Saturday, September 25, 2010

5 Steps to Buying Jewelry - The Jewelry Buying Process

All jewelry shoppers follow a five step buying process. How this process plays out and over what period of time totally depends on the type of jewelry purchase that you are making. It is important for jewelry shoppers to understand this process in order to get the best deals and best jewelry designs. An inexperienced salesperson will have you believe that best deal and design is dependent on time and place (in other words luck). But the fact is that luck has very little to do with finding the best design that you want at the best price that you are willing to pay. Below is the short guide to the buying process that you always follow (knowingly or unknowingly) and if you understand this process better then it will help you get the best jewelry designs at best affordable prices.

You are in one of two categories of jewelry shopper - either (1) You are in the market to buy that next piece of jewelry that will make you look great.  OR (2) You already have a collection of jewelry designs that makes you look great.

Step 1 - Identify the jewelry you want
It is important to figure out what you type of jewelry do you need before you proceed to the next step of the buying process. How you look for the best designs and best deals is totally dependent on what type of jewelry are you looking for. If you need a pair of earrings then you should understand if you need those in gold or silver.  It is not easy to figure out what is the next jewelry piece that you want and this is the step where you will spend the most amount of time.

The better you understand what jewelry you need, the better you will be in having a satisfying buying experience. To better explain this process, I will use the following example- you decided that you need a cuff with bold ascent to go with a wonderful evening gown that you just bought.

Step 2 - Gathering information (Window shopping is your best friend)
This is the step which helps you refine your understanding of needs. For example, if you decided that you need a cuff with bold ascent then the next step is to gather information about the cuffs that are in style and the locations where they are available. This step will then allow you to further refine your need. Suppose you choose to buy a gold plated silver cuff then you will need to do online research to find the best deals on that gold plated silver cuff that you need.

Step 1 and Step 2 are iterative process. The more expensive the jewelry that you buy, the more iterative the process will be. In case of an impulse buy, you will not spend more than 5 minutes on these steps.

Step 3 - Narrow your choices and evaluate
Once you have gather all the various choices available to you regarding your gold plated silver cuff, you want to evaluate the various choices. This is the place where you consider other very important aspects of your purchase such as price, brand, quality and service.

If you have spent enough time in steps 1 & 2, you will most likely narrow your choices to your initial goals of getting the best design that makes you look good and finding the best deals. If for some reason you are not satisfied with the pricing of your choices, then you can go back to steps 1 & 2 which is akin to "continue looking".

If you walk into a jewelry store then an experiences salesperson will try to get you to narrow your choices and move directly to step 4. On the other hand, a good salesperson will focus on your needs and provide you as much information as possible.

Step 4 - Closing the deal
Deciding to buy and closing the deal is more of an event in the jewelry buying process than a step. Once  you have understood your needs, gathered all the info and evaluated all the choices, then closing the deal is a mere event. Most experienced salesperson know that and there they only focus on the first three steps.

Step 5 - Assess your jewelry
After you buy the jewelry that you so carefully selected, it is very important to continue to assess how it is looking and fitting you. This assessment will help you immensely when you set out to buy the next piece of that great polki earring.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Is buying Silver jewelry from Costco a good idea?

Costco is the best buy
For all things in general, Costco offers you a good deal- the perfect blend of value, quality and price i.e for the same quality of product and same design you will probably NOT find any other place offering more value than Costco.. It is no wonder that Warren Buffet said that Costco is the "best business" in America in 2009.
Please note that the emphasis is on "same quality and design". But lowest prices on a product does not mean  necessarily mean that it is the best value.

What is a GOOD DEAL?
When it comes to Silver Jewelry, you would naturally think that Costco would give you a good deal. But at this point, one should stop and think again, what is value in terms of jewelry? If you literally split the price tag on any jewelry product, you would be paying for material, craftsmanship, design and last but possibly the most important, the brand.

Those who sell through Costco obviously realize this fact, but do those who buy it from them? In the recent past, there have been just 3-4 brands that have sold Sterling Silver jewelry through Costco, including Lucky Clover Jewelry, Jewelry to your Doorstep, Telesto Designs Jewelry and Kazia Digo Jewelry.

