Roussel's Jewelry

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Education

Gold Jewelry

A gift of gold jewelry says love and permanence as eloquently today as in all the ages past. There are certain things you should know about gold jewelry before buying.

Gold combines four basic characteristics that make it a universally treasured possession:

Beauty – Gold’s natural color can be further enhanced by alloying it with small amounts of other metals, yielding a spectrum of exquisite, subtle shades. Metal smiths are able to create yellow, rose, green and white golds by adjusting the alloys.

Purity – It is estimated that only slightly more than 100,000 tons of gold have been taken from the earth during all of recorded history. And although gold can be found in rivers, seas and land in many parts of the earth, it is not easily extracted. Opening a mind is a time-consuming and costly operation, and several tons of ore are required in order to produce just one ounce of the precious metal.

Durability – Look no further than the nearest museum, where gold jewelry, coins and artifacts from ancient civilizations attest to the metal’s enduring beauty and permanence.

Workability – Jewelers throughout the ages have preferred gold to all other metals for its beauty and ease of workmanship. Gold can be melted, or shaped, to create any design. It can be alloyed with a number of other metals to increase its strength and produce a variety of colors and can be re-melted and used again to create new designs.

Pure gold, or 24-karat, is generally considered too soft for use in jewelry, so gold is alloyed with other metals to increase its strength. Eighteen-karat gold is 18/24ths, or three quarters, pure gold. Jewelry of this fineness is marked “18k” or “750,” the European designation meaning 75% gold. In the U.S., 14-karat gold is used most commonly for jewelry. Fourteen-karat gold is 14/24ths, or slightly more than one-half, pure gold. Jewelry of this fineness is marked “14k” of 585,” the European designation meaning 58.5% gold. Nothing less than 10-karat gold can be legally marked or sold as gold jewelry in the United States. These pieces are marked “10k” or “417,” the European designation meaning 41.7% gold.

Karatage

Karat Mark

European Marking

Percent Pure Gold

Ten-karat

10K

417

41.7%

Fourteen-karat

14K

585

58.5%

Eighteen-karat

18K

750

75.0%

Twenty-four karat

24K

999

99.9%

Look for trademarks accompanying the quality mark. When a piece of jewelry is stamped with a quality park, law requires that is be stamped with a hallmark or trademark as well. Sometimes the jewelry is also marked with its country of origin. These designations are designed to assure you that you are buying genuine gold jewelry of the karatage marked.

Because gold is alloyed with other metals to increase its strength, it can also be made in a variety of colors. For example, yellow gold is created by alloying the metal with copper and silver; using copper only creates pink gold; white gold contains nickel, zinc, and copper; green gold contains silver, copper and zinc.

Color

Contains These Metals

Yellow Gold

Gold, Copper, Silver

White Gold

Gold, Nickel, Zinc, Copper

Green Gold

Gold, Silver, Copper, Zinc

Rose Gold

Gold, Copper, Silver

Pink Gold

Gold, Copper

Pricing is based on four factors: karatage, weight, design and craftsmanship. The karatage and weight tell you how much gold is in a piece, but other crucial factors determining price are the piece’s construction and design.

There are a few things you should remember when caring for your gold jewelry:

  1. Gold is lasting and durable, but it can get scratched or dented if treated roughly.
  2. Gold’s worst enemy is chlorine. Repeated exposure can weaken gold’s structure, eventually leading to breakage. Keep your jewelry away from chlorinated cleaning products and out of swimming pools.
  3. Protect your gold jewelry by storing it safely or keeping it wrapped in a soft cloth when not being worn.
  4. Clean your gold jewelry with a cleaning solution of sudsy lukewarm water, or bring it to Roussel’s to have it steam-cleaned.
  5. Dry and polish jewelry with a chamois or soft cloth after cleaning and rinsing.
  6. Keep gold jewelry free from dust, moisture, perspiration and makeup.
  7. Always inspect your gold jewelry for weaknesses or damage.
  8. If you notice over a period of time that your white gold ring or pendant has faded to a yellow gold, bring it in to get it re-rhodium plated. Rhodium plating is a layer of rhodium that goes on top of most white gold jewelry to bring back its original luster.

