Following are the “Ask Diamond Jim” columns posted to the website as of 07-22-2018
Diamond Jim: "Do you have any “proposal” ideas?"
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).
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.
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. Then, 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: "Why is it important to get an appraisal on my jewelry?"
An official appraisal is necessary for insurance and estate planning. Fair market value appraisals indicate the amount a piece would be sold for between a willing buyer and seller. This appraisal can be used for estate tax determination and division of property in a divorce. A fair market value can be helpful to fair division of jewelry assets among loved ones.
Insurance replacement appraisals provide you protection for reimbursement in case of loss. This appraisal will give you a document that describes your item exactly (stone clarity, size, color, quality and value). By having a relatively recent appraisal, you will be better able to get the lost item replaced with a similar item or receive a settlement from your insurance company. Gems of the same size can have significantly different values so you need an appraisal to ensure your replacement is comparable to the original.
Listed below are the most common reasons to have your jewelry appraised by a professional.
· Insurance coverage is the most common reason for getting an appraisal. A full appraisal is a detailed document that will assure you of a comparable replacement in case of loss.
· With the popularity of purchasing jewelry over the internet, an appraisal from an independent appraiser can verify that diamonds and other jewelry match the certification or appraisal that accompany the item. Schedule an appointment to give you an idea of the value and peace of mind.
· A detailed appraisal is a valuable document to have whenever you choose to dispose of (sell, trade or bequeath) your jewelry.
· An appraisal is necessary in the event of Estate Settlement, forming a Trust, or Equitable Distribution.
· You will need an appraisal to claim a casualty loss for your insurance company or uninsured loss for the IRS.
· You should have an appraisal for division of property in a divorce.
· You will need an appraisal for tax deduction of a charitable contribution.
Is there a cost to have my jewelry appraised?
Yes. When asking any professional for their appraised value of an item, you should usually expect to pay a reasonable amount for their expert opinion. How much that amount is can vary from professional to professional. It’s safe to say that the most important factor to consider when selecting someone to appraise your fine jewelry, is trust. Work with a professional that you trust to appraise your jewelry.
Diamond Jim: "What is Common Sense?"
The Death of Common Sense
Today we mourn the passing of a beloved old friend, Common Sense, who has been with us for many years. No one knows for sure how old he was, since his birth records were long ago lost in bureaucratic red tape.
He will be remembered as having cultivated such valuable lessons as:
Knowing when to come in out of the rain; Why the early bird gets the worm; Life isn’t always fair, And maybe it was my fault.
Common sense lived by simple, sound financial policies (don’t spend more than you can earn) and reliable strategies (adults are in charge not children). His health began to deteriorate rapidly when well intentioned but overbearing regulations were set in place. Reports of an 8 year old boy charged with sexual harassment for kissing a classmate, teens suspended from school for using mouthwash after lunch, and a teacher fired for reprimanding an unruly student, only worsened his condition.
Common sense lost ground when parents attacked teachers for doing the job they themselves had failed to do in disciplining their unruly children. It declined even further when schools were required to get parental consent to administer sun lotion or an aspirin to a student, but could not inform parents when a student became pregnant and wanted to have an abortion.
Common sense lost the will to live as the churches became businesses, and criminals received better treatment than their victims. Common sense took a beating when you couldn’t defend yourself from a burglar in your own home and the burglar could sue you for assault. Common sense finally gave up the will to live, after a woman failed to realize that a steaming cup of coffee was hot. She spilled a little in her lap, and was promptly awarded a huge settlement.
Common sense was preceded in death, by
His parents, Truth and Trust
His wife, Discretion
His daughter, Responsibility
His son, Reason.
He is survived by his 4 stepbrothers
I know my rights
I want my rights
I want it now
I’m a victim.
Not many attended his funeral because so few realized he was gone. If you’re struggling to understand all of this…that’s alright…it’s just Common Sense.
Diamond Jim: "Is a Moissanite the same as a Diamond?"
Moissanite, also known as silicon carbide, is a gemstone unlike any other. With more brilliance and fire than diamond, this stone has been a source of intense interest ever since its discovery more than a century ago. Moissanite dances with sparkles of light that draw the eye and delight the senses. Its unique internal beauty lends a captivating allure to jewelry, making a magnificent statement at a fraction of the cost of other gemstones. But only you know what you paid - envious passers-by see only a grand statement of opulence.
Today’s alluring Moissanite gemstones are the end result of a 110 year old geological discovery. Moissanite was first discovered in 1893 by the Nobel Prize-winning French chemist Dr. Henri Moissan at the site of a massive meteorite strike in Arizona. The tiny particles he unearthed were initially mistaken for diamond due to their hardness and brilliant reflectiveness, but after painstaking testing, were identified as naturally-occurring silicon carbide. This intriguing new stone was named Moissanite in his honor, and Moissan spent the rest of his life attempting to re-create this exceptional mineral, which is among the hardest materials on Earth.