Let us look at each one briefly:

Kazia Digo Jewelry:
These guys at sell mostly Sterling Silver jewelry with colored stones and crystals.: contemporary, easy to wear every day jewelry. The style in general is trendy yet delicate. But prices for those styles which are not exceptional in design or material, are rather on the higher side.
They offer discounts upto 35% to Costco members. But despite that discount, I still feel that their  products are on the steeper side. But if you compare it with the jewelry sold in a regular mall chain store, it may still be considered as 'value'.
Of course if you buy it from another online store or the streets of NYC, you could get better deals. But at this point, I would say that the last factor, brand is really what adds to the price tag.
So at the end of the day, brand is really the only thing what you pay for when you buy Costco Kazia Digo jewelry.

Lucky Clover Jewelry:

Jewelry at your Doorstep:
Costco has been hosting special designer Silver Jewelry events (or trunk shows) at their prime locations in the North East. The silver jewelry available for sale at these events is of mediocre quality and tasteless design. It is certainly not representative of the highest standards of design and quality that Costco customers expect. The prices of these silver jewelry products are probably comparable if not lower than any place else. Costco bargains hard with these companies who are willing to host special events (trunk shows) at Costco. This allows Costco customers to get the benefit of lower pricing on these silver jewelry products as compared to the parent websites.
  • Material: Most of these jewelry pieces were Sterling Silver with semi-precious stones
  • Price: The prices ranged from $50 to $300 dollars - comparable rates to some online and local jewelry stores if not more
  • Service: The quality of semi-precious stones on sterling silver was not clear. I do understand that it is not practical to provide in detail the quality of each and every stone on the silver piece but if this a special sales event then the least that is expected is complete information on what you buy
  • Design: The design is rarely impressive or 'exclusive'
  • Exclusivity: These designs were not as impressive or exclusive as you may expect from Costco
It is for these reasons I believe Costco has to improve a lot when it comes to offer great deals on Silver Jewelry.

Costco, despite being my favorite store, offering great products with great quality, still  needs to do much better when it comes to selling silver jewelry. I am eagerly awaiting for that day when Costco can offer a great value on their silver jewelry collection.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Blackening or Tarnishing of Silver

Sterling Silver tarnished over a period of time
Over a period of time, silver jewelry and articles tend to blacken. The reason is very simple: even though silver is fairly inert, it reacts with the sulfur present in the atmosphere to form silver sulfide which is dark in color. This corrosion causes temporary surface discoloration of silver which can be simply washed away with luke warm water and soap or detergent.

While washing your silver jewelry in water, please be aware of any stones, adhesives, treatments or materials which may get spoiled in water. The soap or detergent you use may contain bleach which can cause corrosion in stones such as peridot and enamel work or it may bleach some colored treated stones.

One of the best solutions for cleaning silver is silverex, a commercially available cleaning agent for silver. Again, make sure you read the instructions before using silverex on your studded and treated jewelry.

The most common and one of the best home remedy for cleaning silver articles is fluoride based toothpaste and luke warm water. Soak your silver articles in a bowl filled with luke warm water and toothpaste for about 10 mins to ½ hr. Gently scrub off the extra soap and dirt and wash in luke warm clean water.

Some important tips while washing your jewelry…
  • The toothbrush you use should be very soft
  • Do not wash your jewelry in the sink without the drain plug for fear of losing the jewelry in the drain
  • The water should not be too hot because it may corrode some stones, affect color treatment and adhesives that may have been used in your jewelry
  • Count the pieces of jewelry before you begin washing them
  • Check your jewelry for loose stones before you wash them
  • Make sure your cleaning area is out of reach of little children
  • The best would be to let your jewelry air dry or else wiping gently with a paper towel should work just fine as well
  • Since silver is extremely soft, make sure you do not drop your jewelry and scratch it
  • Do not wash more than one piece of jewelry at a time since they could scratch each other and spoil the finish

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Neelam- Blue Sapphire

There are at least 3 varieties of Sapphire that run in the market...
Australian Sapphire surrounded with Diamond Polki
-Australian Sapphire
-Columbian Sapphire
-Kashmir Sapphire

Australian is the most commonly available sapphire and it is recognized by its distinct 'inky blue' color. It may be heat treated to enhance the color and remove 'patchy' discoloration.

