Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Diamond Size Chart for OVAL SHAPED DIAMONDS

  1. 20 cent = 0.2 carat = 4 X 3 mm
  2. 25 cent = 0.25 carat = 5 X 3 mm = 1/4 carat IMPORTANT
  3. 33 cent = 0.33 carat = 5 X 3.5 mm
  4. 40 cent = 0.40 carat = 5 X 4 mm
  5. 50 cent = 0.50 carat = 6 X 4 mm 1/2 carat IMPORTANT
  6. 75 cent = 0.75 carat = 7 X 5 mm 3/4 carat
  7. 100 cent = 1 carat = 7.5 X 5.5 mm Solitaire IMPORTANT
  8. 125 cent = 1.25 carat = 8 X 6 mm
  9. 150 cent = 1.5 carat = 8.5 X 6.5 mm
  10. 175 cent = 1.75 carat = 9 X 6 mm
  11. 200 cent = 2 carat = 9 X 7 mm
  12. 300 cent = 3 carat = 10 X 8 mm
  13. 400 cent = 4 carat = 11 X 9
  14. 500 cent = 5 carat = 12 X 10 mm

Diamond Size chart: Round Brilliant

  1. Chura diamonds / Diamond dust: 0.005 carat = 0.5 cent 1/2 cent = 1mm
  2. 1 cent = 0.01 carat = 1.3 mm IMPORTANT
  3. 2 cent = 0.02 carat = 1.7 mm
  4. 3 cent = 0.03 carat = 2 mm
  5. 4 cent = 0.04 carat = 2.2 mm
  6. 5 cent = 0.05 carat = 2.4 mm IMPORTANT
  7. 6 cent = 0.06 carat = 2.5 mm
  8. 7 cent = 0.07 carat = 2.7 mm
  9. 8 cent = 0.08 carat = 2.8 mm
  10. 9 cent = 0.09 carat = 2.9 mm
  11. 10 cent = 0.1 carat = 3 mm IMPORTANT
  12. 15 cent = 0.15 carat = 3.4 mm
  13. 20 cent = 0.2 carat = 3.8 mm = 1/5th of a carat
  14. 22 cent = 0.22 carat = 3.9 mm = almost 1/4 carat
  15. 25 cent = 0.25 carat = 4 mm 1/4 carat IMPORTANT
  16. 30 cent = 0.30 carat = 4.2 mm
  17. 35 cent = 0.35 carat = 4.5 mm
  18. 40 cent = 0.40 carat = 4.8 mm
  19. 50 cent = 0.50 carat = 5 mm = 1/2 carat IMPORTANT
  20. 60 cent = 0.60 carat = 5.4 mm
  21. 75 cent = 0.75 carat = 6 mm = 3/4 carat IMPORTANT
  22. 95 cent = 0.95 carat = 6.4 mm = almost a carat
  23. 100 cent = 1 carat = 6.5 mm = Solitaire IMPORTANT
  24. 125 cent = 1.25 carat = 7 mm = Sawa carat
  25. 150 cent = 1.50 carat = 7.5 mm
  26. 200 cent = 2 carat = 8 mm
  27. 300 cent = 3 carat = 9.4 mm
  28. 400 cent = 4 carat = 10.4 mm
  29. 500 cent = 5 carat = 11.2 mm
  30. 650 cent = 650 carat = 12 mm

Monday, December 08, 2008

Are the materials used in my jewelry real?

Message: Hi, Surbhi. My mother in law bought about 50 scarab bracelets/necklaces/rings, etc. I am having trouble distinguishing between glass, plastic, stone, gold silver, brass. I know you answered a question about this topic about a year ago. Any extra advice?

1. Look into the loupe
2. Use a diamond tester
3. Get the jewel appraised or certified
4. Get a certificate from the seller
The ground rule for distinguishing the difference between diamond and any other material is to look into it through at least 10 times magnification.

The most important distinction between a natural and man made stone is the difference in the impurities or inclusions inside a stone. You will look for 'bubbles' inside the plastic / glass or natural looking feather like or small black inclusions inside a diamond.

On the surface, what you are looking for is the 'sharp' clean edges of a diamond vs that of plastic. Even the slightest of wear and tear will cause rounding of edges and corners in plastic.

As compared to glass, you will be looking for 'single refraction' inside a diamond. You have to look inside the stone and rocking / swaying it gently to move the 'lines' created by the facets on the bottom of the stone. If you see 'double' lines for each edge of a facet then it is DEFINITELY not a diamond. If you see single lines then you would have to look for further indications as to whether or not the clear stone is a diamond.

Besides this, the weight of a diamond vs the weight of a plastic piece is very different. The diamond is definitely much heavier than either plastic or glass. If you can get a total weight of the stones in carat and then measure each stone (if feasible) in mm then you can refer to any carat-mm chart available online. This is slightly impractical but not really out of the question.

Once you have ruled out that the stone is neither glass nor plastic, then come the real challenge will be to figure out if the stone is synthetic moissanite or synthetic diamond or some other very close imitation of a natural. To rule out any of those, you would probably look for more or less the same... differences in impurities or else take it to someone more experience for an opinion.

To figure out whether or not the metal is gold or not, you would first and foremost weigh it. If the weight tallies with that of the karat of gold that was mentioned, then you are safer and can go on to the next step of using a karatmeter or a gold pen.

Unfortunately, without prior experience, it is not a very easy thing to judge whether the stones are real or not, but if you are a keen observer and sit with a bunch of real stones as well as fake or imitation stones, and a loupe, you will be able to eventually figure out the differences and also the beauty of what makes a stone a 'diamond' vs any other.

All the best, for any further questions or comments, please write to

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Are the mani and pukhraj natural and untreated?