The resulting gemstones exhibit more brilliance than diamond, and are more durable than ruby, emerald, and sapphire. With a refractive index of 2.65-2.69, Moissanite is truly the World’s Most Brilliant Gem®. And thanks to a dispersion level that produces 2.4 times the fire of diamond, Moissanite bends light into mesmerizing rainbow flashes of fire. By day and by night, Moissanite’s conspicuous brilliance is spectacular.
Natural Moissanite is incredibly rare on Earth; in fact, the largest natural Moissanite gems are too small to be set into jewelry. Nearly one hundred years after Dr. Moissan’s discovery, scientists at a research laboratory in central North Carolina perfected and patented the innovative process that creates silicon carbide crystals for Charles & Colvard®. Within a controlled environment that mimics the forces of nature, researchers produce durable, super-hard crystals with a minimum of ecological impact, and absolutely no mining.
(Forever Brilliant Moissanite)
Moissanite was introduced to the jewelry market in 1998. It is regarded as a diamond alternative, with some optical properties exceeding those of diamond. Its lower price and less exploitative mining practices necessary to obtain it make it a popular alternative to diamonds.
Diamond Jim: "What do you think about Zen philosophy?"
While a lot of people consider Buddhism to be a religion, most practitioners will tell you it is more ‘a way of life’ or a life philosophy.
Buddha himself had often said he was not a god but just a human like all other people. Everybody can learn what he learned and to help us with that he laid down the basics of his discoveries in two writings entitled the Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path. It will probably not bring you enlightenment the first time you read it but, it is a start. Here are a few thoughts to ponder;
"One must be deeply aware of the impermanence of the world."
"All true artists, whether they know it or not, create from a place of no-mind, from inner stillness."
"Have good trust in yourself … not in the One that you think you should be, but in the One that you are."
"Life isn’t as serious as the mind makes it out to be."
"Things are as they are. Looking out into the universe at night, we make no comparisons between right and wrong stars, nor between well and badly arranged constellations."
"If you are unable to find the truth right where you are, where else do you expect to find it?"
"As a bee gathering nectar does not harm or disturb the color and fragrance of the flower; so do the wise move through the world."
"It really boils down to this: that all life is interrelated. We are all caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly."
"To follow the path, look to the master, follow the master, walk with the master, see through the master, become the master."
"Watch what you say, and whatever you say, practice it."
"Nothing ever exists entirely alone. Everything is in relation to everything else."
Diamond Jim: "Do you know the story of the ‘Wooden Bowl’?"
The Wooden Bowl
A frail old man went to live with his son, daughter-in-law, and four-year-old grandson. The old man's hands trembled, his eyesight was blurred, and his step faltered. The family ate together at the table. But the elderly grandfather's shaky hands and failing sight made eating difficult. Peas rolled off his spoon onto the floor. When he grasped the glass, milk spilled on the tablecloth. The son and daughter-in-law became irritated with the mess. 'We must do something about father,' said the son. "I've had enough of his spilled milk, noisy eating, and food on the floor."
So the husband and wife set a small table in the corner. There, Grandfather ate alone while the rest of the family enjoyed dinner. Since Grandfather had broken a dish or two, his food was served in a wooden bowl. When the family glanced in Grandfather's direction, sometimes he had a tear in his eye as he sat alone. Still, the only words the couple had for him were sharp admonitions when he dropped a fork or spilled food. The four-year-old watched it all in silence.
One evening before supper, the father noticed his son playing with wood scraps on the floor. He asked the child sweetly, 'What are you making?” Just as sweetly, the boy responded, “Oh, I am making a little bowl for you and Mama to eat your food in when I grow up.” The four-year-old smiled and went back to work..
The words so struck the parents so that they were speechless. Then tears started to stream down their cheeks. Though no word was spoken, both knew what must be done. That evening the husband took Grandfather's hand and gently led him back to the family table. For the remainder of his days he ate every meal with the family. And for some reason, neither husband nor wife seemed to care any longer when a fork was dropped, milk spilled, or the tablecloth soiled.
On a positive note, I've learned that, no matter what happens, how bad it seems today, life does go on, and it will be better tomorrow.
Diamond Jim: "Can you tell us about the United States Army?"
The United States Army (USA) is the largest branch of the United States Armed Forces and performs land-based military operations. It is one of the seven uniformed services of the United States and is designated as the Army of the United States in the United States Constitution, Article 2, Section 2, Clause 1. As the largest and senior branch of the U.S. military, the modern U.S. Army has its roots in the Continental Army, which was formed (14 June 1775) to fight the American Revolutionary War (1775–83)—before the U.S. was established as a country. The Congress of the Confederation created the United States Army on 3 June 1784, to replace the disbanded Continental Army. The United States Army considers itself descended from the Continental Army, and dates its institutional inception from the origin of that armed force in 1775.