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Platinum Jewelry

Platinum, one of the rarest of the precious metals, is found in only a few locations around the world. One of the strongest and most enduring of metals, it is also one of the heaviest. A piece of jewelry containing 90% pure platinum weighs 60% more than a 14-karat gold piece of similar size. Because it shows little wear, platinum is ideal for jewelry that’s worn every day. It’s also hypoallergenic and resists tarnish.

Platinum has a high level of purity. In the United States, platinum jewelry generally contains anywhere from 85 to 95 percent pure platinum. By comparison, 18-karat gold is 75% pure gold and 14-karat gold only 58% pure gold.

If a piece of platinum jewelry is marked “Platinum,” it contains at least 95% pure platinum. Jewelry with 85 to 95 percent pure platinum is marked “850 Plat.” or “850 Pt.,” or “950 Plat.” Or “950 Pt.,” etc.

Jewelry containing at least 50 percent pure platinum and at least 95 percent platinum group metals (palladium, iridium, osmium, rhodium and ruthenium) is marked with the platinum content followed by the content of the other metal. For example: “600 Plat. 350 Irid.” Or “600 Pt.350 Ir.”

Jewelry containing less than 50 percent pure platinum content cannot be marked with the word “platinum” or any abbreviation thereof.

Platinum is rare. To produce a single ounce of finished platinum, a total of 10 tons of ore must be mined. In comparison, only three tons of ore are required to produce one ounce of gold. This rarity gives platinum its cachet.

Platinum is lustrous. Platinum’s rich, white luster complements diamonds and other precious gems, while its neutral color enhances a stone’s brilliance and depth.

A diamond and its setting should last forever. Because platinum is superior to other metals in strength and durability, it offers a diamond the greatest protection. The breathtaking radiance of a diamond fused with the timeless elegance of platinum creates a rare and enduring symbol of love.

Why is platinum’s purity important?

Platinum, one of the world’s strongest metals, is hypoallergenic, tarnish-resistant, and extremely durable.

Is platinum the same as white gold?

No, it is quite different. To create white gold, yellow gold is alloyed with other metals to achieve a white look. However, platinum is white to begin with and maintains its white luster permanently. Its purity, strength, rarity, durability and naturally rich, white color make it the best choice.

How should I care for and clean my platinum jewelry?

Platinum jewelry should be cleaned the same way you clean other fine jewelry. Disposable jewelry wipes or liquid jewelry cleaner should be used, followed by rinsing with warm water and drying. You can also bring it to one of our locations so that we can steam-clean it for you. As with all precious jewelry, handle with care, not allowing pieces to touch or scratch each other.

Will platinum scratch?

Signs of wear, including scratches, will inevitably appear in all precious metals, even in platinum. However, due to platinum’s durability and strength there is usually little metal loss when the piece is scratched.

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Sterling Silver Jewelry and Gifts

Silver is an element that occurs naturally in the earth and is generally considered too soft in its pure form for practical use in jewelry, giftware or flatware. An alloy such as copper is usually added to make silver workable for jewelry.

Sterling silver is a favorite medium for today’s most creative and innovative designers due to its affordability and malleability – it can be shaped into almost any form imaginable. A special gift of silver is a touching and lasting expression of affection, friendship, celebration, congratulation or thanks.

Sterling silver is 92.5 percent (925 parts) pure silver and 7.5 percent (75 parts) alloy metal. Sterling is the primary material used for silver jewelry and giftware.

The silver content and quality of all silver jewelry and gift items must be accurately represented. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has established a set of stamps and markings to represent silver content and you should look for them when making a silver purchase.

Only jewelry that is at least 92.5 percent pure silver can be called or labeled “silver,” “solid silver,” “sterling silver,” or “sterling.” If one of these terms is stamped on the silver jewelry you are purchasing then the piece meets the U.S. government standards. Sometimes, a piece will be stamped with “925,” “.925,” or “92.5.” These are also appropriate markings and they assure you that you are buying genuine sterling silver jewelry.

Silver jewelry and gift items are priced based on their precious metal content, design and craftsmanship. A price based solely on weight and metal content does not reflect the work that has gone into the piece. Each piece of silver jewelry is unique and, if cared for properly, can last a lifetime.