Columbian Sapphire is much more vibrant in its color and hence a lot more expensive than Australian Sapphire. It comes in various sizes and is often heat treated to enhance color.

Kashmir Sapphire is the rarest and most expensive Sapphire that you may come across. It is a beautiful vibrant blue with a very exotic sheen in it. This cannot be treated and should be sent to the lab for authentication before purchase.

Sapphire may be treated to either enhance its natural color, to reduce unwanted inclusions or to even out the discoloration that is fairly common in natural Sapphire.
Hyderabadi Polki Ring with Australian Sapphire

Heat Treatment:
This is the most common kind of treatment on a Sapphire. Heat treatment is usually done under a very controlled environment with controlled pressure, temperature, carbon and oxygen.
Heat treatment is permanent and is so common now that almost all Sapphire are heat treated and the practice is not even declared though it is by law required to be declared.
You can see the heat treatment in Sapphire simply by placing the stone on a white sheet/ paper in white light and looking at the corners etc and inside the stone for heat traces.

Color Treatment
Under controlled temperature, pressure and air, Sapphire is color treated with cobalt and other elements. Not all Sapphire can be color treated and not all treatments are permanent. It is essential by law to declare color treatment in Sapphire.
Under close inspection one can see the color treatment in Sapphires.

This treatment is again done to enhance color. It is permanent but it needs to be declared.
Oiling or Fracture Filling
The very fine surface fractures on a Sapphire are gently wiped with oils or liquids with a thick consistency with or without heat. The liquid fills the fractures or feathers and the sapphire looks cleaner to the eye. If the liquid contains traces of blue color, the stone may even look vibrant in color and much prettier.
You can see traces of Oil filing in Sapphire fairly easily if you observe it from various angles in white light against a white background.

Ruby and Sapphire pendant in 18K Gold
The treatment on Sapphire may be permanent or temporary. Permanent treatment includes heat treatment and some irradiation treatment. Some color treatment may also be permanent but mostly fracture filling, color treatment and other forms of treatment on Sapphire are temporary and require special care.
Avoid extreme exposure to heat, bright light and sunlight. Keep your treated sapphire away from strong chemicals including perfumes, bleaching agents and cleansers.
Do not use ultrasonic cleaners for color treated or fracture filled stones.

Even though the worth of a natural stone is almost always more than that of a treated stone, in case of a sapphire which sometimes in its natural form looks either too pale, dark, included, or uneven, treatment may make the stone look more beautiful.
The price of a treated stone is much lesser than a natural untreated co-stone of the same clarity, color grade.
If you are buying your stone for its beauty, a treated stone may be a good option for you. If you are looking at collectors goods or as an investment, a natural untreated stone is a better option for you.

 It is fairly easy to create synthetic sapphire as compared to other syntheic stones. This is the reason why you will find a lot of Synthetic or man-made or artificial sapphire lingering around the market. It is essential to declare that a stone is syntheitc and it cannot be sold under the name of 'sapphire' alone.
Some synthetic sapphire look very pretty. One of the easiest way to find out if your sapphire is synthetic is to look for 'curved growth lines' in it. These are lines within the structure of the stone and sometimes fairly hard to find. But if your sapphire has curved lines then it is definitely a synthetic.

Beautiful Sapphire in Hyderabadi Polki style Ring
Imitations are stones that look like the more precious version. In case of Sapphire, the most commonly used imitations are blue glass, blue plastic,iolite, spinel, zircon, benitoite, indicolite and topaz.
Rarely Tanzanite is also used to imitate sapphire though now a tanzanite is fairly expensive and is no longer used as an imitation.
Sometimes doublets and triplets are also used as imiation of sapphire using a blue colored non-precious stone as the pavilion and a very fine slice/ chip of sapphire as the crown.

Sapphire also known as "Neelam" in hindi is a stone used to ward off the Shani dasha. It is considered to be a rather powerful stone. It is said that Neelam does not suit everyone and one must check their birth chart to make sure this stone will not cast a negative effect on the wearer.
If you are affected negatively by wearing a Sapphire, you may try wearing it along with a diamond of equal strength since a diamond is the absolute opposite of sapphire in its astrological powers.

