some other types of jewelry repair include prong retipping and rechanneling, for those of you with channel set stones.  There is always a cheap way of doing things, and they inevitably don’t last as long.  Some jewelers use gold solder to do these things, and in some cases, it is the only way.  Just know that gold solder is a lot softer than regular gold, and wears away much more quickly.  If you have a ring with many small diamonds, this is the only reasonable way to retip your prongs, but if you have a large center stone that is in a separate setting, it is better to replace the setting with a new one than to retip; the cost isn’t that much more, and you will be getting something that will last much longer than a year or two.  Re channeling is something that can be done two ways; either buying strips of gold and soldering them on, or simply building up with gold solder, and the same rules apply as to the longevity of the repair.  You can’t just assume that all jewelers do it the same way, but this type of repair is not cheap if done right, so don’t just price shop for this one either.  If you are always looking for the cheapest price, you will usually end up someone’s victim, with a bad repair that doesn’t last for long.


measuring the size of a ring

Ok, so today lets talk about jewelry repair; a much simpler topic than watch repair.  For one thing, everybody loves the jeweler but hates the watchmaker.  A few pitfalls here; you get what you are willing to pay for.  As in anything, a difference in price can mean the difference between whether something holds together or falls apart.  One thing no jeweler can stop is you tearing something up, and some people have a knack for this; you can tell by how the piece looks in 3-6 months, and no jeweler can guarantee against you breaking a soft metal like gold, silver, or platinum.  The rougher you are, the less time the repair will last.  The biggest enemy of jewelry is dirt, especially in bracelets, tennis bracelets, and necklaces and watchbands.  It gets in the joints and wears them out prematurely, so get your jewelry cleaned often to help it last longer.  Any jeweler will do this for you free of charge, and some do a better job than others, depending on what they are using.  If they have a jeweler on premises, odds are that they know what they are doing.

Ring sizing is something we need to discuss, especially if you are going larger.  Better jewelers use new gold to size your ring, and this is more expensive than the jeweler who melts together bench scraps to make his sizing stock; this way allows for impurities in the gold, cracking, honeycombing, and just of course a poor result, leading to future problems.  There is no substitute for this being done right, so don’t search out the cheapest price and make yourself a victim.

Why is gold falling and the dollar getting stronger

This is a follow up to finding money where ever you can…Ok, a few weeks down the road, and the price of precious metals has gone down significantly across the board.  Does gold go up and down in value?  The answer is, no, it doesn’t.  What goes up and down in value is the dollar, or whatever currency you use in your country, and it is based on a number of things.  The most important thing we will talk about today is how much currency our government prints against the amount of gold that is in the federal reserve.  As most of you are aware, we have a deficit, meaning that we spend more than we have, on many things like welfare, food stamps, unemployment claims, and many others, but these three things are why the dollar is improving, because unemployment is way down, cutting how much we are spending on welfare, etc.  Any time the government cuts spending in a significant way, it bolsters the value of the dollar, meaning you need less of them to buy anything.  Notice that gas prices have come down recently?  Okay; some things take longer to come down in price, as inventories have been purchased at the higher rate, and have to be sold off before prices will drop, so it takes longer for prices to come down on a lot of things, and businesses are watching to see if the strengthening of the dollar will last before dropping prices.  So this is the reason that prices go up much more quickly than they come down, except on things that move quickly, like gasoline and groceries, for example.  Now, you might be wondering, is it time to sell my precious metals, and the simple answer is yes; the dollars you are getting today are rising in value, and the metals are losing value.  It is of course a personal choice, especially to people who have inherited coins and bullion that have sentimental value, but ask yourself if your ancestor would want you to be smart with their investment, and i think you know the answer.  Jewelry is much more individual; one piece does not look like another, but this is the time to sell it if you want the maximum amount you can get for it.  Then wait for prices to go down to buy new, and you will be set for the future.

Getting your watch battery replaced

Ok so a lot of you think you can go just anywhere to get a watch battery replaced in your watch. Here are the pitfalls to that. Number one, you have delicate parts such as a coil in any battery watch. If some ham and egger hits that coil, your watch will not work, and the repairs are expensive in better watches. There is also usually a gasket that can get cut or left out, leaving your watch open to moisture and dust, or more open than it already is.  Just opening and closing a watch case requires training and practice.  Some movements have a battery strap and screw; i can’t even begin to tell you how many watches have been brought to me that are missing these parts, and piece of tape or bandaid cut and put in there to hold the battery down. Problem is, the strap and screw often complete the positive or negative circuit in your watch, so it either doesn’t work right or stops and starts as it loses connection.  Worse than that, the insulator that goes under the battery is lost, and not replaced, shorting the new battery out so that the watch doesn’t work at all… 5.00 batteries at walmart still sound like a good deal?  Or a kiosk in the mall? See the first picture; this is a untrained person gripping the negative and positive parts of the battery with steel tweezer; instant shortout, and the new battery is no good anymore. Your best option is always to take your watch to a certified watchmaker, who has the training, tools and skills to do your watch right the first time. The specialized tools to accomplish this job are many and expensive, even to the proper case press and fittings to put your back on the watch, with gasket in place, without breaking the crystal.


