karat gold is 14 parts gold, or 58.5% pure gold. It is the standard for American jewelry.

 

What is used to change the color of gold?

The addition of alloying elements (other metals) to gold are used to increase the toughness and hardness of the metal, as well as change the color. Adjusting the proportions of coloring agents provides the array of colors on the market. Additional metals enhance properties such as castability, grain size, hardness, corrosion resistance, color, workability, ultimate strength, and others. These additions can dramatically change the properties of the karated metal for better or worse.

 

For example: 18 karat rose gold is 75%, or 18 parts fine gold and 25%, or 6 parts copper. It is the rich red copper combined with the pure yellow gold that creates a warm rosy tone. 14 karat white gold is 14 parts gold and 10 parts white metal, either nickel or palladium. These white metals dominate the color, creating a warm gray tone.

 

Typical alloying elements and their color effect:
Copper - Reddening
Silver - Greening
Zinc - Bleaching
Nickel - Whitening
Palladium - Whitening

 

Examples of the compositions of different colors are:
Yellow Gold: copper, silver, zinc
White Gold: copper, nickel, zinc
Red (Rose) Gold: copper
Green Gold: silver

 

Silver

Sterling Silver is the whitest of all the metals. Fine silver is generally too soft for most jewelry applications. Sterling Silver is a mix of 92.5% fine silver and 7.5% copper. Silver products sometimes may be marked 925, which means that 925 parts per thousand are pure silver. 99.9% silver is called "Fine silver." Sterling components and jewelry made in the USA are often stamped "Sterling." Goods made for international trade are often marked "925" indicating the 92.5% fineness. "Coin" silver is used in some countries and could be marked "900" or "800" depending on fineness.

 

 Gemstones
Natural gemstones are found in nature. Laboratory-created stones, as the name implies, are made in a laboratory. These stones, which also are referred to as laboratory-grown, or synthetic, have essentially the same chemical, physical and visual properties as natural gemstones. Laboratory- created stones do not have the rarity of naturally colored stones and they are less expensive than naturally mined stones.

Imitation stones look like natural stones in appearance only, and may be glass, plastic, or less costly stones.

 

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 carats or 50 points. When gemstones are measured by dimensions, the size is expressed in millimeters (for example, 7x5 millimeters).

 

Pearls
Natural pearls are made by oysters and other mollusks. Cultured pearls also are grown by mollusks, but with human intervention; that is, an irritant introduced into the shells causes a pearl to grow.
Freshwater pearls are pearls which grow in non-saline environment in freshwater mussels.

Imitation pearls are man-made with glass, plastic, or organic materials

Because natural pearls are very rare, most pearls used in jewelry are either cultured or imitation pearls. Cultured pearls, because they are made by oysters or mollusks, usually are more expensive than imitation pearls. A cultured pearl's value is largely based on its size, usually stated in millimeters, and the quality of its nacre coating, which gives it luster. Jewelers should tell you if the pearls are cultured or imitation.

 

Some black, bronze, gold, purple, blue and orange pearls, whether natural or cultured, occur that way in nature; some, however, are dyed through various processes. Jewelers should tell you whether the colored pearls are naturally colored, dyed or irradiated.

 

What is the difference between a carat and a karat?

What is a Carat?
A carat is a unit of weight for gemstones, where one carat equals 1/5 of a gram, or 200 milligrams. 142 carats equals one ounce.
Carats are divided into 100 units, called points. One carat is divided into 100 points. A half carat stone is 50 points, a quarter carat 25 points. The important thing to note is that carat is a unit of weight, not a unit of size. A one carat stone that is dense will be smaller than a one carat stone that is less dense. For example, sapphires are denser than diamonds, so a one carat sapphire will be smaller than a one carat diamond. In pricing, there is a big difference between one carat total weight (1 ct TW) and a one carat stone. For example, a one carat diamond is much more valuable than a grouping of smaller diamonds that add up to one carat.
What is a Karat?
A karat is not a unit of weight. The word karat refers to the amount of gold in a particular item. Karats are measured in units of 24, where 24 karat gold is pure gold. 18 karat gold is 18 parts gold and 6 parts alloys such as copper, nickel, silver or zinc. 14 karat gold is 14 parts gold and 10 parts alloy.

 

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How to care for your cultured pearls

 

Pearls are very soft and need special care. They never should be tossed on top of or next to other gems in a jewelry box. Store them in a jewelry pouch as they scratch easily and can be damaged.

 

Some women's skin are more acidic than others. If a pearl necklace is regularly worn, as it should be, some of the pearls will constantly be in close contact with the woman's skin. Pearl pendants do not always have such constant contact with a woman's skin. The pearls in the necklace will gradually absorb acid from the skin and the acid will slowly eat into the pearl. Over time the pearl will not only lose its luster, but will become barrel-shaped. You can slow this process by wiping the pearls with a soft cloth after wearing them.

