Category: Ask Deutsch

Q: Do you have any tips for buying diamonds?

A:

Jewelry is one of the most popular gifts we use to mark the momentous occasions in our lives. It is an outward expression of what we mean to one another. Holidays, birthdays and anniversaries and other achievements are just some of the events we celebrate with special gifts of jewelry, and diamonds are among the most favorite to give.

The budget for your gift is likely one of your most important parameters, but you can make sure you receive the most value for your purchase by learning more about diamonds before you shop. These six tips will help you find your ideal gift.

Learn about the 4Cs

The 4Cs of diamond quality is a language jewelers everywhere use to describe the attributes of a diamond, that when taken together, help to determine its overall quality. Quality is ultimately tied to price, so it’s crucial that you learn the 4Cs so that you understand what you’re buying:

Carat

Diamonds are weighed in metric carats. For reference, a small paper clip weighs about two carats.

Clarity

Diamonds are created by nature under tremendous heat and pressure. Nearly all diamonds contain unique internal characteristics called inclusions and external characteristics called blemishes. Many clarity characteristics are too tiny to be seen by anyone other than a trained gemologist using magnification. The GIA Clarity Scale contains 11 grades ranging from Flawless to Included.

Color

Truly colorless diamonds are very rare and highly valued. The GIA Color Scale uses letters to represent the absence of color, beginning with D (colorless) and ending at Z (light yellow or brown). Color distinctions can be quite subtle and only visible to the trained eye, but the differences can have a significant impact on price.

Cut

While diamonds can be fashioned into different shapes, the term “cut” refers to how a diamond’s complex proportions and angles relate to light. A number of factors influence a diamond’s cut grade, including its overall face-up appearance, design and craftsmanship. The GIA Cut Scale for standard round brilliant cut diamonds ranges from Excellent to Poor.

Choose a trained jeweler

Select a jeweler as carefully as you do a doctor, lawyer or any other trained professional. Find someone who is credentialed, such as a GIA Graduate Gemologist. Take note of their affiliations with jewelry industry groups and professional associations. Use GIA’s Retailer Lookup to find a jeweler near you who carries GIA-graded diamonds or has GIA-trained associates on staff.

Ask for an independent diamond grading report

A diamond grading report is an unbiased assessment of the diamond’s quality. It provides a description of the diamond’s 4Cs and confirms that the stone is a natural or synthetic diamond. The report also discloses any treatments the diamond may have undergone to alter its color or clarity. You can verify the information contained in any GIA report by entering the report number in Report Check, GIA’s secure online database.

GIA diamond grading reports, like this Diamond Dossier®, provide a full assessment of a diamond’s quality using the 4Cs. View a sample Diamond Dossier.

Keep your purchase secure

A laser inscription will help identify your diamond if it’s ever lost or stolen. You can request to have the diamond’s report number or a personal message inscribed on the girdle (the diamond’s perimeter). The inscription is viewable using a jeweler’s loupe or microscope under 10X magnification. Diamonds that come with GIA Diamond Dossier® reports contain the diamond’s report number laser inscribed on the girdle.

Microscopically inscribing the report number on the diamond’s girdle makes it possible for you to easily identify your diamond in case it is ever lost or stolen.

You should also have the diamond appraised and insured. A diamond grading report is the independent assessment of quality, while an appraisal gives a monetary value. If you’re looking for a qualified appraiser, you might start by contacting an appraisal organization for a referral.

Consider purchasing the diamond loose and having it set in the ring later

Are you shopping for an engagement ring, but not sure what your future fiancée prefers in a ring? Consider purchasing a loose diamond and then decide on the mounting together. Make sure to have the loose stone graded before having it mounted. Read more engagement ring buying tips.

A final tip before you head for the jewelry stores

Article courtesy of gia.edu

 

Q: How does heat treatment affect a sapphire’s value?

A: According to GIA, eating is an accepted treatment for sapphire. But for fine quality sapphire, confirmation from an independent laboratory like GIA that there is no evidence of heat adds to a sapphire’s rarity and value.

Information courtesy of gia.edu.

 

Q: What should I take into consideration when purchasing a diamond? Do you have an easy way for me to learn what I need to know about diamonds?

A: A diamond’s information can be easily summed up into the four C’s of diamond grading. The four C’s are as follows: diamond clarity, diamond color, diamond carat weight, and diamond cut. Below is a great image that further describes each of the four C’s better.