When purchasing a piece of silver jewelry or a silver gift item, look for quality construction. Inspect the piece carefully. Pay special attention to fasteners or clasps, making sure catches work easily but are secure. Pin backs and earring posts should be strong and firmly attached to the piece with no visible marks. Lay silver chains flat to make sure the links don’t kink or bend. For gift items, make sure that hinges, locks, picture stands and other items are securely attached and function properly. If you’re purchasing silver-plated items, inspect the piece to ensure that the plating is of the appropriate thickness and covers the entire piece.

The beauty of sterling silver jewelry and gifts is part of this metal’s ageless appeal. Properly caring for your silver collection is a sure way to keep sterling looking its shining best. As with any fine jewelry or gift item, each piece of sterling silver should be stored individually, either in its own soft pouch or in a separate compartment in a jewelry or storage box. If you toss your jewelry into a dresser drawer and allow pieces to rub against each other, scratches will result.

Keep your silver in a cool, dry place. Sterling silver, like other precious metals, can oxidize with time. It is a good idea to store silver in a tarnish-proof cloth or in drawers lined with tarnish-resistant strips. If sterling does become tarnished, it is easily restored to its original gleam by using a paste, liquid polish, or a treated polishing cloth intended for use on silver. Or you may simply wash the jewelry or silver object with warm water, rubbing in a little soap or toothpaste, rinsing and then patting dry with a fine soft cloth.

Avoid using tissue paper or paper towels as they can scratch silver. The best way to prevent tarnish is to actually wear your sterling jewelry or use your silver items often. However, don’t wear sterling silver in chlorinated water or when working with household cleaners such as bleach or ammonia. Treat your silver well and it will actually develop a lush patina and will reward you with a lustrous look.

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Birthstone Jewelry

Month

Color

Stone

January

Dark Red

Garnet

February

Purple

Amethyst

March

Pale Blue

Aquamarine

April

White (Clear)

Diamond

May

Bright Green

Emerald

June

Cream or Violet Blue

Pearl or Mystic Fire Topaz

July

Red

Ruby

August

Pale Green

Peridot

September

Deep Blue

Sapphire

October

Variegated

Opal or Tourmaline

November

Yellow

Topaz or Citrine

December

Sky Blue

Turquoise or Blue Topaz

Garnet

Garnet is January’s birthstone. It is also the anniversary gemstone for the second year of marriage. The common conception of garnet is that it is a red stone, when, in fact, garnets come in every color except blue. Legend holds that Noah hung a large garnet in the ark for illumination. It reportedly also gives its wearer guidance in the night, protection from nightmares, and according to the Egyptians is an antidote for snake bites and food poisoning. It was also thought to have a special affinity with the blood. Garnets are durable and brilliant and will give years of pleasure. As with all gemstones, care should be taken to protect garnet from scratches, sharp blows, and extreme temperature changes. Garnets are found in the U.S., Africa, Sri Lanka, Russia, Brazil and India.

Amethyst

Amethyst is the recognized birthstone for February and the accepted anniversary gemstone for the sixth year of marriage. Amethyst is a variety of quartz and comes in pale lilac to rich, deep purple shades. Ideally, it is a deep medium purple with rose-colored flashes that give amethyst its beauty and fire. Because of its abundance, it is readily available in all sizes and shapes. It is durable and can be worn every day. Coupled with the folk legend of the Greeks that it will prevent intoxication when worn, it becomes a most desirable gem! Amethyst was said to have a sobering effect on the wearer – not only those who indulged but on those over-excited by love’s passion as well. It has symbolized peace, protection and tranquility. Some say it will prevent baldness and improve the complexion, as well as protect from treason and deceit. Because royalty has always adored the color purple, amethysts abound in the ornaments of ancient Greeks and Egyptians, and in the British crown jewels. As with all gemstones, care should be taken to protect it from scratches and sharp blows. Amethyst is found mainly in Brazil, Uruguay and Zambia.