As a uniformed military service, the Army is part of the Department of the Army, which is one of the three military departments of the Department of Defense. The U.S. Army is headed by a civilian senior appointed civil servant, the Secretary of the Army (SECARMY), and by a chief military officer, the Chief of Staff of the Army (CSA) who is also a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. In the fiscal year 2016, the projected end strength for the Regular Army (USA) was 475,000 soldiers; the Army National Guard (ARNG) had 342,000 soldiers, and the United States Army Reserve (USAR) had 198,000 soldiers; the combined-component strength of the U.S. Army was 1,015,000 soldiers. As a branch of the armed forces, the mission of the U.S. Army is "to fight and win our Nation's wars, by providing prompt, sustained, land dominance, across the full range of military operations and the spectrum of conflict, in support of combatant commanders. The service participates in conflicts worldwide and is the major ground-based offensive and defensive force.
Currently, the army is divided into the Regular Army, the Army Reserve, and the Army National Guard. The army is also divided into major branches such as Air Defense Artillery, Infantry, Aviation, Signal Corps, Corps of Engineers, and Armor. Before 1903 members of the National Guard were considered state soldiers unless federalized (i.e., activated) by the President. Since the Militia Act of 1903 all National Guard soldiers have held dual status: as National Guardsmen under the authority of the governor of their state or territory and, when activated, as a reserve of the U.S. Army under the authority of the President.
Since the adoption of the total force policy, in the aftermath of the Vietnam War, reserve component soldiers have taken a more active role in U.S. military operations. For example, Reserve and Guard units took part in the Gulf War, peacekeeping in Kosovo, Afghanistan, and the 2003 invasion of Iraq.
The staff entire at Pineforest Jewelry salute all of our service men and women, from every branch of the military, stationed here in the USA and all over the world. You have our deep respect and our unending appreciation.
If you like and appreciate your freedom, be sure to thank a U.S. Military Veteran for putting themselves in 'harm's way' so that you can be free!
Diamond Jim: "What is the birthstone for June?"
June birthstones are pearl, Alexandrite, and moonstone. For now, let’s take a good look at Pearl.
For centuries, pearls have been used as an adornment, and were one of the favorite gem materials of the Roman Empire. Later in Tudor England, the 1500s were known as the pearl age.
Pearls are unique as they are the only gems from living sea creatures and require no faceting or polishing to reveal their natural beauty. In the early 1900s, the first successful commercial culturing of round saltwater pearls began. Since the 1920s, cultured pearls have almost completely replaced natural pearls in the market.
The qualities that determine the overall value of a natural or cultured pearl or a piece of pearl jewelry are size, shape, color, luster, surface quality, nacre quality, and—for jewelry with two or more pearls—matching.
Size: When other value factors are equal, larger pearls are rarer and more valuable than smaller pearls of the same type.
Shape: Round is the most difficult shape to culture, making it the rarest cultured pearl shape and—if all other factors are equal—also generally the most valuable. There are exceptions, though. Well-formed pear, oval, or baroque (irregularly shaped) cultured pearls are also prized by pearl lovers.
Color: Natural and cultured pearls occur in a broad range of hues. There are warm hues like yellow, orange, and pink, and cool hues like blue, green, and violet. Pearls have a wide range of tone from light to dark. Pearl colors tend to be muted, with a soft, subtle quality.
Pearl jewelry is classy, tasteful, and never seems to go out of style. Pearls will always look good on her whether she’s wearing blue jeans or that little black dress. From casual to formal, pearls easily make the transition.
Diamond Jim: "What is Alexandrite?"
Often described by gem aficionados as “emerald by day, ruby by night,” Alexandrite is the very rare color-change variety of the mineral chrysoberyl. Originally discovered in Russia’s Ural Mountains in the 1830s, it’s now found in Sri Lanka, East Africa, and Brazil, but fine material is exceptionally rare and valuable.
This 7.19-carat alexandrite was cut to feature its beautiful color change. When the light source changes from daylight to incandescent light, the gem’s color changes from bluish green to reddish purple.
Alexandrite, with its chameleon-like qualities, is a rare variety of the mineral chrysoberyl. Its color can be a lovely green in daylight or fluorescent light, changing to brownish or purplish red in the incandescent light from a lamp or candle flame. This is a result of the complex way the mineral absorbs light. Alexandrite’s dramatic color change is sometimes described as “emerald by day, ruby by night.” Other gems also change color in response to a light-source change, but this gem’s transformation is so striking that the phenomenon itself is often called “the alexandrite effect.”
Alexandrite is also a strongly pleochroic gem, which means it can show different colors when viewed from different directions. Typically, its three pleochroic colors are green, orange, and purple-red. However, the striking color change doesn’t arise from the gem’s pleochroism, but rather from the mineral’s unusual light-absorbing properties. Because of its scarcity, especially in larger sizes, alexandrite is a relatively expensive member of the chrysoberyl family. It shares its status as a June birthstone with cultured pearl and moonstone.
Abundant alexandrite deposits were first discovered in 1830 in Russia’s Ural Mountains. Those first Alexandrite were of very fine quality and displayed vivid hues and dramatic color change. The gem was named after the young Alexander II, heir apparent to the throne. It caught the country’s attention because its red and green colors mirrored the national military colors of imperial Russia.
