Thursday, November 09, 2006

GIA Carlsbad... join or not to join

For all of you who want to join GIA, just sit back and think for a while... why are you actually interested in gemology or diamond grading? Honestly, whatever you learn at GIA in diamonds is exactly what you will learn at any other institute. Colored stones I agree, GIA possibly is the best. Anyways, as one of you said, the name-tag is good enough to begin with and I agree with that part at least.

Regarding which GIA center, go beyond the academics years and see where you want to be in the future. Carlsbad is the MOST expensive place in terms of living expenses and facilities. Obviously, it is a seaside village, beautiful sunny pleasant but a vacation village and so expensive (public transport is terrible so you rent a car which is probably easier and cheaper in bigger towns, rent a room/ apartment/ paying guest expenses (which again is more than usual), food expenses (limited Indian stores so you cannot cook much though this you can work around by sharing and bla bla) and of course even the entertainment costs more because you will live in California. The rest of the expenses (if any) I think should be the same in all places.

If you are looking at GIA for future job opportunities, then decide where you want to spend your coming few years. Carlsbad is definitely not for foreign students looking for an H-1. LA is a great place too if you are looking at California as a whole. It is lesser expense. With the total expenses coming down to at least some 20K USD for the entire course (maybe more now since I graduated almost 4 yrs ago) you should think about how you can earn that amount back.

I’m sure that you are all from well-off backgrounds since you are contemplating GIA to begin with, but that doesn’t mean that you don’t want to earn back what you spend on parhai. If you do manage to secure a job right away it would pay a basic amount so do a bit more of ground work with all of that and make sure you know what you are getting into.

All that said and done, I am a GG from Carlsbad also did the Jewelry Business studies there. After graduating from Carlsbad and settling down in NJ, I recommend that you really need to know the job options available to Indians in NY, CA, Fl and where ever you want to go.

Carlsbad is for those who want to get into international trading at a high-end level. If you have an existing family owned business and want to join only for the knowledge, seriously, Mumbai is a great place to be in (minus the fact that you get to live in US :-) which I think is a great incentive since as a family of jewelers you will realize that this is the only break from family that you will get other than occasional vacations in the future)

If you want to get into international trading, then consider NY and LA centers since THAT is where trading really happens. If you are into colored stone trading then think about Bangkok. If you want a job in INDIA, think a dozen times before investing in your education abroad since it will take forever to earn it back in Rs leave alone making profits.

UK I shall not comment about, because though I have a lot of friends and business associates there, I have never even considered the place. The only reason why I would have ever gone to UK for the course over US may have been the fact that you can get work permit for certain no of hrs even as a student there and of course getting the VISA for UK is a piece of cake.

Here in the US you would get an Optional Practical Training towards the end of your course but it is not the easiest thing to do. OPT also means that as a student you cannot work on an M-1 Visa and you would have to stay an additional 3 months in basic salary and not really advance towards any particular career if you aim towards a business. You must try to call up alumni to find out their opinion.

As far as the quality of education is considered, there will be only a marginal difference if at all between the various centers. Most of what you absorb is absolutely dependent upon your own dedication and willingness to learn. If you are serious about getting the best out of GIA, then start now even before the term begins and start learning about what is available in the market where you want to be or where you are so that when you do study, you will know what to concentrate on.

Carlsbad has its own charm. It has a great library, but whatever you want is what you will get anywhere if you only look and try hard (in the transaction you may learn even more maybe). The GIA Carlsbad lab is something that like several others who I know, was my biggest incentive to go to Carlsbad, but unfortunately despite being next door to the education building, I only went there twice (and never beyond the basic machines...) so that was a beaten purpose. Besides that of course the contacts that we build remain forever.

But whatever place you chose, do find out about the alumni of that institute. You can get a whole list of them if you start googling now. For any questions about my experience or contact information for a few of my friend alumni of GIA, you can write to me at

All the best to all you people and share knowledge as much as you can in this ever-changing trade.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Future of the diamond industry?

Q: What do you think is the future of the diamond industry with the entry of these synthetic diamonds?

