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Posted by Pineforest Jewelry on Tuesday the 14th of August 2018

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Posted by Pineforest Jewelry on Tuesday the 14th of August 2018

Diamond Jim: "What is a Challenge Coin?" A challenge coin is a small coin or medallion (often military related), bearing an organization’s insignia or emblem and carried by the organization’s members. Traditionally, they are given to prove membership when challenged and to enhance morale. In addition, they are also collected by service members. In practice, challenge coins are normally presented by unit commanders in recognition of special achievement by a member of the unit. They are also exchanged in recognition of visits to an organization. There are several stories detailing the origins of the challenge coin. One such story is that the Roman Empire rewarded soldiers by presenting them with coins to recognize their achievements. Another story dates challenge coins back to the origins of our country when some of our founding fathers were drafting the Articles of Confederation (the precursor documents to the Constitution for the United States of America). Since communication between the colonies was slow, to say the least, the brilliant men gathered in secret so that the British spies would not discover what the colonists were doing. To ensure that no spies were present during their many meetings, a coin was struck in very limited number and was issued to each man whose identity was verified. According to the most common story, challenge coins originated during World War I. Before the entry of the United States into the war in 1917, American volunteers from all parts of the country filled the newly formed flying squadrons. In one squadron, a wealthy lieutenant ordered medallions struck in solid bronze and presented them to his unit. One young pilot placed the medallion in a small leather pouch that he wore about his neck. Shortly after acquiring the medallion, the pilot's aircraft was severely damaged by ground fire. He was forced to land behind enemy lines and was immediately captured by a German patrol. In order to discourage his escape, the Germans took all of his personal identification except for the small leather pouch around his neck. Taking advantage of a bombardment that night, he escaped. However, he was without personal identification. He succeeded in avoiding German patrols by donning civilian attire and reached the front lines. Eventually, he stumbled onto a French outpost. Saboteurs had plagued the French in the sector. They sometimes masqueraded as civilians and wore civilian clothes. Not recognizing the young pilot's American accent, the French thought him to be a saboteur and made ready to execute him. He had no identification to prove his allegiance, but he did have his leather pouch containing the medallion. He showed the medallion to his would-be executioners and one of his French captors recognized the squadron insignia on the medallion. They delayed his execution long enough for him to confirm his identity. Instead of shooting him they gave him a bottle of wine. Back at his squadron, it became tradition to ensure that all members carried their medallion or coin at all times. This was accomplished through challenge in the following manner: a challenger would ask to see the medallion, if the challenged could not produce a medallion, they were required to buy a drink of choice for the member who challenged them. If the challenged member produced a medallion, then the challenging member was required to pay for the drink. This tradition continued throughout the war and for many years after the war while surviving members of the squadron were still alive. Diamond Jim is a diamond dealer and precious metals broker of NTR Metals. See more at: www.pineforestjewelry.com.  If you have questions pertaining to jewelry, watches, diamonds, precious stones, precious metals, and other questions related to the jewelry industry, email jmills@pineforestjewelry.com.

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Posted by Pineforest Jewelry on Saturday the 11th of August 2018

14K Gold & Diamond Flexible Cuff Bangle Www.Pineforestjewelry.com

14K Gold & Diamond Flexible Cuff Bangle Www.Pineforestjewelry.com

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New Photo Posted

Posted by Pineforest Jewelry on Saturday the 11th of August 2018

14K Rose Diamond Fancy Flower Chain Slide. Available in White,Rose, & Yellow Gold. Www.Pineforestjewelry.com

14K Rose Diamond Fancy Flower Chain Slide. Available in White,Rose, & Yellow Gold. Www.Pineforestjewelry.com

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New Photo Posted

Posted by Pineforest Jewelry on Saturday the 11th of August 2018

14K Heart Diamond Pendants Www.Pineforestjewelry.com

14K Heart Diamond Pendants Www.Pineforestjewelry.com

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New Photo Posted

Posted by Pineforest Jewelry on Saturday the 11th of August 2018

14K Tri-Color Jewelry! Mix & Match with your white yellow or rose gold jewelry that you already have! Www.Pineforestjewelry.com

14K Tri-Color Jewelry! Mix & Match with your white yellow or rose gold jewelry that you already have! Www.Pineforestjewelry.com

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Posted by Pineforest Jewelry on Saturday the 11th of August 2018

14K Blue Sapphire & Diamond Earrings www.pineforestjewelry.com

14K Blue Sapphire & Diamond Earrings www.pineforestjewelry.com

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New Photo Posted

Posted by Pineforest Jewelry on Saturday the 11th of August 2018

14K Diamond & Ruby Earrings www.pineforestjewelry.com

14K Diamond & Ruby Earrings www.pineforestjewelry.com

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New Photo Posted

Posted by Pineforest Jewelry on Saturday the 11th of August 2018

Celebrate that August with an item of Peridot jewelry. www.pineforestjewelry.com

Celebrate that August with an item of Peridot jewelry. www.pineforestjewelry.com

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New Photo Posted

Posted by Pineforest Jewelry on Saturday the 11th of August 2018

14K Gold & Diamond Dangle earrings! Perfect finishing touch to any outfit. Shop online or in-store Www.Pineforestjewelry.com

14K Gold & Diamond Dangle earrings! Perfect finishing touch to any outfit. Shop online or in-store Www.Pineforestjewelry.com

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New Photo Posted

Posted by Pineforest Jewelry on Saturday the 11th of August 2018

Want to add to your cross pendant collection? Come shop with us in-store or online! 14K Yellow, White, & Rose Gold crosses available. Www.Pineforestjewelry.com

Want to add to your cross pendant collection? Come shop with us in-store or online! 14K Yellow, White, & Rose Gold crosses available. Www.Pineforestjewelry.com

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New Photo Posted

Posted by Pineforest Jewelry on Thursday the 9th of August 2018

Check out this stunning Chatham Padparadscha necklace! Shop the Chatham collection in-store or online. www.Pineforestjewelry.com

Check out this stunning Chatham Padparadscha necklace! Shop the Chatham collection in-store or online. www.Pineforestjewelry.com