Monday, May 03, 2010

Quality of Diamonds used in Rose Cut and Polki Jewelry

The diamonds used in rose-cut jewelry or Polki jewelry are evaluated or graded in pretty much the same way as a regular round brilliant cut diamonds barring the last C ie 'Cut'.

The 4 basic C's of a diamond are Color, Clarity, Carat and Cut.


In uncut/ semi-cut/ rose-cut diamond jewelry, the most important attribute that you must pay attention to, is its color. The whiter (or more colorless) the diamond, the more expensive it will be.When you choose the diamonds for your Polki jewelry, make sure that the diamond does not look too white otherwise it starts looking like glass or fake which completely takes it off from the design. Also if the diamond is very bright, it will over power the pattern very easily and take you away from the 'old jewelry' look. This does not mean that the diamond should be completely dark in color, but choose colors which will compliment the design as well.The one thing you should try to keep steady through the design is the base color of your not-so-white diamonds. This means that stick to various shades of either yellow or brown in one jewel rather than mixing some of yellow and some of browns in one product.Matching the smaller diamonds with the larger ones is slightly tricky since the color of the stone can vary a lot based on the way they have been set.As a general rule, it is best to get a finished product and get a feel of the overall product rather than try for the best of whites in rose cut diamond jewelry.


This is an important factor which exponentially increases the price of a diamond. The diamonds used in Polki need not be the best in the clarity grade, but try to get the stones which have lesser faults on the table. Choose a median between the cost of the diamond and its look. For the smaller diamonds, I would suggest that you go for SI and below because with the setting , size and color, the clarity will really not matter all that much. Concentrate your budget on the bigger diamond which will show the faults fairly well.


The bigger the diamond, the greater is the per carat value. This is true for rose cut or uncut diamonds as much as it is for round brilliant cut diamonds.
Even though in Polki jewelry, the design pretty much dictates the size of the diamond, you can make a smaller diamond look bigger with simple techniques.
Use several very tiny diamonds around the bigger one.
Use white rhodium around the diamond setting and immediately surrounding that use a line of enamel or colored stones.Use contrasting colored stones around the diamond in very small sizes as compared with the main diamond.
You can use 4 or more diamonds instead of 1 big one to cover the same area in a design.

This is the one aspect of a rose cut diamond which cannot be assessed very easily. The cut completely depends upon the design and the budget. You can sometimes save money in Polki jewelry by using shallow cut diamonds as compared to deep cut ones. Use well cut rose-cut diamonds for the smaller stones which would give your product a neat and clean finish. Since symmetry of the stone does not matter, you can play around with the stones and create a mosaic network of diamonds to best suit your design needs.

Remember that a deep cut diamond will look smaller when set, weigh more than shallow cut diamonds of a similar visual size, and it may look much darker because of internal reflection hence taking us away from the color of the diamonds used in that jewel.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

She Walks in Beauty

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Home Accessories


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Monday, March 08, 2010



As the technology improved and diamond cutting and polishing became an available option, craftsmen decided to use semi-cut or uncut diamonds in the Kundan technique. The semi-polished or uncut diamond was known as the Polki. This essentially had a single large facet acting as the table or the top facing facet. Eventually for the smaller diamonds rose cut was also introduced. Using polki gave the craftsmen the advantage to be able to use not so perfect clarity grade diamonds and cut them according to the design of the final product.

Along with polki, colored stones were also cut to suit the needs of the design. So basically the difference between Kundan and Polki originally was that Kundan used Cabochon or else absolutely raw diamonds whereas Polki used semi-cut/ polished diamonds.

The look of Kundan was like that of glass pieces stuck in pure gold and the design of the final product was dictated by the shape and size of the stone. Polki on the other hand required semi-cut/ polished stones and the stones were cut as per the requirement of the design.

Eventually though in the Kundan technique people started using glass and other colored stones, in the Polki technique, craftsmen continued to use Semi finished diamonds and rose cut diamonds.

The finish of both products was intricate Meenakari or enamel work which was done before the stones were set.

In conclusion, in today’s market place, Kundan jewelry essentially represents imitation stones instead of diamonds set in 22K or purer gold set in the Kundan technique whereas Polki requires the use of real diamonds in semi-finished, brilliant cut, rose cut or as diamond chips along with other precious and semi-precious stones.