I feel that in the future, just like in pearls, synthetics will completely KILL the diamond market. Every attempt is being made to make sure that the real are kept seperate from the synthetic, but without sufficient awareness at the consumer level, the real diamodns will defnitely loose their sparkle to the fake.

Diamonds are aspirational entities. They need to be rare and they need to be desirable. If there are very readily available versions of this tiny bit of glamor, it will eventually loose its desirability. It is very important for the consumer to be aware of the existence and identification of real vs synthetic diamonds. With the obvious mischief that will be created by various marketing teams to promote synthetic diamonds, Im sure the consumer will never know the difference between a real and a synthetic diamond.

Very soon due to a surplus of diamonds, we will be looking out for another form of glamor in this industry. Something as priceless and beautiful as a diamond in itself. Since I doubt the existence of such a substitute, I am assured that the industry is in for a big setback.

This however, will surely take over several decades so benefit as much as you can from the glory and value of a diamond while you can. The reason why I say several decades is because first of all, this will affect the yellower and brown diamonds followed by the smaller diamond industry since that is the size most commonly available in synthetics. That in itself will keep the synthetic manufactureres busy considering the size of the market. Beyond that there will still be research etc happening for creating the bigger diamonds but then our own great 'GIA' will land up with solutions to figure out the fakes vs the reals.

To look back upon history, study the life of the pearl industry, and the moissanite attempts to the diamond market.

You can listen to my weekly radio Jewelry Talk Show, 'Jewelry with Surbhi', on EBC 1170 am or every wednesday 10 am to 12 noon.

Read my column, 'Jewelry with Surbhi' in Cineview a biweekly newspaper distributed along the Eastern US coast

Synthetic Diamonds

Q: Is it possible to identify synthetic diamonds from Natural ones? How?

In the most commonly selling grades such as VS, SI and below, you can very much distinguish the synthetic from a natural diamond. Look in the loupe for the 'synthetic' characterstics such as the carbon deposits and hour glass zoning.

HTHP (High Temperature High Pressure synthetic diamonds) are easier to identify because of the hourglass and the 'hexagon' sort of bands but CVDs (Carbon Vapor Deposited) are much more tricky because their inclusions are very similar natural inclusions.

So the better quality ones such as VVS and over are really really tough to make out especially if they are CVD Diamonds. You would definitely require advanced instruments for those.

To figure out natural vs synthetic diamonds, practise a LOT. Get a bunch of synthetics of various kinds and grades and a bunch of real ones. Look very very carefully to compare the inclusions, their color, reaction in the various advanced gemological instruments. You will be able to eventually make out differences.

While assessing the stones, if you come across obvious natural or obvious synthetic inclusions, you can move on to the next stone. After that point, go on to the advanced instruments. Beyond that you would need to seek external help from bodies such as GIA or EGL etc.

Friday, September 22, 2006

WGC announces Design Contest...

Entries are invited for a new all India jewellery design competition, ‘ATR Gold & New’, that is being organized as part of Lucky Lakshmi – India’s Jewellery Festival. The competition is being organized by World Gold Council (WGC), All India Gems & Jewellery Trade Federation of India (GJF) and ATR Institute of Jewellery Design (ATRIJD) and supported by Jewelbiz India.

The theme selected for the competition is “Fusion” – and contestants have been asked to create designs that marry ethnic charm with contemporary imagination. The designs should be of a necklace set (necklace and earrings) in plain gold of 22k and above.

Originality, interpretation of the ‘Gold and New’ theme, practicality, wearability of the finished piece and the style statement your design makes will be the criteria for judging the designs.

The contest is open to all. A prize of 100 gms of gold will be awarded to the overall winner and 50gms each to the 1st and 2nd runners-up. The remaining nine finalists shall receive 10gms gold each.

In the first round of judging that will take place in Mumbai in the 3rd week of October, the top 100 designs will be short listed, and in the second round held shortly afterwards, 12 finalists will be chosen from among these 100.

These 12 pieces will then be fabricated and the winner selected from among them in the final round of judging in early November 2006.