Hi Surbhi,
I came across your e-mail ID, while surfing the net and exploring some details on the two stones " yellow sapphire" and "Ruby".
I am attaching you the lab certificate and the pictures of the two stones, I have checked them under a 10X magnifier and to me as a layman, it looks clear, without any feathers etc, the lab report has the details.
Now the doubt I have is that, the yellow color is looking too good, but I read it could be because of treatment, could it be artificial?.
Do you think I have made a wise decision. I bought it after reading a lot on this stone, and after checking at a few reputed shops only.
I have paid already Rs 26,000/- for the two stones(20 & 6K).
Please advise me and provide me your inputs, will it have positive effects on me.
DOB is **-**-****
Awaiting your valuable advise urgently.
Attached are two pictures and the lab certificate.

Warm Regards,
A*** G****


Hi A***,

Thank you for reading the blog. The certificate that you carry does not any indication of affiliation to any autonomous gem grading/ identification body as such. This simply means that you would have to take the word of the jeweler for this report. It is definitely b
etter than not getting any report at all but not essentially very useful. It is almost like getting his word on paper (but please read the reverse for the terms and conditions)

The reports clearly state that the stones are natural which implies that they are also untreated in unconventional ways. The Refractive Index coinciding with the color is such that it falls in the ruby and yellow sapphire category (both from the corundum family) and both stones being doubly refractive, indicates that they are ruby and sapphire but whether or not natural untreated is a good question.

The report indicates that there are liquid feather inclusion in the Yellow Sapphire and needle like inclusions in the ruby. Please try to look carefully in plain white tube light or day light for these inclusions. I cannot unfortunately make out too much from the images that have been sent in.

In case of the ruby, please keep it on a clean white colored paper upside down and look with minimum 10X loupe (magnification).
  • If you see any curved bands, then the ruby is definitely synthetic but if you see straight lines it may still be natural. You may not see any lines at all that is possible.
  • If you can manage to get the red stone in some UV light (like in some discotheques) and the ruby 'glows' a lot then it is most likely synthetic.
  • Also from the pictures the only thing that I can make out is that the ruby looks dense which means it has a LOT of inclusions which will justify the price (or actually may even be overpriced). The report states that these are rutile (very fine needle like) inclusions... if so then this is most likely a natural not-heat-treated ruby.
  • The report also identifies the color of this stone as dark pink, which should considerably reduce the cost of the stone since it would fall under the classification of pink sapphire in that case.
  • Please let me know if you can see 'through' the stone and if you can see these fine needles.

As for the yellow stone:
  • the color looks good, but the size and cut do not seem to be too great so even though I think you got it at a very good price, you should not be too worried about the authenticity of this stone.
  • Unfortunately there is no easy way to see if the pukhraj is actually natural or not.
  • Again, for the color, there is only one way to figure out if it has been dyed or not and that is to look into the stone for 'dye' marks ie concentration of color in certain places especially towards the edges and around inclusions near the surface. But that is tough to make out without practice.
  • Usually, heat treatment in these stones is considered normal (natural) but dying is not. If you do see the liquid inclusion in the yellow sapphire, then it is most likely not treated with heat. This simply means that if you if you wash it in warm water and soap a few times it should probably start losing color if it has been dyed. Please be careful not to injure the stone while cleaning it.

At this point, looking at just the report and your observation, I would say that the purchase seems authentic though you must try to get your ruby in UV light if you can to make sure of the 'natural' status.

I would also like to clarify for your benefit, that a synthetic stone has the same astrological benefits as a natural one due to same chemical and physical properties. You definitely need to know the natural or otherwise status of your stone to get a fair bargain on it (and to make sure the treatment or inclusions will not interfere with the stability of the stone in future), but besides that you can enjoy wearing your stone just as much as you would a natural untreated one.

I personally am an advocate of natural (preferably untreated) stones but then, not many can cross the path of limitations and challenge them so we do what we can and should enjoy what do get.

India is unfortunately one of the easiest targets for fraudulent people to sell treated or synthetic colored stones under the name of natural. A simple trick that I usually tell my clients to apply when in doubt about a jeweler is to go to the competition. Take your stones to another jeweler and ask him for just the same kind of stone for a pair of earrings etc... he will show you similar kinds and you can ask him as much as you want about your own and compare the price as well.

I hope I have been able to answer your question. Please feel free to ask any further questions that you may have. I would love to hear your comments, suggestions and any other information that you would like to share at

-Surbhi S Gupta

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Beryllium treatement on Yellow Sapphire

This is a really good question. Hope the answer can help many people.

Hi Surbhi,

I was researching some info.on the stone pukhraj/yellow sapphire on
google and I came across your blog. You have given out some tips with
regarsds to the pukhraj stones, what to look for for and what not to

I am currently in the market to buy one and recently I came across one
stone which has been treated a little and has some inclusions but not
much. However the stone is not symmetrical on both side. It is flat on
one side and cone shaped on the other. What are your thoughts on that

Another stone I have is beryllium diffused yellow sapphire. That is what
the jewelery store owner is telling me after doing their test. What
are your thoughts on this kind of stone?

I have to make my decision by Monday, I hope you get my email this
weekend and hopefully I will have a reply from you soon.


There is nothing such as 'little' or 'more' when it comes to treating a stone. The stone is either treated or untreated. Once you know that the stone has been treated, the only question you should worry about whether or not that treatment is permanent and also whether the treatment could be injurious to your health (eg irradiated diamonds)

Beryllium diffusion in yellow sapphire is very similar to dying the sapphire into a deeper richer shade of yellow or orange. This treatment is very very common and it is important that you know that your stone has been treated. The treatment is fairly harmless and permanent so there is no harm in owning such a stone. Upto a certain extent you can also bargain on the price of such a stone.

Astrologically, a treated stone is a matter of personal preference and affordability. The effects should technically be the same as a natural untreated stone but the price should definitely be lower.