With the use of real diamonds in Kundan and Polki, kaarigars/ artisans realized the potential of diamond brilliance that they were missing out on because they had to close the back or bottom of the stones. They realized that a diamond shines beautiful and bright and to maximize this brilliance, they would have to leave the pavilion or the bottom of the diamond open for light penetration.

That was the birth of a new technique of setting semi-cut or uncut or rose cut diamonds. It was called open polki. In open Polki, a simple open bezel or a band of gold was created with a groove to accommodate the girdle of the diamond. A tube of gold was cut into a collar form of band. A groove was etched into the inner edge of the band to fit the diamond exactly. Pieces of these bands were soldered together or attached or linked to the other similarly grooved pieces. The diamond was then placed in the groove and the edges were pressed down upon it. This meant that the diamond was open to light penetration on top and from the bottom.

Once set and finished, open polki pieces sparkled with the fire and brilliance of diamonds. The cost of the jewel is determined by the quality and quantity of the diamonds primarily then by the weight of gold and finally by the labor that went into crafting this jewel. Open polki was especially popular amongst the kings and novelty in the middle states of India. You will find numerous examples of open polki jewelry in collections from the Nizaam of Hyderabad.


Once polki became a popular craft in India, the artisans realized that the brilliance of a diamond in that technique was attributed to the silver foil backing the diamonds. This lead the craftsmen to ponder upon the shine of the ‘white’ in silver that they used for setting the stones. Thus came the introduction of a new technique of setting stones using silver.

· A shallow bucket or bowl of pure gold was created sometimes by doming at other times by soldering

· A small ring of silver was created to top this bucket which required very careful soldering

· The bucket of gold and silver was then filled with lacquer from trees

· The foil was then covered with very fine foil of silver

· The uncut/ semi-finished/ rose cut diamond was then pressed on the foil

· Another very fine foil of silver or silver foil pieces were ‘pressed’ on the edges of the diamond to set it into place

· As a result all one can see from the top of the jewel is diamonds set in white colored metal

· Sometimes a thin line of enamel was etched into grooves created along the diamond setting to create a contrast

Hyderabadi polki is once again becoming a much sought after technique because of several reasons. For one, the white look is very contemporary and goes well with pretty much all dresses and attires. The look of uncut diamonds is very rich and looks elegant and royal. The cost of material is comparatively lower than polki or kundan because of limited use of gold in the technique.

A very similar look of jewelry was introduced in England and became popular under the name of Victorian style of jewelry. Essentially the difference between Hyderabdi polki and Victorian style of jewelry was that the former required the use of silver and gold along with uncut or semi-cut diamonds set into lacquer whereas the latter consisted of rose cut/ semi-cut/ uncut diamonds set directly into silver. The style of design used in both techniques is also very different.

Friday, March 05, 2010

Kundan... the technique revisited

Ages ago when the only technique of diamond polishing that the artisans of Old India knew were to grind one surface and polish it till it shone like mirror, the origin of the Kundan technique happened.

· The word ‘Kundan’ means Pure gold. And that is exactly what this technique of setting stones required. A collet or cup was made out of pure gold sheets.
· The various parts of the jewel were put into place and fixed in the form of necklaces, earrings, bangles etc and soldered into place.
· The reverse would be carved or etched to create a base for the finishing which was Meenakari or enamel work. Real precious and semi-precious stones were ground into fine power and mixed with catalysts to fill into these grooves and ‘fixed’ into place by blowing them till they melted into place as beautiful colors.
· It could be hammered or beaten into shape to fit uncut or cabochon cut diamonds of size. This was filled with lac or lacquer from trees which was hardened just enough to solidify around the base of the gold cup.
· A very thin foil of pure silver was then spread very carefully on the lacquer layer to cover the black completely.
· On this clean shiny bed of silver foil, the cleanest or shiniest surface of the uncut or cabochon cut diamond and precious colored stone was placed so that it would shine as much as a mirror would. Only the best of colors with highest of clarity grade of diamond were used.
· Finally very fine foils of pure gold were gently pressed down into the fine gaps and spaces around the diamond to ‘set’ it in position. This was one of the slowest and painstaking part of the work since based on this the final look of the jewelry product could change dramatically.