The last date for entries is October 9, 2006.

For more details please contact Nitin Bardia from

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Attitude of Gold, Jewelry in Krrish and the September Birthstone, Sapphire


To all you wonderful listeners of EBC radio, a warm welcome from your host, Surbhi. I would like to welcome you all to the world of “Jewelry with Surbhi”. Every week, Wednesday 10:00 –12:00 we will talk about a few precious things, about diamonds, about gold, about silver, and about the trends and designs happening in the jewelry industry. We will listen to a few songs and will talk about both these glamorous industries, Bollywood and Jewelry.

So, to begin the show, let me give you a hint of what to expect for today’s episode of “Jewelry with Surbhi”. Today we will talk about the jewelry worn in the movie “Krrish” and the upcoming trends for this fall in India as well as in NJ. Then we will take a brief recap on the Gold market. Followed by discussion about a very common kind of stone setting called “Prong Setting” and what is it that you should know while purchasing jewelry with Prong set stones. And then finally we will talk about the September birthstone, a stone which is conflicting and yet of great relevance to most of us jewelry wearers… Sapphire ie Neelam. So folks, lets begin this beautiful journey of “Jewelry, with Surbhi” with this beautiful song.

SAMA HAI SUHANA – ghar ghar ki kahani

Well friends, that was a lovely number picturised on Mr Rakesh Roshan. I'm sure you must’ve all heard about Rakesh Roshanji’s movie “Krrish”. And if you have seen this movie then you must’ve surely noticed the lovely jewelry worn by Priyanka Chopra. The jewelry in this movie is sponsored by D’damas, a fairly well known jewelry brand. This brand is associated with the World Gold Council and you can look up their collections on their official website,

Throughout the movie, Krrish, we see, very simple, everyday style of jewelry being worn by the lead actress. Most of the times, she has worn very simple Hoops, Studs and drops in a white colored metal and usually no stones are used. This could be white gold or platinum. Hritik Roshan has also worn a ring in white color metal, which looks very much like the trinity band. But most of the finger rings worn by Priyanka Chopra are in yellow gold.

Now since the conversation has already led itself towards gold, lets take a quick look on this week’s “attitude of gold”. This week, on the 12th of September, that was yesterday, we common consumers got relief from the increasing prices of gold after a long time. At 583 $ per ounce, this Tuseday saw a drop in the gold price, the lowest in the last 30 days. In the last 12 months the lowest that gold has been was 445 $ per ounce which was last year September 13th.

For the last few months this steady increase in the gold prices has left us all very wary of buying gold. But despite all these ups and downs, with the gold buying season approaching, if we Indians still continue buying gold by even 20-25 % lesser than usual, then too, India and Indians will still remain the biggest buyers of gold all over the world.

The highest that gold reached for the last 30 days has been 637 $ per ounce on 5th of September and the highest since last year has been 725 $ on 12th May this year. For most part, for the last several years, we have been noticing that gold is following the trend of commodities and oil prices, so while you keep a check on the oil and commodities market, we will keep a tab on the “attitude of gold” in “Jewelry with Surbhi”.

All the material that I am talking about today will also be published on the blogspot or you can even write to me at

After all this serious jargaon about gold prices, lets take a short break and let us listen to these couple of songs from the movie Krrish and after this break, we will talk about the jewelry worn in this movie.



After listening to both those beautiful numbers, and after all those gold price talks, lets come back to the jewelry worn in the super-boy movie, Krrish.

In the first song that we just played, “Koi Tumsa Nahi”, there is one particular necklace and earring set most likely in Diamonds and White Gold, which catches our attention. This diamond set is worn by Priyanka Chopra with a black evening gown. It is also featured in several trailers and ads of the movie. It looks lovely with its chandelier style earrings and very simply designed necklace, worn close to the neck. It has a sort of lacey design, which looks very pretty and delicate.

For those of you, who joined us right now, you are here with me Surbhi in this episode of “Jewelry with Surbhi” and we are talking about the jewelry worn in the movie Krrish. You are tuned in to EBC 1170.