Shape: An ideal stone would be the one which is perfect in every way including shape, cut, color and clarity along with the size. But then such a stone would be rare and rather expensive. If you are going to buy a stone which is not symmetrically perfect, then you can work on lowering the price of that stone. When you do consider the shape of a stone, make sure that flat side is not impairing the color or the light passing through that stone too much. To compare, ask the jeweler to show you a really good quality pukhraj and see for yourself the difference between a great cut and a good cut and where you can strike a balance between budget and beauty.

In short, let me put it this way, every woman would love to be naturally beautiful (as a natural stone). Beauty is rare in nature without a flaw so women try to look beautiful with make up (treatment on the stone). Sometimes treatment can be made permanent in some cases such as laser treatment (or like heat treatment in sapphires). It is perfectly harmless in stones as long as it is not dangerous, it is permanent and the price has been adjusted accordingly.

I hope this has helped you resolve the dilemma of buying the stone that you want and has given you enough insight to make the right decision on the price of the stone as well.

Do not hesitate to write to me at for any questions, comments or discussions.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Beautiful Designs

Product 1: Sapphire, Emerald, Diamond adorned in 18 K gold and chains
Inspired by Peacock
Option of wearing the pendant on a fabric ie raw silk or on gold chains or both

Peacock 2: Diamonds and Pearls in 18K gold chains and gold
Use rhodium on diamond area

Peacock 3: Sapphire and emerald on 18 K gold

Om: 18 K gold

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

You like the color... you can wear it

Color is one of the most important feature that distinguishes one stone from the other. It is also that feature of the gemstone which defines its value for the most part.
We know of the most commonly available colors in the market such as Diamond, Ruby, Emerald, Aquamarine and a few others.

Listed below are various colors and stones that come in that color range:

  1. Ruby (Red colored Sapphire)
  2. Tourmaline
  3. Garnet
  4. Coral (High quality)
  5. Quartz
  6. Diamond
  7. Opal
  8. Amber
  9. Topaz
  10. Spinel
  11. Zircon
  1. Emerald (Beryl)
  2. Tourmaline
  3. Peridot
  4. Citrine (Greenish yellow)
  5. Malachite
  6. Garnet
  7. Topaz
  8. Jade
  9. Jadeite
  10. Nephrite
  11. Green Sapphire
  12. Diamond
  13. Andalusite
  14. Chrome Diopside
  15. Zircon
  16. Chrysoprase
  17. Demantoid Garnet
  18. Tsavorite Garnet
  1. Sapphire
  2. Topaz
  3. Aquamarine
  4. Lapis Lazuli
  5. Iolite
  6. Tanzanite
  7. Tourmaline
  8. Opal
  9. Turquoise
  10. Diamond
  11. Zircon
Brown/ Black
  1. Onyx
  2. Tourmaline
  3. Jet
  4. Tigers eye
  5. Sapphire
  6. Coral
  7. Hematite
  8. Diamond
  9. Smoky Quartz
  10. Jasper
  11. Jade
  12. Tiger's Eye Quartz
  1. Pukhraj (Yellow Sapphire)
  2. Tourmaline
  3. Topaz
  4. Quartz
  5. Citrine (Quartz)
  6. Diamond
  7. Golden Beryl or Heliodor
  8. Zulanite
  9. Zircon
  10. Jade
White/ Colorless
  1. Diamond
  2. Cubic Zirconia
  3. American Diamond
  4. Rock Crystal (Quartz)
  5. Milky quartz
  6. Topaz
  7. Sapphire
  8. Moonstone
  9. Cats Eye
  10. Coral
  11. Pearl
  12. Mother of Pearl
  13. Agate
  14. Goshenite (Colorless Beryl)
  1. Padprasha (Sapphire)
  2. Tourmaline
  3. Onyx
  4. Agate
  5. Coral
  6. Fire Opal
  7. Wulfite
  8. Sunstone
  9. Carnellian (Quartz)
  10. Amber
  11. Zircon
  12. Jade
  13. Citrine
  14. Carnelian
  15. Garnet\
  16. Topaz
Purple/ Violet
  1. Amethyst (Quartz)
  2. Sapphire
  3. Kunzite
  1. Sapphire
  2. Tourmaline
  3. Morganite (Beryl)
  4. Rhodochrosite
  5. Rose Quartz
  6. Topaz
  7. Spinel

Thursday, September 11, 2008

पुखराज- येल्लो सफायर

पुखराज, ज्यूपिटर की दृष्टि कम लिए पहना जाता है । Sagittarius (धनु राशि) और pisces (मीन राशि) के महीनो में पैदा हुए लोगों को इस पीले पत्थर के पहने से आम तौर से ज्यादा फायदा होता है । माना जाता है की पुखराज पहनने वाले को मन की शान्ति, धन की प्राप्ति, अच्छी सेहत, अक्ल, लम्बी उम्र, नाम, शोहरत और सहनशीलता प्राप्त होती है ।

