JEWLERY TIPS

Did You Know?

Diamonds and other gemstones are dirt and grease attractors. Without your help a jewelry piece can quickly lose its “like new” sparkle and shine. Additionally, your jewelry can be damaged by certain household cleaning products or the chlorine in your pool. Even unconscious acts like gripping a garden tool or exercise equipment can stress a ring beyond the normal wear it was designed-for. Proper care, safekeeping and occasional inspection are key to the beauty and longevity of your jewelry. We hope this list of tips will help you maintain your precious items in the long-term.

 

Safekeeping Tips

  • Apply cosmetics, hair spray and perfume in a separate area before putting your jewelry on.
  • When removing jewelry, wipe each piece with a clean soft cloth to remove oils and perspiration.
  • Store in a fabric-lined box, separately or individually-wrapped in tissue to prevent scratches.

 

Durability Tips

  • Never wear Jewelry when doing physical work such as housekeeping, gardening or exercise.
  • Never expose Jewelry to household cleaning products.
  • Never expose Jewelry to chlorine swimming pools or hot tubs.

 

Cleaning Tips

  • Seriously soiled jewelry should be cleaned professionally. Bring them to us for an evaluation.
  • Clean your Jewelry often; lotions, soaps and skin oils alter the optical properties of diamonds and gemstones, causing them to look dull.
  • Use only a soft brush, never sharp or hard objects, to remove dirt or particles.
  • Clean in a secure location, not the rim of a sink where a piece may slip down the drain.
  • Follow the instructions appearing on the label or box.
  • Clean diamond Jewelry with a soft brush dipped in warm water & mild detergent; rinse under running water.
  • Never expose pearl jewelry to chemicals or solvents and store each piece in a soft bag.
  • Don’t expose colored gemstones to chemicals, solvents or ulstrasonic cleaners without knowing their specific cleaning requirements.

 

Tips for Long Life

  • Select daily-wear Jewelry that is in-harmony with your lifestyle and schedule of activities.
  • Keep your Laboratory Reports and Appraisals in a safe location, separate from jewelry pieces, for security.
  • Have your jewelry cleaned and checked at Continental Diamond for worn mountings, loose prongs and general condition at least once per year.
  • Consider having white gold re-plated, platinum re-polished and prongs re-tipped as necessary to maintain original condition (generally every 24 months or so). Consult with us about this when convenient.
  • Have frequently-worn pearls restrung as necessary, with a knot between each pearl to prevent loss if the string breaks.
  • Some colored gemstones should not be exposed to sudden temperature changes; know your pieces and their needs.

 

Continental Diamond and Jewelry Care

At Continental we are your advocate: We are always happy to clean the jewelry you’re wearing when you visit us. We will also gladly inspect prongs, mountings, clasps, strings, etc., to be sure all is in-order. We urge you to be proactive with your jewelry care, and are here to answer all of your questions as they relate to precious items. Our goal is to help you treat each piece as if it were a family heirloom, for someday it may be.

Fine jewelry settings are created from precious metal alloys. Many alloys exist, and new ones are constantly being developed.

 

Choices

We have options when it comes to purchasing jewelry created using precious white metal. Platinum, white gold and palladium are all timeless and elegant. In fact, you can’t go wrong with any of these white metals. Before you decide on the perfect choice for your jewelry purchase, we have put together a description of each metal’s attributes to aid in your decision.

 

Platinum

According to the Platinum Guild International USA, platinum has been used in jewelry for more than 2000 years. Several factors have attributed to its enduring popularity, including beauty, durability and purity. Platinum is often 90-95% pure, meaning there is little use of hardening alloys. While it does scratch, there is minimal metal loss as a result of polishing. Platinum is considered to be a hypo-allergenic metal due mostly to its purity. The use of nickel as an alloy is typically what causes an allergic reaction to sensitive skin and platinum contains no nickel. Platinum is extraordinarily durable for a precious metal due to its density. When wearing a platinum piece of jewelry, you can feel that it is significantly heavier than its alternatives. As a result, platinum jewelry generally requires far less maintenance than other white metal jewelry. Specifically, the prongs that hold stones in place do not need to be replaced as often and the shank (part of a ring that sits below the finger) shows far less wear over time. Platinum is often the metal of choice for the world’s most sought after gems. For instance, the Hope Diamond is set in platinum; not only for security, but also for the beautiful, shiny, pure white color. All of these attributes come at a price, platinum is the most expensive of the precious white metals – mostly due to its rarity. For every ten tons of ore extracted from a platinum mine, on average roughly one ounce of platinum will be found!