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New Link Posted

Posted by Pineforest Jewelry on Tuesday the 7th of August 2018

Diamond Jim: "What is the birthstone for August?" AUGUST BIRTHSTONE We have a birthday present for those born in August: the stunning spinel has been added to your month’s birthstone lineup! August now joins June and December as the only months represented by three gems. The original birthstone for August was Sardonyx, and then peridot was added, becoming August’s primary gem. Now spinel adds its multitude of color choices! PERIDOT OVERVIEW Though peridot is widely recognized by its brilliant lime green glow, the origin of this gem’s name is unclear. Most scholars agree that the word “peridot” is derived from the Arabic faridat which means “gem,” but some believe it’s rooted in the Greek word peridona, meaning “giving plenty.” Perhaps that’s why peridot is associated with prosperity and good fortune. Rarely, peridot is also found inside meteorites. Peridot’s signature green color comes from the composition of the mineral itself—rather than from trace impurities, as with many gems. That’s why this is one of few stones that only comes in one color, though shades may vary from yellowish-green to olive to brownish-green, depending how much iron is present. Most of the world’s peridot supply comes from the San Carlos Reservation in Arizona. Other sources are China, Myanmar, Pakistan and Africa. SARDONYX OVERVIEW Sardonyx combines alternating layers of sard and onyx—two types of the layered mineral chalcedony—to create a reddish zebra-striped stone with white bands. Sardonyx, like onyx, shows layers of parallel bands—instead of the chaotic, curved bands that compose agate, another type of chalcedony. The finest examples of sardonyx, which display sharp contrasts between layers, are found in India. Other sources include Brazil, Germany, Czechoslovakia, Madagascar, Uruguay and the United States. SPINEL OVERVIEW The spinel is often assumed to be other gemstones because it tends to resemble either a ruby or sapphire. In fact, some of the most famous rubies in history have turned out to be spinel. But its distinguishing features, like its octahedral crystal structure and single refraction, are what sets it apart from other gems. Significant deposits of spinel have been found in Cambodia, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, and Thailand. It has also been found in Afghanistan, Australia, Brazil, Madagascar, Nepal, Nigeria, Tadzhikistan, Tanzania and the U.S. Diamond Jim is a diamond dealer and precious metals broker of NTR Metals. See more at: www.pineforestjewelry.com.  If you have questions pertaining to jewelry, watches, diamonds, precious stones, precious metals, and other questions related to the jewelry industry, email jmills@pineforestjewelry.com.

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New Photo Posted

Posted by Pineforest Jewelry on Tuesday the 7th of August 2018

Men’s wedding band!

Men’s wedding band!

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New Link Posted

Posted by Pineforest Jewelry on Saturday the 4th of August 2018

Diamond Jim: "Can I get a diamond on the internet cheaper than what I would pay in a jewelry store?" Yes, you CAN get a diamond on the internet cheaper. BUT BEWARE OF BUYING A "PIG IN A POKE"... #1 Remember, all diamonds are not the same and neither are all brick and mortar jewelry stores or all internet sites for that matter. You are buying a diamond and a feeling that goes with that diamond, one that will have history. Instead of debating symmetry or other technicalities, get back to the basics! When are you getting married? How did you meet? How did you determine what shape or size of diamond you want? How and why did you come about the diamond? What will be the history of this stone? Will she remember that you got it on the cheap and that it was the best price although the stone was not exactly what she wanted? Or do you want her to know that YOU took the extra step of purchasing HER diamond from a bona fide professional in a jewelry store, that you personally received the correct training and explanations regarding the 4Cs, that you made the decision on that perfect diamond for her with your diamond expert's assistance, and that she can recall and relate the experience forever? Do you really want the memory of getting married in a fast food joint... or showing photos of the wedding that were taken on your iPhone... or spending your honeymoon in a $39.95 room that was only a 3 block walk from the ocean? I don't think so. Then why go cheap regarding the diamond purchase, excluding any memories of this first and most important and lasting part of the marriage... and also take the risk of getting less than you thought you were getting? The internet has no feeling for you or what you want, and the bad memory of getting it on the cheap with no memories of actually locating and selecting the diamond will live in infamy forever! #2 A diamond is more than letters and numbers. It is a work of nature. If I gave you all the dimensions of a woman could you tell me if she is beautiful? NO!!! You need to see her. Same as with a diamond. #3 Our store lets you examine the diamond BEFORE you buy it, and you can compare to other diamonds. Our store provides a selection to choose from. No diamond dealer in the world buys a stone without seeing it! Why should you? #4 Ask the internet site WHERE the inclusion is. How bright the stone is? What is the quality of rough? Is it hazy? All these things translate to value and are not easily discernible to the untrained eye. If you do not know them when you buy a diamond on-line then you do not know if you are getting value. #5 Retail prices on a 1.00 carat round F/SI1 can range from a few thousand to almost $10,000. Why? Even with GIA certificates there are degrees within GRADES! Many times a good SI1 is even better than a bad VS2!!!! There are so many diamond qualities that are NOT listed on the cert... brightness, scintillation, position and relief of inclusions that determine beauty. These are not listed on a GIA cert or on a web site! #6 If it seems too good to be true, it usually is. No one is giving anything away. There is usually a reason something is below market value. Get the stone on the internet and bring it in. Many stones are just listed and do not even really exist. #7 When you buy for price that is all you get. This is a life long position. This is maybe the most precious item you will ever own. It means something. Make it special. Internet sites come and go but a diamond is forever. John Ruskin said, "There is nothing in the world that some men cannot make worse and sell cheaper. And those who see only price are this man's lawful prey!" #8 A diamond is forever. Who are you going to go to if there is a chip, or a problem? The internet site will not provide maintenance, experience, or service. When you buy from a jeweler you are purchasing his time and expertise. We give you an appraisal and guarantee. We provide a mounting and keep your jewelry clean and in good condition for as long as you own the piece. #9 DeBeers sorts their rough diamonds into over a thousand different categories. If the only thing that differentiated diamonds was D-Z color and F to I3 clarity there would only be a few categories. There is a LARGE range of colors and clarities WITHIN each category that the internet site will not disclose to you. #10 Unfortunately, sellers of diamonds are not always looked upon as beacons of honesty. There have been stories of fake certificates, moreover, real certificates sold with diamonds that did not match the certificates. Pineforest Jewelry provides you with trust that enables you to avoid the entire headache. Diamond Jim is a diamond dealer and precious metals broker of NTR Metals. See more at: www.pineforestjewelry.com.  If you have questions pertaining to jewelry, watches, diamonds, precious stones, precious metals, and other questions related to the jewelry industry, email jmills@pineforestjewelry.com.