4Cs_diamond_grading_2

Image courtesy of Serendipity Diamonds.

Q: What does ring resizing entail? How do I know when I need to have my ring resized? Where can I take my jewelry to be resized?

A: To begin with, there are many reasons people need their rings resized. Common reasons are weight loss or weight gain causing the band to become either too tight or too loose. A general rule for ring resizing is that a ring can only be modified a maximum of two sizes. If your ring feels uncomfortable for any reason, it is always best to consult the advice of a jeweler when planning to have a ring resized.
Rings can either be resized to a smaller or bigger size. Ring resizing is a common occurrence at a jewelry store and is a procedure that can be applied to most rings.
Rings are made larger by stretching the ring or adding what is called a “bridge.” Stretching the ring tends to be the easier option, however adding a bridge is the most popular method used for resizing a ring. The jeweler will cut the ring, spread it apart and add a piece of the same metal into the small gap. Afterwards, the ring is soldered and polished to make the ring appear untouched.
Unfortunately, there are certain rings which simply cannot be resized and certain rings which should not be reworked. A good example of a rings that cannot be resized are rings that have a continuous setting around the band. Attempts at resizing these types of rings can cause damage to the gemstones and distort the original beauty of the ring.
Other rings that are made of certain materials such as titanium, tungsten and stainless steel rings are also difficult to resize because of their materials. Rings made out of wood, glass, or quartz are also on the list of rings which cannot be modified.

When purchasing a ring, it is always best to consult with your jeweler all the necessary details. Don’t hesitate to ask any questions to ensure you are making a purchase you are totally comfortable with. Asking all the important questions upfront can help alleviate any future problems should the need for a ring modification arise.

Visit us at Deutsch & Deutsch Laredo where we can help you with all your ring resizing needs.

 

Q: I’m a little confused by the terms “antique jewelry,” “vintage jewelry,” and “estate jewelry.” What is the difference between the three?

 

A: These terms can be a little confusing and overwhelming when shopping for jewelry. So many terms, how can someone possibly differentiate? Here is an easy way to know the difference.
* beginning of time — 1920’s : Jewelry is considered antique
* beginning of time — 1980’s: Jewelry is considered vintage
* beginning of time — 2010ish: Jewelry is considered estate

One has to be careful when labeling jewelry items since it is technically possible to have a jewelry piece from 1919 that is antique, vintage and estate, but a piece from the 90’s that is not antique or vintage, but is estate.

The term “estate” usually means that the jewelry item is pre-owned but typically made within the past thirty years.

Jewelry is considered antique when it is 100 years old or older. If a piece is considered “antique style,” is simply means that it is a replica of an older piece. Always proceed with caution and carefully take into consideration the wording that is given to a particular jewelry piece to ensure that you are purchasing what you are truly looking for. If you are unsure, do not hesitate to ask as many questions as needed to the jewelry salesperson assisting you.

In jewelry terms, estate, vintage and antique jewelry all have similar meaning but the differences can greatly influence the value of the jewelry.

In the recent years, estate jewelry has become significantly popular among jewelry collectors and buyers and is also a top seller in our stores.

Visit our stores to see our selection of vintage, antique, and estate jewelry. Each store carries something different, so you’ll be sure to find something to fit your particular taste.

Q: I have a lot of diamond jewelry and notice that my diamonds have lost their luster. Do you have any tips on how to keep my diamond sparkling?

 

A: Diamond is the hardest natural substance on Earth. It can cut any kind of rock or metal, but only another diamond can cut a diamond. In fact, a diamond must be heated to a temperature of 1292 degrees Fahrenheit before it will burn. Yet the oil deposited from the mere touch of a human finger can cause dirt to collect and make this nearly indestructible gemstone quickly lose its sparkling appeal.

So how can you keep your diamond looking its very best? The nonprofit GIA (Gemological Institute of America) – the world’s foremost authority in gemology – offers the following tips on diamond care:

Handle your diamond sparingly. Because diamonds are natural magnets for grease, they’re not easy to keep clean. Handling a diamond with your fingers provides enough oils from your skin (the type of “grease” that most affects diamonds) to alter the way your diamond looks.