The origins of Kundan are unknown but the guesswork of knowledgeable people indicates that this beautiful technique was born in the Northern parts of India. Over a period of time, the shiny mirror like look of Kundan was translated with the use of glass and other colorless stones to cut the cost of the final product. The meenakari was replaced with pen enamel, a technique much easier than the actual blow torch Meena work. Nowadays, Kundan simply means the use of glass, quartz and other non-diamond stones and semi-precious stones in the same technique. The lacquer now involves the use of synthetic glue and finally the gold foils used to ‘press’ down the stones is replaced with gold wire.

The simple reason for all these simple changes is to reduce the cost of making Kundan jewelry by material as well as labor costs.

So when you go out to buy Kundan jewelry you must know that the gold may be 22K and the stones may be glass. What you will be paying for is the design and the look of the product and not so much for the material used or the labor that went into making this product.

Coming up next... Polki- uncut diamonds from the raw

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Tips on Buying Jewelry at a Live Auction

Recently, I purchased jewelry and semi-precious stones at a live theater style auction. I frequently attend auctions at Sotheby's and Christie's. But never before did I participate in an auction as a serious contender. This time was different. I was a serious bidder and wanted to buy a few jewelry pieces that I liked. Below are the tips that I followed to bid for jewelry and stones.

1. Attend the Jewelry Auction Preview

You have to inspect jewelry pieces or stones that you are going to bid for. Without knowing the quality of the jewelry piece or stone, you will not be in a position to bid accurately and may eventually end up loosing.

2. Know the Auctioneer

It is very important to know who the auctioneer is and what is his style. Except high end auctions, most liquidating or auctioning companies are owned by auctioneers. It is very likely that an auctioneer will be present at the time of preview. You have to strike a conversation with the auctioneer and get to know him. This is where small talk will come in very handy. Auctioneer holds all the decision making power including the right to eject bidders from an auction theater.

3. Understand the Rules of Auction

It goes without saying that you will not play a game without knowing its rules. Auction is a game and you have to know the rules. It will help tremendously if you go above and beyond in understanding the auction. For example, if the auction is a chapter 7 liquidation then the auction takes place in the presence of a trustee. It would be a good idea to explore the situation of what happens if something does not get auctioned. There can be many examples like this. You have to understand that auction is a competition and there are professionals who attend these auctions and make financial decisions not jewelry business decisions.

4. Make a List of Items You Want to Bid on

The purpose of the preview for you is to generate that list. You will not be able to bid successfully in that auction if you do not have that list prepared.

5. Set a Maximum Bidding Price on Each Jewelry Item or Stone

Discipline is very important when it comes to bidding. You have to set a maximum bidding price and not bid in excess of that price at any cost. Too often, people get swept in the swelling emotions and competition of the auction. In business schools they teach the outcome of this behavior as "Winner's Curse". When you win a jewelry auction, you most likely have paid more than the jewelry item deserved. However, if you are disciplined then you can stand a chance of avoiding this "Winner's Curse"

6. Take Advantage of Mistakes During Auction

In a big auction where there are hundreds or thousands of lots, the auctioneer and the bidders are going to make mistakes. It is not a question of if but when. The amount of mental concentration required to conduct a flawless auction or bid flawlessly is too great. This is where information and smarts will set you apart. If you can take advantage of these mistakes by either auctioneer or bidders then you will certainly come out as a winner. For example, in the most recent auction that I attended, the auction went on for 15 hours as they were auctioning about 2000 lots. I pounced on mistakes of auctioneer and bidders several times and captured valuable items for much less.

7. Prepare a Bidding Strategy if Multiple Lots In One Bid are Involved

If the auction is of the type where multiple lots are being auction in a single bid, then typically the winner of the bid gets to choose the number of lots he/she wants. You have to prepare a smart strategy where you should NOT choose more than 1 lot of the winning bid since there is a possibility that the other lots which go for a lower bid.

8. Verify Your Winnings

In order to close the loop on your winning bid, collection of items is the single most important thing that you should do after successful bidding. You have to verify if the jewelry items or pieces that you are getting are the same as the ones that you bid on.