The spectacular Ural Mountain deposits didn’t last forever, and now most alexandrite comes from Sri Lanka, East Africa, and Brazil. The newer deposits contain some fine-quality stones, but many display less-precise color change and muddier hues than the nineteenth-century Russian Alexandrite. You’ll still find estate jewelry set with some of the famed Ural Mountain Alexandrite. They remain the quality standard for this phenomenal gemstone.
Diamond Jim: "What is the birthstone for May?"
MAY BIRTHSTONE IS EMERALD
May birthdays fall right in the heart of spring, and the emerald is the perfect gem to symbolize and celebrate this month. Prized for its brilliant and beautiful green color, the emerald is often favored by the rich and famous to wear as statement pieces for big events.
But this beautiful gem is just at home in an unassuming pendant as it is in an ornate tiara.
As the birthstone for May, the emerald, a symbol of rebirth, is believed to grant the owner foresight, good fortune, and youth. Emerald, derived from the word “smaragdus,” means, quite literally, “green” in Greek.
Like aquamarine, emerald is a variety of beryl, a mineral that grows with six sides and up to a foot in length. Emerald color can range from light green (though there is some argument whether these very light beryls are truly emeralds) to a deep, rich green. Emeralds are also like aquamarine in that the way the color is presents itself in jewelry depends on a good cut by a skilled gemologist.
The deeper or more green an emerald, the more valuable it is. The rarest emeralds will appear to be an intense green-blue. Emeralds are found all over the world, including Colombia, Brazil, Afghanistan and Zambia. The availability of high-quality emerald is limited; consequently, treatments to improve clarity are performed regularly.
The emerald was mined in Egypt as early as 330 BC, but some estimate that the oldest emeralds are 2.97 billion years old. Cleopatra is perhaps the most famous historical figure to cherish emeralds. She even claimed ownership of all emerald mines in Egypt during her reign. The Egyptians used emeralds both in jewelry, and in their elaborate burials, often burying emeralds with monarchs as symbols of protection.
Like other gemstones, the emerald was believed to have many mystical powers that accompanied its beauty. There were those who thought the emerald could cure stomach problems, control epilepsy and stop bleeding. Maybe due to its soothing green color, it was also thought to be able to ward off panic and keep the wearer relaxed and serene.
Today, emerald is a symbol of loyalty, new beginnings, peace and security, making it not only a beautiful gem to wear, but also a meaningful gift to be treasured by the receiver. It is still widely prized by the rich and famous, with Elizabeth Taylor’s famous emerald pendant selling for $6.5 million in 2011.
Diamond Jim: "What are “Ethics” and why are they important?"
One dictionary definition of ‘ethics’ that I rather like is: “The basic concepts and fundamental principles of decent human conduct. It includes the study of universal values such as the essential equality of all men and women, human or natural rights, obedience to the law of land, concern for health and safety and, increasingly, also for the natural environment.”
“…principles of decent human conduct.” Those five words speak volumes. To better understand ethics or ethical conduct, let’s talk about what unethical conduct is and how you’ll know it when you observe it. Take a look around you every day and you’ll see countless examples of unethical conduct or behavior. A “man” abusing or striking a child or a woman, a punk wearing his pants below his butt cheeks showing what we don’t need to see, another vehicle cutting you off in traffic, someone tossing their garbage onto the ground, a thief breaking into your home and stealing what is not theirs, parents who fail to teach their children respect & manners, our “education system” indoctrinating our children rather than “teaching” our children, elected representatives violating local, state, and federal laws with no accountability, the complete failure of young people to take responsibility for anything, and finally the outright lack of respect for our elderly, our first responders, and our military & veterans.
These are just a few examples of unethical conduct. For me, however, there is one act of unethical conduct that tops them all…For someone to witness an act or action of gross unethical conduct and to do nothing about it. This makes you as unethical as the person or people who committed the original act. It is our core responsibility as parents, grandparents, citizens and human beings to immediately correct this behavior whenever and wherever we see or hear it occur.
You might ask, "Well, what can I do?" or "How can I stop unethical conduct?" or "Why is it up to me to do something?" If you don't say or do something to stop it, then who will? It's about time that we get control of our children and their education again, control of our neighborhoods again, and control of our liberties again. You must either get involved or live with the consequences associated with unethical conduct. Is such behavior acceptable, or not? I guess that's for each of us to decide for ourselves or you could allow someone else to make that decision for you. It's your personal 'Freedom of Choice'. "If you chose not to decide, you still have made a choice".
So again, “what are ethics and why are they important?”
Diamond Jim: "What’s the difference between Mined, Lab Grown, and Synthetic gemstones?”
Would a rose by any other name smell as sweet? People have used lots of words to describe laboratory grown gemstones, some a bit sweeter than others. What we’re all trying to do is to find language that communicates clearly without confusing consumers. Unfortunately, there are so many terms for lab grown gems out there (and some bad apples who are actually trying to confuse people) that there isn’t always as much communication as there should be.
Perhaps the best “lab-grown” gemstones are grown by a company called ‘Chatham’. They prefer to call their gems “lab-grown” because they feel it most clearly describes what their gemstones really are. Chatham is a company which grows gemstone crystals. When Carroll Chatham grew his first emerald crystals in the 1930s, the jewelry industry was worried that the value of natural gems would collapse. They were also worried they wouldn’t be able to tell lab-grown emeralds from mined emeralds.