Clean your diamond regularly. A simple plan to keep your diamond jewelry always looking beautiful is to soak the diamond in an ammonia-based household cleaner (such as window cleaner) overnight, once or twice weekly. In the morning, remove the diamond from the cleaner and brush it with a soft, clean toothbrush (one that has not previously been used in any way, and that you reserve exclusively for cleaning your diamond) to remove any leftover dirt. Take extra care to brush the back of the diamond as this will be the area that has collected the most oil and dirt.

Be aware that fragile settings and estate jewelry won’t take kindly to being scrubbed with a toothbrush, so use a soft touch. Then, just rinse the diamond with water and wipe with a soft, lint-free cloth.

Don’t use harmful solutions. Chlorine (as in household bleach) or abrasives (such as household cleansers or toothpaste) should never be used when cleaning diamonds, especially those set in jewelry. These erode some of the metals often used in diamond settings, and may loosen prongs, or even dissolve the metal completely.

Sometimes an ultrasonic cleaner is necessary to remove encrusted dirt on diamonds. By sending high frequency sound waves through a detergent solution, ultrasonic cleaners cause vibrating fluid to remove accumulated dirt and grime. However, they can also shake loose stones from their mounting, so this method shouldn’t be used on fragile settings (or estate jewelry), and is best undertaken by a professional jeweler.

Regular cleaning will keep your diamond jewelry in gleaming condition and ready to sparkle on that special occasion.

If you have additional questions on diamond care, seek the advice of a qualified jeweler – ideally someone who has been educated by GIA.

Article from gia.edu

Q: I’m planning to propose to my longtime girlfriend but feel distraught because I don’t know how to properly choose an engagement ring. Do you have any tips on how to go about purchasing an engagement ring?

A: Know what you want to spend

You will be confronted with a dizzying array of choices when it comes to engagement rings. Have a price range in mind. Going in with fairly specific parameters will help your jeweler find the right engagement ring to fit your budget.

What kind of jewelry does she already wear?
Is she more classic or modern? Feminine or sophisticated? Does she wear more silver or gold? Do her pieces tend to be more delicate or chunky? Simple or ornate? Have these preferences in mind when you set out to shop. If you buy something similar to what she already likes, you can’t go wrong.

Know her ring size
If she wears rings, borrow one she already owns. Trace the inner circle on a piece of paper, or press the ring into a bar of soap for an impression. You can also slide it down one of your own fingers and draw a line where it stops. A jeweler can use these measurements to identify her approximate ring size.

If she doesn’t wear rings, estimate in the following manner: The average ring size in the US is 6 (based on the ‘average’ US female being 5’4″ tall and weighing 140 lbs.) If she’s more slender, or fine boned, her ring size is probably in the 4 1/2 to 5 1/2 range. If she is heavier, larger boned or taller, her ring size is probably in the 6 1/2 to 7 1/2 range. It’s always better to buy a ring a bit bigger than you think she’ll need, because sizing a ring down is much easier than increasing its size.
 
Are her preferences hard to pin down?
Consider buying an unset diamond. If you choose the diamond first and have the setting made later, you can include her in selecting the style and final details of the ring (always a good idea) and avoid the awkwardness of choosing a ring that’s more to your taste than hers.

Know what diamond shape suits her
If she hasn’t made it easy for you by already voicing an opinion on the subject (or admiring someone else’s engagement ring), here are a few things to keep in mind when considering shape:

She will be wearing this ring 24/7 every day of your married life. It will need to go with everything from jeans to evening wear. If you’re uncertain about her shape preference, it’s sensible to stick to the classics. They became classics because they appeal to most people most of the time.

Shapes with fewer facets, such as emerald or square, require higher clarity. The fewer the facets, the more visible any inclusions will be.

Certain shapes pair more successfully with other gems in multi-stone rings. Round, Oval and Marquise all work well. Pear and Heart shape are more challenging.

Taste in shape is often reflected in other tastes a woman has. If she prefers clean, modern lines in furniture, for example, it’s likely she’ll react well to the same aesthetic in Emerald or Square shapes. If she tends towards the traditional, a round shape rarely misses. More bohemian types tend to favor more unusual shapes, like Trilliant or Marquise.

What Setting Makes Sense?
While there are an unending variety of patterns, details and metal choices, there are four basic types you are likely to encounter:

Solitaire – A single stone. Still the most popular choice in engagement rings. The head secures the diamond. Prongs allow the diamond to catch the most light. A four-prong-setting shows more of the diamond, but a six-prong setting is often more secure.

