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This is something that has been baffling me for some time. 

Someone is given a piece of jewelry, say, a strand of pearls.  They are beautiful and of high quality.  They are screaming to be worn, the perfect classic adornment of fashions new and old, the item that ‘completes’ the outfit, the piece whose beauty is MEANT to be seen.

Now what happens to that beautiful necklace?  It gets gently placed in the box from which it came and is then either placed in a safety deposit box or hidden in a secret place somewhere in the house.  The owner then goes out and purchases a strand of pearls, a strand as visually similar to the original necklace as possible, yet they are only a fraction of the quality and the price.  As time passes by, it is THIS strand that gets worn, the low grade copy of a fantastic original.  Why is this?  Is this what people mean when they talk of jewelry as an ‘investment?’  If you wear the original piece, it decreases in value?

Have you ever watched the movie “The Joy Luck Club?”  Towards the end, the father is looking for items to send with his daughter who is about to sail to China to meet her two half-twin sisters.  The mother had recently passed away.  He says something to the effect of ‘Your mother hid everything, even the fake stuff,’ and he, too, is baffled that she chose to hide BOTH real and fake items.

People will say they don’t want to lose or damage the original piece.  Even when insured, the real necklace will remain tucked away for fear of theft.  If worn, there’s always the possibility of getting mugged, right?

Still, this makes no sense to me.  Why purchase the first (expensive) piece in the first place?  Why try to make a feeble attempt at replicating them?  Overall, what is the point if you’re not going to wear it?  To have a valuable piece of jewelry to pass down to a daughter or granddaughter so they can hide it away in a safety deposit box?  To be happy in the knowledge that though you may be wearing a cheap imitation, you DO have ‘the real thing’ back home?  Because you’re so disorganized that if you kept it in your house, it would get buried under a pile of paper, so at least you know it’s somewhere safe?

Personally, I can even admit that I fall under that last category.  I’m a pretty disorganized person, yes, but if given a piece of jewelry, I feel that the intent of the giver was not for me to WEAR IT, not hide it away, nor buy a knock-off and wear those in their place.

There are a million things one can do to damage ANYTHING, not just jewelry.  Is this the reason?  Our own self doubt?  If the original is going to live an unused life, why not just buy the knockoff as a present? 

What do YOU think?  Is this something YOU practice?  Why?  In no way am I saying that this is a bad or a good thing, but it IS something that I don’t understand.  Let me know what your thoughts on this practice are.

Ahhhhh, back from the holidaze…..

When you purchase jewelry for yourself or someone else, how do you usually buy it?  Physically, as in at the store counter, via a paper catalog, online, or eBay?  Is your decision affected by who the piece is for?  Does how much you’re planning on spending play a role in your decision?  Do you have a store or site that you’ve been purchasing from for years, and you automatically just trust them?  Do you hunt down unique pieces or try to get the best price possible on eBay?

Initially, it can be difficult to purchase jewelry online, especially if you’re not familiar with the site.  If you’re doing the same with a new seller on eBay, I think it’s even more difficult, because all you have to go by are other people’s reviews.  How can you be so sure that what you see is what you’re going to get?  If you found the site through a  search engine such as Google or Yahoo, does that mean the sites on the first page are going to be better than one on, say, page 10?  This is especially confusing when the search engine gives you some ridiculously high amount, like 100,000 sites.  How do you know that what is found on the first page a better bet than page 37,634?

When one does a search for jewelry, say Google for example, different results will come up depending on the wording of your search.  The first several in the shaded area are sites that paid to be the first 3 or 4 sites from that search.  Does paying to get a site advertised before all others make it more or less appealing?  There are so many different directions we could go with this topic, so let’s start with the sites that pay to be in the #1,2, or 3 slots.

Let’s put this to the test.  I go to Google and do a search for ‘diamond jewelry.’  It comes up with three paid sites: 

‘Diamond Ring Sale’ from www.worldjewels.com.  “A special gift for your loved one. Save up to 75%.  No sales tax!”  