पुखराज की पहचान
कोरंदम नाम की प्रकार के पीले रंग के पत्थर को पुखराज या फिर येल्लो सफायर कहते हैं। क्योंकि इस सुनहरे रंग के पत्थर की कीमत आम पत्थरों के मुकाबले काफी ज्यादा होती है, इसी लिए चालाक व्यापारी बाज़ार में कई पीले पत्थरों को पुखराज के नाम से बेचने की कोशिश करते हैं। आम तौर पर इस पत्थर की सही पहचान करना काफ़ी कठिन है, परंतु यदि आप कुछ सरल उपाय लगाये तो कुछ हद तक कम से कम ग़लत पत्थर की पहचान तो कर ही सकते हैं।
  1. पुखराज का रंग पीला होता है । सबसे महंगा पुखराज सरसों के फूल की तरह गहरे पीले रंग का होता है। इसका रंग फीका तो हो सकता है और किसी और रंग में इसका नाम और दाम दोनों ही बदल जाते हैं । पीला रंग ही इसकी पहचान होती है इसी लिए पुखराज खरीदते समय गौर कीजिये इसके पीले रंग की ओर। यदि पीले रंग में नारंगी रंग की मिलावट हो, तो चलेगा परंतु अगर हरे रंग की मिलावट है, तो ये पत्थर पुखराज नही हो सकता. ज़्यादातर जितना गहरा रंग उतना गहरा उसका असर और उतना ही महंगा पत्थर।
  2. कोरंदम नाम की वरईटी के पत्थर जैसे मणि, नीलम, पुखराज, पादापराषा और अन्य सफायर नौ नंबर की सख्ती पर गिने जाते, क्योंकि पुखराज भी इसी परिवार का रत्न है, इसी लिए इस पर आसानी से खरोंचे और दरार नहीं पड़ती प्रत्येक दिन पहने जाने वाली पुखराज की जेवेलरी आसानी से ख़राब नही होनी चाहिए। पीले रंग के और पत्थर इससे ज्यादा जल्दी ख़राब हो जाते हैं।
  3. कुछ जौहरी पुखराज की पहचान पत्थर छूने से करते हैं. एक आम जैमौलोजिस्ट पुखराज की पहचान कुछ सरल उपाय से कर सकता है।
  4. पुखराज महंगा पत्थर होता है, तो सबसे पहले आप गौर कीजिये कि जौहरी आपको इसकी क्या कीमत बताता है। इसकी कीमत पर। अगर कीमत कुछ ज्यादा ही ख़ास है, तो और ध्यान दीजिये कि आप क्या खरीद रहे हैं।
पुखराज का रंग
जितना गहरा और चौकन्ना किसी भी रंगीन रत्न का रंग, उतना ही उसका मोल। गहरा नारंगी- पीला रंग पुखराज का सबसे अच्छा माना जाता है। परन्तु रंग आपका अपना शौक है और इसी बात पर निर्धारित होता है अच्छे और बुरे का अन्तर.
किसी भी पुखराज में ध्यान रखिये की उसका रंग पूरे में एकसार हो। यदि पुखराज का चूड़ी या हार इत्यादि है जिसमे कई पुखराज लगे हैं, तो सभी का रंग एकसार पीला होना चाहिए।
मार्केट में मिलने वाले कुछ पुखराज का रंग उपरी डाई से लगाया जाता है। ये रंग धुप और परफ्यूम से ढल सकता है और इसकी कीमत सच्चे पुखराज से कम होनी चाहिए।

पुखराज का वजन
ज्यादातार हर रत्न का भाव उसके वजन के साथ बढ़ने लगता है। पुखराज का कैरेट दाम भी उसके वजन के साथ बढ़ जाता है। साईज आपके सहूलियत, डिजायन, राशी और अपना शौक देख कर लेना चाहिए।

पुखराज का आकार
आकार एक ऐसा गुण है, जिसे कि आम तौर पर लोग नज़रंदाज़ कर देते हैं। अगर आप ओवल पुखराज खरीद रहे हैं, तो ध्यान दीजिये उसकी आकृति पर। हर तरफ़ सुमेल होनी चाहिये। ऐसा न हो कि एक तरफ़ चपटी हो और दूसरी तरफ़ उभरी हुई।
अगर पत्थर ज्यादा गहरा है, तो उसमे एक कालापन दिखेगा और यदी उथला है, तो रंग फीका लगने लगेगा । खरीदते समय ध्यान रखें की पत्थर कहीं से भी खंड न हो।

पत्थर की स्पष्टता
हर असली रत्न के अन्दर प्राकृतिक अंतर्वेशन होते ही हैं। बिना किसी दोष के प्राकृतिक रत्न बहुत असाधारण होते है और उनकी कीमत बोहुत ज्यादा हो जाती है। इसी कारण आप अपना पत्थर चुनने से पहले ये ध्यान कीजिये कि उसके अन्दर जितने कम दोष हों उतना अच्छा है परन्तु आपके आयव्ययक के अन्दर हो।
राशि के उपयुक्त, आपको वो रत्न चुनना चाहिए, जिसमें दोष, धुन्दलापन न होकर छोटी छोटी काले रंग की त्रुति हो जो अधिमान्यता से किनारे की तरफ हो। इस दोष से पत्थर के अन्दर से जाने वाली रौशनी में बाधा नही पढ़नी चाहिए।
गौर कीजिये की धुन्दला पुखराज खरीदने से बेहतर है फीके रंग का पत्थर खरीदना।

पुखराज की चमक
रत्न के ऊपर कोई उपरी खरोंच या चोट नही होनी चाहिए। सफ़ेद रौशनी में पत्थर को हल्का से हिला कर देख ली जिए की उसकी चमक कैसी है।

पुखराज का मोल
अब आते हैं सबसे ज़रूरी बात पर - पुखराज का दाम। किसी भी रत्ना का दाम लगाना वैसे तो आसान नहीं होता, मगर यदि आप उसके पैसे पर थोड़ा सा अनुसंधान करें तो आप बेहतर पुखराज पा सकते हैं उसी दाम में। इन्टरनेट पर गूगल कीजिये, ऑनलाइन दूकान पर जाइए और भिन्न जौहरी की दुकानों पर जाकर पुखराज के दाम का पता कीजिये।