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New Link Posted

Posted by Pineforest Jewelry on Saturday the 4th of August 2018

Diamond Jim: "What are some of the most famous Diamonds in the world?" Famous Diamonds Examined by GIA (Gemological Institute of America) The Hope Diamond, the Dresden Green, the Idol’s Eye, the Portuguese Diamond and the Moussaieff Red – these famous diamonds are spectacularly beautiful jewels that have been admired for centuries. An aura of mystery has always surrounded these rare natural wonders, so it was quite an honor when GIA researchers examined them. The Hope Diamond VS1 • 45.52 ct The Hope Diamond. Courtesy of Chip Clark/Smithsonian Institution. The Hope Diamond may be the most famous colored diamond in the world. A team of GIA gemologists graded it in 1988. Because they were able to weigh the diamond unmounted, they quickly made a notable discovery: the diamond was 45.52 ct, and not 44.50 ct, which had been its previously recorded weight. GIA graders also reported that the Hope Diamond is a cushion antique brilliant. The diamond was color graded as a natural color Fancy dark grayish blue diamond. Since the 1800s, the Hope Diamond had been described as being flawless. During their examination, the GIA team noticed that the diamond had accumulated a few wear marks over the years and had whitish graining and a few minor feathers. Its clarity was graded as VS1 (Very slightly included). Good polish and Fair to Good symmetry were also noted. Technical specifications aside, the Hope Diamond captivates the imagination like no other gemstone. The Dresden Green 41 ct The Dresden Green In late 1988, GIA gemologists secured permission to examine the famed Dresden Green diamond in the Green Vaults, which was then in East Germany. They were particularly excited, as it promised to provide insight into distinguishing natural from laboratory-irradiated green diamonds (radiation is usually the cause of color in both instances). Because the diamond’s history had been recorded since 1741, researchers could be confident that it had not been treated in a laboratory. As the diamond remained mounted upon examination, GIA gemologists were not able to issue a grading report. GIA researchers described the Dresden Green as Fancy green, with a modified pear-shaped brilliant cut. The natural green color has medium tone and slightly grayish saturation. The Green Vaults records indicate it weighs 41 ct. The Portuguese Diamond VS1 • 127.01 ct The Portuguese Diamond. Courtesy of Harold and Erica Van Pelt. Of South African origin, the Portuguese Diamond weighs 127.01 ct. GIA gemologists graded it an M on the GIA Color Scale, and gave it a VS1 clarity grade because of a small bruise on one of the facets and two very minor scratches on the table. The Portuguese has Very Strong blue fluorescence, and this may help mask the faint yellow color in the diamond. Because the fluorescence is so strong, in 1924 it was advertised by Black, Starr & Frost to be a blue diamond. Idol’s Eye VVS1 • 70.20 ct Idol’s Eye. Courtesy of Graff Diamonds. Another famous diamond shrouded in myth, the Idol’s Eye was probably mined in India’s Golconda District – an area famed for producing fine diamonds. There are many tall tales about the diamond, including one that says the Idol’s Eye is also the Nassak. This has been disproven. The first confirmed documentation of the Idol’s Eye was in one of the lots being sold at auction by Christie’s London in July 1865. GIA gemologists confirmed that the Idol’s Eye weighs 70.20 ct. Its color grade is Very Light blue and its clarity is VVS1 (Very very slightly included). The Moussaieff Red 5.11 ct The Moussaieff Red Although the Moussaieff Red weighs just 5.11 ct, it’s a predominantly red diamond (no secondary hues like purple), which means it’s incredibly rare. A description of Fancy red is remarkable. GIA records show that from 1957 to 1987 there was no mention of a GIA report issued for a diamond with “red” as the only descriptive term. Only a handful of Fancy red diamonds are known, because in diamonds the color red is often modified with another hue, such as purplish red or orangy red. A Brazilian farmer discovered the Moussaieff Red in the 1990s. It was cut and polished from a 13.9 ct crystal. Diamond Jim is a diamond dealer and precious metals broker of NTR Metals. See more at: www.pineforestjewelry.com.  If you have questions pertaining to jewelry, watches, diamonds, precious stones, precious metals, and other questions related to the jewelry industry, email jmills@pineforestjewelry.com.

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Posted by Pineforest Jewelry on Saturday the 4th of August 2018

Diamond Jim: "Does the price and value of Diamonds stay about the same over time?" Key Points: - With continued economic growth around the world and more demand for luxury goods and decline in the mining of diamonds, it is expected that the prices of high gem quality natural diamonds will increase by roughly 6% each year until 2020. - While the overall health of the economy influences the prices of diamonds, in general this gemstone has gained value over the years. Data shows the prices of diamonds over the past ten years have increased by approximately 32-33%, giving it an average of 4% every year. - De Beers no longer controls the largest supply of diamonds as their market shares have fallen from roughly 90% in the 80s to close to 30% now. This is good news because it shows that diamonds can hold its value even when its supply is not controlled by a large cooperation. - While many pundits would suggest that diamond is not a good investment, it is not necessary true. If you get the diamond from a trusted source at fair price and it is a top gem quality stone, diamond is one of the best commodities you could own. People are not insane to invest billions of dollars in this alluring gemstone. However, it is a different story if you buy the gemstone at a 400-700% marked up price as is sometimes the case in big chain jewelry stores. Detailed analysis: Determining the best price for a diamond is critical for investors and consumers alike. This rare and alluring gemstone has been around for years and, all this time, its price has been quite high. To understand diamond and how its market value has been over the past half century or so, it is important to have a good perspective of the worldwide diamond industry. The value of the diamond has always been high since it was discovered and the main factor that affects this is the demand for diamond jewelry. With continued economic growth in the world, the demand for diamonds is expected to have a positive increase in the future. With increased demand for this unique gemstone over the coming years, eventually demand will be way higher than the growth of diamond production. This is due to the slowdown of current mines and the lack of discovering new mines for this mineral. With the increase in demand of diamonds, more and more companies have come to the realization that such demand would affect prices globally. Similar to any other goods, polished diamond prices fluctuate like other commodities, and a range of forces lead to this increase and decrease. The price might change due to external factors, including basic economic ups and downs, or their maybe internal factors, for example, traders’ expectations. If compared to another mineral such as gold, diamond prices haven't fluctuated as much, but they have changed nevertheless. Surveys show that the price of diamonds over the past 8 years has increased by approximately 33%, giving it an average of 4% every year. Yearly the prices of diamonds fluctuate on a moderate scale. From high to low, the process might change by about five to seven percent. In the year 2008, in August the prices of diamonds decreased to its lowest at an average of more than 12% compared to January of the same year due to the financial market collapse. A 12% decline is quite significant especially if it was another economic sector that was being affected. However, In 2011 the scenario was much different. In this year, the prices of diamonds rapidly increased to a record breaking 20% due to higher demand. These changes basically mean that there are several factors affecting the diamond trade. One reason might be due to changes made by the manufacturers and wholesalers who want operations to run as per their needs. There are other contributing factors to the price of the diamond. When it comes to mining of diamonds, there are different types of diamond sizes being mined. And different sizes of diamonds, means different price fluctuations. The size of the diamond will highly affect the price of the diamond. You will find that large type of diamonds (weighing about three carats or more) will fluctuate more compared to the smaller diamonds (weighing 2.99 carat and below to 0.50 carats). When you look at larger diamonds, you will notice that they have gradually increased in price over the past fifteen years, more than doubling their prices. The 4 carat diamonds (most active type) tripled between the year 2004 and 2008. When you look at the changes in prices of the smaller diamonds (0.50 to 2.99 carat) you will notice that the change in price over the past years is smaller. While the price you pay for diamonds may change from year-to-year, the unique beauty, appeal and luster of this amazing natural stone will likely remain as it is . . . unrivaled. You can learn more about diamonds on a personal level by visiting the experts at Pineforest Jewelry. Diamond Jim is a diamond dealer and precious metals broker of NTR Metals. See more at: www.pineforestjewelry.com.  If you have questions pertaining to jewelry, watches, diamonds, precious stones, precious metals, and other questions related to the jewelry industry, email jmills@pineforestjewelry.com.