 

Besides being soft, pearls are easily damaged by chemicals like perfume, vinegar and lemon juice. Heat and dry air can turn pearls brown or dry them out and make them crack. Most safe deposit vaults have very dry air and can damage pearls.

 

When taking off a pearl ring, grasp the shank, or metal part, rather than the pearl. This will prevent the pearl from loosening and coming into contact with skin oil on your hand.

 

Because of their delicate nature, special care must be taken when cleaning.

 

  • Only use jewelry cleaners labeled as safe for pearls.
  • Never use an ultrasonic cleaner or steam cleaner.
  • Never use (or expose pearls) to dish or wash detergents, bleaches, powdered cleansers, baking soda, or ammonia-based cleaners (like Windex).
  • Never use toothbrushes, scouring pads or abrasive materials to clean pearls.
  • Do not wear pearls when their string is wet. Wet strings stretch and attract dirt, which is hard to remove.
  • Take your pearls off when applying cosmetics, hair spray, and perfume, or when showering and/or swimming.
  • Avoid wearing pearls with rough fabrics like Shetland wool.
  • Have your pearls restrung once a year if you wear them often.

 

Cleaning Pearls

 

After you wear pearls, just wipe them off with a soft cloth or chamois, which may be dry or damp. This will prevent dirt from accumulating and keep perspiration, from eating away at the pearl nacre. You can even use a drop of olive oil on the cloth to help maintain their luster.

 

If pearls have not been kept clean and are very dirty, they can be cleaned by your jeweler. Be careful using other types of jewelry cleaner or soap. Some liquid soaps, such as Dawn, can damage pearls. Pay attention to the areas around the drill holes where dirt may tend to collect.  After washing your pearls, do not hang pearls to dry, lay them flat in a moist kitchen towel to dry. When the towel is dry, your pearls should be dry.

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Opals require some special care, but your opal will stay in beautiful condition for many years to come.

Opals are a relatively soft gem (between 5.5 and 6.5 on the Mohs hardness scale), so they can be easily scratched, even by common household dust. Also, they have significant water content -- typically about 5 to 6%. If an opal is kept in a very low humidity environment, it can dry out and crack. Due to their water content, opals are also sensitive to sudden changes in temperature.

Some opals have an additional vulnerability. Opal doublets and triplets consist of a layer of precious opal glued to a black backing. Because the layers are glued together, prolonged exposure to water can weaken the glue and allow water to infiltrate. The opal may then take on a gray or foggy appearance. Solid opals are not vulnerable to this problem.

Solid Opal should be cleaned gently with mild detergent in warm water with a soft brush or cloth. Bleach, chemicals and cleaners should always be avoided. Doublets and triplets may be wiped with a damp soft cloth and mild detergent, but should never be soaked or immersed.

Opals should never be cleaned in an ultrasonic cleaner. The intense vibrations created may cause cracking in a solid opal, and water penetration in a doublet or triplet.

If you need to store your opal for a long period, it is a good idea to keep it sealed a plastic bag with a damp piece of cotton to prevent dehydration.

The best way to avoid damage to an opal is preventative care. Opals are best suited for earrings, brooches, and pendants, since these types of jewelry are less exposed to harder objects.

 

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Chain Length Guide:  

Women's Standard Necklace Sizes

 

16"

choker length

17-18"

at collarbone

20"

A few inches below collarbone

22"

At or above neckline

24"

Below the neckline

 

*Choose the next size up for larger neck sizes

 

Men's Standard Chain Sizes

18"

Base of the neck (*for smaller neck sizes)

20"

to collarbone (*most common length for average men)

22"

A few inches below collarbone

24"

Just above the sternum

 

 

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  Birthstones:

 

Month   and     Birthstone

January            Garnet

February          Amethyst

March             Aquamarine

April                Diamond

May                 Emerald

June                 Alexandrite, Pearl

 

July                  Ruby

 

August             Peridot

September      Sapphire

October           Tourmaline, Opal

 

November       Topaz, Citrine

 

December       Zircon, Turquoise


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  ANNIVERSARY STONES:

1st Wedding Anniversary: Traditional Gemstone – Gold   Alternate Gemstone – Peridot, Pearl

2nd Wedding Anniversary: Traditional Gemstone – Garnet, Alternate Gemstone - Rose Quartz

3rd Wedding Anniversary:  Traditional Gemstone – Pearl,  Alternate Gemstone - Jade

4th Wedding Anniversary:  Traditional Gemstone - Blue Topaz   Alternate Gemstone - Blue Zircon

5th Wedding Anniversary:  Traditional Gemstone - Sapphire (all colors)   Alternate Gemstone - Pink Tourmaline

6th Wedding Anniversary:  Traditional Gemstone – Amethyst    Alternate Gemstone - Turquoise

7th Wedding Anniversary:  Traditional Gemstone – Onyx   Alternate Gemstone - Yellow Sapphire, Golden Beryl

8th Wedding Anniversary:  Traditional Gemstone – Tourmaline   Alternate Gemstone - Tanzanite