Both the songs that we were just listening to were, from the movie Krrish and we are now going to talk about the jewelry worn in the song, “Koi Tumsa Nahi”

Throughout the movie at various instances, we see a beautiful ring, which Hritik Roshan finally presents to Priyanka Chopra in the song “Koi Tumsa Nahi”. This ring looks like a “U” shaped pipe with both ends trimmed off by 2 gorgeous looking blue colored stones. The ring is made in 18K yellow gold and the stones are most likely Sapphires, both oval brilliant cut. This ring is also sponsored by D’damas and is a part of their “commitment range”. You can get a glimpse of it on their website or in the trailers of “Krrish” on or

As I just mentioned, the stones sort of “block” the pipe like design with a Bezel set for each end. They are set at an angle and face upwards, and this is what makes this ring so interesting and different. The stones are set in bezel setting or bucket setting which is a fairly strong setting so the ring can bear enough daily grinds and still remain intact. We will talk in detail about this kind of setting in upcoming episodes of “Jewelry with Surbhi”, but for the time being, we will talk about another kind of setting, i.e. Prong Setting, after these couple of songs from movies picturised on Hritik Roshan.



Welcome back friends to this episode of “Jewelry with Surbhi”. And I am your host, Surbhi. I am a Graduate Gemologist and an Accessory Designer with specialization in Fine Jewelry design. I practice as a Freelance Designer and Trend Consultant in Fine Jewelry for various companies and individuals. And of course, right now I am also your host and will join you every Wednesday 10-12 in “Jewelry with Surbhi”. If you have any questions, suggestions or comments, I would love to hear from you at . I will look forward to your feedback so that with your suggestions, I can further direct the material, music and temperament of the show, in the upcoming episodes of “Jewelry with Surbhi”.

As of now in today’s show, we have already discussed the jewelry worn in the movie Krrish, and about the “Attitude of Gold” this week. Now we are going to talk about the September birthstone i.e. Sapphire or Neelam.

Amongst all the Blue gemstones that we know of, Sapphire is considered the most valuable or precious and is priced very high. Sapphire is called, “Neelam” in Hindi after its Blue or Neela color. It is a fairly hard stone, 9 on the Mohs scale, which means that it does not get scratched too easily and so it can be conveniently worn for everyday jewelry.

Sapphire is a very important stone historically. We have heard several stories about famous stars, celebrities, kings and Royalties associated with sapphires. Of these, the “Peacock Throne” from the Mughal Era takes the lead. This beautiful throne features a peacock, with an elevated tail adorned by rich blue sapphire and a few other colored stones. Before we go on abut the historical relevance of this blue gem and famous personalities who prefer Sapphire, let us listen to this Peacock song and another one related to the rainy season in India.


NEELA - bluffmaster

As blue as the color of a peacocks blue neck, sapphire is a stone that symbolizes sincerity, royalty and faithfulness. And it is also an excellent choice for engagement rings. In fact, Prince Charles gifted Princess Diana, Prince Albert to Queen Victoria, and also Michael Wilding gave Elizabeth Taylor Sapphire jewelry at various occasions.

The famous Hollywood personality, Mary Pickford owned 2 of the largest and most beautiful sapphires – the 182-carat, Star of Bombay, as well as the over - 500 carat, Star of India. As you can probably figure out from the names, both these huge priceless rocks have origins in India.

These were a few tidbits about the Stars of India. But did you know that the Bollywood star, our own Shehanshah, our Sarkar, Amitabh Bachchan Ji also has a great affiliation for Sapphires. That’s right friends, Amitabh Bachchan Ji also wears Sapphires and does not hesitate to wear his beautiful rocks for the shoots. The most recent movie in which we get a glimpse of his sapphire was “Kabhi Alvida na Kehna”. One of the blogspots that I recently visited said that he actually wears 2 sapphires on his right hand middle finger. That is a rather powerful combination.

It is said that Sapphires do not suit every bodt. Just like diamonds, Sapphire is an extremely powerful stone. We will discuss further about Sapphires and their astrological harms and benefits after a couple of songs featured on Amitabh Ji.