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Posted by Pineforest Jewelry on Saturday the 4th of August 2018

Diamond Jim: "How should I clean and care for my fine Jewelry?" Here’s how to properly & safely care for your Fine Jewelry CARING FOR STERLING SILVER Clean your sterling silver jewelry with a soft 100% cotton (nub free) cloth or flannel cloth. Remember, silver is a very soft metal and you can scratch it if you aren't careful so don't rub it too briskly. Never use anything but a clean 100% cotton or a special sterling silver cleaning cloth or very soft bristle brush, like a baby’s tooth brush or a horsehair silver brush. Paper, polyester, and coarse fabrics often contain wood fibers or synthetics that can cause tiny scratches in the surface of your fine sterling silver jewelry. Dirt left over from previous cleanings can scratch the surface as well. Note: Focus on preventative care by storing your silver jewelry in a closed box or plastic baggy as silver will tarnish when exposed to air. Diamonds are forever, as long as you take good care of them! DIAMOND CLEANING – THE DO's AND DON’Ts Bridal jewelry, such as engagement rings and wedding bands are typically worn daily, and can appear like they've lost their sparkle if not cleaned on a regular basis. Lotions put film on diamonds and reduce their shininess. Don't wear diamond jewelry while doing rough work. Avoid chlorinated pools and hot tubs. Avoid touching diamonds with your fingers, as smudges can affect a diamond's luster and fire. EXPERT SERVICE If you have questions, feel free to visit an expert Jeweler for advice on cleaning and care. Some jewelry stores will gladly recommend the best products and procedures to use when caring for your diamonds, to help keep them in great shape. CARING FOR CUBIC ZIRCONIA Use a cotton or flannel cloth to wipe your jewelry clean. A special jewelry polishing cloth would be perfect (a popular choice is Sunshine Polishing Cloth). Using straight, back and forth strokes, polish your jewelry and remove any surface dirt and dust. Do not rub in a circular motion as that can scratch the surface of your jewelry. Then use a cleaning solution to remove grime and dirt. Just like a diamond, a cubic zirconia can be cleaned with warm water and mild soap. Use a soft, cosmetic applicator to reach crevices. However, if you wish, you can use a trusted jewelry cleaner to remove any dirt and dust from your zirconium. Store your jewelry in an airtight, sealable plastic bag. If this is not possible, store your jewelry in a lined jewelry box, away from the outside air. CARING FOR PEARLS Pearls are very soft and need special care and attention. You should never store your pearls in a jewelry box next to other jewelry as the box and other pieces of jewelry can damage the pearls by scratching and nicking. Instead keep your pearl in a fabric lined box or fabric pouch. Human skin produces acids that can harm your pearls, so if worn regularly pearls should be wiped down with a soft cloth after every wearing. A pearl necklace will gradually absorb acid from the skin that will eat into the pearl causing it to lose its luster. Wiping pearls off with either a wet or dry soft cloth will prevent dirt from accumulating and keep perspiration, which is slightly acidic, from eating away at the nacre. You can also use a drop of olive oil on your cleansing cloth to help maintain your pearls’ luster. Along with being soft and easily scratched, pearls can be damaged by chemicals and heat. Only use jewelry cleaners that are clearly marked safe for pearls. Never use ultrasonic cleansers, dish or wash detergents, bleaches, baking soda or ammonia based cleansers. Never use toothbrushes, or any other abrasive materials to clean your pearls. Always take off your pearls before using any cosmetics, hair spray, or perfume and avoid heat and dry air because both can cause pearls to turn brown, dry out, and crack. CARING FOR RHODIUM PLATED SILVER Clean rhodium plated silver with warm water and a mild liquid soap (like ivory dishwashing soap). Rinse and dry with a soft polishing cloth immediately to avoid mineral residue from the water. Never use any chemicals on your rhodium items. Never use toothpaste and never brush with a toothbrush. Don't use polishing cloths that are intended for use on uncoated silver or for gold jewelry. If you have an antique or heirloom piece, don't clean it without consulting an expert about your item. CARING FOR GOLD Gold doesn’t tarnish, but it can be dirtied or dulled by the oils in your skin, body lotion, makeup or other substances. There are lots of products out there that promise to clean gold, but you can do it easily with mild detergent and a soft cloth. Mix a squeeze of mild dish detergent with warm water in a bowl. Put the gold item into the soap mixture and let sit for a few minutes. Use a soft toothbrush to gently scrub the jewelry. Remove item from soapy water, rinse it and dry thoroughly with a soft CARING FOR GEMSTONES Gemstones are quite literally hard as rock, buy they can be damaged from careless handling and negligence. Here are some tips for keeping your gems and jewelry looking fabulous for years to come. Remember, even the hardest gemstone variety can be vulnerable to breakage if it has inclusions that weaken the crystal structure. Exercise common sense: if you have a ring set with a softer gem variety or an included stone, take it off before strenuous exercise. Even the hardest gem of them all, the diamond, can shatter or break in two with a single well-placed blow. Never remove rings by pulling on the stone: that habit may result in a loose and then a lost gem. Most importantly, store each piece of gemstone jewelry separately so that harder stones don’t scratch softer ones. Almost every gemstone is much harder than the metal it is set in. Gems can scratch the finish on your gold, silver or platinum if you throw your jewelry in a heap in a drawer or jewelry box. Rings in particular tend to collect dust and soap behind the gem, especially if worn often. You need to clean them regularly to let the light in so your gems can shine. To clean transparent crystalline gemstones, simply soak them in water with a touch of gentle dish soap. Use a bowl of water rather than the sink to eliminate the risk of anything going down the drain. If necessary, use a soft toothbrush to scrub behind the stone. Rinse the soap off and pat dry with a lint-free cloth (you want to make sure threads won't catch on the prongs). Think twice before putting gems in an ultrasonic cleaner. Diamonds, rubies and sapphires will be fine but many other gems many not be, in particular emerald, opal, pearls, and peridot: when in doubt, leave it out. Organic gems like pearls, coral, and amber should only be wiped clean with a moist cloth. Due to their organic nature, these gems are both soft and porous. Be careful about chemicals in hairspray, cosmetics, or perfume: they can, over time, damage pearls in particular. Opals also require special care. Never use an ultrasonic, never use ammonia, and avoid heat and strong light. Opaque gemstones like lapis lazuli, turquoise, and malachite, require special care because they are rocks, not crystals of a single mineral like transparent gems. These gem materials should just be wiped clean gently with a moist cloth. These gemstones can be porous and may absorb chemicals, even soap, and they may build up inside the stone and discolor it. Never use an ultrasonic cleaner and never use ammonia or any chemical solution. CARING FOR STAINLESS STEEL Stainless steel jewelry won't rust but it can tarnish over time. Steel jewelry does not tarnish as fast as silver jewelry but the rate of tarnishing depends on how its used. As with any jewelry it is best to avoid contact with chemicals (lotions, chlorine from pools etc.) in order to keep it cleaner longer. Steel jewelry is easy to clean, you can use mild dishwashing liquid (two or three drops in warm water will do) and wipe it down with a soft cloth. Steel jewelry is very durable and can withstand a lot of wear and tear, as opposed to silver which is a very soft metal. Diamond Jim is a diamond dealer and precious metals broker of NTR Metals. See more at: www.pineforestjewelry.com.  If you have questions pertaining to jewelry, watches, diamonds, precious stones, precious metals, and other questions related to the jewelry industry, email jmills@pineforestjewelry.com.