9th Wedding Anniversary:  Traditional Gemstone - Lapis Lazuli   Alternate Gemstone - Amethyst, Green Spinel

10th Wedding Anniversary:  Traditional Gemstone – Diamond  Alternate Gemstone - Blue Sapphire

11th Wedding Anniversary:  Traditional Gemstone – Turquoise   Alternate Gemstone - Citrine

12th Wedding Anniversary: Traditional Gemstone – Jade   Alternate Gemstone - Opal

13th Wedding Anniversary: Traditional Gemstone –Citrine   Alternate Gemstone - Moonstone, Hawk's Eye

14th Wedding Anniversary: Traditional Gemstone - Opal    Alternate Gemstone - Moss Agate, Bloodstone

15th Wedding Anniversary: Traditional Gemstone – Ruby   Alternate Gemstone - Rhodolite Garnet, Alexandrite

16th Wedding Anniversary: Traditional Gemstone – Peridot   Alternate Gemstone - Red Spinel

17th Wedding Anniversary: Traditional Gemstone – Watch   Alternate Gemstone - Carnelian

18th Wedding Anniversary: Traditional Gemstone - Cat's Eye, Chrysoberyl   Alternate Gemstone - Aquamarine

19th Wedding Anniversary: Traditional Gemstone – Aquamarine   Alternate Gemstone - Almandine Garnet

20th Wedding Anniversary:  Traditional Gemstone – Emerald   Alternate Gemstone - Yellow or Golden Diamond

21st Wedding Anniversary: Traditional Gemstone – Iolite   Alternate Gemstone - There are no alternate Anniversary stone for this year.
22nd Wedding Anniversary: Traditional Gemstone – Spinel   Alternate Gemstone - There are no alternate Anniversary stone for this year.
23rd Wedding Anniversary: Traditional Gemstone - Imperial Topaz   Alternate Gemstone - Sapphire

24th Wedding Anniversary: Traditional Gemstone – Tanzanite   Alternate Gemstone - There are no alternate Anniversary stone for this year.

25th Wedding Anniversary: Traditional Gemstone - Silver Jubilee   Alternate Gemstone - There are no alternate Anniversary stone
28th Wedding Anniversary: Traditional Gemstone – Amethyst  Alternate Gemstone - Orange Tourmaline
30th Wedding Anniversary: Traditional Gemstone - Pearl Jubilee Alternate Gemstone - Diamond, Jade
33rd Wedding Anniversary: Traditional Gemstone – Amethyst   Alternate Gemstone - There are no alternate Anniversary stone for this year.

34th Wedding Anniversary: Traditional Gemstone – Opal   Alternate Gemstone - There are no alternate Anniversary stone for this year.

35th Wedding Anniversary: Traditional Gemstone – Emerald  Alternate Gemstone - Coral, Jade

40th Wedding Anniversary: Traditional Gemstone – Ruby   

45th Wedding Anniversary: Traditional Gemstone - Cat's Eye

50th Wedding Anniversary: Traditional Gemstone – Gold   Alternate Gemstone - Golden Topaz

52nd Wedding Anniversary: Traditional Gemstone – Ruby    

55th Wedding Anniversary: Traditional Gemstone - There are no traditional stone for this year.  Alternate Gemstone - Emerald

60th Wedding Anniversary: Traditional Gemstone – Diamond  Alternate Gemstone - Star Ruby

65th Wedding Anniversary:  Traditional Gemstone - Blue Spinel

70th Wedding Anniversary: Traditional Gemstone - Sapphire Jubilee  Alternate Gemstone - Smoky Quartz

75th Wedding Anniversary:   Traditional Gemstone – Diamond  Alternate Gemstone - Sapphire

80th Wedding Anniversary:  Traditional Gemstone – Diamond  
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 MAINE TOURMALINE 

Maine Tourmaline is special … for about 200 years Maine has produced some of the finest tourmalines in the world.  Maine’s tourmalines are noted for their superior shades of pink and green color. 

This is one of the most diversely colored of all gems as it occurs in nearly every color. In Maine, we have mainly shades of green, blue-green and pink. 

Most tourmalines have inclusions.  It is rare to find stones without these inclusions and those that are relatively free of inclusions are quite valuable.  You’ll find these in faceted stones generally. 

History of Maine Tourmaline:  

Mount Mica, America's first gem mine, was discovered in 1820 by two students, Elijah Hamlin and Ezekiel Holmes. While taking a shortcut through the hills of Paris, Maine, the boys noticed a glimmer of green in the soil-covered roots of a upturned tree. Upon closer examination of the area around the tree, they discovered dozens of gem green tourmaline crystals - thus writing the first chapter in Maine's rich history of gem mining.
That history continued in 1972 when Dean McCrillis and three partners formed the Plumbago Mining Corporation to mine the Dunton Gem Pit in Newry, Maine. Later that same year they opened up the "richest pocket of tourmaline ever found in North America".

 


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