So here is how the progression happens; a first class jeweler designs a pattern and produces it, with the heaviest shank, prongs, etc. , and they design it to last and be wearable without lots of problems.  You find these items in the nice, expensive stores and they cost a lot of money.  But there are a whole lot of hangers on and people who will copy a popular pattern, and make it lighter and cheaper, and they sell these less expensive versions in less expensive stores and online.  Just because something costs more doesn’t make it the best, but the best always costs more.  Look for key things, like number of prongs per stone, and how heavy are the prongs and how thick is the shank of the ring, or the bail on the pendant, and the chain that comes with the pendant.  Don’t even buy a pendant that has one of those little thin, less than 1mm chain; they stretch out and break really soon.  Insist on, and pay for, a heavier chain like a wheat chain or something similar, that is thicker than 1mm.  Do the earrings have thick or threaded posts and heavy prongs?  How many earrings have you lost due to friction posts?  Yes, it takes longer to screw those little nuts on a threaded post, but you will never lose those expensive diamond studs…….  Now they have those squeeze and lock backs that supposedly are so good, but when have jewelry manufacturers EVER made any thing spring loaded that will last?  Yes, i have had customers bring those things to me, falling apart.  Scrap gold.  Be lucky if you don’t lose the earring. Omega backs are great, and can be adjusted if they feel too tight, and the best multi diamond earrings have them.  Screw backs and Omega backs are hallmarks of high quality earrings.  If they are 18k gold, they will have the best quality diamonds also.  14k will have good diamonds, ranging from SI1 to SI2 clarity, and the best color diamonds are used in white gold – if you buy yellow gold, you will be getting lesser color diamonds as a general rule, unless you are getting custom made.  H, I, and  J color diamonds look white in yellow gold; it is an old trick used by jewelry manufacturers and diamond dealers for years and years, and E, F, and G colored stones are used in white gold.  There are always exceptions to the rule, but these are general guidelines.  i don’t like modern platinum for use in jewelry for the following reasons;  too soft, too easily beaten up, prongs bend really easily and have no spring whatsoever, and break and chip diamonds.  The shanks have to be too heavy to keep from bending when you grip your steering wheel, and even then they bend.  They only look good in the showcase because anything and everything will scratch them and remove the shine; stick with white gold, and have a ring you will be happy with!

Happy shopping!

What to do with inherited jewelry

As generations pass, the one thing you can count on in most families is that we lose loved one that have finished their race and gone on to their reward. In doing so, especially for the female members of the family; daughters and granddaughters, often inherit jewelry from Mom and Grandma. Since jewelry styles change between generations, the beneficiaries of these bequests are often given jewelry that mom or grandma loved, but are not the current style. Did you know that the diamonds and gemstones in this jewelry can be reset into a new style that will be worn? This is the role of the custom jeweler, because new jewelry patterns must be made that the stones will fit into, as stones are usually picked to fit the jewelry that they were in; jewelry cannot be ordered from a manufacturer that will fit your stones. With the advent of new technology, computer aided design and computer aided manufacturing, a piece of your choosing and style can be made that your inherited stones will fit into, within limits. You can also trade in the old gold and get quite a bit for it, as gold prices are still high, although they have come down quite a bit in recent times, to help defray the cost of a new piece. Of course, you can always just trade in the old jewelry for the new pieces you want, but that doesn’t satisfy the person who has emotional attachment to the person they are inheriting from, and want to retain at the very least, let’s say, grandma’s diamonds to use in the new piece.
So you need to find an experienced custom jeweler that can do not only everything you want, but who can also suggest things and designs that will work with what you have. These people are hard to find; there are not very many of us, and we are not in the malls or chain stores. Doing a google search and reading reviews will greatly aid in finding such a jeweler.  Included with this post is a pendant that i made, using mom’s original engagement ring diamond cluster and her wedding band, given to her daughter on the occasion of her wedding.

buying an engagement ring, continued

ok, we have covered quality and choice; now let’s talk about why you are buying one and what you hope will be a positive result.  When you are talking about this thing called love, it is not about how you or she looks, nor the size of the diamond or how fancy the ring is.  It is about how you feel about each other and what has happened to both of you on the inside; the love you have for each other.  The biggest diamond in the world will not buy you love, and you shouldn’t expect it to.  True love comes from God, for He is love, and if you are looking for it in lust, you are doomed to disappointment,  because lust never lasts.  So separate the two in your mind, and save the lust for marriage.  True friendship must always come first, liking the same things, being compatible in the important things, and being honest with each other about these things.  Your true feelings will eventually come out if you stay together long enough, so be honest about them to begin with.  Trust is the most important issue in maintaining and building a relationship, even more important than feelings of love.  As a jeweler of 40 years, i hate it when a young man comes to me to sell an engagement ring because things didn’t work out, because they rushed things, or whatever the reason is.  You will lose a lot of money reselling your engagement ring to a dealer, bet on it!  So take your time establishing your relationship before making that financial decision to buy a ring.