The second is ‘Blue Nile Diamond Jewelry’ from www.bluenile.com.  “Forbes Favorite Online Jeweler. Free FedEx & 30-Day Returns.” 

Finally, we have ‘Diamond Jewelry to Browse’ from www.sohogem.com.  “Fine boutique and designer jewelry to browse and buy with style.”

So what does this mean?  WorldJewels is a very ‘busy’ site, as if it is trying to cram everything it has onto the first page. Blue Nile, with its rich blue background, is less busy, and with both left and right side panels focusing on educating the consumer, you don’t feel as much pressure to purchase RIGHT NOW.  Sohogem has a very different look, sleek and artistic.  It’s navigated by three modern lines, where one can search by designer, trends, price.  It has a very different feel to it, as if you are already familiar with different artist’s diamond creations.

Well, which do you choose?  Do you tend to skip past the paid sites?  Would you go for the promise of paying less, the reputation of an established jeweler, or check out a more esoteric site and learn more about what the trends are right now?

Please, post your comments!  What do you think?  Where do you go?  Do you always go to the same place for every type of gem?  Don’t worry, I have a feeling we might be talking about this some more…


Nov 13, 2008 Author: Sarah Anne | Filed under: Finding Bargains, Information, Miscellaneous Thoughts, other

We’ve had quite the lively conversation about simulated diamonds, and I’m so happy people are reading and responding to this blog.  Once it was determined that Diamond Nexus Labs was really a slick marketing campaign for high quality Cubic Zirconia, I noticed that several people had written on related tangents, and I thought one deserved further observation and discussion.  That would be about Moissanite. 

 I was reading about diamonds at http://socrates.berkeley.edu/~eps2/wisc/Lect6.html, and I came across this comment: 

 “Another diamond simulant, synthetic moissanite (Silicon carbide or carborundum) was introduced to the jewelry market in 1998; manufactured by C3 Inc. and Cree Research. It has become the gold standard for diamond simulants in the last few years.”

In a previous posting, I did say that Moissanite can have disco-ball effects.  I found this site about moissanite:   http://www.articlecity.com/articles/women/article_923.shtml, and this article mentions it in greater detail.

This site says that Moissanite suffers from ‘dispersion’,:  “Moissanite has a dispersive power nearly 2.5 times greater than that of diamond. This creates what’s known as the “disco-ball” effect. Some think that this excess fire is beautiful; others think it cheap and fake looking.”  I might have been to this site before, which is where I got that idea.  

However, take that article with a grain of salt, as the Diamond Nexus Labs website is cited three times.  The first site said moissanite the best of the diamond simulants. Because it comes from an educational source, I do tend to give it more credibility.  Again, that’s just my opinion.

What do you think?  Should people start checking out this simulated diamond?  Have you purchased Moissanite?  Have you been able to compare it with a diamond?  Let me know what your thoughts are…


Apr 23, 2008 Author: Sarah Anne | Filed under: Miscellaneous Thoughts, Personal Stories About Our Favorite Adornments

I remember when I first got my ears pierced.  I was 8 years old.  My friends were doing it.  You needed to have a note from your parents (or have them present).  It was done in a corner of this kind of old lady kind of store, and back then, they were the only ones doing any piercing.  It was exciting, having that piercing gun placed and shot, and the ensuing slight pain that came with it.  You had to keep your ears very clean, and that first pair had to stay in for a month. 

This was a pretty big event for an eight year old.  It was one of my first ‘grownup’ decisions.   I even showed that I wasn’t afraid of a little pain.  It’s a small, yet fond, memory.

Here in Hawaii and in other countries, I’ve noticed that a lot of girls have their ears pierced when they’re either babies or toddlers, but very young to be sure.  However, nowhere have I witnessed this trend as strongly as here.  You are born a girl-your ears are getting pierced.  I just hope it isn’t the first thing that’s done to them when they leave the womb (‘gosh, this world sucks-it’s cold and uncozy and really painful too!’).