एक और नज़र डालते हैं, पुखराज खरीदने के प्रयत्न पर:
  • कोई भी रत्न खरीदने से पहले कई दुकानों पर भेंट कीजिये और तुलना कीजिये आम पुखराज की एक दुसरे से उसके मोल को सही भांपने के लिए।
  • सबसे महंगा पुखराज मंगवाइये और उसमें गौर कीजिये रंग, दोष, आकृति और दाम पर। ये प्रयत्न करने से आपको समझ आ जाएगा कि अच्छे और ठीक ठाक में क्या अन्तर होता है।
  • यदि आपको पुखराज के बारे में पहले से जानकारी होगी, तो दुकानदार आपको ठगने की कोशिश नही करेगा
  • दुकानदार से स्पष्टता से पत्थर को वापस लेने की योजना के बारे में और उसकी उन्नति के बारे में। अदल बदल कि बात भी कीजिये।
  • जितना शिक्षित जौहरी, उतनी ही प्रायिक्ता की आपको सही रत्न मिलेगा। जौहरी ग्यानी होना चाहिए और अध्यापक भी।
  • नये जोहरी के पास जाने से मत कत्राइये उलटा उस्क्से ज्यादा जानकारी हासिल कीजिये। ऐसे जौहरी से मत खरीदिये, जिसके पास वापस जाने में हिचकिचाहट हो यदि आपको खरीदारी के दौरान पत्थर में कोई कमी लगे।
गहनों और आभूषण से सम्बंधित यदि आपके कोई प्रश्न, स्पष्टता, जिज्ञासा या चर्चा हो, तो ईमेल कीजिये पर।

सुरभि एक जानी हुई मणिकार हैं, जो जेवर अभिकल्पक के कार्य में ८ वर्ष से उप्पर से लगी हैं। सुरभि अमेरिका में रेडियो पर 'Jewelry with Surbhi' नाम का साप्ताहिक शो प्रस्तुत करती हैं। हीरों से ले कर, डिजाईन, सोने के खरीद, शादी के गहनों की परमर्श तक करती हैं। और जानकारी हासिल करने के लिए पढिये सुरभि के द्वारा लिखे गए लेख उनके ब्लॉग '' पर। संपर्क करें पर।

Thursday, July 17, 2008

GIA Business... is it worth it ???

I'm a B.E graduate in computer science from bangalore... dad owns a jewelry manufacturing company....
i was planning to do management and manufacturing studies before joining him... was considering to do them at GIA... how is the management studies there??? there are hardly much ppl here who knows that GIA does offer that too...
it will glad if u can let me know about is it worth taking it up or what r other options available...
and i will also be thankful to u if u can help me with scholarship details...

It is great to know that you are planning to pursue your career by joining the family business. That is probably one of the best modules to build a successful business. Anyways, coming back to you as a person, you have completed computer science for a reason. Think again, what was the reason. How much have you participated so far in your family business and where do you intend to do in future. The reason why this is important is that you will be spending a lot of money in a highly specialized field of study and if you do not use it towards the business, it may not be that fruitful.

The GIA business school is excellent for those who want to expand globally. It is a very well rounded specific to jewelry program, which is expensive and time consuming but very fruitful if you are serious about joining the family business and adding enough to the pool to really justify your studies at GIA.

If your family business is small and is not looking into expansion in a big way, then it would be better that you take up only the basic business course (principle courses alone) to begin with., or else simply go with the online course. Along with this basic, you should try to make use of the most coveted course from GIA ie Graduate Gemology. If you do decide that the family business is ready for global expansion within the next couple of years, then you must first try to spend some time at the factory and deal with a few clients (maybe under supervision) BEFORE you actually land up at GIA without any prior knowledge of what you should concentrate upon.

The best platform for you right now is to practise and learn from your father. When you feel that you have understood operations and material at your fathers place, then join GIA and get the most from that. It is a very concentrated potion of education that they give you there and the max you can benefit is if you are already aware of the basics of what you are looking at.

You can get in touch with GIA alumni and faculty to get their opinions and facts about GIA in greater detail.

As far as the scholrships are concerned, for you who whould be studying on an M-1 Visa, it is close to impossible to get one in US. However, you will get a fwe weeks of Optional Practical Training after the course get over, but you would have to start looking for this job from as soon as you enter the US. Another option to earn money is to enter competitions and win them. You may also apply for a loan in India.

While you are at it, consider distance education as well as studying in Mumbai. Again, the place where you study depends a lot on where you want to take your fathers company. If you are dealing majorly in stones, then Bangkok or Madagascar are good options. If you are exporting to the US, then see where you are NOT exporting yet and spend time in various parts of US to get better exposure. If you are looking at manufacturing then China may be a good option, for diamonds, definitely Mumbai and so on and so forth.

Again be prepared for what you want to in future and educate yourself using the resources available to you judiciaously and carefully. All the best. Contact me in case of any doubt, questions or suggestions at

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Buying a Pukhraj

Yellow sapphire, commonly known as Pukhraj is a variety of corundum, the same family as that of a blue sapphire (neelam) as well as a red sapphire (ruby or mani).

Essentially, as a rule, the more vibrant the color of a pukhraj the better it is considered. You will be looking for a color that reminds you of a canary (bird) slightly orangish-yellow color. Even though it is common to find pale watery yellow colored pukhraj, but the best ones are rich (deep) and very yellow to look at. You can select color on the basis of your budget and personal preference.
Also the color should be evenly distributed throughout the stone. Lighter stone is supposed to grant better effect than a patchy one... so make sure that there is even yellow all over the stone.

Carat/ weight:
The per-carat weight increases as the size of a stone increases. So buy what is recommended or as your budget permits.

Something that most people miss out on... it should be symettrical to look at. Look at the oval shape if that is what you are buying. It should not be 'fat' on one side and 'flat' on the other. Look for the depth inside the stone. The cut should be such that there is no 'shadow' in the stone (when you can see directly through the stone and it is cut very shallow) and neither should it be too deep so that the looks like there is no luster in it. Essentially I would recommend that you ask the jeweler to show you a really expensive y.sapphire and compare that with what you want.

The best stones are the ones with least number of inclusions (fogginess and dark particles inside the stone). But for astrological purposes, you may choose to buy one with few inclusions but clean enough for the light to pass through. It should not be 'foggy' and it should not be dense inside itself. Remember it is better to buy a lighter color rather than a stone which does not let light pass though at all. Something to note is that MOST stones will have natural inclusions so you cannot avoid them completely.