Sidestone – Diamonds or other gemstones, flank the main stone for additional sparkle or color. Popular sidestone settings include ‘channel’, which protects stones by keeping them flush, and ‘bar-channel’, which allows more light to enter the sidestones.

Three Stone – One diamond for the past, one for the present, and one for the future. Typically, the center diamond is larger than the two side stones.

Pave (pah-vey) – The main stone is surrounded by tiny diamonds to add sparkle and the illusion of greater size.

As to actual setting design, consider her lifestyle, and how well a certain setting will fit into it. If she’s more active or outdoorsy, look for lower profile, less ornate, more sturdy choices, which are less likely to get knocked or caught on things. If she’s more of a glamour girl, look for statement settings, with a higher stone profile and more intricate ring detailing or unique motif.

We hope this helps! Happy shopping!

Article credit: gia.edu

Q: I have recently fallen in love with white gold. A lot of my recent jewelry purchases have been in white gold and I am not too sure how to properly clean my rings and other white gold items. Could you please give me some tips on proper care for white gold?

A:
Maintaining white gold rings is entirely different than caring for rings made from yellow gold or platinum. The reason is because white gold is made with yellow gold and is mixed with white metals. It is then covered with plating, using rhodium, to hide the yellow color of the resulting alloy.
Because of white gold’s composition, caring for your rings is more than just cleaning them; it’s also about preserving the rhodium plating that is in the ring.

Here is the recommended method to cleaning your white gold rings, as mentioned in jewelrynotes.com:

1. Prepare a cleaning solution by mixing mild soap and warm water. Do not use detergents that contain chlorine or other harsh chemicals.
2. Soak your white gold ring in the solution for 20-30 minutes.
3. Gently rub the ring using a soft cloth or a soft brush to remove any dirt.
4. Rinse the ring with lukewarm water to remove any soap residue.
5. Dry the white gold ring with a clean towel.

Tip: If your ring is especially dirty, you can add several drops of ammonia to the water.

If your ring has stones that are durable, such as diamonds, you may follow the method described above to clean your ring. However, with softer and less durable gemstones such as pearls and onyx stones, the ring should not be soaked in water and soap for an extended period of time.

It is recommended to not submerge the piece of jewelry in the cleaning solution if you aren’t sure how the gemstone on your ring should be cleaned. Instead, you can try dipping a soft cloth in the soapy water and gently rubbing the metal parts of the ring. The gemstones may be cleaned by carefully wiping them with a damp cloth.

Lastly, remove your white gold ring when doing housework to avoid exposing your jewelry to harsh chemicals. Chlorine-based detergents can have a damaging effect on white gold and can cause the parts of your ring to wear down faster.

If your ring is scratched, a jeweler can help you with that by polishing it out. Keep in mind that if white gold is polished too often, its rhodium plating will wear off quickly.

We hope these tips help you in properly caring for your white gold purchases.

Q:
I love jewelry, but sometimes I feel like I can only wear it when wearing an expensive outfit or for special occasions. Several of my friends have mastered the art of properly accessorizing the correct jewelry pieces with their outfits while I am left in utter confusion. Can you offer any tips on how to accessorize a casual outfit such as a t-shirt and jeans and how to dress up an evening outfit such as a formal gown?

A:

Great question! Many people have come to us with this concern and admitted that they often reuse the same pieces of jewelry (i.e., a watch and bracelet) for every outfit. They are afraid to venture out and wear different jewelry items with different outfits out of fear that they aren’t “properly accessorizing.” Not to worry, spicing up any outfit is easier than you might think.

To begin, we recommend doing a little research on the hottest trends in jewelry for the current season you are in. What are the trending colors and styles? Researching the latest trends can help give you a little inspiration or a more definite understanding of what to go with your casual or evening outfit.

A few of the current trends are stacking rings and necklaces. We think a casual outfit of t-shirt and jeans would look great with a few stacked rings on one hand and stacking different length necklaces for a versatile look. The simplest outfit can still look chic and you can really have fun combining different types of pieces together.

For dressing up an evening outfit, we recommend not overdoing it on the jewelry and wearing just one big statement piece. For example, wearing a gold or platinum necklace with a diamond pendant and just that. Wearing too many large pieces of jewelry may take away from the overall evening look. Remember, jewelry is meant to help accessorize, not be the focal point of the night. Wearing one big statement piece will perfectly accentuate your evening outfit.