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Posted by Pineforest Jewelry on Saturday the 4th of August 2018

Diamond Jim: "What’s a good way for me to propose to my girlfriend?" THE PERFECT PROPOSAL You've found the right person. You've found the right ring. Now you have to find the right moment to pop the question. So how do you make your proposal turn out flawlessly? We have plenty of tried-and-true tips to help you, but overall, it all comes down to just one thing: effort. Putting in real effort, thought and love into your proposal makes all the difference. Remember, your proposal doesn't have to change the world. It just has to show your partner that they mean the world to you. Here are a few tips that will help you along the way: KNOW THE ANSWER Your proposal should be surprising, but it shouldn't come directly out of left field. Before you pull a ring out, have a good idea how your partner will respond. "Will you marry me?" shouldn't be your first discussion on the subject. RULES OF THE ENGAGEMENT (RING) Here’s where a little bit of effort goes a long way. The history of the diamond as an engagement ring first became popular in the 1930’s, but the idea of an engagement ring has been around for centuries. If you’re still deciding on a diamond engagement ring, consider doing some window shopping with your partner prior to making a purchase. If you want to keep things more secretive, talk to your partner’s friends and family to get a feel for their taste. Another option is to use a stand-in ring for the proposal. Perhaps you can use their great grandmother’s diamond engagement ring, and then take your partner shopping later. (A trusted jeweler can tell you everything you need to know about how to buy a diamond and will take the time to help educate both of you). PEACE-OF-MIND Do your homework before buying the engagement ring. Most importantly, find a jeweler you trust. And, since you’re making such a big investment, make sure you insure the ring as soon as you purchase it. Your knowledgeable jeweler should be willing and able to discuss this with you. One option is that you may be able to insure it for an additional cost under your homeowner's or tenants insurance policy. ASK PERMISSION, NOT FORGIVENESS Before you take a knee, take the time to speak with your partner's parents first. Asking permission is a tradition carried since the Roman times, and it’s a great way to make a good impression on your future in-laws. BE CREATIVE This is your chance to shine. A good Jeweler should have several ideas that will help you to be creative when "popping the question". You could also use modern technology for a Twitter proposal. No matter what you do, just put your heart into it. Here are a few ideas to get your started: Location, Location, Location Propose via video or in person from an extreme location - atop a mountain, while skydiving, or on the shores of a romantic and faraway beach. Keep it Traditional In an intimate setting, preferably one with family and friends waiting nearby, drop to one knee and let your heart do the talking. Spread the News Your partner will most likely handle this for you, but make sure to share the big news with people you know. You might also consider sending out an engagement announcement. Celebrate You did it! Consider toasting your engagement with a night on the town, a glass of bubbly or a celebration with friends and family. Diamond Jim is a diamond dealer and precious metals broker of NTR Metals. See more at: www.pineforestjewelry.com.  If you have questions pertaining to jewelry, watches, diamonds, precious stones, precious metals, and other questions related to the jewelry industry, email jmills@pineforestjewelry.com.

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Diamond Jim: "What can you tell us about the Bulova Watch Company?" Bulova is an American manufacturer of watches and clocks. Its headquarters is located in New York City. Bulova's Swiss-Made line is known as Bulova Accu•Swiss or formerly, Bulova Accutron. History Bulova Ambassador Automatic Bulova was founded and incorporated as the J. Bulova Company in 1875 by Joseph Bulova (1851 – November 18, 1936), an immigrant from Bohemia. It was reincorporated under the name Bulova Watch Company in 1923, and became part of the Loews Corporation in 1979[4] and sold to Citizen at the end of 2007. In 1912, he launched his first plant dedicated entirely to the production of watches. Manufacturing watches at their factory in Biel (Switzerland), Bulova began a standardized mass production never seen in the world of watchmaking until then. In 1919, Joseph Bulova offered the first complete range of watches for men. The iconic visual style of his first popular advertising made its watches popular with the American public. But beyond the original style, precision and technological research also became an endless quest for Bulova. In 1927, he set up an observatory on the roof of a skyscraper located at 580 5th Avenue to make measurements that would enable him to determine very precisely universal time. Bulova established its operations in Woodside, New York, and Flushing, New York, where it made innovations in watchmaking, and developed a number of watchmaking tools. Its horological innovations included the Accutron watch, which used a resonating tuning forkas a means of regulating the time-keeping function. Bulova became a renowned watch company in 1923. Bulova produced the first advertisement broadcast on radio in 1926, announcing the first beep of history: ‘At the tone, it’s eight o’clock, Bulova Watch Time’, an announcement heard by millions of Americans. In 1927, Charles A. Lindbergh was the first pilot to cross the Atlantic nonstop. His crossing earned him a Bulova Watch and a check for $1000, and it became an emblem for the brand that created the model "Lone Eagle" in his likeness. Bulova claims to have been the first manufacturer to offer electric clocks beginning in 1931, but the Warren Telechron Company began selling electric clocks in 1912, 19 years prior to Bulova. In the 1930s and 1940s, the brand was a huge success with its rectangular plated watches whose case was strongly curved to better fit the curve of the wrist. Bulova produced the world's first official television commercial, on July 1, 1941, before a baseball game between the Brooklyn Dodgers and Philadelphia Phillies over New York station WNBT (now WNBC). The announcement, for which the company paid anywhere from $4.00 to $9.00 (reports vary), displayed a WNBT test pattern modified to look like a clock with the hands showing the time. The Bulova logo, with the phrase "Bulova Watch Time", was shown in the lower right-hand quadrant of the test pattern while the second hand swept around the dial for one minute. At one time in the 1940s, Bulova made a few examples of their complex four sided, five-dial per side "sports timer" game clock for use in NHL pro ice hockey games and for the nascent NBA pro basketball league of that time, used for indoor sports arenas such as Boston Garden, Chicago Stadium and the Detroit Olympia through to the last example being taken out of service in Chicago in 1976, all replaced by digital-display game timepieces. The Joseph Bulova School of Watchmaking was founded in 1945 by Arde Bulova, Chairman of the Board, initially to provide training for disabled veterans after the Second World War. The school later became a full-fledged rehabilitation facility, an advocate for disabled people nationwide, and one of the founders of wheelchair sports in America. The school closed in 1993. In 1967, Bulova bought the Manufacture des montres Universal Perret Frères SA at Geneva and sold it in December 1977. The factory in Biel was closed in 1983. Bulova’s "Accutron" watches, first sold in October 1960, use a 360 hertz tuning fork instead of a balance wheel as the timekeeping element. The inventor, Max Hetzel, was born in Basel, Switzerland, and joined the Bulova Watch Company of Bienne, Switzerland, in 1948. The tuning fork was powered by a one-transistor electronic oscillator circuit, so the Accutron qualifies as the first "electronic watch". Instead of the ticking sound made by mechanical watches, the Accutron had a faint, high pitch hum which came from the vibrating tuning fork. A forerunner of modern quartz watches which also keep time with a vibrating resonator, the Accutron was guaranteed to be accurate to a minute per month, or 2 seconds per day, considerably better than mechanical watches of the time. Space In the 1960s, the company was involved in a notable Space Age rivalry with Omega Watches to be selected as the 'first watch on the moon'. Ultimately, Bulova either did not or could not certify the Accutron as dustproof. The Omega Speedmaster Professional chronograph wristwatch was designated by NASA for use by the astronauts in all manned space missions, becoming the first watch on the moon on the wrist of Buzz Aldrin. All instrument panel clocks and time-keeping mechanisms in the spacecraft on those missions were Bulova Accutrons with tuning fork movements, because at the time, NASA did not know how well a mechanical movement would work in low gravity conditions. An Accutron 214 movement was placed on the moon in a communications relay device by the first moon landing mission. The U.S. government had used the 214 in military satellites, and had even prevailed on Bulova to delay the commercial release of the Accutron to prevent the Soviet Union from obtaining the technology during the Cold War. A little known fact, Bulova had been a contender for the NASA trials to find the right watch to be worn by the astronauts. While Omega’s Speedmaster won the right to be the Official NASA watch, Bulova’s Accutron timing devices were used on 46 NASA missions throughout the 1950s and ‘60’s. During the Apollo 11 mission in 1969 – the first moon landing – an Accutron timer was placed in a communications relay device and placed in the Sea of Tranquility to help control vital data transmissions. In 1971, a Bulova chronograph was carried on board Apollo 15 – the fourth mission to land men on the moon — by mission commander David R. Scott. Of the dozen men that walked on the moon, all wore standard Omega Speedmaster watches that had been officially issued by NASA. Those watches are deemed to be government property. However, transcripts from the Apollo 15 Lunar Surface Journal attest to the fact that during his second excursion to the moon’s surface, the crystal on his Official Omega watch had popped off. So, during his third lunar walk, he used his backup Bulova watch. The Bulova Chronograph Model #88510/01 that Scott wore on the lunar surface was expected to fetch more than $1 million, as it is the only privately owned watch to have walked the lunar surface. There are images of him wearing this watch, when he saluted the American flag on the moon, with the Hadley Delta expanse in the background. That Apollo 15 third excursion lasted 4 hours, 49 minutes and 50 seconds. The watch shows “significant wear from exposure while on the moon, and from splashdown and recovery.” The Bulova company briefly manufactured a limited edition "Astronaut" model under its Accutron line of watches. The back of the watch case is autographed by Buzz Aldrin. The tuning fork movement has been discontinued by Bulova, and the current Astronaut model features automatic ETA SA movement. Present day On January 10, 2008, Citizen bought the Bulova Watch Company for $250 million. Together they are the world's largest watchmaker. In 2013 Gregory B. Thumm was named the president of Bulova, after having previously held the senior vice president post at Fossil Group heading product development since 2004. Currently Bulova designs, manufactures, and markets several different brands, including: the signature "Bulova", the stylish "Caravelle New York", the dressy/formal Swiss-made "Wittnauer Swiss", and the very popular "Marine Star". In 2014 Bulova ceased the sale of watches under the "Accutron" and "Accutron by Bulova" brand, eliminating some Accutron models and subsuming others under the "Bulova" brand. In 2010, Bulova introduced the Precisionist, a new type of quartz watch with a higher frequency crystal (262144 Hz, eight times the industry standard 32768 Hz) which is claimed to be accurate to ±10 seconds per year (0.32 ppm) and has a smooth sweeping second hand rather than one that jumps each second. The Precisionist's second hand is even smoother than high beat automatic watches such as Rolex Submariner or Grand Seiko Hi-Beat 36000, because it runs at 16 beats per second (57,600 bph), compared to the Rolex movement's 8 beats per second (28,800 bph) and the Seiko at 10 beats per second (36,000 bph). The Bulova Precisionist movement is thin enough to be used inside ladies watches, and can run on a CR2016 type battery for at least 3 years. In 2013, Bulova rebranded "Caravelle by Bulova", its entry range of watches, as "Caravelle New York" to reflect the line's switch to a more stylish range of watches exclusively designed in New York City by the Bulova Corporation. In 2014, Bulova rebranded the "Accutron" line as "Bulova AccuSwiss" to further differentiate the Swiss Bulova line. They then introduced a new line of watches under the "Bulova Accutron II" brand that features vintage Accutron watch designs fitted with a modified Precisionist movement, which better reflects the heritage of the Accutron brand. In April 2015, Bulova moved its Global Headquarters to the iconic Empire State Building in NYC. Diamond Jim is a diamond dealer and precious metals broker of NTR Metals. See more at: www.pineforestjewelry.com.  If you have questions pertaining to jewelry, watches, diamonds, precious stones, precious metals, and other questions related to the jewelry industry, email jmills@pineforestjewelry.com.