I’m interested in hearing what your first piercing experience(s) were like.  Guys, what about you?  Ah come on, every guy get’s at least one ear pierced at some point.  Was a piercing gun used on you or a needle?  How many of you have pierced your ears yourself ?  Again, think back to those most un-halcyon days of junior and senior high school, taking one of the stud earrings you already have and becomming ‘double pierced.’  Those were usually the ones that got infected. 

And what about later piercings and where?  Eyebrow, tongue, belly button, lip, etc.  Have any experience there?  I noticed as a  young adult (when things like body piercings are all the rage) that it seems to break into two camps-either piercing or tattooing.  That’s just been my observation (I went the tattoo route in case you were wondering).

I look forward to hearing what your experience was/is in terms of piercing.  For girls who get their ears pierced at a very young age, what’s the tradition behind it?  Do you approve of piercings ‘elsewhere?’  Any and all comments are welcome and encouraged.

I’m sure you’ve all at one point or another received one of those email forwards from a friend asking your preference on a bunch of items (like ice cream: chocolate or vanilla?) and you’re supposed to pick your favorite, forward it on to everyone, blah blah blah. However in one of those emails (I happen to like them), there’s one question that always stood out to me. “Jewelry: Gold or Silver?”

The default response for most is usually gold. And, as always, I’m the one who chooses silver. I feel like there’s something inherent, like ‘cheap date’ with silver. However, I just don’t have a skin tone that works well with the COLOR gold. It looks all right, but I definitely prefer silver. Platinum is a worthy choice with great color, but it carries two problems for me: it’s heavy, and it’s even more expensive than gold.

Fortunately, there is a solution, and it can put me in the ‘in’ crowd too. And that would have to be White Gold. According to Wikipedia, “White gold is an alloy of gold and at least one white metal, usually nickel or palladium. Like yellow gold, the purity of white gold is given in karats.” In my limited experience, I’ve found white gold is wonderful-it has the color I desire without the exorbitant cost (compared to platinum I mean; it’s obviously more expensive than silver). While I was researching that, I found that there’s also a compound called Rose Gold, which is gold that is mixed with different metals to give it that color. I’ve never seen it, but I’m going to keep my eyes out for it.

Both white and rose gold can come in purities of about 18 karats. Pure gold, 24k, is generally considered too soft for jewelry and is therefore mixed with an alloy(s) to produce 22, 18, 14, or 10 karats, so opting for white or rose gold is not necessarily an automatic reduction in quality or purity. I love the white gold jewelry I have, and if you’re looking for a piece of jewelry, consider giving white gold a try. And if you’ve seen rose gold somewhere commonplace, let us know where you saw it (I’ve never seen it in any department stores like Macy’s or the like), because it would definitely be worth taking a look at.

This is for all you artistic folks in the audience…

My last post on energy/healing jewelry got me wondering how these people/companies come up with the prices for which they sell their jewelry.  I wondered about this, because at first glance, a lot of them seem rather, well, expensive.  We aren’t talking about an emerald pendant surrounded by diamonds, an object whose value could be verified fairly objectively; this is in reference to the beaded semi-precious stone bracelets and necklaces with pendants of quartz, chinese coins, or other minerals.  I have been wondering how one decides how much these adornments are worth. 

So if you are of an artistic sort, and you make jewelry, how do you determine a piece’s value?  How do you know how much to charge for your creations?

Interestingly, I came upon this website while looking for something completely unrelated, and there it was:  a  simple jewelry pricing formula!  It can be found at Home Jewelry Business Sucess Tips: Jewelry Pricing Formula.
I suppose this formula could be used to apply to anything, really.  For you professionals, is this realistic?  When you do your pricing, do you follow a similar formula?  If not, how do you make your pricing determinations?  Finally, if you do use a formula like this, does it work?  Are you able to sell your wares using this setup and make enough profit to live on? 

I’d love to hear any comments from anyone reading this regarding how you have set up your pricing structures, what you’ve found works, and what absolutely does NOT work.  Who knows?  Maybe someone who’s trying to get in to the jewelry business is looking for exactly this kind of information.  You never know…

This is a topic I have a hard time with. I don’t know, it may be that I’m oblivious to the subtleties of changes going on around me. I might be too jaded and cynical and not open enough to feel healing powers. Can healing or energy or prosperity jewelry really promote what they say they do? Do they ‘work’?