An outfit will more than likely help you become inspired to select the right jewelry for it. Don’t overthink it. Even the simplest necklace or bracelet can make a grand statement.

Remember, you don’t have to spend a lot to look great. The beautiful thing about jewelry is its versatility. From simple to bold, affordable to expensive, there is something that can work with any budget and taste to perfectly accessorize your day and evening outfits.

Lastly, your jewelry should be a reflection of your personality and what makes you feel and look good. You don’t always have to follow the current trends. If you like a jewelry item, wear it. You’ll be surprised how easily complementing an outfit with jewelry can be once you learn to listen to yourself and what suits you.

Q: Christmas is right around the corner and I’m completely clueless as to what to buy for my family. Do you have any recommendations? Please help!

A: At Deutsch & Deutsch, we carry an array of quality gift items, perfect for everyone in your family. Instead of stopping at several stores to do your holiday shopping, make ONE stop at Deutsch & Deutsch!

Here is our Holiday Top 10 Items list:

1.) Deutsch & Deutsch Bridal – Our store carries a wide selection of bridal diamond engagement rings and wedding bands. If you are planning on proposing this holiday season, let Deutsch & Deutsch help you pick the perfect ring. Deutsch & Deutsch Bridal is available at our stores in Houston, Laredo, and McAllen, TX.

2.) William Henry knives – These knives are perfect for the men in your family. William Henry knives are uniquely engraved and what makes this brand so distinctive is that it has proudly retained the aura and feel of an artisan workshop. Every piece is designed and created exclusively in small, limited, often unique editions. A William Henry engraved knife is the perfect gift for Christmas!

3.) Honora Pearls – Honora specializes in bringing the very best in Freshwater Pearls. Honora is the largest importer of fine Freshwater Pearls in the United States and uses these astounding cultured pearls to create colorful and affordable pearl jewelry. With its affordable price and variety of pieces, an item from Honora would be sure to put a smile on someone’s face this Christmas. Honora pearls are available at our stores in Houston, Laredo, and McAllen, TX.

4.) Rolex watches – The leading brand in Swiss watchmaking, Rolex enjoys an unrivaled reputation throughout the world for quality and precision. Gifting someone a Rolex this holiday season will surely leave a lasting impression. Rolex watches are available at all four of our stores.

5.) Cartier watches – Cartier stands as one of the world’s most esteemed and respectful companies in the luxury goods industry. Today, Cartier is renowned worldwide for its high jewelry creations, watches, perfumed, and prestige accessories – symbols of craftsmanship and elegance, quality and excellence. We proudly carry Cartier watches and will gladly help you pick the best one for you or a beloved family member, assuring that their Christmas is complete with a Cartier watch. Cartier is available in all four of our stores.

6.) Montblanc – Montblanc has been known for generations as a maker of high quality writing instruments. Today, Montblanc has mastered the demands of quality design, tradition, and master craftsmanship with their fine writing instruments, watches, and luxury leather good items. For the writing enthusiast in your life, a writing instrument from Montblanc is the perfect gift. Montblanc is available in McAllen and El Paso, TX.

7.) Pandora – PANDORA designs, manufactures and markets hand-finished and modern jewelry made from genuine materials at affordable prices. At Deutsch & Deutsch, we carry their bracelets and charms. You can’t go wrong with giving a gift from Pandora. Pandora is available at our stores in Laredo and McAllen, TX.

8.) Wolf Designs – If you have an avid watch collector in your life, a watch winder from Wolf Designs is the perfect gift for them. While watch winders may seem like a simple box, they are machines that perform a vital task for watch owners: keeping automatic (self-winding) watches running when not worn. Visit our store to see our selection of watch winders from Wolf Designs. Wolf Designs is available in all four of our stores.

9.) TAG Heuer – Innovation, prestige, performance & precision are the soul of TAG Heuer. A timepiece from TAG Heuer makes the perfect Christmas present because of their cutting-edge designs and sophistication. TAG Heuer watches have the most forward elements of contemporary design, making them a perfect choice for Christmas. TAG Heuer is available at all four of our stores.

10.) Bvlgari – Today, Bvlgari is a name that has become synonymous with artisanal craftsmanship, avant-garde materials and unrivaled design. We at Deutsch & Deutsch proudly carry Bvlgari watches and jewelry at our stores in Laredo, McAllen, and El Paso, TX. This Christmas, give a gift from Bvlgari.