Aquamarine

Aquamarine is the traditional birthstone for March. It is also the accepted anniversary gem for the 19th year of marriage. The ideal color of aquamarine is a refreshing pastel sea blue. Stones with a clear blue color without green or gray are generally the most valuable. If you are looking for a big, durable gemstone, aqua is readily available in larger sizes and is truly dramatic when cut in rectangular or oval shapes. It is a member of the important beryl family, which also includes emerald. In ancient times, the stone was said to aid seafarers; thus it is an excellent gift suggestion for sailors or one who takes frequent cruises! To dream of aquamarine signifies the making of new friends; to wear aquamarine earrings brings love and affection. It is a universal symbol of youth, hope and health. As part of the normal finishing process, some aquamarines are heated to remove traces of green and yellow. To maintain the brilliance of this beautiful gemstone, it should be immersed in jewelry cleaner or in lukewarm soapy water and cleaned with a small bristle brush. Do not use a home ultrasonic machine. As with all gemstones, care should be taken to protect it from scratches and sharp blows. Aquamarine is found mainly in Brazil, Nigeria, Zambia, and Madagascar.

Diamond

Diamond is the birthstone for the month of April. Besides being the most popular gemstone for engagement rings, diamond is the accepted anniversary gem for the 10th and 60th years of marriage. The name “diamond” comes from the Greek word “adamas,” meaning unconquerable – suggesting the eternity of love. In fact, diamonds have been the traditional symbol of love since ancient Greece. Discovered about 2,500 years ago in India, the ancients believed they were splinters from the stars, perhaps crystallized lightning or hardened dew drops. Although diamonds are associated with being a colorless stone, they are occasionally found with a strong, bright color – green, red, pink, blue, canary yellow or amber. These “fancy” colored diamonds are highly prized. Occasionally, to improve appearance, diamonds are laser-drilled and, sometimes, a foreign substance is used to fill surface cavities or fractures. Diamonds may also be irradiated or heated to induce “fancy” colors. Even though it is the most durable of gemstones, care should be taken to protect a diamonds from sharp blows. Household chemicals may discolor or damage the mounting. To clean, you may use a jewelry cleaner, lukewarm soapy water and ammonia for ½ hour, or use a home ultrasonic machine with its recommended cleaner.

Emerald

Emerald is the birthstone for the month of May. It is also the anniversary gemstone for the 20th and 35th years of marriage. Emerald is one of the most highly prized of all the gems. The name comes from the Greek “smaragdos,” which means green stone. The most prized is pure grass green. Emeralds are often characterized by a garden of inclusions trapped within, known as the “jardin,” because under magnification you will see all sorts of lovely patterns resembling foliage in a garden. A flawless, clear emerald is very rare and is usually found in only small sizes. Small to medium sized stones are often faceted in the “step” or emerald cut. The gem is also lovely when cut into a cabochon or dome shape. Sometimes emeralds are even carved. According to legend, the wearing of emerald not only cured a wide range of ailments, including low I.Q., poor eyesight and infertility, but also enabled the wearer to predict the future. As part of the normal fashioning process, most emeralds are immersed in colorless oil or resin so small voids are not as noticeable. Care should be taken to protect it from scratches, sharp blows, household chemicals, and extreme temperature changes. Do not use a home ultrasonic machine. Emeralds are found mainly in Colombia, Brazil, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.

Pearl

Pearl is the birthstone for the month of June. It is also the accepted anniversary gemstone for the 3rd and 30th years of marriage. A pearl is the product of an oyster’s defense mechanism. When a foreign irritant is introduced either by man (cultured) or naturally, the oyster immediately surrounds it with layers of a substance called nacre. This forms the exquisite gemstone known as pearl. Natural pearls are extremely rare. Almost all pearls on the market today are cultured by man. Cultured pearls come in a wide range of colors. They should be relatively free from skin blemishes. The more perfectly round the shape the better. The higher the luster, or “orient,” the more valuable the specimen is. The larger the cultured pearl, the greater the value. Besides the popular round shape, there are stylish mabé (large hemispherical cultured pearls), freshwater (elongated in interesting shapes and colors), and South Sea (large cultured pearls 10mm and up from Australia’s and Indonesia’s waters), to name a few. Cultured pearls have been recognized as the emblem of modesty, chastity and purity. They have come to symbolize a happy marriage. Avoid household chemicals, cosmetics, hair sprays, and perfumes. Don’t use ultrasonic cleaners. Wash with mild soap and water and store in a protective chamois pouch or tissue paper.