Welcome back friends to Jewlery with Surbhi. right before these beautiful songs I was telling you about Amitabh Bachchan Ji and his Sapphire rings which are often seen in many of his movies and also in Kaun Banega Karorpati

Sapphire ie Neelam, is worn to reduce or neutralize the pressure of Saturn or Shani. It is recommended that sapphire be set in 18K yellow gold and worn in the right hand middle finger for people who need to neutralize the Saturn in their charts. Usually 2 carat stones are recommended. The deeper the color the better or more powerful it is. The color of the sapphire should be a rich blue and neither pale or watery nor too dark or inky. It should not be opaque and should have least amount of inclusions possible. This stone is said to be of equal and opposite power to diamonds so they both more or less neutralize the affect of each other.

In Christian beliefs, Moses was given the Ten Commandments on a tablet of sapphire, rendering it a sacred gemstone. Because of this, sapphires came to be associated with divine favor and became the choice gemstone for kings and rulers. This is why Sapphire is granted the title of “The Divine Gemstone’.

Sapphire in its rich blue color is truly the Gem of the Heavens. Ancient Persians even believed, that the earth rested on a giant sapphire and its reflection is what granted the sky a blue hue.

Let us listen to a few songs before we go on with the various enchanting colors of sapphires. The first song I am about to play for you is one of my personal favorites, “Ma rewa”, sung by the band Indian Ocean and the other is a new version of Jai Jai Shiv Shankar.



Ma rewa… tera paani nirmal… khal khal behta jayo re. That was a beautiful number by the band Indian Ocean. You are listening to Surbhi in this weekly episode of “Jewelry with Surbhi” and right now we are talking about Sapphire, which is also known as the Gem of the Heavens, or the Divine Gemstone or Neelamin Hindi. Sapphire is the birthstone for the month of September.

Because sapphire symbolizes loyalty and sincerity; it is often used in engagement rings. Just in case you have not yet gifted this priceless blue beauty to your spouse on your engagement, then you still have a chance to make it a choice of gift for your 5th or even the 45th wedding anniversary.

Sapphire is used in creating all sorts of jewelry including pendants, rings, earrings, nose rings, bracelets, etc. The highest selling products in Sapphire are finger rings. It can be set in almost any kind of setting and we commonly see it set in Prong, bezel and pave setting. It comes in various shapes such as round, oval, princess i.e. square, baguette i.e. rectangle, trillion i.e. triangle and other fancy shapes such as heart etc. It is also cut in cabochons, which are un-faceted or smooth on the top.

Jaipur is famous for sapphire beads faceted or cabochon, so we procure several sapphire chains from there in graded or even sizes. The way a Sapphire is cut can make a lot of difference to its color. The cut can enhance the color or cause light leakage and destroy the color so it is important that while buying a sapphire you look out for the cut besides just the regular carat and color. While buying a sapphire you must make sure that it is not too watery to look at and also that it is not too dark. It should be of a rich blue color while resting against your skin. If the stone is being used for earrings, then a darker stone can also make do because light will pass through it from the bottom.

So this was all about the cuts of sapphire. Now it is time for another couple of songs and you are here with Surbhi and I will talk to you about the colors of sapphire when we get back. If you are interested in any more details about sapphire or anything related to jewelry, you can write to me at . Stay tuned to EBC Radio, arbitron rated south Asian radio network 1170 am.



Welcome back friends, you are listening ot this edition of “Jewlery with Surbhi” and we are talking about the colors of Sapphire or Neelam.

Sapphires come in a very vivid range of colors. From yellows to reds, blues, pinks etc, this stone belongs to the corundum family of stones. Technically, only a Blue colored sapphire is written off as “Sapphire” which falls in the range of greenish blue to bluish purple hues. Beyond that, a yellow colored is sapphire is written as “Yellow Sapphire” and in hindi it is called “Pukhraaj”. An Orange colored Sapphire is written as “Orange Sapphire” and in Hindi it is called “Padprasha”, which is a very rare stone when real and untreated. A red colored sapphire is actually a ruby which is another precious stone, but I’ll talk about rubies in detail in another episode of jewelry with Surbhi. Besides these a pink, purple, colorless, green or any other color Sapphire is mentioned along with its color.

