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Thursday, March 29, 2012

Some new pictures!

The new pair of earrings above are a variation on a new theme I have been pursuing of late. They have some of the beautiful blue sheen moonstones that I got last year. I'm rapidly running out of this batch of stones and I'm not sure if I'll see more anytime in the future so if they thrill you as much as they do me, it's time to come in and pick out some of what is left. The earrings also have .03 ct. diamonds in them.

This piece is a variation on another theme. I have previously posted pictures of the original pendants like this but it had a black South Sea mobe pearl in it. I have been unable to procure these anymore (I have talked about that subject previously as well) but the customer loved the picture of the original design so much (it's up on my wall at the store) that we decided to do it with a more traditional (albeit purple hued) mobe pearl. This piece was 18k and 22k gold with the mobe pearl, pink sapphire, emeralds and diamonds.

And the last picture of the day is a very old piece I made a long time ago. The customer who had bought it (along with a whole bunch of other stuff she has bought over the years) was in recently and had it on and I grabbed it so we could get a picture of it. It was 18k and 22k gold with a freshwater pearl, multicolor tourmalines and a diamond. The tourmalines aren't quite reading right, color wise, in this picture but you get the idea.

I also recently got in a strand of beautiful Ethopian opals from a new find. I'm calling them Ethiopals, because, as many of you know, I have a pretty strange sense of humor. They have a yellowish body tone but with very strong color flashes running throughout and are very reasonably priced for what they are.

I also have a new pair of ruby earrings out and I'm hoping to get a picture of those and the beads up on here very soon.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

New Pieces and Let's Talk Insurance

In my last blog entry I mentioned a young gent in with his fiancee who simply wanted to make her happy. The ring pictured above is the band they ended up with. It's a variation on one of my favorite and best selling designs with a combination of a prong setting and bezel settings. As it happens I have another order in house for the same band in platinum with all diamonds but it was set up a little differently and I'll post that when it is finished.

I've also been busy trying to get some new stock out. I haven't had a chance to catch up from the holiday season until now and I'm happy to report I have a number of new earrings out right now. The picture above this paragraph is one of them. I'll be posting some more pictures of new pieces in the days to come.

I have had a number of people in recently who have either lost or had pieces of jewelry stolen and are trying to deal with their insurance companies about the matters. What always seems to come out in these discussions is that the customers seem to have no idea of what the insurance company's rules and coverage limitations are----at least until after they lose a piece. So I want to give you a few tips when insuring jewelry.

1) If you are insuring jewelry through your homeowner's or renter's insurance policy you need to look into how much is automatically covered with their general policy and what you will need to add riders for. Most insurance policies carry some small amount of general insurance against jewelry theft or loss without the need for appraisals or riders. But you need to know how much that is!!! Because of today's metal markets it becomes even more important because a piece you bought ten years ago is worth so much more today that even if you didn't need a rider when you bought it, you might now. So YOU NEED TO ASK IF YOUR POLICY COVERS YOU WHEN PRICES RISE AS THEY HAVE RECENTLY or whether you need to update your appraisals.

2) INSURANCE COMPANIES WILL NOT ALWAYS TELL YOU WHEN YOU NEED TO HAVE JEWELRY VALUES UPDATED. Most insurance companies want to pay out as little as possible under any circumstances and if they've been collecting on a $2000 piece for ten years and then suddenly it's worth $6000 and is lost they don't want to pay out the higher price.

3) You need to clearly understand their deductibles. If they offer you $5000 in automatic coverage but you have a $2500 deductible on jewelry then you are going to be out a lot of money if you want to replace the piece.

4) Most insurance companies (not all) will no longer pay out cash to the customer in the event of a loss. They will only pay a jeweler directly. You need to know if this is the case, especially if you are insuring pieces that might be irreplaceable (true antiques).

5) Most insurance companies try to make you go to a jeweler they work with for replacement pieces. This doesn't work well for you in the event that you own a piece made by someone like me or another designer jeweler. The reason they do this is that they have deals cut with the jeweler for highly discounted prices because of how much business they send them. In my opinion this is unfair to the client as you are paying insurance as if they are going to replace it at full stated value but they aren't going to do that. It may be fine for you if you own fairly commercial jewelry but it just won't work if you have something unique.

6) In the event that you own a designer's piece you have to be prepared to fight for your right to get the same piece (or something equivalent) made by the same designer. Insurance companies (along with much of the general public) don't believe that jewelry can be copyrighted. Because of this they will often try to get quotes from multiple jewelers even when the piece is a distinct, unique, copyrighted piece. Copyright is inferred automatically upon production of a unique piece and it does not need to be registered with the Federal copyright office to have all the protections accorded under copyright law. Consequently if you tell them you have a unique designer piece and you want to replace it with the same thing, it is ILLEGAL for them to demand you go to another jeweler (unless it's a designer who sells his work at a variety of locations---but you still are entitled to a piece by the same designer). So you need to check on what the insurance company will do if you are insuring a designer piece with them before you agree to their coverage policies.

7) It is my general advice that you find an insurance company that will allow you to go to the jeweler of your choice. Jewelers Mutual, the insurance company I use to cover my store, is a company dedicated solely to insuring jewelry. Consequently they know more about the industry than any other. They offer a personal insurance plan for your jewelry known as Perfect Circle and you can access them by going to
They allow you to go to the jeweler of your choice.