Ruby

Ruby is the accepted birthstone for July. It is also the accepted anniversary gemstone for the 15th and 40th year. Ruby is known as the “Lord of the Gems” because of its rarity and beauty. Derived from the Latin word “ruber,” it simply means red. Ruby, like sapphire, is a variety of corundum and only exists as a true red in color. The finest color is a vivid, almost pure spectral red. The highest quality rubies are said to protect their owners from all kinds of misfortune. A fine ruby assured the owner he would live in harmony with his neighbors. It would protect his stature in life, his home and his land. Its protective powers were intensified when set in jewelry and worn on the left side. Many believed rubies possessed an inner flame that burned eternally. As part of the customary fashioning process, virtually all rubies are heated to permanently improve their color and appearance. As with all gemstones, care should be taken to protect a ruby from scratches and sharp blows. The finest rubies emanate from Burma, having been mined there since ancient times. Other sources include Thailand, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, Kenya, Tanzania, Cambodia, Afghanistan and India.

Peridot

Peridot is the accepted birthstone for August. It is also the accepted anniversary gemstone for the 16th year of marriage. Peridot should be a lively lime green, without a brownish or olive cast. Peridot is the child of volcanic action. Tiny peridot crystals are sometimes combed from the black sands of Hawaii. Peridots were favored by pirates, considered powerful amulets against all evil, and when set in gold were said to protect the wearer from the terrors of the night. They had medicinal uses, too. If fashioned into a chalice from which medicines were drunk, they intensified the effects of the drug. Care should be taken to protect peridot from scratches, sharp blows, household chemicals and extreme temperature changes. Do not use a home ultrasonic machine for cleaning. The peridot is abundant and is available in larger sized. It is found in Burma and the U.S. The most important source of peridot in the world is the San Carlos Apache Indian Reservation near Globe, Arizona, where it is mined by Native Americans. Large sizes are mined in Myanmar (Burma), and peridot is also found in China.

Sapphire

Sapphire is the September birthstone as well as the accepted anniversary gem for the 5th and 45th years of marriage. Sapphire, a variety of corundum, comes in all colors except red (the red variety being known as ruby), but is especially popular in deep blue. Fancy colored sapphires – including pink, green, orange, and golden yellow – are magnificent when combined in a necklace or bracelet. The stone’s durability, combined with its beauty, makes it the perfect alternative for an engagement ring. Ancient priests and sorcerers honored sapphire above all gems, for this stone enabled them to interpret oracles and foretell the future. Ancients believed the Ten Commandments were written on a sapphire tablet. Marriage partners put great faith in the stone. If its luster dimmed, one knew his or her spouse had been unfaithful. Sapphire refused to shine when worn by the wicked or impure. As part of the customary fashioning process, virtually all blue, yellow, and golden sapphires are heated to permanently produce or intensify their color. As with all gemstones, care should be taken to protect it from scratches and sharp blows. Sapphire is found in Sri Lanka, Thailand, Cambodia, Myanmar (Burma), Australia, Nigeria, Kenya, Tanzania, China and the U.S.

Opal

Opal is the October birthstone as well as the accepted anniversary gemstone for the 14th year of marriage. The well-known Roman naturalist Pliny described opal as “made up of the glories of the most precious gems… the gentler fire of the ruby, the rich purple of the amethyst, the sea-green of the emerald, glittering together…” White opal has a white or light body color with flashes of many colors. Black opal has a black, dark blue, dark green or gray body color with vivid flashes of color such as red, pink and bright green. Opal has symbolized hope, innocence and purity through the ages. In the Middle Ages, young, fair-haired girls wore opals in their hair to protect its lovely blond color. Medieval writers believed opal could render its wearer invisible when the need arose. It was also said to have a beneficial effect on eyesight. It was thought to banish evil spirits and favor children, the theater, amusements, friendships and feelings. Care should be taken to protect it from scratches, sharp blows, household chemicals, and extreme temperature changes. To maintain the brilliance of opal, it should be wiped clean with a soft cloth. Do not use a home ultrasonic machine or jewelry cleaner. Opal sources are Australia, Mexico and the U.S.

Tourmaline

Tourmaline is sometimes used as a birthstone for October and spans the spectrum from red to violet. It also occurs in color combinations in one stone, which accounts for its popularity. It is not as fragile as opal and is sometimes selected by those who prefer faceted stones.