You can find jewelry to heal your chakras, attract health, wealth, the perfect person, the perfect job, and anything else you feel like ‘manifesting.’ (That word seems to be used a lot). You can buy a necklace to bring you luck AND bring good fortune to all who glimpse at the necklace. It seems that the right piece of jewelry can do just about anything. Sort of.

Some sites claim that their jewelry is special by the way they make it. Maybe they’re able to channel the energy of the cosmos when they’re creating it. Each piece lists the mineral beads used for it which serves as the center from which the powers of the piece of jewelry eminate. Now, I could go off on a HUGE tangent here and talk about crystals and the healing powers certain ones are supposed to have and my opinion on whether THEY work, but I’ll leave that to the pros (ie Melody, who’s book Love Is In The Earth is basically the bible of all things mineral).

But the question remains: Do they work at what they claim to do? Does the amethyst ring I wear make me calmer, as some of the properties of amethyst are to promote tranquility and calm the mind? Is that 5th chakra necklace helping clear the issues you may have there? Physically, 5th chakra problems are associated with things like neck and shoulder problems. Did putting on a necklace designed for that chakra get rid of that pain? Is my moonstone pendant connecting my emotional side with my creative side? I don’t know. Could it all be a placebo effect? Possibly.

I have jewelry of semi-precious stones that are associated with healing properties. I have an even bigger collection of raw minerals-everything from rose quartz, labradorite, apophylite, and celestite to just name a few-and every one of these is associated with some area of healing or promoting health, vigor, or creativity. All of these raw minerals are a LOT bigger than what you’d find in a piece of jewelry. Do they help me? Do they work in the background, and even though I’m not sensitive enough to actually feel them, they ARE working? Again, I don’t know. But each piece is important to me.

One site, Energy Muse (http://www.energymuse.com/) says that they not only use the right minerals to heal what needs healing, but they’re created with INTENT, and it’s that which is most important. When you receive one of their pieces, you are supposed to infuse the piece with YOUR intent as well, and that’s essential to promote the piece’s properties. I have several pieces from this company. I have followed their directions to the letter. Did they ‘work’? Again, I don’t know if I’m just not sensitive enough or too cynical or who knows what, but I couldn’t tell.

There are a lot of stores out there. Carolyne Myss’ website sells ‘alchemy gemstones‘. Another site is all about chakras (http://www.mandarava.com/Retail/chakraenergy.htm). Enter ‘Energy Jewelry’ or ‘Chakra Jewelry’ on any search engine, and you’ll find many, many sites. These I just found to give you an example.

Regardless, I don’t regret owning the ‘healing’ pieces of jewelry that I’ve purchased. They very well might be working in the background. Maybe making these claims is just a gimmick. However, what I know is that I find exquisite beauty in the pieces I own, and whether or not my chakras are going to be balanced isn’t the point to me. It’s the piece of jewelry or the raw mineral that matters to me; it’s a beautiful thing that the Earth created. That in itself, the beauty and diversity of what this planet has created, is a mind blowing concept.

As always, if you have had any experience with this kind of jewelry or raw minerals, whether good, bad, or indifferent, or if any other thoughts cross your mind, please let us know. Until next time…

Oh la dee dah, ‘diamonds are a girl’s best friend’…BLAH BLAH BLAH

‘If you really love your fiance’, 2-3 months’ salary for a ring is a must’…OUCH

‘We have everything under control now…these aren’t blood diamonds’…you sure about that?

People have been trying for centuries to come up with a man-made gem that mimicked the diamond.  Cubic zirconia first comes to mind which yes, is bright and shiny, but for some reason has never up to par.  And then there’s Moissanite, a silicon carbide found in meteorites originally.  Today, it’s usually made in labs.  It is cheaper than a diamond, but it’s still a large purchase.  One problem with them is that they can’t make one that’s pure white , and their ‘dispersive power’ is 2 1/2 times greater than a diamond.  That’s how it dispurses light.  When it’s that much higher, the effect is sort of like a disco ball.  Some people think that’s great and even better than a diamond, and others thinks it makes it look cheap. 