In 1959, the Federal Trade Commission stepped in to make strict rules about what companies like Chatham could call their products. The commission ordered Carroll Chatham to release all the details of his process in order to decide whether his gems could be called “cultured.” Because he refused to divulge the secret of how his gems were grown, Carroll agreed to stop calling them “cultured” and to call them “Chatham-created.”
We think consumers should know the difference between inexpensive flame fusion (or pulled created gemstones) and the more expensive lab-grown gems. Not all gem varieties can be made inexpensively by flame fusion or pulling: sapphire, ruby, and spinel are the main ones. That’s how sapphire watch crystals are made.
Laboratory flux-grown Ruby rough by Chatham
The crystal structure of flux-grown ruby or sapphire is the same as mined ruby and sapphire. Its internal structure is identical. That’s why it’s worth devoting a year to letting it grow. Because the structure is identical, you get the same brilliance and reflection from the crystal structure and that is why people fall in love with gems in the first place.
In the end, that’s what this is all about: understanding what the differences are between different kinds of gems so you can make an informed smart choice: natural mined, lab-grown, man-made, or imitation. It’s up to you!
To see an amazing display of Chatham lab grown, Eco friendly and affordable gemstones, visit Pineforest Jewelry today!
Diamond Jim: "What is the Gemological Institute of America (GIA)?"
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. 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.
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.
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 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.
Diamond Jim: "What is the birthstone for April?"
APRIL BIRTHSTONE - Diamond
HISTORY OF THE DIAMOND AS THE APRIL BIRTHSTONE
Natural diamonds are a rare and unique ultimate gift for a loved one. Thought to be one of the hardest substances on the globe, diamonds date back billions of years. The diamond is the traditional birthstone of April and holds significant meaning for those born in that month, thought to provide the wearer with better relationships and an increase in inner strength.
Wearing diamonds is purported to bring other benefits such as balance, clarity and abundance. It's also symbolic of eternal love, and those fortunate to call April the month of their birth will enjoy the following history behind this rare gem.
Adopted from the Greek work adamas, meaning “invincible,” diamonds come in a wide range of colors such as black, blue, green, pink, red, purple, orange and yellow. The color is dependent upon the type of impurities that are present in the stone. For instance, yellow stones have minuscule traces of nitrogen while blue ones contain boron.
During ancient times, theories touting the magical powers of diamonds were prevalent: some thought lightning bolts formed diamonds, while other theories asserted that diamonds were the tears of God.
The Healing Powers of Diamonds
During the Middle Ages, diamonds were thought to hold healing powers and to cure ailments stemming from the pituitary gland and brain. By heating the crystal and taking it to bed, it was thought to draw out the harmful toxins that were crippling the body. It was also believed that diamonds could have an effect on an individual’s balance and clarity and could boost their energy when combined with other crystals like amethyst.
The diamond as the April gemstone has garnered the hearts of many and is the most coveted crystal to date. Deemed as the “King of all Birthstones,” diamonds make the ideal choice for an April birthday gift. (She’ll love you for it!)
Diamond Jim: "How do you identify a genuine Diamond vs. a Cubic Zirconia?"
Diamonds are supposed to be a girl's best friend. But you can rest assured about its authenticity only after you have conducted a few tests. Most CZs of good quality are amazingly similar in shape, size, and color. Some tests that can tell the difference between CZ's and diamonds are the scratch, the transparency, the fog, the weight, the dot, UV or black light, and the stamp test. The Scratch Test for testing diamonds is the oldest and most traditional. However, this test though being used often is not as accurate or reliable as once imagined.
Everybody knows that a genuine diamond will scratch glass while an imitation cannot, and therefore takes it to be a good sign of its authenticity. However, as modern technology has proved of late, there is high quality cubic zirconia that can also scratch glass. Hence this method falls short. The reason why many hesitate to use the Scratch Test is that in case the diamond is genuine, subjecting it to the test may cause damage and lower its value. The Transparency Test requires you to place the stone being tested on a newspaper. If you are able to read the print clearly, it proves that the stone is a fake because a CZ is transparent. Diamonds on the other hand do not allow you to read the print clearly as they are not transparent. For the Fog Test you have to hold the stone in your hand and breathe over it to fog it. If the stone gets instantly clear and the heat is dispersed instantaneously, it means that the stone is a genuine diamond (diamonds do not hold heat), but if the stone remains foggy it proves that the stone is a CZ. If you have a carat or gram scale, you can conduct the Weight Test.