Topaz

Topaz is the accepted birthstone for November. Blue topaz is the accepted anniversary gemstone for the 4th year; Imperial topaz for the 23rd year of marriage. Most people think of topaz as a transparent golden yellow gemstone. However, this gemstone occurs colorless as well as orange-yellow, red, honey-brown (dark sherry), light green, blue and pink. The name topaz is derived from the Greek word meaning “to shine” and also implies “fire.” Orange-red “Imperial” topaz and pink colors are rare and most valuable. The lore, magic and romance of topaz goes back many thousands of years. It holds the distinction of being the gemstone with the widest range of curative powers. The Greeks felt it gave them strength. In addition, it supposedly cooled tempers, restored sanity, cured asthma, relieved insomnia and even warded off sudden death. Topaz is said to make its wearer invisible in time of emergency. It proved the loyalty of associates by changing color in the presence of poison. As part of the normal fashioning process, most brownish to sherry brown topaz is heated to produce a permanent pink color. Certain types of topaz are irradiated and heated to produce shades of blue. Topaz is found mainly in Brazil, Nigeria, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and China.

Citrine

Citrine is often used as an alternative to topaz because it appears in many of the same colors as topaz. Unlike topaz, citrine is readily available and inexpensive even in large sizes.

Turquoise

Turquoise is the accepted birthstone for December and is the accepted anniversary gemstone for the 11th year of marriage. Colors of turquoise range from sky blue (most desirable color) to blue green and apple green. The name means “Turkish stone,” because the trade route that brought it to Europe used to come via Turkey. The best qualities are found in northeast Iran (Persian turquoise). However, the southwestern United States is now the world leader in production. The deposits in Sinai were already worked out by 4,000 BC. At that time the stone was used for jewelry, amulets and in the preparation of cosmetics. During the 16th century turquoise was used as currency by the Southwest Indians. They believed the gemstone could bring spoils to the warrior, animals to the hunter, and happiness and good fortune to all. Although large quantities of beautiful turquoise that have not been color enhanced are available, today’s turquoise is commonly stabilized with plastic to improve its color and durability. Chalky varieties of turquoise are normally impregnated with oil or wax to enhance color. This color change may not be permanent. Care should be taken to protect turquoise from scratches, sharp blows, hot water, and household chemicals. Do not use a home ultrasonic machine.

Blue topaz has become a popular alternative in recent years for those who prefer faceted stones.


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Pearl Jewelry

Pearls have been a source of fascination and desire since ancient times. Viewed as magic charms, symbols of purity and love, or sources of wisdom and power, pearls have been revered by countless civilizations. The cultured pearl begins its life as an irritant to the oyster. To protect itself, the oyster coats an intruding object or grain of sand with nacre, a crystalline substance that builds up over time, resulting in a shimmering, iridescent creation. The culturing process developed by man mimics nature. Farmers implant a fine bead into the oyster where it cannot be expelled. The oyster does the rest and creates its lustrous masterpiece – the cultured pearl.

There are six different quality factors to look for when buying a pearl.

Lustre – A combination of surface brilliance and a deep glow that seems to emanate from within the heart of a cultured pearl. The luster of a good quality cultured pearl should be bright, not dull, enabling you to see your own reflection clearly on the surface. A cultured pearl that appears too white, dull or chalky indicates poor quality.

Surface – Because cultured pearls are grown in oysters, it is rare to find a cultured pearl whose surface is free from any type of blemish. Blemishes can include disfiguring spots, bumps, pits and cracks on the surface of a cultured pearl. The fewer the blemishes on the surface of a cultured pearl, the more valuable it will be.

Shape – It is very rare to find a perfectly round cultured pearl, but generally, the rounder the cultured pearl, the more valuable it is. Cultured pearls also come in oval, pear and baroque shapes.

Color – Cultured pearls come in a wide range of colors, from white to pink to black. The color of a cultured pearl is often a matter of personal preference.

Size – Cultured pearls are measured by their diameter in millimeters. They can be smaller than 1mm, in the case of keshi cultured pearls, or as large as 20mm for a big South Sea cultured pearl. With all other quality factors being equal, the larger the cultured pearl, the more valuable it will be, since it is difficult for an oyster to grow a cultured pearl larger than 5mm.

Matching – When buying a strand of cultured pearls, matching is very important. All the cultured pearls in a good quality strand should be evenly matched in terms of luster, surface, shape, color and size. Well-matched cultured pearl necklaces command top prices, because cultured pearl growers must harvest about 10,000 oysters in order to find enough cultured pearls that match closely enough to make up a simple, 16-inch strand.