Then you have synthetic diamonds.  When in 1797 it was discovered that a diamond was made solely of carbon, people have been trying to precisely replicate it.  The idea of creating a synthetic diamond, therefore, is far from a new one.  Many people have tried to do so with mixed results.  The first real successes came in the 1950’s, and the technological processes used today draw largely from the discoveries made then.

Diamond, mined or synthetic, is a mineral which has a myriad of uses because of its hardness, but since we’re talking about jewelry here, we’ll keep it at that.  There are numerous reasons why I like them synthetic diamonds, and I hope they continue to make inroads into the jewelry market.

First, they are REAL diamonds.  According to an article from www.news.com,  “consumers shouldn’t see any difference. Both mined and synthetic diamonds are chemically identical. Neither the naked eye, nor an ordinary microscope can detect the difference. Jewelers can tell with a loupe by reading a laser inscription required by the Federal Trade Commission. Otherwise, it takes high-tech equipment that analyzes the crystal structure of diamonds (like a proprietary machine De Beers has) to distinguish the difference.” 

Second, and this should matter if you have a conscience, the mining of diamonds is not exactly a pretty process.  I won’t go into the whole history, but long story short, environments have been ruined, countless lives have been lost (they’re not called ‘blood diamonds’ for nothing), people have been enslaved, countries ravaged by wars, and all for that bright shiny object.  Granted, steps have been taken to reduce these problems, but we’re not there, so we are at the mercy of what’s being reported, and who knows whether or not it’s accurate?  Mining in northern Canada has become the new big thing (and has come with even bigger prices) and made for a great show on the History Channel called “Ice Road Truckers,” but even though it’s like a tree falling in the forest with no one around, it’s still trashing the environment.

Finally, synthetic diamonds cost a fraction of what a mined diamond costs.  Two-three months’ salary?  Did you know that DeBeers came up with that as a marketing concept?  If it’s an engagement ring, use the savings for the wedding itself (which in today’s world averages $20,000), for a down payment on a house, a car, or all of the other things you’re going to need after you say “I Do.”

That’s why I’m a supporter of synthetic diamonds.  Today, there are a lot of companies out there, each with their own ‘angle.’  Because a diamond is pure carbon, they can be made from different sources, even including the ashes of a loved one or pet.  I can’t decide whether that’s an amazing way to remember them or if the whole thing is kind of creepy.  Various companies are creating diamonds of different colors and sizes previously unknown to nature.

I’ve been following this concept for about a year now, and one company, Diamond Nexus Labs (www.diamondnexuslabs.com), has really stood out to me.  They carry something for everyone, from under $150 to custom creations where the sky is the limit in cost.  You can design the jewelry piece of your dreams, and they will work closely with you to make sure it’s perfect.  They have an extensive presentation of rings, necklaces, bracelets, pendants, you name it, they can make it,and they can do it 14 carat gold to 950 grade platinum and everything in between.  It’s been great to see how their offerings have increased over a year.  Their print catalog is something to drool over, and you really do get a lot more bang for your buck.  Would you rather have a one carat mined diamond or a 2-3 carat synthetic?  Or a ring AND a matching necklace?  In a world that loves their bling bling, synthetic diamonds are there to satisfy that seemingly insatiable demand.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not against mined diamonds, the people and companies who buy and sell them, or anything like that.  I received a mined diamond ring for my birthday last year; it is absolutely beautiful, and I love wearing it.  However, I think synthetic diamonds gives many people a chance to purchase what they couldn’t previously afford, I like the fact that you know 100% FOR SURE that no one died and no trees fell.  Still, the idea does make some people uncomfortable, and even though chemically they’re exactly the same.  I hope companies like Nexus Diamond Labs continue to work to eliminate that stigma, that celebrities who preach their love for the environment put their money where their mouths are, and that this can be integrated into jewelry fashion as a viable alternative.  There is room for everyone, and I hope synthetic diamond’s place continues to grow.