So remember ask questions! They won't volunteer the answers and it's up to you to know what is and what isn't covered.

The ring at the top is 18k gold with a purple sapphire, orange sapphire and diamond. The earrings are 18k gold with natural color grey baroque cultured saltwater pearls that come from old stock and, to the best of my knowledge, cannot readily be found anymore.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

On happy endings, happy customers and clueless guys.

Awhile back I posted this article: on implied warranties and told the tale of a young man who had come into my store after a bad experience with another local jeweler. I'm happy to report that not only does his fiancee have a beautiful new ring (similar to the one at the top of this picture only in platinum) but they also just got their new wedding bands from me as well. But the better news is that they took the other jeweler to small claims court and were able to get back all of the money they spent on the ring itself (the large center diamond they kept to put into the new ring). So sometimes things do have a happy ending. He had me do one of my mountain rings in all white gold that came out pretty neat. It was of a mountain from his home state of Hawaii known as the pregnant woman mountain.

I've had a number of very happy customers in recently. An old one came in with a very old ring I had made originally with their stones in. They had removed the sapphire in it at some point to do something else with it and he came in and asked if I could put a diamond into it for a round numbered birthday of his wife's. The gentleman was so happy both buying and picking up the ring that I thought he was going to burst. I had another young couple in as well and all he really wanted to do was make her happy with whatever ring she picked out. These are the kind of guys I really like. I mean this is what it is all about for me. I am truly in the business of helping love along.

However, this doesn't mean that there aren't still a lot of really clueless guys out there. I routinely get women in who mention that they had a large birthday or anniversary and the husbands didn't acknowledge them at all. I don't mean they didn't get a nice piece of jewelry. I mean they didn't get anything. So I'd like to remind all the women out there that you don't have to wait for them to do something. If they blow it, get yourself something you like, get it wrapped up and hand it to them and say: "Hi honey. It's so nice that you thought to get this for me! I'm sure I'm going to love it!" We are, after all, living in a world where women are supposed to be equal!

The bracelet pictured above is 18k and 22k gold with freshwater keshi pearls and orange sapphires.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

More on Pearls

South Sea Pearls

South Sea (or Tahitian as they are sometimes called although they aren't all from Tahiti) are the big boys of the pearl industry. They are grown in much larger oysters than cold water saltwater pearls and they are consistently larger than cold water saltwater pearls, usually starting at about 8 mm in size and going up to as much as 16-17 mm. Most people are familiar with black South Sea pearls but they come in a variety of colors including whites, greys, yellows and varying shades of black with different overtones of color. The Tahitian government has tried for quite some time to regulate a minimum quality level of pearls released to the public from their farms but there are more sources than just Tahiti so, as with most gem materials, you will see some high quality and some low quality merchandise out there. Generally speaking South Sea pearls are the most expensive of the pearls out there, with true round, high quality, strands in the 11-14 mm range starting in the $10,000 range. Baroque shaped pearls will be less. And yes there are some very low quality strands that start in the $1000 range (not that you would see those in my store).

Individual South Seas make wonderful pendant stones and earrings as well and I routinely put them out in both. I also have a strong preference for pearls that have strong pink and green overtones to them. I think that emeralds and pink sapphires make excellent complements to pearls in this color range but also they just seem to glow more. Some black pearls are a kind of dead black, and while these can be quite expensive in large sizes, I find them to be boring and uninteresting. I am also not a big fan of the yellow (or golden as the marketers like to call them) South Seas but they are very popular these days and you are seeing more of them in the marketplace.

Keshi Pearls

Keshi pearls are some of my favorite pearls. The picture in my last blog article is of a South Sea keshi pearl strand. There are two types of keshi pearls. The South Sea keshi pearls are formed spontaneously when a bead nucleus is inserted into an oyster to start a pearl. It doesn't happen every time but occasionally the oyster will create the secondary pearl. These pearls are never round and because of the irregular shape often have some quite wonderful luster. I find them to be far more interesting pearls both because of the shape and the fact that they are as close to a "natural" pearl as you can get these days.

Freshwater keshi pearls are formed quite differently. In this case the pearl farmers insert a piece of mantle tissue into a mussel to grow a freshwater pearl. A sac forms in the mollusc around the pearl. The farmers then cut the sac open and remove the pearl; then they throw them back into the water and sometimes the mussel will spontaneously generate a new pearl in the sac. Again these pearls will be irregular in shape, often have some very intense luster and come in a range of colors.

Mobe Pearls

Mobe pearls are another form of pearl. In this case a half bead nucleus is attached to the shell of a mollusc and a nacreous growth forms over it. The bead and the growth is then cut off from the shell, the nucleus is removed and replaced with another filler and then a mother of pearl back is glued onto it. Mobe pearls can provide a very large pearl look without it being round making them excellent for stud earrings and pendants where a full round pearl will simply be too large. Mobes also will come in a variety of colors.

Okay enough about pearls. If you have any more questions feel free to ask them on here. Also anyone who can identify the Woody Allen movie that has the gangster's moll saying: Black pearls? I don't want no stinking black pearls!" can get a voucher good for 5% off your next purchase here. I'll try not to be away for so long next time!