Sapphire is one of the 9 stones set in Navratna Jewelry and sits directly across a Diamond of equal power. Sapphire is astrologically prescribed in order to neutralize the effects of shani or Saturn, so if your chart requires you to wear one, please do so. But for those who love wearing sapphires and do not need to wear it, you can still wear it in a way such that it does not touch your skin and preferably the rays from the stone also do not fall on your skin. You can achieve this by wearing Sapphire jewelry made in Flush or Closed Bezel Settings.

In Flush setting, the stone is completely buried in the metal so the metal on the bottom is the only thing that touches your skin. And again, in closed bezel setting, the metal bucket is deep enough and also the backing does not permit the stone to touch the skin.

Time for a Blue song for this blue stone. We will be back with more to do with Sapphire so stay tuned to this episode of Jewelry with Surbhi on EBC radio.



Those were two lovely blue songs dedicated to our “blue stone of the month” – Neelam or Sapphire. And you are tuned in to EBC Radio 1170, Arbitron Rated South Asian Radio Network. Since 10 o clock in today’s episode of “Jewelry with Surbhi”, we have been talking about the jewelry worn in the movie Krrish, about the “attitude of gold” and the September birthstone, Sapphire. You can read all this material that I am talking about on and you can also write to me at

The oldest mines of Sapphire are situated in Sri Lanka ie Ceylon. Ceylon sapphires are fairly easily available in the markets. The highest selling commercially selling Sapphires come from Thailand and Australia. Australian sapphires are usually very dark in color and are described as “inky blue”. These stones are usually “Heat treated” to improve the color.

Heat treatment is very much legal, easy to perform and it makes the stones look better so you will find Heat treated Sapphires very commonly in the market. However, saying that, it is also important that we know that absolutely untreated sapphires are always higher in prices. So do not get fooled and buy a heat- treated stone for more.

On the contrary to heat treatment, color treated stones have to be declared. So, it is a good idea to buy your jewelry from a known brand or any other reliable source.

Sapphire look-alike stones are also commercially available in the market. They are sold by several misnomers to deceive the consumers, but if you are careful about what you are buying and buy it from a reliable source then you will be pretty safe and will get a good deal for your money. Synthetic sapphires are also very easily available in common mall shops. These stones also look lovely with all their synthetic perfection. But the aspirational and the material value of these stones can not stand at par with real sapphires.

Tanzanite is another very beautiful looking blue stone, which was also used in the movie “Titanic”. Besides this, some other very pretty blue stones that we commonly use in jewelry are Aquamarine, topaz, turquoise and iolites. We will talk about these blues in the next episode of “Jewelry with Surbhi”.

The most expensive and priceless sapphires come from Kashmir. Due to the tense environment there, these sapphires of “velvety” sheen are no longer easy to get and are priced higher than any other kind of sapphires that we know of other than maybe a few real padprashas or orange sapphires.

Today we have discussed a lot about sapphires, “attitude of gold”, and the movie Krrish. The information shared in these series of “Jewelry with Surbhi” is published on I hope you all enjoyed today’s episode. Please do send me your feedback on . I will look forward to presenting more information and playing more music for you on EBC radio 1170. I am your host, Surbhi signing out for the day. Stay tuned to EBC and have a great day.



Friday, August 04, 2006

New Traditional Jewelry

This is the theme of the silver and gold smiths this year. The contest requires designers to submit only finished pieces for evaluation. It may be a lot to ask for but then think about it... the deadline is Nov 1st so you still have plenty of time.

And for those of us who find it kind of tough express in 2-D, we get to submit the fnal product and show what it is worth.

Also the competition will be pretty easy now that most designers will back out at the thought of producing the final product so there is better probability of being the winner.

Click here for details.
The website is pretty cool if you want an eye tonic for the day.

"Celebrating Diamonds: Timeless Myths and Magic."