To ascertain whether the diamond is real or not, purchase a similar CZ that has the same size, color, dimensions and shape. Place the stones side by side on the scale. The CZ is almost 50% heavier than the real diamond. One of the easiest and simplest tests to conduct is the Dot Test. Diamonds reflect light through its top surface or the "table" whereas CZs reflect light in a very different manner because they are transparent. Draw a small dot on a white piece of paper and place the stone on the dot, face down. If it is genuine, you will only see a much distorted version of the dot as the diamond is not clear. The CZ will show a clear dot. For The UV or black light test place the diamond under the UV light. Some diamonds will show a blue fluorescence. 99% of imitation stones and CZs do not show fluorescent blue. Finally, to find out if your diamond is really a cubic zirconium, it pays to focus on the type of "stamp", if it has one on the inside of the jewelry setting. If the stamp indicates that the stone is set in platinum or genuine gold it will have the words 10K, 14k, 18K, etc. written which tells you that the chances of the stone being genuine are good. Make sure to also look for the letters CZ which tells you that the stone in the center is a cubic zirconia and not a diamond.
For the most accurate answer come to Pineforest Jewelry and ask one of our master jewelers to tell you if it is a Diamond or CZ.
Diamond Jim: "Does it take a lot of training to become a jeweler?"
Over the past 40 years, I’ve been asked this question countless times. Thank you for asking and allowing me to respond in writing. Most people equate being a “jeweler” with nearly any position in a jewelry store or jewelry manufacturing business. The Oxford Dictionary defines the word “jeweler” as “a person or company that makes or sells jewels or jewelry”. Technically, the term or title of jeweler requires a little more definition. Someone who sells jewelry is a Sales Associate for a jewelry company and is not necessarily a jeweler. Personally, I find that it takes either the completion of formal education from an accredited institute, or many, many years of experience, or both, to earn the title of ‘Jeweler’.
The GIA (Gemological Institute of America) is one of the most respected teaching institutions in the world in the arena of gems including diamonds, rubies, sapphires, emeralds, semi-precious gems and pearls. A formal education from the GIA will give you the educational acumen (basis) to begin what can be a very lucrative and rewarding career as a jeweler. Some of the career options available, once you have your schooling behind you, are; Gemologist, Bench Jeweler, Jewelry Appraiser, Jewelry Auction Specialist, Gem Buyer, Jewelry Designer / Manufacturer, and more.
An inexperienced jewelry sales associate tends to learn at the expense of a jewelry store owner and staff who must teach that person the basics of jewelry including how it’s designed and created, how it’s displayed, the content of the gold, platinum or silver metals in the jewelry, and some knowledge of the gems or stones that are set in the jewelry. The GIA offers a learning environment that employs some of the best jewelry educators and lab equipment in the world. The cost of a formal GIA jewelry education is surprisingly low compared to a four year Bachelor’s Degree at a university. For example, check out the beginners course entitled “Applied Jewelry Professional™”. Obtaining the Applied Jewelry Professional™ credential is one of the fastest and most effective ways to improve your understanding of gems and jewelry, and covers essential knowledge related to diamonds and popular colored gems. You can earn your credential via eLearning by taking three online courses.
Course Listing: Jewelry Essentials, Diamond Essentials, and Colored Stones Essentials
The Graduate Gemologist credential is the most prestigious credential in the industry. The GIA Graduate Gemologist program gives you the comprehensive knowledge of diamonds and colored stones you need to succeed anywhere in the jewelry business. You’ll gain both technical expertise and practical skills to evaluate gemstones by the 4Cs (color, clarity, cut, and carat weight), the International Diamond Grading System™, and the Colored Stone Grading System.
Diamond Jim: "What is the history of Sterling Silver?"
Characteristics of Sterling Silver
The whitest of all of the precious metals, sterling silver has been heralded for centuries for its highly lustrous finish and versatile applications. Although harder than gold, sterling silver is still considered one of the more pliable and supple metals. Its malleability makes silver easy to hammer and mold into various forms and shapes. Silver melts at a slightly lower temperature than gold (1760 degrees F as opposed to 1960 degrees F).
Naming & History of Sterling Silver
Dating back to the time of primitive man, silver has been referred to by many different naming conventions. The story of how the word "sterling" was incorporated into the name is rooted in 12th-century lore. As payment for English cattle, an association of eastern Germans compensated the British with silver coins dubbed "Easterlings." Eventually, the Easterling was widely accepted as a standard of English currency. The name was ultimately abbreviated to "Sterling," which is now used to refer to the highest grade of silver metal.
The official designation of "sterling" to a piece of silver indicates that it contains at least 92.5% of pure silver. The remaining 7.5% can be comprised of any other metal alloy, most commonly copper. Although it may seem that an even higher silver content would be desirable, that's not actually the case. Metal alloys with a silver content of more than 92.5% are too pliable to be used without suffering from dents and dings. The second alloy is required to ensure the metal's stability and resilience.
Other Types of Silver
In addition to sterling silver, which contains 92.5% silver and 7.5% copper alloy, there are many different varieties and grades of silver in production throughout the world:
Fine silver: This type of silver has a silver content of 99.9% or higher. Fine silver is much too soft to be used in everyday applications, such as jewelry or tableware. This premium class of silver is used to make bullion bars for international commerce.
Britannia silver: A higher grade than sterling silver, Britannia has a silver content of at least 95.84%. Originating as a standard in Britain as far back as 1697, Britannia silver is denoted by a hallmark stamp of "958" to indicate its silver content, sometimes accompanied by the symbol of Britannia.