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"Diamond Jim...Who or What is the GIA?" Gemological Institute of America The Gemological Institute of America, or GIA, is a nonprofit institute dedicated to research and education in the field of gemology and the jewelry arts. Founded in 1931, GIA's mission is to protect all buyers and sellers of gemstones by setting and maintaining the standards used to evaluate gemstone quality. The institute does so through research, gem identification and diamond grading services and a variety of educational programs. Through its world-renowned library and subject experts, GIA acts as a resource of gem and jewelry information for the trade, the public and worldwide media outlets. In 1953 the GIA developed its International Diamond Grading System and the Four Cs (cut, clarity, color, and carat weight) as a standard to compare and evaluate the quality of diamonds. Today, the institute is headquartered in Carlsbad, California and operates out of 13 countries, with 11 campuses, 9 laboratories and 4 research centers worldwide. History The story of the GIA starts back in the 1920s with a man named Robert M. Shipley. Shipley had been enjoying a successful career as a jeweler, but was coming to realize the unfortunate state of the gem and jewelry industry: a typical jeweler in the US, himself included, had a surprising lack of expertise when it came to jewelry and precious stones. He therefore took it upon himself to bring change to the jeweler’s trade, and restore the public’s trust therein. After traveling to Europe and completing the Great Britain National Association of Goldsmiths gemological correspondence course, Shipley returned to Los Angeles. It was here that he launched his own preliminary course in gemology on September 16, 1930, seeking to train and certify jewelers. The jewelers he certified would eventually serve to form a national guild of jewelers, dedicated to providing the public with a superior sense of professionalism within the gem and jewelry field. The first GIA gemological laboratory was established in Los Angeles in 1931. The jeweler's profession was quickly transformed, with the introduction of the "Certified Gemologist" professional designation and the legitimization of gemology as a recognized science. Over the years, the group has brought many significant new developments to the industry, including the following: • 1934: GIA patents a jeweler’s loupe with triple aplanatic lenses. • 1937: GIA patents the world’s first gemological microscope, allowing gemologists to properly examine the insides of gemstones. • 1953: The diamond grading system based on Shipley’s Four C’s becomes an international standard for determining diamond quality. • 1955: GIA issues the first diamond grading reports, which are accepted as an international benchmark for the jewelry industry. • 1956: GIA finds a reliable way to detect diamonds that have been irradiated to artificially enhance their color. • 1960: The GIA Diamond Dictionary is published, becoming an international industry reference. • 1987: The Liddicoat Gemological Library and Information Center amasses the largest collection of books on gemology in the world. • 1991: GIA hosts its first annual Career Fair, which becomes the industry’s most significant recruiting event. • 1999: GIA identifies a way to detect diamonds that have been decolorized by high pressure and high temperatures (HPHT treatment). • 2003: GIA identifies a way to detect sapphires made from beryllium-diffusion techniques, and diamonds made from chemical vapor deposition. • 2005: GIA creates a system for grading the cut of round brilliant diamonds in the D-to-Z color range. • 2007: GIA introduces a Synthetic Diamond Grading Report. • 2014: GIA introduces DiamondCheck, which is capable of differentiating between natural and treated or synthetic diamonds. Research GIA is actively engaged in research to advance the science of gemology. Historically, research has focused on developing methods and technologies to accurately identify and characterize gems. This research has produced significant advances in the ability to differentiate gems and identify simulants (particularly diamond simulants). GIA was also responsible for the first modern diamond grading reports, where it introduced grading methodologies for diamond color and diamond clarity. Today, these scales and methods are the standard within the gem trade for characterization of diamonds. Current research at gemological laboratories concerns the development of improved detection techniques for treated and synthetic diamonds, as well as for treated sapphires, rubies, and pearls. Laboratory Services The GIA Laboratory provides a variety of gem grading and identification reports. Diamond grading reports for unmounted natural and synthetic diamonds determine their key characteristics: color, clarity, cut and carat weight. GIA issues two types of reports, the more complete being the Diamond Grading Report (a briefer and less expensive version is called a Diamond Dossier). The reports contain a number of measurements, including of carat weight as well as a diagram of where and what types of inclusions are located in the diamond. Diamond grading reports are now demanded by most consumers purchasing diamonds over a certain size, typically for over 0.5 carat (100 mg), and almost always for over 1.0 carat (200 mg), and are considered an important tool in guaranteeing that a diamond is accurately represented to a potential buyer. GIA colored stone identification reports may include a comment about any treatments detected and an opinion of country of origin for ruby, sapphire, emerald and tourmaline. Pearl reports specify the weight, size, shape, color, origin (natural or cultured) and presence of treatments. Education GIA offers several programs and courses online through an interactive eLearning format, and through its 12 campus locations around the world. The institute also offers corporate training programs and works with trade organizations worldwide to provide technical training in gemstones and jewelry. The Graduate Gemologist (G.G.) diploma offers a comprehensive education in gemology. Graduates of the program receive the Graduate Gemologist diploma as well as Graduate Diamonds and Graduate Colored Stones diplomas. Students can also earn an Accredited Jewelry Professional diploma with the addition of one more course, which can also be taken independently. The Graduate Pearls diploma program provides a comprehensive foundation in pearl identification and grading. Additionally, GIA's Carlsbad campus offers several programs in jewelry arts. The Applied Jewelry Arts Program (AJA) diploma covers jewelry design, wax carving, mold making, casting and CAD/CAM. The Graduate Jeweler diploma program teaches the fabrication, repair and stone setting skills to become a professional bench jeweler. Other jewelry arts classes are held on campus in Carlsbad and New York. GIA's Carlsbad and New York on-campus courses are accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges (ACCSC). Its Distance Education courses are accredited by the Accrediting Commission of the Distance Education and Training Council (DETC). GIA Diploma Programs and courses include: • Graduate Jeweler Gemologist • Graduate Gemologist • Graduate Diamonds • Graduate Colored Stones • Graduate Pearls • Accredited Jewelry Professional • Jewelry Design & Technology • Graduate Jeweler • Jewelry Design Course • Comprehensive CAD/CAM for Jewelry Course GIA also exists to educate the gem and jewelry industry and the general public through its publications and outreach efforts. Most notable of these efforts is the quarterly publication of the magazine Gems & Gemology, a respected journal in the field. The journal includes full-length feature articles, as well as reports on GIA research, abstracts of relevant articles from other journals, book reviews, and industry news from around the world. Diamond Jim is a diamond dealer and precious metals broker of NTR Metals. See more at: www.pineforestjewelry.com.  If you have questions pertaining to jewelry, watches, diamonds, precious stones, precious metals, and other questions related to the jewelry industry, email jmills@pineforestjewelry.com.