There are certain guidelines that should be followed to care for all pearl jewelry.

  1. Treat your cultured pearls gently. Keep them in a chamois bag, or wrap them in tissue when you put them away.
  2. Don’t toss them in a purse or jewelry box where they can become scratched by metal or stones.
  3. Remember to apply perfume, hairspray, and cosmetics before putting on your cultured pearl jewelry.
  4. Wipe your pearl jewelry with a soft, clean cloth after each wearing to remove any traces of hairspray or perfume, and occasionally wash them with mild soap and water. Never use chemicals or abrasives to clean pearls.
  5. Buy strands of pearls that are strung with a knot between each cultured pearl, to avoid abrasion and to prevent loss if the string should break.
  6. Bring pearl necklaces in for restringing once a year, as cosmetics and ordinary wear and tear can damage or stretch the threads on which the pearls are strung.

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Buying and Caring for a Watch

A watch is a very practical gift for any occasion, whether it is a birthday, Christmas, or "just because."

When you buy a watch, be sure that the jeweler explains all of the features, shows you how to wear it, and adjusts the strap to fit your arm comfortably.

Most watches have a manufacturer's warranty. Be sure to read this over before selecting which watch to purchase.

Remember to check your watch crystal frequently for scratches or cracks. This can lead to moisture or dust getting inside the time-keeping mechanism, threatening its accuracy. It is also not recommended to wear any watch while swimming or showering unless a water resistance is specified.

Batteries should run for about six months to two years. Some watches also have more than one battery, such as those that are both analog and digital.

Here are some very useful terms when searching for the perfect watch.

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Watch Terminology

Antimagnetic - A watch constructed from metals resistant to the effects of magnetic fields which could disrupt accurate time keeping. The Federal Trade Commission has specific quidelines for when a watch can be called "antimagnetic."

Analog Watch - Analog watches use traditional time-telling "hands." Quartz analogs are driven by electronic impulses passing from a battery through a quartz crystal to a motor which moves the hands. Other types of analog watches use a mainspring to move the various internal components.

Chronograph - Similar to a stop watch, a chronograph measures small fractions of seconds and can be started, stopped and reset as needed. Chronographs are now incorporated into many contemporary watch designs.

Crown - The knob outside of the watchcase used to wind a mechanical watch.

Digital Watch - Digital watches have no moving parts and display time with digits (numbers) instead of hands.

Mainspring - A spiral coil of metal inside a watch. The mainspring is tightened with the crown when the watch is wound and then gradually unwinds, turning tiny interlocking wheels which move the watch hands to measure seconds, minutes, and hours.

Mechanical Watch - A "traditional" watch which uses springs, gears and other mechanical parts to move the hands and accurately tell time.

Quartz - A natural element which vibrates at regular intervals when activated by electricity from a watch battery. These vibrations are extremely precise and are used to measure time in many watches.

Shock Resistance - Many modern watches are protected with internal cushions which lessen the effects of sudden blows or jarring movements that can result from normal use. Anyone interested in a watch for sports or active outdoor use should look for a shock-resistant watch, keeping in mind that there are specific Federal Trade Commission guidelines for how this term can be used.

Self-Winding Watches - Watches that wind themselves as the wearer's wrist moves. The movement of the wearer's arm moves a pendulum which tightens the mainspring and winds the watch.

Watch Case - The protective box holding the different components of the watch. Watch cases are made from a wide variety of materials including precious metals (gold, platinum, silver), brass, steel, titanium and durable plastic. The back of a case is often made of materials that will resist perspiration. The name of the metal used to make a watch must be clearly stamped on the watch case. If that metal is an alloy (e.g. 10-karat gold), this information must also be displayed on the watch.

Watch Crystal - Also known as "crystal" or "watch glass," any transparent material (such as glass or durable plastic) that protects the watch face. The earliest watches actually used pieces of rock crystal to cover the watch, providing the origin for this term.

Waterproofing - Waterproof watches have special seals which protect the watch from water, dirt and other outside elements. The depth to which a watch can be taken underwater is usually marked on the case of the timepiece. There are specific, standardized methods for measuring waterproofing and a watch must pass these tests in order to be labeled "waterproof" of "water resistant."

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