Mexican silver: Another premium silver, Mexican silver consists of at least 95% pure silver and 5% copper. This elite form of the metal is not currently in wide circulation in Mexico; most of the silver jewelry and accents sold in Mexican marketplaces is forged from 92.5% sterling.
Coin silver: Comprised of 90% silver and 10% copper, coin silver is made from melting down standard silver coins. Lower in silver content than sterling, this metal was widely used as silver tableware in the United States between 1820 and 1868, and as common currency until 1964.
German silver: This term is usually used to refer to 800-standard silver, which consists of 80% silver and is commonly used for silverware, silver tableware, and decorative silver accents. 900-standard silver is another higher-grade version of German silver, and has a 90% silver content.
Diamond Jim: "Are southerners generally happier than people up north?"
Now that’s a good question. Logic would dictate that people in the south have many reasons to be happy and perhaps happier than our friends up north. For example, we have shorter winters and less cold temperatures during the year, longer gardening opportunities for growing beautiful flowers and vegetables, good manners & decency, the best barbeque in the world, amazing places to hunt and fish, generally strong economies, and best of all…real “southern hospitality”. In addition, the pace of our daily lives in the south and especially here in Texas seems to be less stressful. Due to our genuine compassion and sense of neighbor helping neighbor, we seem to take the time to stop and smell the roses more than others. This is, of course, my opinion and perception of life in the south.
Let’s look at a recent survey conducted by the Bureau of Economic Research in cooperation with the CDC which ranks, in order, the “Ten Happiest” and “Ten Unhappiest” cities in the USA :
Ten Happiest Cities
1. Lafayette, La.
2. Houma, La.
3. Shreveport-Bossier City, La.
4. Baton Rouge, La.
5. Alexandria, La.
6. Rochester, Minn.
7. Corpus Christi, Texas
8. Lake Charles, La.
9. Nashville, Tenn.
10. Fort Walton Beach, Fl.
Ten Unhappiest Cities
1. New York, N.Y.
2. St. Joseph, Mo.
3. South Bend, Ind.
4. Erie, Pa
5. Evansville, Ind.
6. Toledo, Oh.
7. Detroit, Mi.
8. Jersey City, N.J.
9. Gary, Ind.
10. Scranton – Wilkes Barre – Hazelton, Pa.
Notice that every one of the top ten unhappiest cities is located in the northern half of our country. Seems to me that “us folks in the south” really are happier and perhaps even healthier than those living up north.
I hope this information helps you to further enjoy our southern way of life each and every day.
Diamond Jim: "What is the birthstone for March?"
For the lucky individuals born in March, two birthstones are associated with this early spring month: aquamarine and bloodstone.
Both stones are very different from one another in appearance, but each share a similar symbolism of preserving or enhancing the health of the wearer. Learn more about each March birthstone by browsing the links below.
The serenely colored aquamarine invokes the tranquility of its namesake, the sea. In fact, the name aquamarine is derived from the Latin word aqua, meaning water, and marina, meaning the sea.
Aquamarine is most often light in tone and ranges from greenish blue to blue-green; the color usually is more intense in larger stones, and darker blue stones are very valuable. This gemstone is mined mainly in Brazil, but also is found in Nigeria, Madagascar, Zambia, Pakistan, and Mozambique. Not only is aquamarine one of the March birthstones, it’s also used to celebrate 19th wedding anniversaries. It’s a beautiful stone with little or no yellow in it, so it looks great in many settings with different colored metals and gemstones.
The stone is also considered to be a great addition to mental health and is used widely as a symbol in Tarot as well as a meditation aid and is said to help one cultivate more inner tranquility. It is also considered by some to be a great aligner of the spiritual and the physical, for those who feel out of harmony or alignment with oneself. No matter how you use aquamarine, either as a piece of jewelry or as an aid in a spiritual journey, its cool, tranquil color is the perfect complement to any skin tone or setting.
The second birthstone for March is bloodstone, a dark-green stone flecked with vivid red spots of iron oxide. Generally found embedded in rocks or in riverbeds as pebbles, primary sources for this stone are India, Brazil, and Australia.
For those looking for a good quality bloodstone, it is generally considered that a solid green color with visible veins of red is best. It also comes in many shapes and cuts including traditional cuts like emerald, oval, and cushion.
Many people cherish bloodstone as a lucky charm or amulet and is prized by athletes or those who wish to increase their personal strength. Some believe it helps with mental clarity or increasing creativity or even boosting overall energy.
No matter how you use or wear bloodstone, it’s a unique stone great for everyday use when you want to look good or even feel good.
Diamond Jim: "How is natural yellow gold made into white or rose gold?"