Is Jewelry Disposable?

Jewelry is the best accessory. Out of all the types of accessories such as glasses, handbags, perfumes, watches etc., jewelry is one that is class apart. I am not saying this because I love jewelry but I am saying this as an accessory designer.

Jewelry is the only accessory which is neither disposable nor dispensable. Jewelry does not get consumed or gets worn out (unless of poor quality or artificial) neither does it get old. Any fine jewelry piece above $500 is certainly a financial investment and any piece below $500 is your staple. Further, it is hard to match accentuating power of jewelry to any dress on any body type. Jewelry is truly a unique accessory of them all.

Call to arms for managing your jewelry collection efficiently...

I would like present a viewpoint which modifies the conclusion drawn from the above argument. I believe that any jewelry below $500 should be treated as disposable. This does not mean that we should dump or trash our jewelry to get rid of them. What it really means is that you should manage your collection in a smart way. For all fine jewelry below $500, you should segregate your collection into three parts. First part consists of your perennial favorites that cannot be replaced. Second part of your collection consists of jewelry pieces that exist to provide a wider variety to your first collection. Third part of your collection are the pieces which were bought because they were fashionable or part of a fad at that time. Those pieces may still look good but they represent the transient part of your collection. I believe that it is the second and the third parts of your collection that are prime candidates for replacement because of the loss of "freshness factor".

How to Dispose Jewelery

Disposable nature of an accessory is truly revealed when it looses its "Freshness Factor". The same is the case with any fine jewelry below $500. Any jewelry that has lost its "Freshness Factor" is certainly not in the first part of your collection. There is a certain amount of emotional inertia in keeping that jewelry piece in your collection. I would argue that you should actively look to replace those pieces. There are many ways jewelry can be disposed without loosing out on value. Gifting or exchanging is an easy way to dispose jewelry without disposing its value. Selling it the most difficult option because your will either end up putting it on ebay or selling it to your local jeweler. You can also try to get your jewelry altered into something that you always liked or something you wanted to try. The bottom line is that there are multiple options when it comes to disposing jewelry without parting with its value.

So like clothes or handbags, why keep jewelry that is no longer serving your purpose? I don't..

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Will Silver Jewelry Look Good on Me?

I do not know of any woman who has not asked that question. Silver jewelry is very enticing and affordable. Yet, you always wonder if it looks good on you!!. Not everyone can carry some of the staple silver styles, yet you can always find a design that suits you perfectly. I am presenting a few thoughts on how to think about silver jewelry and how can you maximize the quality of your experience and satisfaction with silver jewelry.

Search for good designs in Silver Jewelry

Silver jewelry is cheaper to manufacture as compared to Gold jewelry. This allows jewelers to design, make and stock a much wider variety of designs. This wider variety of design availability has its advantages and disadvantages. The primary advantage is that there is always a design available which will perfectly suit you and your aspirations. The disadvantage is that now you have to search for those perfect designs amid a plethora of mediocre and mass produced designs.

What does this mean for you? Should you now waste a great deal of time and effort in looking for perfect designs in silver? Well, the answer is maybe. If you are looking for that greatest satisfaction and a perfection in design then you are sure to find that in silver jewelry. You can be rest assured that somewhere out there is lurking a design waiting for you. However, not every one can spend so much time and effort looking for perfect designs. Hence, you should invoke trust in companies that sell designs you like.

Silver Jewelry, after all, is an acquired taste.

Silver jewelry is, to draw an analogy, like a beer. You may not like it the first time but you will acquire the taste and eventually start liking it. It may even become your staple jewelry for all occasions like beer is to all social gatherings. However, Silver like everything else, needs to be elevated to a higher level. You have to look for designs that you like and you think will suit you better. You have to differentiate quality from quantity. Ultimately, you have to try it and bear the audacity to carry it. Without a trial, you may never know that you carry a liking for silver jewelry.

Know your Silver Jewelry

Unlike Gold Jewelry, Silver jewelry is a different products doing the same function. You should definitely know and learn what owning silver jewelry entails. Silver jewelry is not maintenance free. Getting comfortable with silver is important. There are various aspects about silver that you should know such as whether you want to buy Sterling Silver or not? How to maintain silver jewelry? What does oxidation mean? How to clean silver jewelry? Knowing answers to these questions will allow you to enjoy your silver jewelry and be satisfied with it.