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Diamond Jim: "What can you tell us about the United States Navy?" United States Navy The United States Navy (USN) is the naval warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the seven uniformed services of the United States. The U.S. Navy is the largest, most capable navy in the world, with the highest combined battle fleet tonnage. The U.S. Navy has the world's largest aircraft carrier fleet, with ten in service, two in the reserve fleet and three new carriers under construction. The service has 328,194 personnel on active duty and 101,199 in the Navy Reserve. It has 272 deployable combat vessels and more than 3,700 aircraft in active service as of February 2016. The U.S. Navy traces its origins to the Continental Navy, which was established during the American Revolutionary War and was effectively disbanded as a separate entity shortly thereafter. It played a major role in the American Civil War by blockading the Confederacy and seizing control of its rivers. It played the central role in the World War II defeat of Japan. The 21st century U.S. Navy maintains a sizable global presence, deploying in such areas as East Asia, the Mediterranean, and the Middle East. The Navy has the ability to project force onto the littoral regions of the world, engage in forward areas during peacetime, and rapidly respond to regional crises, making it an active player in U.S. foreign and defense policy. The Navy is administratively managed by the Department of the Navy, which is headed by the civilian Secretary of the Navy. The Department of the Navy is itself a division of the Department of Defense, which is headed by the Secretary of Defense. The Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) is a four-star admiral and the senior naval officer of the Department of the Navy. However, the CNO may not be the highest ranking naval officer in the armed forces if the Chairman or the Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff are Navy officers, who by law, outrank the CNO. The Navy's three primary areas of responsibility are: • The preparation of naval forces necessary for the effective prosecution of war. • The maintenance of naval aviation, including land-based naval aviation, air transport essential for naval operations, and all air weapons and air techniques involved in the operations and activities of the Navy. • The development of aircraft, weapons, tactics, technique, organization, and equipment of naval combat and service elements. History “It follows then as certain as that night succeeds the day, that without a decisive naval force we can do nothing definitive, and with it, everything honorable and glorious.” — George Washington The Navy was rooted in the American seafaring tradition, which produced a large community of sailors, captains, and shipbuilders in the colonial era. In the early stages of the American Revolutionary War, Massachusetts had its own navy. The establishment of a national navy was an issue of debate among the members of the Second Continental Congress. Supporters argued that a navy would protect shipping, defend the coast, and make it easier to seek out support from foreign countries. Detractors countered that challenging the British Royal Navy, then the world's preeminent naval power, was a foolish undertaking. Commander in Chief George Washington resolved the debate when he commissioned seven ocean-going cruisers, starting with the schooner USS Hannah, to interdict British supply ships, and reported the captures to the Congress. The Continental Navy achieved mixed results; it was successful in a number of engagements and raided many British merchant vessels, but it lost twenty four of its vessels and at one point was reduced to two in active service. The Continental Navy was disbanded at war's end. From reestablishment to the Civil War The United States was without a navy for nearly a decade—a state of affairs that exposed its merchant ships to a series of attacks by Barbary pirates. The sole armed maritime presence between 1790 and the launching of the U.S. Navy's first warships in 1797 was the U.S. Revenue Cutter Service (USRCS), the primary predecessor of the U.S. Coast Guard. Although USRCS Cutters conducted operations against these pirates, the depredations far outstripped the abilities of the USRCS and Congress passed the Naval Act of 1794 which established a permanent standing navy. The Naval Act ordered the construction and manning of six frigates and, by October 1797; three years later, the first three were welcomed into service: USS United States, USS Constellation, and USS Constitution. In 1798–99 the Navy was involved in an undeclared Quasi-War with France. The U.S. Navy saw substantial action in the War of 1812, where it was victorious in eleven single-ship duels with the Royal Navy. The navy drove all significant British forces off Lake Erie and Lake Champlain and prevented them from becoming British controlled zones of conflict. The result was a major defeat for the British invasion of New York state, and the defeat of the military threat from the Indian allies of the British. Despite this, the U.S. Navy was unable to prevent the British from blockading American ports and landing troops on American soil. After the war, the U.S. Navy again focused its attention on protecting American shipping assets, sending squadrons to the Caribbean, the Mediterranean, South America, Africa, and the Pacific. 21st century When a crisis confronts the nation, the first question often asked by policymakers is: 'What naval forces are available and how fast can they be on station?' — Admiral Carlisle A. H. Trost The United States Navy continues to be a major support to U.S. interests in the 21st century. Since the end of the Cold War, it has shifted its focus from preparations for large-scale war with the Soviet Union to special operations and strike missions in regional conflicts. The navy participated in Operation Enduring Freedom, Operation Iraqi Freedom, and is a major participant in the ongoing War on Terror, largely in this capacity. Development continues on new ships and weapons, including the Gerald R. Ford-class aircraft carrier and the Littoral combat ship. Because of its size, weapons technology, and ability to project force far from U.S. shores, the current U.S. Navy remains a potent asset for the United States. Notable sailors Many past and present United States historical figures have served in the navy. Notable officers include John Paul Jones, John Barry (Continental Navy officer and first flag officer of the United States Navy), Edward Preble, James Lawrence (whose last words "don't give up the ship" are memorialized in Bancroft Hall at the United States Naval Academy), Stephen Decatur, Jr., David Farragut, David Dixon Porter, Oliver Hazard Perry, Commodore Matthew Perry (whose Black Ships forced the opening of Japan), George Dewey (the only person in the history of the United States to have attained the rank of Admiral of the Navy), and the officers who attained the rank of Fleet Admiral during World War II: William D. Leahy, Ernest J. King, Chester W. Nimitz, and William F. Halsey, Jr.. The first American president who served in the navy was John F. Kennedy (who commanded the famous PT-109). Others included Lyndon B. Johnson, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, and George H. W. Bush. Both Theodore Roosevelt and Franklin D. Roosevelt were the assistant secretary of the navy prior to their presidencies. Many members of Congress served in the navy, notably U.S. Senators Bob Kerrey, John McCain, and John Kerry. Other notable former members of the U.S. Navy include astronauts, entertainers, authors and professional athletes. We at Pineforest Jewelry salute our service men and women stationed here in the USA and all over the world. You have our deepest respect and our appreciation. *** They place themselves in harm’s way, no questions asked, so that we may be safe at home…Thank you! *** Diamond Jim is a diamond dealer and precious metals broker of NTR Metals. See more at: www.pineforestjewelry.com.  If you have questions pertaining to jewelry, watches, diamonds, precious stones, precious metals, and other questions related to the jewelry industry, email jmills@pineforestjewelry.com.