Another one for diamonds... design a jewelry piece to Celebrate Diamonds... the Timeless Myth and Magic.

Interesting huh... how anything and everything made in diamonds would say just those exact same words. And that in itself is the competition... what in diamond will be the most beautiful and expressive.

What is it that will give a diamond its true worth? Where is that design which will talk of the glory of that small little speck of luxury?

Click here to read an article about the contest held by DTC. The contest launch is in November 2006. You may please check with us for further details.

A night at the Opera

Another design contest... and this one is truly tempting. The theme is excellent, the host is excellent, the competition is excellent and the timing is perfect.

'A Night at the Opera' deadline for the first draft is 29th of September 2006. Enter as many designs as you can and go as far as you can with elegance, beauty and grace. Go to the opera and feel the glamor. Feel the ambience, the music and the night. And capture all of that and more in those magnificient stones... diamonds.

Enjoy the night... enjoy the design. Click here for the website and contest details.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Be born to Tanzanite

The deadline is approaching soon...

Check out for amazing information for this stone which was made famous by a sinking ship. The stone that changed the profile of the gem cutting industry of Jaipur. The stone that changes color in a shimmer.

Welcome to tanzanite... be born to tanzanite.

For design lovers and those who want to design... dates are approaching fast...


Saturday, January 07, 2006

Oldest Jewelry

Curious about which is the oldest piece of jewelry we know of? Click here to read about it.


This is a write-up about why gold is alloyed? Why is it that this precious material is contaminated. Click here to read about it.

Friday, January 06, 2006



Gold in its pure form is yellow in color and is called PURE GOLD or FINE GOLD. Its purity represented in KARAT. It is alloyed or mixed with other metals in a consistent blend for the following most important reasons:

To achieve the strength or stability in gold
  • Pure gold is very soft and jewelry made in this kind can easily bend and get misshaped. Fine work such as filigree is usually not recommended in pure gold because it can bend out of shape to irreparable extents fairly easily

  • Stones set in pure gold can easily fall out because of the softness of the metal holding them. Most commonly plain gold jewelry is made in 22 K in India and 14K or 18 K in the US.

  • To make a product in higher karat gold, the thickness of the product has to be considerably increased to increase its stability. Thus you will land up paying more for the same design made in higher karat gold.

To achieve color in gold

Gold in its purest form is yellow. Gold is often alloyed with other metals such as silver, copper, zinc, palladium etc to achieve a whiter or paler look. “White” gold is an extremely pale color of gold which looks almost white. This is usually created in 18 K gold or lesser purity of gold.
  • Normally the bright yellow of pure gold reflects off beautifully on darker skin tones. This makes 22 K yellow gold a popular choice in India as well as Africa. However, pale yellow colored jewelry looks beautiful on most paler or lighter colored skins and hence becomes a popular metal in the US, Italy and Australia. White gold is now a popular choice all over the world due to its publicity and resemblance to platinum.

  • Other colors in gold are pink gold, purple, black, green and white. These colors depending on the properties of each are used to enhance design without compensating on the value of the product.

Workability increases when the gold is alloyed
  • It is simpler to create solder (material used to join two pieces of gold) for a lower karat of gold rather than struggle with achieving the purity of 24 K gold.

  • For a craftsman it is easier to work on lower Karat of gold most of the time if the product has to be hand crafted. He has to be much more attentive so as not to ruin his work when working with fine gold.

  • For these above reasons, the making or labor charges may be lesser for a lower karat product in gold.

The cost of metal in a product is reduced considerably
  • If in a 18K gold product, the value of metal used is $ 750, then the same design made in 24K gold will be $ 1000. The same design in 9K gold will be $ 375 only. Thus in a fixed budget one can get more if they are willing to compensate on the karat value of the metal.

  • Since the weight of gold is more than that of silver or copper, (which is the most common alloying metal for making jewelry) hence the mass of 10gm pure gold will be lesser than that of 9 K gold.
  • This means that a 10 gm gold bangle in 24 K is smaller to look at than the same design same weight in 9 K gold.
  • Due to its softness, the higher the karat of gold, the faster it gets scratches thus requires more frequent polishing and hence the loss of precious material. This wear and tear makes the product look older sooner.