The surface of the stone should not be scratched. You can move the stone a bit and see the light reflecting off the surface to see this.

Please do make sure that you hunt around in several stores before you finally go ahead and buy the stone. That is the least you can do to save yourself some money or rather buy some more in the same amount. Most of all, feel free to BARGAIN...

Wherever you buy it from, make sure that the store is such that they want to build a name and will pay utmost attention to customer service. If they have knowledge about their goods and are willing to share that knowledge with you, then it is worth paying them a bit more for this knowledge and getting the right thing rather than wasting it on someone who is out to cheat you. So since the name game is important in jewelry purchase, try to buy from a local brand if not a big one if possible. But do shop around for prices and quality. Also make sure that they give you a complete idea of their return/ exchange/ upgrade policies.
Online purchase is also not a bad idea if you go to well known stores and they have a good return policy with no obligations.

For any clarification on any of the above, please feel free to write to me at
To buy directly from me, please send me a mail and details of what you would like to buy at

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

What to expect at JCK Las Vegas 2008?

This year's JCK will be much like yesterday's Oscars, a glum affair. Just as Oscars were boring, plain and un-trendy, JCK 2008 will be repetitive, uncreative and depressed. Just as writers strike was harbinger of things to come for Oscars, the recession fears bode a very bad omen for JCK 2008.

You can expect the usual players at the JCK but do not expect the "pizazz" and the dazzle at the show. The executives will be chasing hard to find deals. Like Oscars, you can expect a strong showing by international players. There will surely be a lot of companies from China who will be putting booths. But judging by the economy, I am skipping this yearly ritual in Vegas.

Is it worth it to fly to Vegas even if it seems to be a lackluster event? I do not think it is worth it to spend the time to this show. If you are genuinely interested then you are better of taking the 2007 list, visiting every company's website and talking to them on phone. Most of the companies will be very eager to get your business. If analyzing trend is the sole reason you want to visit Vegas, then I will suggest you sample your jewelry on the main page of all the prominent retailers. This will be a good substitute. With economy in dire straits, it will make sense to keep your expenses as low as possible.

It has been amazing as to how many people have contacted me about my series "Designing in Recession". That truly gives you an idea of whats weighing on people's minds these days.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Instrinic Value of a Stone

In finance speak, stones are like Options. Like "Options", they have a distinct intrinsic value and an extrinsic value called aspirational (emotional, beauty in the eyes of beholder) value. While it is difficult to value the extrinsic aspect of a stone, we can try to understand how an intrinsic value can be measured.

So, what does the intrinsic value of a stone mean? How do we quantify it? And what it means to an average Joe buying a synthetic? Below is our first crack at the factors trying to ascertain an intrinsic value of a stone.

  1. Maintenance Value :- How much cost is incurred in maintaining a diamond such that it does not loose its value.

  2. Replacement Value :- If you want to buy a similar stone at any point in time, how much would you have to pay. Ordinarily, the price should increase at least at the rate of inflation. This would mean that the intrinsic value is age-neutral. If the annualized price increase is greater than inflation then there is a higher rate of return and the intrinsic value increases with time. Some can argue that the replacement value can easily contain "extrinsic" component a stone's pricing. If some extrinsic component does get priced as intrinsic with time then it is only because of the intrinsic capabilities of a stone and it does not change regardless of who possesses it. For example, jewels that are placed in museums or are bestowed in crown jewels are special and have a higher intrinsic value.

  3. Exchange Value :- If the stone can be exchanged with other stones of similar properties then it means that the stone is not exclusive enough. Thus, there is always an upper bound on a stone's replacement value which is determined by the market and not by the qualities of the stone.

Thus a resale value of a stone can be put simply as:

Resale Value = Intrinsic Value + Fractional Extrinsic Value

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Silver vs. White Gold

So you are thinking of wearing Silver ???

Silver is affordable and sometimes fashionable:
Silver being less expensive than gold, sounds like a more feasible option to use instead of white gold. It values not only lesser in dollars per ounce but is also lighter in weight (mass) and hence lesser quantity will be used to create the same piece when compared to gold. (A 10 gm gold bangle will look bigger when made in 10 gms of silver). Usually in the jewelry market we use sterling silver (925 parts silver in every 1000 parts of an alloy) for all purposes of strength and durability. Modern brands such as Scott Kay, David Yurman, Roberto Coin and many more use Silver as the base metal for fine jewelry. Silver makes a piece of jewelry more affordable for a larger crowd and hence more acceptable than many other metals. The wastage in silver jewelry manufacture is not as expensive as in white gold and hence the overhead charges are in control. So at the end of the day it is either the expense or it is the statement that drives us to buy silver.

Few style and techniques such as oxidization and burnishing can only happen in silver for e.g. in Mokume Gane, the Japanese technique of Metal smithing, without the presence of silver, etching cannot happen. Similarly, in Kundan jewelry, the Indian antique jewelry style with prominent use of uncut diamond, silver is an essential metal to bring out the shine in the diamond.

Most of all, silver is originally white and whereas white gold is technically pale yellow in color and needs a coting of rhodium to enhance the white color.

But white Gold is better for fine jewelry:
However, cost sometimes can truly buy quality. In this case, durability at least!!! Silver tarnishes fairly easily when exposed to the atmosphere due to reaction with sulfur present in minute traces in the air. The temporary brownish tint caused by this reaction can be removed by cleaning with regular silver polish available in the market, however it is a repetitive activity. Also such frequent cleaning of the delicate product may render the stones loose from their setting. Silver is also a known material to cause allergy whereas Gold is a fairly well known hypoallergic metal in higher grade of alloy. Silver is a softer metal than gold thus the prongs built in silver to hold the precious stones as well as the links can easily get damaged. Silver gets scratched easily as well.