Silver Jewelry Bottom line

You have to find our own comfort zone with silver jewelry. You should at least try out add a few pieces to your collection so that you can figure out your own silver comfort zone.

Friday, February 05, 2010

5 Must- Knows about Gold Plated Silver Jewelry

1. It is plating not just polishing

Gold plating on silver jewelry is not the same as gold polish on silver. Plating is a chemical reaction which allows gold to adhere to silver. Gold polish is like a paint on your silver jewelry which will wear off much faster. FDA requires a layer of at least 3 microns thickness on a metal surface to be called plated while polishing can be as negligible as 0.01 microns of gold.
Gold polish has a much shorter life and can wear off more easily than gold plating can. Technically, gold plating can survive a very very long time if the jewelry is worn with basic caution. Before buying any silver jewelry with gold plating, you need to be certain that it is gold plated and not gold polished because you will be paying for your jewelry accordingly and you should be prepared for the maintenance that may be required from the same.

Gold Plated Sterling Silver Jewelry

2. What is the thickness of Gold Plating?

Thickness of gold plating directly impacts the quality, look and longevity of any gold plated silver jewelry piece. The greater the thickness of gold plating, the better the gold plated silver jewelry will look.
Not only will the propensity of plating to wear off become lower, but also the plating is more likely to survive any impacts or unfortunate mishandling of the jewelry piece. One of the disadvantages of greater thickness is that it increases the cost of the gold plated silver jewelry piece because gold is much more expensive than silver. Also if the bonding of the two metal surfaces is not very fast, then in some events, the plating may chip off from delicate positions of the jewel.
Plating will last longer on a rough surface rather than on a smooth polished surface
The gold plating on this hand beaten sterling silver bangle should last much longer than that on high polish bangles

3. Watch out for chips, cuts and rough spots

When buying gold plated silver jewelry, you should immediately check for chips, cut or any rough spots on the piece. This is normally an indicator of either low quality of plating or possibility of gold plating done on a incompatible design. Next section talks about this.
The one other reason for chipping off of gold from plated jewelry is when the chemical bond between the two surfaces is not complete. In the best cases, the gold should bond molecule to molecule with the silver alloy which is possible by using fluoride based chemical reactors as the bonding adhesive.
The few places that you should look out for chips in the plating in jewelry are:
  • Around sharp edges and corners
  • Hinges and joints
  • Areas where the stones dangle if required
  • Crevices of highly textured surfaces
  • Wires and other really narrow surfaces
  • Parts of jewelry where the product will be frequently bent such as edges of bracelets etc

    4. Is Gold plating compatible with the design that you are choosing?

    Not all silver jewelry is a good candidate for gold plating. The design of the jewelry directly affects whether gold plating will look good on that silver piece and sometimes even whether it will last long enough. There is no straightforward method to evaluate whether a design is compatible with gold plating but it comes with experience. You should ask opinion of your friends and jewelers to understand more about design compatibility of gold plating on silver jewelry.
    Example of a good design for Gold Plated Silver Jewelry

    5. How and when will the Gold plating wear off silver jewelry

    There are many circumstances in which Gold plating will wear off from over silver. Gold adheres very well to silver but it will eventually wear off. The composition of gold and other alloys used in plating have a direct impact on the quality and longevity of plating. The chemicals used for bonding the gold with Silver also affects its longevity.
    How you wear jewelry and care for it is one of the most important factors that determine the longevity of gold plating on silver jewelry.
    • Extreme temperature change can in some circumstances affect plating.
    • High impact such as dropping your jewel on a hard surface
    • Exposure to ultrasonic cleaners
    • Leaving jewelry carelessly with each other or letting it rub against other hard surfaces can create scratches
    • Acidic baths, even in mild forms which is possible during jewelry cleaning or repair can definitely affect the plating on your jewelry. Always inform your jewelry repair person of plating when required.
    You should take good care while wearing and maintaining gold plated jewelry. This doesn't mean that you cannot wear gold plated silver jewelry in your normal course of the day (otherwise what would be the point of owning such a piece), but a little care and caution goes a long way.