 

White Gold

Much like platinum, white gold has been a popular choice of jewelry manufacturers for thousands of years. Among the many reasons for its popularity are rarity, beauty – and when compared to platinum, price. Gold jewelry is generally half to one third the price of platinum jewelry, without sacrificing a rich and elegant appearance. There are a couple of glaring differences when comparing gold to platinum. When gold is initially unearthed, it is yellow in color and extremely soft. In an effort to strengthen the rare soft metal, most gold jewelry purchased today is either 14 kt. (approximately 58% pure gold) or 18 kt. (approximately 75% pure gold) and the rest of it is composed of harder alloys which are added to strengthen the piece and help to resist scratching. In order to turn the yellow gold to white, manufacturers mix in alloys such as palladium (a platinum group metal), nickel, silver and rhodium (also a platinum group metal). Once the piece of jewelry is completed, it is coated with rhodium to give it a beautiful, white luster. This process of rhodium plating, particularly in rings, requires repetition two or three times a year. It only takes about twenty minutes and eliminates the faint yellow tint which may shine through the jewelry’s white exterior over time.

 

Palladium

The third and newest addition to this family of precious white metals is palladium. As mentioned earlier, this white metal is a member of the platinum group of metals and therefore possesses similar properties to its counterpart. Palladium is extremely pure when used in jewelry – approximately 90-95% – and is therefore also considered to be hypo-allergenic. Just like platinum, it is born white and does not require rhodium plating. When comparing platinum and palladium side by side, a slight color difference is noticeable as palladium has a subtle hint of gray in its natural coloring. Priced similarly to gold, if not less, palladium is experiencing a growth in popularity as the price of platinum continues to rise. The greatest challenge facing palladium consumers today is its lack of availability compared to the other white metal options.

Keeping Current

When was the last time you updated the insurance on your jewelry? Do you have proper insurance coverage for your jewelry and watches? Continental Diamond suggests that you have your appraisals updated every three to four years. There are a few reasons why now, more than ever, it is important that you update the appraisals on your valued pieces.

 

Metal Appreciation

The first reason is raising metal prices. We have seen the prices of precious metals roughly triple in the last few years. This is due in large part to the slumping US dollar and increased demand in many areas of the world; Russia, India and China to name a few.

 

Diamond Demand

Second, the diamond market has become more volatile; in past years the market consisted primarily of the US and a few countries in Western Europe. Today the markets are quickly expanding.

Similar to metals, demand for diamonds is increasing at an astounding rate in Russia, China and India as their economies begin to take off. “In past years most of the larger diamonds came to the United States. These days it is a world market and diamond buyers in the United States are competing for these highly sought after diamonds,” said Jimmy Pesis, owner and long time diamond buyer at Continental Diamond.

 

Continental and Appraisals

At Continental we are your advocate. Continental Diamond offers appraisal services. Each piece of jewelry purchased at Continental Diamond comes with a Certificate of Sale. Bring in past certificates or appraisals with your jewelry every three to four years.  If an item was purchased elsewhere please drop your items off to be appraised by our outside appraiser. She is at Continental Diamond every Thursday. Your jewelry will be available for pick-up that evening. Your appraisal will then be sent to you by US mail. Continental Diamond charges $65.00 for the first item and $45.00 for each additional. If you would like to sit with our certified appraiser while she appraises your items, please call our Repair department at 952-593-5602 to set up an appointment.