But for those who want the benefit of wearing jewelry crafted beautifully in good looking stones without living with the burden of the extreme expense accompanied, silver is a beautiful metal!!!

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Designing in Recession - Part II

(Designing in Recession - Part I)

The customer jewelry buying behavior during recession can be divided in two parts:
  • The initial bang where everyone takes a hit and essential purchase is the only thing that happens
  • And the follow up, when people try to recover and there is hope and struggle, a mood that sets the purchase in every field
Let us begin with the first part of Jewelry Buying behavior during Recession
We are at a point where we know what sells is what is essential... Engagement rings and wedding bands. The next product category that will sell are earrings and pendants. And finally the rest of the categories in this luxury market, bracelets, necklaces, watches and the rest are going to be a much tougher sell than usual.

Competition has never been tougher, so what is it in a product that will sell and what will take a step back?

Let's Talk about the materials:
Your customer for an engagement ring wants to pay less without a compromise in his expression of love because this is the most important piece of jewel that he is about to buy. To deliver to him what he desires, we must have a look at the most important ingredient in making an engagement ring: the material. The rock and the metal that holds this beauty.

The various options that you have, while choosing the metal for an engagement ring is usually gold or platinum. Despite the fluctuating prices of gold, it is still cheaper than Platinum which makes gold the obvious choice for the metal. 18K Gold will however compete with 14K and that is something that a store should look into as the personal choice of their clients.

A bigger diamond is usually considered better and therefore the compromise is made in the rest of the 4C's of a diamond. This is specially true during a recession. Customers will prefer size over color, clarity and cut. Help your clients make a decision by offering them better clarity and a bigger size with compensation in the lesser known Cut and Color. The key is to set the right balance of visual appeal and worth.

Give your customers a break and introduce them to the fascinating world of colored stones. Since an engagement ring is all about the rock, give them an option of other stones such as Topaz, Citrine, Quartz and other stones used for Engagement rings. Give diamond accents around the stone or else in a diamond ring, give accents by use of other color stones. Synthetics and treatments are coming in strong, but make sure your clients are well aware of the drawbacks of these options regarding the return policy and investment.

Lets now talk about the design:

Limit the metal: A Classic design such as a simple diamond held in a prong setting is most likely to sell faster than a more modern tension or even a bezel set diamond ring. The use of metal should be limited to what is required rather than being ornate. Comfort setting may not be a big seller for once. People are looking for what shows without having to pay the price of what does not. So get rid of that excess metal on the bottom of the shank and stay away from tension and flush settings.

Increase the visual size: Add in accents where ever possible to introduce the look of "bold" and splash in some color. Use shapes other than round brilliant for options because some of them look bigger and cost lesser while hiding the flaws better.

Do not miss out on the manufacturing details such as white prongs ALWAYS and back the diamond with white rhodium. Use accents of lower color grade than the main diamond to make it look apparently whiter. Do not allow the prongs to over lap the diamond but make them big enough to compliment the diamond and increase its visual size.

Raise the diamond to give it prominence. Lower the rest of the diamonds to highlight the center stone. The few things that you cannot compromise on are the strength of the prongs and the width of the ring in context with the design.

To make the sale:

If you have a discount to offer, then flaunt it and publicize it.

Know what your competition has to offer because his customer could be yours and vice versa. This is the only time when you will get new customers because customer loyalty will strictly be dictated by price and quality. So make sure that every window in your store and every ad you put across is as inviting as a warm Christmas cake because that is what your customer will look at in times as these.

Your priority at this point is to move your inventory in all segments, so make that your motto. Instead of simply reducing the direct cost of the ring, add in a bonus or discount for the next purchase. Or simply offer another product for the price of the discount you were about to offer.

Subtly remind your client of what they already own and make them feel good about it by offering jewelry cleaning and repair etc.

To reduce inventory costs be more creative with stocking up samples of that which will sell and can be easily modified to more complex designs. By this I mean that for every few similar looking designs, keep 1 ring complete with the setting etc to represent the several blanks ready to set the stone that your customer may choose. Keep the option of introducing other stones ready so as not to at least loose the customer.

Open up your online subscription to buying ready stones without raising the costs and yet maintaining the variety. Keep your catalogs ready and make yourself available on the world wide web. Internet is the most important tool you can put to use to promote yourself.

Brush up your sales staff, because the knowledge of product is the key factor to sales more now than ever before.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Employment Peril for Designers Or Not!!

Designers, brace yourself. This year will be a bumpy ride.

Tiffany & Co. just released its sales data for the month of November and December. Its US same store sales fell 2% according to the Wall Street Journal.

Tiffany's sales figures are a benchmark for luxury goods market. Jewelry represents the one of the highest elasticity (in microeconomic terms) products. This means that the demand for jewelry is highly sensitive to the price or willingness to pay. With a downturn expected, if willingness to pay decreases by 1% , the demand for jewelry lowers by a much greater percentage. The direct effect of reduced demand is in the sales numbers. Taking Tiffany's a high end jewelry brand moving into mass jewelry as an example we can fairly assume that the overall luxury product market should not be doing well either.

If a company chooses to cut costs, then laying off designers will certainly be item on the table. So, what kind of companies will be more prone to cutting costs. We believe that companies which sell low end jewelry and compete on cost are prone to slashing costs. Thus, if you work at one of this type of companies that you should be scared about your job.

If a company chooses to be more efficient by doing more with the same and in a better way, then it may not have to slash jobs after all. They may ask designers to be more thorough in their designs. They may ask product management to consider product lines more carefully... and the list goes on. A company that competes on quality of design has higher gross margins and is more likely to fall under this category.

Do yourself a favor? Estimate the gross margins of your firm and compare it with the Zales or Kay jewelers!!