Gold is a chemical element with the symbol Au (from Latin: aurum) and the atomic number 79. In its purest form, it is a bright, slightly reddish yellow, dense, soft, malleable and ductile metal. Gold is commonly formed into bars or coin for use in monetary exchange. Gold is the most malleable of all metals; a single gram can be beaten into a sheet of 1 square meter, and an ounce into 300 square feet. Gold leaf can be beaten thin enough to become transparent. The transmitted light appears greenish blue, because gold strongly reflects yellow and red. Such semi-transparent sheets also strongly reflect infrared light, making them useful as infrared (radiant heat) shields in visors of heat-resistant suits, and in sun-visors for spacesuits. Gold is a good conductor of heat and electricity and reflects infrared radiation strongly.
White gold is an alloy of gold and at least one white metal, usually nickel, manganese or palladium. Like yellow gold, the purity of white gold is given in karats. A common white gold formulation consists of 90 wt.% gold and 10 wt.% nickel. Copper can be added to increase malleability.
The alloys used in jewelry industry are gold–palladium–silver and gold–nickel–copper–zinc. Palladium and nickel act as primary bleaching agents for gold; zinc acts as a secondary bleaching agent to attenuate the color of copper. The nickel used in some white gold alloys can cause an allergic reaction when worn over long periods (also notably on some wrist-watch casings). This reaction, typically a minor skin rash, occurs in about one out of eight people and because of this, many countries do not use nickel in their white gold formulations.
Rose, red, and pink gold
Rose gold is a gold and copper alloy widely used for specialized jewelry. Rose gold, also known as pink gold and red gold, was popular in Russia at the beginning of the nineteenth century, and was also known as Russian gold although this term is now obsolete. Rose gold jewelry is becoming more popular in the 21st century and is commonly used for wedding rings, bracelets, and other jewelry. Although the names are often used interchangeably, the difference between red, rose, and pink gold is the copper content: the higher the copper content, the stronger the red coloration. Pink gold uses the least copper, followed by rose gold, with red gold having the highest copper content. Examples of the common alloys for 18K rose gold, 18K red gold, and 18K pink gold:
18K Red gold: 75% gold, 25% copper
18K Rose gold: 75% gold, 22.25% copper, 2.75% silver
18K Pink gold: 75% gold, 20% copper, 5% silver
12K Red gold: 50% gold and 50% copper.
Up to 15% zinc can be added to copper-rich alloys to change their color to reddish yellow or dark yellow.
Also known as "Crown Gold".
The highest karat version of rose gold is also known as crown gold, which is 22 karat. Eighteen karat red gold may be made of 25% copper and 75% gold. For 18 karat rose gold, typically about 4% silver is added to 75% gold and 21% copper to give a rose color. 14 karat red gold is often found in the Middle East and contains 41.67% copper. High-end musical flutes are very commonly made of solid rose gold, the most common being 14K.
Diamond Jim: "Does a genuine Violet Diamond really exist?"
Rio Tinto Unveils ‘Impossibly Rare’ Violet Diamond
The 2.83-carat Argyle Violet is “impossibly rare and limited by nature,” said Patrick Coppens, general manager of sales for Rio Tinto Diamonds, and will be “highly sought after for its beauty, size and provenance.”
Melbourne, Australia—In 2015, Rio Tinto made an astounding discovery at its Argyle mine in Western Australia and never said a word about it. The diamond mining company unearthed a 9.17-carat piece of rough that yielded a stone Rio Tinto Diamonds’ Patrick Coppens describes as “impossibly rare”--a 2.83-carat fancy deep grayish blue violet diamond that it dubbed the “Argyle Violet.”
It is the largest violet diamond ever recovered from the mine. And now it will embark on a world tour, of sorts, as part of the 2016 Argyle Pink Diamonds Tender.
The Gemological Institute of America assigned the oval-shaped stone a color grade of fancy deep grayish blue violet. In a peer-reviewed article in the spring 2009 edition of Gems & Gemology, the GIA noted that the Argyle mine is the world’s only known source of type IaB hydrogen- and nitrogen-rich diamonds colored gray to blue to violet. The article also noted that the more violet-hued stones in this range are colored by nickel defects. Rio Tinto said the Argyle Violet has a clarity of SI1.
When asked for an estimated sale price, the mining company said it is difficult to know what the stone will sell for given the rarity of violet diamonds but noted that “violet diamonds sit in the limited company of red diamonds as an indicator of value.”
In November 2014, Christie’s Hong Kong auctioned a heart-shaped 2.09-carat SI2 fancy red for $5.1 million, or $2.44 million per carat.
The oval-shaped Argyle Violet was to be the star of the 2016 Argyle Pink Diamonds Tender, Rio Tinto’s annual sale of rare diamonds from its Argyle mine in Western Australia. The mine produces 90 percent of the world’s pink diamonds.
Diamond Jim: "What are some of the most famous Diamonds?"
Famous Diamonds Examined by GIA (Gemological Institute of America)
The Hope Diamond, the Dresden Green, and the Idol’s Eye - 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 • 45.52ct
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. Technical specifications aside, the Hope Diamond captivates the imagination like no other gemstone.
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.
VVS1 • 70.20 ct
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).
Diamond Jim: "What is the history of Valentine’s Day?"
Valentine's Day, also called Saint Valentine's Day or the Feast of Saint Valentine, is an annual holiday celebrated on February 14. It originated as a Western