Selecting the right engagement ring

Ok, today I am going to talk about buying the right engagement ring, and debunk some myths.  First, you need to buy something that you can afford.  Some jewelers will tell you that you should buy something that costs 3 times as much as your monthly salary.  Of course this is obviously self serving advice, and you have to make your own personal choice, but these days with cad-cam technology, any design can be made to fit a certain budget, within reason.  If you are looking at a 10,000.00 ring that you love, know that the same design can be made for much less money, if that is not affordable for you.  Just ask the jeweler where you are looking at the ring, and tell them what your budget is….of course, they want to sell you that one, because they have already sunk their money into it, but a real jeweler will make what you want to buy, and be happy to do it.  The current trend is diamond semi-mounts, where you select the ring and then choose the center stone, which gives you more flexibility with the price.  The quality of the center diamond is most important, if one day you might want to upgrade to a larger stone.  Never buy a diamond that you can see inclusions in with the naked eye; this grade never increases in value, and is hard to trade in anywhere, as no one really wants it.  It is being sold to provide a lower price point in a bigger stone; you are better off with a smaller stone that is clean.  No grade of clarity below SI2 ever increases in value.  No color below J ever increases in value, so these are your guidelines if you want to consider your purchase as an investment.  The cut grade is also important; always buy very good to excellent cut.  It has been a tendency for the diamond cutters in other countries to send their spread stones to the U.S. to sell, for example, a round diamond that looks like 1.25 to 1.50 carat that only weighs a carat; these are called fish eyes and are only attractive to someone looking for size over quality; avoid these because resale is very low on this type stone.  Always insist on an independent lab certificate on any large diamond that you purchase, and no, a certificate from the store you are buying from is NOT sufficient; they are engaging in a conflict of interest to make their own certificate.  Large diamonds should always have either an EGL New York cert. or the best is a GIA certificate with laser inscribed number that matches the cert. on the girdle of the stone; these can always be matched and are useful to the police if your diamond is ever stolen.  Keep your cert. in a safe place, for this reason; these certs are worth up to 500.00 each, so they are not just a fancy piece of embossed paper.  Also, certificates from Israel or some other countries ARE NOT WORTH THE PAPER THEY ARE WRITTEN ON! – and they are not to be trusted when compared with GIA!  More to follow…..


There are things you should know before buying jewelry that contains gemstones. Firstly, you need to know that not all gemstones are created equally. Some are harder, and can take the daily abuse in rings that you will inevitably put them through, such as diamonds, sapphires, and rubies. The best mounting designs provide protection for these and softer stones, but the softer stones require it, such as emeralds, aquamarines, and tanzanites. These softer stones do not fare well when made the prominent upper stone in a ring setting or bracelet. They are just fine in a pendant, necklace, or earrings as jewelry worn in these places is not subjected to a lot of abuse. In rings, they must be lowered or protected more by the design of the mounting or they end up scratched, chipped or broken. Dealing with an experienced jeweler instead of a salesman in a chain store will help you find the right mounting for whatever you need. After all, a “insurance policy” that they sell you will not help with the sad emotions that come with damaged engagement rings, and replacement stones do not replicate your original; they are all different, so better to get it right the first time.


Hi folks; today i am talking about things you need to know before buying jewelry.  Number one is the quality of the mounting.  Did you know that most jewelry manufacturers are always looking for the next big thing?  They want to create designs that people are going to buy.  Nothing wrong with that; it’s like the clothing industry, with new spring, summer or fall fashions.  Lately it has been the halo engagement ring., and something called price points.  Price points are the marketing strategy that jewelry retailers employ, based on their demographic studies of the area that the store is located in.  They will bring in merchandise based on what prices they think you will be willing to pay; some for 1000.00, some for 5000.00, and so on…these are called price points.  The problem with this design is similar to others that have come and gone; if the prongs are not made heavy enough, or there aren’t enough prongs, you will lose diamonds, and what looked so beautiful in the showcase will be nothing but problems.  Two prongs are not enough to hold a diamond very long, especially once you start wearing it, and i don’t like shared prongs either; too easy to lose diamonds; however, if they are heavy enough to touch and cover at least 4 corners of the diamond, they are okay.  So when you go to buy a ring, ask these questions, and don’t go buying the lightest thing you can find, either; nothing for nothing will always be nothing.  Good quality mountings are the ones with at least 4 prongs per diamond, or whatever the stones are, and they will weigh more and cost more.  Any gold ring you buy should be at least 1.5mm thick at the bottom, and platinum has to be a lot heavier, because it bends more easily than gold.  There is an old saying; there are those who will make anything to sell for a profit, and there are those who only see price, and the latter are the lawful victims of the former.  Listen, this is a very emotional issue for the lady receiving the engagement ring; is a warranty from the retailer with their 10 time markups really what you want, or do you want a quality ring that doesn’t fall apart?