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Challenge coin A challenge coin is a small coin or medallion (often military related), bearing an organization’s insignia or emblem and carried by the organization’s members. Traditionally, they are given to prove membership when challenged and to enhance morale. In addition, they are also collected by service members. In practice, challenge coins are normally presented by unit commanders in recognition of special achievement by a member of the unit. They are also exchanged in recognition of visits to an organization. Origins There are several stories detailing the origins of the challenge coin. One such story is that the Roman Empire rewarded soldiers by presenting them with coins to recognize their achievements. Another story dates challenge coins back to the origins of our country when some of our founding fathers were drafting the Articles of Confederation (the precursor documents to the Constitution for the United States of America). Since communication between the colonies was slow, to say the least, the brilliant men gathered in secret so that the British spies would not discover what the colonists were doing. To ensure that no spies were present during their many meetings, a coin was struck in very limited number and was issued to each man whose identity was verified. To gain entry into the meetings behind heavily fortified doors, the invited participants had to slide one of these coins through an opening in the door to someone waiting on the other side. Once the coin was acknowledged, the door was opened and the person was allowed inside. At the end of each meeting and before leaving the building, each person was re-issued one of the coins to be used for identity verification and access to the next meeting, and so on. According to the most common story, challenge coins originated during World War I. Before the entry of the United States into the war in 1917, American volunteers from all parts of the country filled the newly formed flying squadrons. In one squadron, a wealthy lieutenant ordered medallions struck in solid bronze and presented them to his unit. One young pilot placed the medallion in a small leather pouch that he wore about his neck. Shortly after acquiring the medallion, the pilot's aircraft was severely damaged by ground fire. He was forced to land behind enemy lines and was immediately captured by a German patrol. In order to discourage his escape, the Germans took all of his personal identification except for the small leather pouch around his neck. In the meantime, he was taken to a small French town near the front. Taking advantage of a bombardment that night, he escaped. However, he was without personal identification. He succeeded in avoiding German patrols by donning civilian attire and reached the front lines. With great difficulty, he crossed no-man's land. Eventually, he stumbled onto a French outpost. Saboteurs had plagued the French in the sector. They sometimes masqueraded as civilians and wore civilian clothes. Not recognizing the young pilot's American accent, the French thought him to be a saboteur and made ready to execute him. He had no identification to prove his allegiance, but he did have his leather pouch containing the medallion. He showed the medallion to his would-be executioners and one of his French captors recognized the squadron insignia on the medallion. They delayed his execution long enough for him to confirm his identity. Instead of shooting him they gave him a bottle of wine. Back at his squadron, it became tradition to ensure that all members carried their medallion or coin at all times. This was accomplished through challenge in the following manner: a challenger would ask to see the medallion, if the challenged could not produce a medallion, they were required to buy a drink of choice for the member who challenged them. If the challenged member produced a medallion, then the challenging member was required to pay for the drink. This tradition continued throughout the war and for many years after the war while surviving members of the squadron were still alive. Outside of the military Challenge coins are also exchanged outside the military. NASCAR, the NFL, cadets of the Civil Air Patrol, Eagle Scouts and World Series of Poker all have their own challenge coins. They are also becoming popular with police departments, fire departments and fraternal organizations. In 2007, the Utah Symphony and Opera gave challenge coins to all of its staff and musicians, making it the first symphony organization in America to do so. Franklin Public School in Ontario has a coin that is given to graduates, featuring its mascot 'Frankie'. Many non-profits, especially those with connections to the military, give challenge coins to donors to acknowledge their support of the organization. Harley Owners Group In 2009, the Harley Owners Group (HOG) created and made available its own challenge coin to Harley-Davidson motorcycle owners through the HOG members only website, stating: "Those who ride Harley-Davidson motorcycles share a bond in much the same way as those who have served their country with pride. Carrying a H.O.G. National Challenge Coin in your pocket, on your bike or off, is a meaningful way to show your pride of Harley-Davidson ownership—while also paying tribute to those who serve." The HOG National Challenge coin, measures 1.75 inches (44 mm) in diameter and is minted in US from solid brass alloy with an antique finish. The HOG eagle logo is stamped on the coin. The Harley-Davidson bar and shield logo encircled with the words "the official riding club of Harley-Davidson" is stamped on the back. Pineforest Jewelry has a very nice selection of Challenge Coins on display and for purchase. They can even customize Challenge Coins just for you. Diamond Jim is a diamond dealer and precious metals broker of NTR Metals. See more at: www.pineforestjewelry.com.  If you have questions pertaining to jewelry, watches, diamonds, precious stones, precious metals, and other questions related to the jewelry industry, email jmills@pineforestjewelry.com.

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14K Yellow Gold Dashing Diamond Necklaces by Brevani Shop in-store or online! www.pineforestjewelry.com

14K Yellow Gold Dashing Diamond Necklaces by Brevani Shop in-store or online! www.pineforestjewelry.com

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Handcrafted Music Boxes! www.pineforestjewelry.com

Handcrafted Music Boxes! www.pineforestjewelry.com

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