Does the lowering of sales mean that companies will hire less jewelry designers? It could be true but let us dissect the issue analytically. Low demand usually means higher backlog of stale inventory which means higher discounts for consumers. More competition with the new collections. Lesser price quotes on the fresh products and hence reduction in profitability of the company.

Some companies react by cutting costs while others manage to be more efficient.

If a company chooses to cut costs, then laying off employees including designers will certainly be first thing on the table. So, what kind of companies will be more prone to cutting costs. We believe that companies which sell low end jewelry and compete on cost are prone to slashing costs. Thus, if you work at one of this type of companies that you should be scared about your job.

Do not forget... for a company like Tiffany there are only a couple of designers (labels) that work. The first few in the list to be chucked off are the out sourced manufacturers. The designers that work for those manufacturers would get lesser work (usually commission based) and hence lesser money. Usually all companies big and small have a few in-house and more outsourced/ freelance designers... they are usually the lesser affected people.

Independent designers are actually the ones who would really have to take the blow. Reason... safer jewelry buying habits will encourage the 'back to basics' kind of designs for which bigger players and direct manufacturers can provide better value/worth.

What will change however is the material and design... less comprehensive 'big diamond' look will be replaced by 'spread out color'. More bizarre forms and catchy patterns etc will happen over classic look. Expensive material will be replaced by simpler look alikes or wannabes materials. More variety will start so costume and imitation jewelry will be more into vogue than ever before. Synthetics may come in big but I highly doubt that considering it is still a big price as compared to lesser precious but real stones.

Combination of materials will definitely be in. More emphasis on other accessories will start taking over gradually and we will be back to earring-ring basics. Let us not forget the season as well though... that takes us to the more vivid color palatte and more variety of everyday jewelry. Designers do not get laid off under such circumstances rather their work only gets tougher and lesser money for them considering usually a percentage is paid for the design. Since lesser expensive jewelry comes in so volume of sales shoots up ... more designs required and hence more designers.

So in conclusion... designers brace up for more work less pay...

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Designing in Recession - Part I

When a product gets hard to sell, a design gets harder to create.

One of the aspects that needs to be considered is the behavioral changes in a consumer when it comes to shopping for jewelry. Recession causes consumers to scale back on their discretionary spending. Jewelry is one of the first things that one would willingly live without.

There will always be the ever lasting engagement rings and other staples that will continue to sell. After all, in the burning fire of love and romance, what's a recession to come in the way of a proposal. Usually the savings begin months and sometimes even years before the actual proposal and purchase.

Due to recession, however, the prices and the demand for new engagement rings can be affected by the surrounding inventory in the store. The stores will in order to churn their inventory and move or rotate the dead stock give heavy discounts on the products. And so an average consumer may find it easier to shop for the lower prices.

In such an environment, it is tough to stand out. Thus, stores and designers who focus on creative and variety of designs with alternates to price ranges for engagement rings and other staple jewelry can increase their margins and keep customers attracted. We believe that the behavior of the customer alters when a customer feels that he/she can bargain for price.

Again, to hold the line on prices, the customer needs to be enticed with variety of designs. Some may argue what's so special about recession since it is always a nobrainer to keep a variety of designs. Well, during recession there is only so much inventory you can keep so a company has to be very selective in their products and designs. We are suggesting that it will be a good idea to stick to the staples like the engagement rings.

Aspirational shoppers will drool over every piece of fine jewelry standing at the window of Tiffay's at 5th Avenue. But, a large mortgage bill or unpaid credit card bills compounded by threats of job loss will definitely prevent the consumer from buying their aspiration. We believe that another type of product that might outsell its peer could be the ones made of less expensive stone but supreme design. This is to increase the affordability and maintain the sizzle of aspiration as much as possible.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Copyrighting Design Inspiration

So when Heidi Klum gets sued by Van Cleef and Arpels does it represent a terminal shift in the way the business of design is conducted? A $25,000 lawsuit doesn't seem much of an amount for Van Cleef and Arpels (though it may be big for a budding designer in Heidi) yet the repercussion of the lawsuit could be huge in the business of design. Is this really a precedent for industry wide litigation fest or is this just a minor show of strength between two designers?

Can design be patented or copyrighted? Really?
Van Cleef and Arpels claims that Heidi Klum's design company copied the Van Cleef And Arpel's Alhambra jewelry. Alhambra jewelry is a derivative of Clover design pioneered by Coco Chanel and others. Whether Heidi Klum's company copied the designs is another matter but a bigger question is the protection offered to designers by law. Clearly, patents and copyright laws are not sufficient to protect designers. A patent can protect a chemical formula of a drug made by Pfizer but how can it enforce the copying of designs. Designs are conceived from inspiration and can inspiration be copyright protected? It is the derivation of these inspirations that manifest in the designs that we have to love. There appears to be a very narrow band within which copyright and patent laws offer protection to designers.

Lost Revenues or Lost Identity?
Another difficulty is the assessment of reparations for lost sales over copying of designs. On what basis can a company claim a specific amount as compensation for copying? Van Cleef and Arpels may well have pulled out the $25,000 amount on the ability to pay rather than actual losses they may have suffered. Jewelry Designs are forms of art rather are very difficult to value. Companies can year over year sales and can come up with a number but it is really all that a company lost?

We at design depot believe that copied design result in a loss of identity which is a far significant loss than any lost revenue. Directly copied designs are a blow below the belt that breaks the unwritten code of honor among designers. It may serve as a business strategy to make quick profits but it can never result in a sustained competitive advantage and a lasting brand image.

Brand image and jewelry designs are inexplicably linked. Every jewelry brand have their signature collections. These collections may morph over time but they represent the true identity of the brand. This identity does not depend on the designer but the brand and its brand managers. For example, Van Cleef and Arpels designs are inspired by nature and fantasy. Is it possible that Van Cleef Arpels is signaling to all the inspiring designers that they will fight tooth and nail and not take any competition lightly?

It remains to be seen how this lawsuit out in the end....