Pure or fine gold is 24 K and theoretically this means that the metal has 100% gold content in it.
But for making jewelry, an example of 18 K gold in terms of “fineness” is the gold content expressed in 750 parts per thousand (75.0% gold). The remaining 25% of the metals in this alloy can vary depending upon the property desired.

The percentage of gold in various alloys is given below (the commonly used Karat values are marked in bold).

  1. 24 K = 24/24 * 100 = 100 % Gold; no other metal
  2. 23 K = 23/24 * 100 = 95.83 % Gold; 4.17 % other metals
  3. 22 K = 22/24 * 100 = 91.66 % Gold; 8.34 % other metals
  4. 21 K = 21/24 * 100 = 87.5 % Gold; 12.5 % other metals
  5. 20 K = 20/24 * 100 = 83.33 % Gold; 16.67 % other metals
  6. 19 K = 19/24 * 100 = 79.16 % Gold; 20.84 % other metals
  7. 18 K = 18/24 * 100 = 75 % Gold; 25 % other metals
  8. 17 K = 17/24 * 100 = 70.83 % Gold; 29.17 % other metals
  9. 16 K = 16/24 * 100 = 66.66 % Gold; 33.34 % other metals
  10. 15 K = 15/24 * 100 = 62.5 % Gold; 37.5 % other metals
  11. 14 K = 14/24 * 100 = 58.33 % Gold; 41.67 % other metals
  12. 13 K = 13/24 * 100 = 54.16 % Gold; 45.84 % other metals
  13. 12 K = 12/24 * 100 = 50 % Gold; 50 % other metals
  14. 11 K = 11/24 * 100 = 45.83 % Gold; 54.17 % other metals
  15. 10 K = 10/24 * 100 = 41.66 % Gold; 58.34 % other metals
  16. 9 K = 9/24 * 100 = 37.5 % Gold; 62.5 % other metals
  17. 8 K = 8/24 * 100 = 33.33 % Gold; 66.67 % other metals

Most jewelry worldwide is marked with the caratage or fineness. This may be part of a Hallmark on the jewelry. To read more about Hallmarking and Assaying of gold, please click here.

Something very interesting about gold alloys is that with varying quantity or percentage of alloying metals used, the physical and chemical properties of that alloy can be very cleverly manipulated. A very common use of this fact is that 18 K white gold and 18 K yellow gold has the same content of gold in them, but the color changes. 18 K pink gold is harder to work with than 18 K yellow gold. To read about these differences and how one can use these in their jewelry, click here.

Engagement rings for men

The recent query I got:

Is it true that engagement rings for men should not have diamonds? or is this
just a myth? – Miti Garg

To read about this, please click here

Monday, January 02, 2006

Flush Setting


In this kind of setting, the stone is set completely in the metal so that it looks like its surface is on the same level as the rest of the metal. It is the most stable kind of setting for the safety of the stone.Unfortunately, the stone in this setting has to endure a lot of tension while being set, and if not crafted with experience or care, it can easily get chipped or damaged. Thus the setting cost is a little on the higher side.

Also, in this kind of setting, the stone looks a little smaller and also the metal covers it enough to retard the light reflected back from it.

The other disadvantage of this kind of setting especially in case of deep cut stones is that the amount of metal used is much more than other conventional settings such as prong or bezel settings. The thickness of the metal has to be more than the depth of the stone, so most big stones are NOT set in this style unless manipulated by design technically.

This kind of setting is usually recommended for tougher stones such as Diamonds, Rubies, Sapphires etc. Almost all stones set in this setting look gorgeous especially when complimented with matte finish. This of course depends on the design itself.

"Today, jewelry designers view flush setting – sometimes called burnish setting – as an innovative alternative. Freed from the constraints of channel walls, prongs and groupings, flush setting allows a random, almost whimsical, scattering of gem accents." -by Tom Weishaar

Click here to learn how to set a stone in Flush Setting?